Our blind tasting game—without the tasting! Can you identify a wine just by reading its tasting note? We post real Wine Spectator reviews. You use clues such as color, aromas, flavors and structure to figure out the grape, age and origin. Good luck!
Tasting Note: Lush and pretty, with a lovely oily texture that wraps around lemon curd, white peach and spice flavors.
And the answer is...
This lush white has an oily texture with rich citrus, peach and spice notes. Let’s figure out what it is.
We can begin by eliminating Grenache Blanc, which tends to make fuller-bodied whites with lower levels of acidity and toasty orchard fruit flavors.
Aligotés can have citrus notes. However, we would expect searingly high levels of acidity from an Aligoté. Let’s move on.
Grüner Veltliners tend to be lively whites with gooseberry, mineral and pepper notes. This sounds off the mark too.
When produced in a richer style, Chardonnay can show our wine’s citrus, peach and spice notes. But our wine’s oily texture doesn’t sound right for Chardonnay. Maybe another grape works better?
Viogniers generally display rich citrus and peach notes with hallmark oily texture. We’ve found a match!
This wine is Viognier.
Country or Region of Origin
Viognier has footholds around the world, but it would be difficult to find it growing in Austria. The grape grows in Canada, but it hasn’t achieved prominence there either. The same goes for Spain, where Viognier grapes are often slated for white blends. Viognier originates in France's Northern Rhône Valley, where it is still used to make versions focused on stone fruit and floral flavors. Like other Rhône grapes, Viognier has found a home in California, where versions tend to be a bit richer with lusher fruit flavors and oaky spice notes. California’s Viognier sounds closer to the mark here.
This Viognier is from California.
We know that our Viognier is from California, so we can eliminate Spain’s Alella, France’s Burgundy, Austria’s Kremstal and Canada’s Niagara Peninsula. This leaves us with two California options: El Dorado and Napa Valley. A variety of grapes grow in Napa, primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay; however, Viognier is not a major player there. But Viognier is one of the many varieties used farther east in El Dorado, part of the wider Sierra Foothills AVA. The choice is clear.
This Viognier is from El Dorado.
Our Viognier is still pretty with fresh fruit flavors. But its spice note may indicate some time spent aging in oak. Let’s look at some of California’s most recent vintages to pinpoint our wine’s age.
2020 was a dry year marked by wildfires, and its Viogniers tend to be lusher with sumptuous citrus, stone fruit and spice notes. 2019 was warm for California, with a long growing season, leading to a batch of vibrant Viogniers with tropical fruit flavors and fresh acidity. 2018’s growing season was ideal, and that year’s Viogniers tend to be powerful and supple with dried fruit and pastry notes. 2020’s Viogniers look like the best match here.
This Viognier is from the 2020 vintage, making it three years old.
This is the Miraflores Viognier El Dorado 2020, which scored 89 points in the Oct. 15, 2022, issue of Wine Spectator. It retails for $29, and 336 cases were made. For more on California Rhônes, read senior editor Tim Fish’s tasting report, "California Rhônes," in the Oct. 15, 2022, issue.
—Collin Dreizen, associate editor