When done right, e.g., not over oaked, Virginia Viognier can stand up against the best in the world. Unfortunately, I taste too many that fall in the latter category, which is disappointing, especially considering the potential of the variety in the state. Fortunately there are plenty of producers who clearly have navigated the oak trap and produce elegant, complex, and dare I say, world-class wines. This is never more evident than with Chester Gap Cellars.
Owner and winemaker, Bernd Jung, produces two of my favorite Viognier wines. His minimalist approach to winemaking allow the grapes to express themselves.
The Chester Gap Cellars 2009 Viognier is fermented in stainless steel and retails for $16. And yes, you read that correctly, $16! Crisp, refreshing and clean. A wonderful, floral nose is followed by peach, pear and honeysuckle on the palate.
On the opposite spectrum, the Chester Gap Cellars 2009 Reserve Viognier is fermented in French oak for 8 months. The Condrieu-like nose shows perfume, honey and white peach. Opulent and creamy on the palate. Once more, a terrific value at $19. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating, Chester Gap Cellars is one of the best kept secrets in Virginia. Cheers!