Try Food&Wine!
Food & Wine celebrates all aspects of the epicurean lifestyle, the tables and the talents that define our time's most authentic, exuberant way of life. Subscribe today and receive a free barbecue apron ... and your subscription will help support and The 30 Second Wine Advisor.

Today's sponsor
California Wine Club
Have you heard? The California Wine Club's International Selections is a HIT! This new club features a quarterly, two-bottle shipment of wine from the world's finest, small family-owned wineries. The wines are imported directly by The California Wine Club. No distributors and no middle-man, so club owners Bruce and Pam Boring can bring their members real savings on incredible wine not currently available in the U.S.
(Click to "California Wine Club" below)

In This Issue
 About Viognier
 R.H. Phillips 2001 "EXP" Dunnigan Hills Viognier ($9.99)
 California Wine Club
 Correction: Dates of Temecula Valley Winter Barrel Tasting
 Support WineLoversPage.Com and the 30 Second Wine Advisor
 This week on
Last Week's Wine Advisor Index

Please do not reply to this E-mail!
It comes from a "SEND-ONLY" mailbox, and I will not see your reply. I value your feedback, so to contact me, please send E-mail to

To change your E-mail address, change between daily and weekly editions or text and graphics editions or unsubscribe, see "Administrivia" at the end of this page.

click here

For all past editions,
click here

For information, E-mail

About Viognier

Not very long ago, when wine lovers thought of Viognier ("Vee-ohn-yay") - if we thought of it at all - it was as a painfully rare grape variety, seen only occasionally in the offbeat, and expensive, Northern Rhone appellations Condrieu and Chateau-Grillet. (Less obviously, Viognier is a minor player in the blend of Cote-Rotie, a robust red wine that adds complexity and "lifted" flavor from a smallish dose of this aromatic white.)

During the '90s, though, Viognier gained increasing attention, perhaps as an alternative to Chardonnay, first in California and other New World regions, and eventually going back to France, where it started turning up in larger quantities, much of it aimed for U.S. mass-market export.

At its best, Viognier shows characteristic peach and apricot aromas with distinct floral overtones, a fresh and aromatic quality that most experts agree shows at its best when the wine is young. You'll find few authorities who recommend cellaring Viognier.

We're taking a closer look at this increasingly popular variety as this month's featured topic in our Wine Tasting 101 program on I've selected two good and reasonably affordable examples as "benchmarks," but if you can't find them or would prefer to try another, please feel free to participate with any Viognier from any world region.

One of the benchmark wines is the J et F Lurton 2002 "Les Salices" Viognier Vin de Pays d'Oc, ($13.50), which I reported here in the Dec. 8 Wine Advisor. For your reference, my tasting report is online at

The other is today's featured wine, a big, bold California Viognier from the Dunnigan Hills in California's Yolo County near Sacramento, not far from the Lodi and Clarksburg wine regions featured in Friday's Wine Advisor. My notes are below.

If you would like to sharpen your analytical wine-tasting skills and practice writing tasting reports in a supportive environment of fellow wine enthusiasts, I hope you'll consider trying either or both of this month's Viogniers and sharing your impressions in our interactive Wine Tasting 101 Forum,

If you prefer to comment privately, feel free to send me E-mail at I'm sorry that the overwhelming amount of mail I receive makes it tough to respond personally every time, but I do try to get back to as many as I can.

EXP R.H. Phillips 2001 "EXP" Dunnigan Hills Viognier ($9.99)

This clear, pale-gold wine shows flashes of bright gold against the light. Honey and flowers and tropical aromas of banana and coconut appear in a rich, exotic scent that leads into mouth-filling and ripe tropical-fruit flavors. A high alcoholic content (14 percent) supports the wine's full body, and snappy citric acidity helps build a firm structure uncommon in such a big California white. A far cry from the French model, but an impressive New World Viognier. (Jan. 23, 2004)

FOOD MATCH: A robust wine that needs a robust food match, and found it in an experimental dish of chicken braised with green chiles and Japanese green sencha tea.

VALUE: Very good value, outpaces more sought-after and pricey California Viogniers.

WHEN TO DRINK: Drink over the next year or so; not for cellaring.

