Love Chardonnay? Then it’s time to try Viognier – and pair it with a spicy Asian curry for a slightly different Easter Sunday lunch.
I don’t know about you, but viognier to me remains a grape variety almost exclusively linked to the Rhone Valley where it kind of originates from – though it’s believed it was brought there from Croatia by the Romans at around 280 A.D. However, for a long time the Rhone area remained the only region where it was cultivated in a significant fashion.
The truth is, viognier grapes are now planted in many more wine regions globally, from North to South America, Australia, South Africa, and some southern European countries such as Italy and Spain – while growing in popularity.
With longer and warmer summers, viognier is now even planted in Germany! Although with less than 30 hectares, it’s still something of an oddity over here.
That said, Germany’s winemakers are increasingly paying notice. The variety is fairly draught-resistant so planting more vineyards with viognier makes sense, considering the impact of climate change experienced everywhere. On the downside, the grape is rather sensitive to powdery mildew and thus requires significant attention in the vineyard.
Judging from the few but excellent viognier made in Germany right now, the jury is still out if the variety will catch-on.
My bet? It will.
Indeed, if you love full-bodied wines with aromatic yellow fruit aromas (think peach, tangerine, and honeysuckle) and refreshing acidity, or if you love Chardonnay, this slightly unusual variety should be definitely on your list.
My journey into viognier wines has started rather incidentally, but over time it became a favourite variety. Especially as viognier makes for a great match with spicy Asian food.
There might be viognier produced closer to wherever you live – but this excellent bottle from Germany is absolutely worth a try.
And if you are still wondering what to make for this year’s Easter Sunday lunch, why not twist the traditional minced lamb with a mildly spicy coconut milk curry with lamb, and a glass of viognier?
About Weingut Fritz Wassmer
A passionate of Pinot Noir and all things Burgundy, Fritz Wassmer founded his winery in 1998 with a particular focus on his favourite variety. Which has not stopped him crafting excellent Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Rather rare in Germany, the winery has also started to plant Viognier a few years ago.
The winery in Bad Krozingen is located in the prestigious Kaiserstuhl area of Germany’s southernmost Baden wine region, close to the city of Freiburg. The area – one of the warmest and sunniest in Germany – offers perfect conditions for those international grapes thriving in warmer climates.
Tasting Notes: Fritz Waßmer Viognier Reserve 2018
Made of 100% viognier, this wine is excellent drunken young but also has a good aging potential. Drink until 2025.
In the glass, a light golden-yellow with green reflections.
On the nose, aromas of apricot and green tea followed by notes of nutmeg and ginger.
On the palate, tight, with invigorating fruit acidity and a beautiful texture. Spicy with a hint of citrus and delicate nutty notes.
The wine pairs well with salad, poultry, asparagus, and fish. It also matches well with mild curries, like a coconut milk curry with lamb.
Still looking for a quick-and-easy Easter Sunday lunch? This delicious mildly spicy coconut milk curry with lamb will take you less than 40 minutes in the kitchen.
Recipe: Coconut Milk Curry with Lamb
450 g lamb filet, cut in small bite size pieces
1 red chilli, chopped
30 g ginger, finely chopped
200 g Chinese cabbage, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons yellow curry paste
400 ml coconut milk
400 ml chicken stock
few basil leaves
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add lamb and cook until lightly browned (about 5-6 minutes). Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer lamb onto a plate and set aside.
In the same skillet, add chili and ginger. Fry 2-3 minutes. Add curry paste and continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Add coconut milk, chicken stock and cabbage. Bring to a light cook, then let simmer for about 10 minutes.
Add lamb and cook for another 2 minutes to reheat. Season with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lime juice.
Serve with basmati rice and topped with some fresh basil leaves and a slice of lime.