Wine Review: Can you say Viognier?

09/25/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Michael David Incognito Viognier 2006 Lodi, California, about $15

No, it's not Vyog-nyer, not Vee-nay or Viagra-ner. However, does have something to do with sex. It's pronounced Vee-yoh-N'YAY and has a rich "mouth feel" and sexy aromas of lychee wth flavors of peach and lime. Viognier is an unusual grape from France's Rhône Valley, that has become a hit with the "Anything But Chardonnay" crowd (like yours truly and other wine geeks). And, since few people know about it and fewer can pronounce it, there's plenty of it to go around.

This particular Viognier came to being in a really cool way. Viognier has been grown in California in small quantities since the late 1980s, and Michael David's Incognito white wine was awarded the title "Best Rhone Varietal in the World" in 2000--except that the winemakers and the judges thought it was Roussanne, a different white Rhone grape. But those clever wine experts at U.C. Davis used DNA testing to figure out that this was a clone of Viognier, and not a Roussanne.

Michael David's Incognito Viognier 2006 has the cleansing bitter-lime finish that's the key to great Viognier. Think of Viognier's flavors as the love child of Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscat (so what if it was a threesome?) It makes a marvelous aperitif wine to sip on its own, and it kicks butt with spicy Asian food.