Wine review: Zolo Viognier 2008

Argentina’s best known white wine is torrontes, but the country’s winemakers don’t limit themselves to that grape. Some of this is market driven; why else would they make so much mediocre chardonnay and pinot grigio, other than because the sales department tells them they need those wines for the U.S. market?

But Argentina also produces interesting white wine that isn’t torrontes, including and especially the Zolo (about $13, purchased, available at Central Market). Viogner as a varietal wine isn’t done much anywhere save for Texas and a couple of other regional states, and even California seems ambivalent about it. Its viogniers are either poorly made or treated like expensive, high-alcohol chardonnay, both of which seem counterproductive.

The Zolo, though, tastes like viognier is supposed to taste, and the Californians could learn a thing or two. It isn’t as fruity or as bright as most Texas viogniers, but that’s not a problem — just a different approach in style. Look for a balance between acid and peach fruit, a floral aroma, and a decent finish. Drink this when you would drink chardonnay, and appreciate the difference.



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