How to Serve Your Favorite Local Viogniers

By Natalie Ermann Russell / Photography By Natalie Ermann Russell | October 30, 2014
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Viognier grapes at Jefferson Vineyards.

We talked to Lindsey Simmons, owner of Zin Wine and Beer shop in Staunton, to find out what to expect from—and how to serve—our favorite local viogniers.


Edible Blue Ridge: How would you convince a chardonnay drinker to give viognier a try?
Lindsey Simmons: I would mention the versatility of viognier. It can appeal to a variety of palates. It has some fruit notes, which someone who likes sweeter wines will enjoy; but it also has good body and finish, which someone who prefers a dry wine will like. It’s a good wine for the masses.

EBR: What would you serve with viognier?
Simmons: Viogniers that are aged in oak, like Jefferson’s, do well with buttery seafood. But it also goes well with a variety of other foods: gourmet pizzas, chicken, any kind of seafood.

EBR: Some say to serve it cold but not too cold. What’s your take?
Simmons: You want to remove it from the refrigerator 10 to 15 minutes before serving to achieve the right temperature. This will help you really get the subtleties, like honeysuckle. It should be chilled, but needs a little warmth to it, unlike wines such as riesling that need to be really cold.

EBR: What are some of your favorite Virginia viogniers?
Simmons: I think Horton’s sparkling viognier is a great way to capture Virginia, the character of those old vines. I also like Jefferson, Flying Fox, Veritas, and Bluestone. Some use oak, some use stainless, some use a combination. So it’s fun to try them all.

EBR: From what they tell you, have your customers come to think of viognier as Virginia’s wine?
Simmons: I think so. Former governor McDonnell did a good job branding Virginia wine. He hosted one of the first Virginia wine conferences. He helped popularize it. Plus, the general food culture focuses on local, which is also helping Virginia viognier get some well-deserved recognition. I tell people they should appreciate viognier as much as they can, especially in October, which is Virginia wine month.

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