2021 Alban Vineyards, Estate ViognierUdsolgt
As hard as it is for me to believe, it has been more than 30 years since I took the sip that launched Alban Vineyards. Some of you may know the story of a bottle of Condrieu that my dear friend Dan Stromberg brought to our mutual birthday celebration while we were both attending viticulture/enology school. At wine school, that sort of thing counts as studying, and we were both very diligent students.
Beyond the name on the bottle, I knew nothing about Condrieu- never even heard of it. A year later I was living in that tiny village- the homestead of Viognier, helping with harvest. While it all happened pretty fast, it wasn’t as easy as it sounds.
We make two Viogniers:
A Central Coast bottling that is often more than 75% from our own vineyard, and an Estate bottling. The former showcases the forward heady stone fruit of this variety. It is fermented and aged entirely in stainless steel and bottled early. Our Estate Viognier is barrel fermented with native yeasts and bottled unfined and unfiltered. It shows the body and length of the variety along with the mineral and apricot notes that it can achieve.
"The 2021 Viognier Estate was mostly barrel fermented and matured, with the exception of a small portion of terracotta. Lush quince and white peach are complemented by tones of crushed almonds, beeswax and spice on the nose. Medium-bodied and satiny, the palate is generous and savory with plenty of freshness and a touch of anchoring texture that drives the very long finish. It will be released in the spring of 2023." - 94 Robert Parker
Looking at the flagship estate Viognier, the 2021 Viognier Estate boasts a vibrant, medium to full-bodied, incredibly focused and mineral-driven profile that reminds me of a Condrieu from pure granite soils. Tangerine oil, honeyed flowers, brioche, and citrus notes all emerge on the nose, and it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, a layered, seamless mouthfeel, and one heck of a great finish. I finished my note with "Love it."
As I've written in the past, no one in the New World does Viognier better than John Alban.
97 - Jeb Dunnuck