Texas v. Virginia 2: Viognier Boogaloo

Texas or Virginia? Let's Go To The Cards...Again!

Over Labor Day weekend, The Rib and I made a last-ditch effort to save the summer by coming together with neighbors and friends in what can only be described as a great two-day social affair (not two straight days, but two days in a row of neighborly get-togethers).  As part of this happy funtime weekend, we did a pair of wine tastings.  Since we had accidentally done the Texas v. Virginia Sangiovese Smackdown the week before, we decided to continue the series and compare a 2009 Lone Star and Old Dominion Viognier side-by-side.

Unlike the “accidental” taste-off with the Sangiovese, we enlisted the help of willing neighbors and actually tasted these two wines side-by-side.  There were a total of eight of us tasting.  Here are the results:

2009 Duchman Family Winery Viognier, Texas Hill Country

2009 Duchmn Family Vineyards Viognier

On the nose, I got some apricot, white peach, and a slight honey (not quite a more flowery honeysuckle, though).  On the palate, there was peach, peach, and more peach!  This was a nice little selection with a ton of acid that held up well to a gooey, cheesy, sausage-laden dip that was, to quote one neighbor, “slap yo’ mama good.”  I concur (although I never recommend actually slapping your mother).

Here are some unfiltered descriptions others used:

– Nose:  Fruity, floral, peach, sweet, apple, slight blood orange, honey(ish), pear

– Palate:  Pear, acidic, bland/no flavor, honeysuckle, slightly effervescent, fruity, dry

– Finish:  Slight aftertaste, smooth, burny, late, flat, tart, acidic


2009 Gabriele Rausse Viognier, Central Region, Virginia

2009 Gabriele Rausse Viognier

The nose of this one gave me a nice honeysuckle, a touch of pear, and maybe a hint of apple.  The palate exploded with honey, candied pear, and a touch of apricot.  The Rausse was a bit syrupy comparatively, but finished well with some nice honey notes.

Here are some unfiltered descriptions others used:

– Nose:  Oak, fruity, smoky, rosy, butter, woody, (toasted) coconut, lemongrass, apple, white grape, alcohol

– Palate:  Smooth, light, bitter, oak, coconut cream, pear, smoky

– Finish:  Clean, burny, “wet,” smooth, slightly sweet


To The Scorecards…

Unlike the first round of the Texas v. Virginia head-to-head tasting, this one produced a hands-down winner:  Virginia’s Gabriele Rausse Viognier.  Six of those who tasted these two wines picked the Virginia offering outright; one picked the Gabriele Rausse slightly over the other; and only one preferred the Texas selection.

Personally, I enjoyed both selections, but objectively, I felt the Virginia Viognier was “better,” as the Gabriele Rausse was a bit more characteristic of the varietal.  I will also emphasize that these two wines 1) were very different, and 2) will rarely have the opportunity to “compete” head-to-head, since the Duchman Family Winery Viognier can’t be purchased outside of Texas and the Gabriele Rausse Viognier isn’t sold outside of Virginia.

So there it is.  Next week I am embarking on another trip to Texas and may have the opportunity to pick up a few bottles that will allow The Rib and me to set up another head-to-head Texas/Virginia tasting this fall.

Cheers from The Patio at CorkEnvy,


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