Viognier (pronounced "VEE-oh-nee-ay") is a classic white grape variety grown in the northern Rhone region of France. It has full, spicy flavors somewhat reminiscent of the Muscat grape. Often this aroma can resemble the scent of peaches or apricots.
It is a difficult variety to grow. It is finicky, seems to be susceptible to everything, and often does not set much of a crop. Winemakers often allow it to get overripe in search of the spicy aroma, and it is associated with high alcohol wines. This is not necessary in many growing areas where the spiciness comes forward at normal sugar levels.
Viognier can vary from almost Riesling-like character when grown in the coolest areas to almost Chardonnay character in the warmer. This is also dependent on production method and the use of barrel fermentation and aging. The use of new oak barrels or the encouragement of the malolactic fermentation can mask the beautiful aromas of the variety.