Value Viognier

Value at its best: As novelist Jay McInerney put it in my book, Viognier “has a tropical garden nose that puts you in the mood for romance.” Unfortunately, good versions of this exotic, pulse-priming nectar often requires spending at least $25 a bottle retail, and sometimes much more, so for most people it is hardly an every day indulgence. A visit to New York’s new Mainland restaurant last night revealed a toothsome exception to this rule – the Domaine Triennes 2004 Viognier, a bargain at $14 retail and $35 on Mainland’s wine list.

Nuggets to know:

1) Viognier, with its tropical aromas and crème brulée texture, is a winning alternative to Chardonnay.

2) Viognier’s fruit-stand character is a delectable match with moderately spicy Chinese food, such as Mainland’s superlative Steamed Prawn and Bamboo Dumplings and crisp, flavor-packed Pork Potsickers.  (Mainland’s info: 1081 Third Avenue, at 64th Street, 212-888-6333).

value viognerProducer: Domaine de Triennes (France)
Wine: “Sainte Fleur” Viognier
Vintage: 2004
Cost: $14
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Classically Viognier, with intense aromas of apricots and honey combined with a creamy texture.  It is kept honest by more acidity than one typically sees in Viognier, making it refreshing and food-friendly.  A perfect crowd-pleaser for those seeking a full-bodied, personality-laden white; serve it at your next cocktail party.