WEB LINK: R.H. Phillips has a page about its EXP line at
and a downloadable (Adobe Acrobat) fact sheet on the Viognier at

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE: Find prices and vendors for R.H. Phillips 2001 "EXP" Viognier on

California Wine Club

California Wine Club

Have you heard? The California Wine Club's International Selections is a HIT! This new club features a quarterly, two-bottle shipment of wine from the world's finest, small family-owned wineries. The wines are imported directly by The California Wine Club. No distributors and no middle-man, so club owners Bruce and Pam Boring can bring their members real savings on incredible wine not currently available in the U.S. Each shipment also includes their engaging newsletter, Passport. The cost averages between $50 and $75 per quarter, including all shipping, handling and import charges.

This month's shipment is from Austria and includes the 2001 Sepp Moser Blauer Zweigelt Reserve and the 2002 Sepp Moser Gruner Veltliner Wolfsgraben. Past International Selections have included a 2000 Margaux straight from Bordeaux and a Reserve Chianti from the heart of Tuscany. For these and other International Selections call 1-800-777-4443. Join the club, mention The 30 Second Wine Advisor and they'll send you a free copy of the book, The French Paradox and Drinking For Health!

Correction: Dates of Temecula Valley Winter Barrel Tasting

One reference in Wednesday's Wine Advisor listed an incorrect date for the upcoming Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association Winter Barrel Tasting weekend, which will be Feb. 7-8, 2004. Call 800-801-WINE for reservations or order online at

Support and the 30 Second Wine Advisor

In the wine business? Why pay the big bucks for print media or television when there's no quicker, better or more efficient way to deliver a wine-related message to wine lovers around the world than an advertising "sponsorship" on

From a quick, simple text message in The 30 Second Wine Advisor to Web "banner" advertising or even an intense, saturation campaign reaching millions of wine-savvy readers, offers programs to meet the needs of wine businesses both large and small, with rates and effectiveness that the competition can't match.

Sponsorships range from as little as $100 a month for starter programs to saturation campaigns that can reach 1 million readers or more. For more information, write me today at

This week on

Here are links to some of our recently published articles and features that I hope you'll enjoy:

Bucko's Wine Reports: 100 new wine releases
This looks to be a winter to remember. Record snows fell in the Seattle/Portland area and the east coast is experiencing record cold. The national championship in college football fell to controversy and the playoffs for the Super Bowl have been setting records for overtime play. All this, and wine too! Record amounts of vino are entering the marketplace, and here's our columnist Randy "Bucko" Buckner with his monthly report on 100 new releases.

Wine Lovers' Discussion Group: Favorite wine producer?
"This is a simple poll," says forum participant Brian "Mr. Buzz," who invites you to name the ONE winery that produces your favorite wines ... across the board. "You could say, 'If you could only drink wines from ONE producer ... who would it be?'" he goes on. "No need for explanation. Name it!" You're invited to add your favorite winery to the list in our interactive online discussion forum. Read the posts, and join in:

Last Week's Wine Advisor Index

The Wine Advisor's daily edition is usually distributed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (and, for those who subscribe, the FoodLetter on Thursdays). Here's the index to last week's columns:

 Introducing Burgundy: Rully (Jan. 23, 2004)

 California off the beaten path (Jan. 21, 2004)

 Pinot Grigio ... blindfolded (Jan. 19, 2004)

 Complete 30 Second Wine Advisor archive:

 Wine Advisor FoodLetter: Rosemary-skewered scallops (Jan. 22, 2004)

 Wine Advisor Foodletter archive:


To subscribe or unsubscribe from The 30 Second Wine Advisor, change your E-mail address, or for any other administrative matters, please use the individualized hotlink found at the end of your E-mail edition. If this is not practical, contact me by E-mail at, including the exact E-mail address that you used when you subscribed, so I can find your record.

We do not use our E-mail list for any other purpose and will never give or sell your name or E-mail address to anyone. I welcome feedback, suggestions, and ideas for future columns. To contact me, please send E-mail to

All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.

Monday, Jan. 26, 2004
Copyright 2004 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

Subscribe to the 30 Second Wine Advisor

Wine Advisor archives