93

2009 Yalumba The Virgilius Viognier, Eden Valley, South Australia

( £26.99, 14.5%, Harrods, Selfridges, Slurp )

A candidate for the title of Australia’s best Viognier (and that’s not meant to sound like faint praise), this is true to its varietal, but in a subtler way than many New World examples. White flowers, some cream, a hint of spice, nuanced oak and enough acidity to keep the wine tingling nicely on the palate.

BuyDrinking window: 2013-15Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, Australia, White, Viognier
91

2011 d'Arenberg The Hermit Crab Marsanne/Viognier, McLaren Vale, South Australia

( £9.99, 13%, Sainsbury's )

The wonderfully theatrical Chester Osborn is better known for his reds than his whites, but he has a suprisingly subtle touch with the latter, as this very lightly oaked blend of Viognier with 32% Marsanne demonstrates. It’s a spicy, pithy, understated white, with good crunch and zest, a hint of apricot and a mealy, balanced finish. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-14Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Australia, White, Marsanne, Viognier
91

2009 Laurent Miquel Vérité Viognier, Pays d'Oc, Languedoc

( £14.99 down to £11.24, 13.5%, Waitrose )

Laurent Miquel makes some of the best Viogniers, not just in France but in the world. This judiciously-oaked wine wouldn’t look out of place in Condrieu, such is its fidelity to this supremely aromatic grape. Classy vanilla oak, fresh acidity and flavours of cream and stone fruits are beautifully intertwined here. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-2014Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, France, White, Viognier
94

2010 Rustenberg Straw Wine, Coastal Region

( 13.49, 10.5%, Waitrose )

Made from grapes dried on straw mats to concentrate their sugars and flavours, this is a remarkable, barrel-aged blend of Viognier, Chenin Blanc and Crouchen, with rich, mouthcoating flavours of apricot syrup, honey, vanilla pod and citrus fruit. There’s a slight volatile lift that adds to the complexity of the wine here. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-2016Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, South Africa, White, Chenin Blanc, Crouchen, Viognier
92

2011 Boekenhoutskloof The Chocolate Block, Western Cape

( £19.99 down to £14.99, 14.5%, Waitrose )

Marc Kent’s cult red blend is always in demand, so you might need to hurry to buy this. It’s as good as ever: plush, sumptuous and aromatic, with sweet, ripe, tarry flavours of Syrah, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsaut and Viognier, good acidity and lots of smoky, palate-warming fruit. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, South Africa, Red, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah/Shiraz, Viognier
93

2010 BLANKbottle The White Black, Western Cape

( £18.50, 13.5%, Stone, Vine & Sun )

Yet another name to add to the list of stunning white blends that are emerging from South Africa, Pieter Walser’s delicious cuvée of Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Clairette and a splash of Chardonnay tastes as good as it looks. Honey, apple and stone fruit flavours are nicely framed by gentle vanilla oak, with richness, spice and minerality all adding to the overall complexity of the wine. Long and well balanced, this is a remarkable buy under £20. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, South Africa, White, Chardonnay, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Viognier
90

2012 Yalumba Y Series Viognier, South-Eastern Australia

( £8.99 down to £6.74, 14.5%, Sainsbury's )

This is only the entry point Viognier from Yalumba, but winemaker Louisa Rose’s magic touch with the variety is gloriously apparent here, making this the best value example of the grape in the country right now. Aromatic and creamy, with hints of aniseed and white peach and a luscious, almost decadent finish. Yum, yum. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-14Similar Wines: 86-90, Australia, White, Viognier
90

2011 Planeta La Segreta Bianco, IGT Sicilia

( £9.25, 12.5%, Noel Young Wines )

An unusual Sicilian blend of mostly Grecancio with 30% Chardonnay, and 10% each of Fiano and Viognier, this confirms Planeta’s status as one of the most innovative producers on the island. It’s aromatic and winningly tropical, with hints of pineaapple and guava, zesty, pear and apple acidity and a fresh, dry, unoaked finish. The whole is greater than the sum of the wine’s parts. 

BuySimilar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Italy, White, Chardonnay, Other Whites, Viognier

Twelve Christmas wines under £10

by Tim Atkin
Bearing in mind that most of us are broke at this time of year, I’ve decided to keep things simple and affordable this Christmas, restricting my choices to just a...

The pick of Waitrose’s wine range

by Tim Atkin
RED 2010 Saumur, Les Nivières (£7.49, 13%) Essence of Loire Cabernet Franc, this unoaked red is a delight: soft and grassy with fresh acidity, no oak and pure blackcurrant and...