White grape variety mostly associated with the Rhône region of France. The grape is speculated to have been in existence for 2000 years, possibly having been transported to the Rhône from Dalmatia its homeland by the Romans. In the Northern Rhône Viognier achieved stardom during the 1990s when availability increased and therefore the reputation of its most distinguished wine 'Condrieu' began circulating the wine world. Previous to that the variety almost became extinct in the 1960's, as it is extremely low yielding, which meant that growers found it unprofitable to cultivate. However when the grapes potential was realised plantings increased making the total number of hectares under vine in France 2,360 in 2000. Plantings increased in California from 10 ha in 1988 to 2,000 in 2003, here the vine basks under the exuberant sunrays creating wines high in alcohol, but with delicious characteristic aromas of peaches and honeysuckle. Yalumba in Australia's Eden Valley propelled the grapes reputation into the mainstream market through the production of expressive, fruit-driven and accessible wines. Viognier is regarded as being a fashionable grape, this label is justified as unlike other fashions the quality of the wines produced are so excellent that its reputation is likely to be sustained.
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