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I’ve apparently been drinking a lot of Viognier lately, but it is one of the best white grapes in Arizona after all. And James Callahan, as I’ve stated before, is one of the top winemakers in the state. As I’ve mentioned before, each specific Rune wine style has a label story. Considering the specific label theme for this series being set among the pueblos built by the ancient peoples of Arizona… I had no choice but to take my last bottle of the 2014 Rune Viognier to Perry Mesa for some in-situ photography at one of my favorite archaeological sites in Arizona.
The Wine: The grapes for the 2014 Rune Viognier were sourced from Pillsbury Vineyard, in the Willcox Bench, of the Willcox AVA. As before, I believe this vintage was fermented in stainless steel, with some aging on neutral French oak, though I could be mistaken; the main difference is that I am pretty sure this vintage may have entirely been a wild ferment. It is a bit darker in color than the previous vintage; sort of a blonde or jasmine yellow shade.
The Nose: This wine opens with an intense salvo of apple and pear notes, intermingling with limestone, white flowers, gardenia, datura, lily, butterscotch, and vanilla. As the wine opens, additional notes of honey, peach, and papaya emerge. Overall, the longer the 2014 Rune Viognier is open, the less floral this wine is on both nose and palate–this was true of the 2013 vintage as well.
The Palate: This is a medium-bodied Viognier with medium acidity. The palate opens with notes of apricot, peach, and papaya, along with floral notes of gardenia, lily, and yucca flower. As the wine opens, additional notes of apple and pear emerge. The finish of the 2014 Rune Viognier lasts for 29 seconds, filled with notes of tropical fruit, white flowers, and the classic limestone/caliche minerality I associate with white wines coming from the Willcox AVA.
Pairing: Serve this wine with lemon-grilled chicken and a side of rosemary russet potatoes. However, I do oddly feel that this wine will work with a KFC bucket and a good sports game too–and that is a versatility that shouldn’t be laughed at. A lightly spiced Pad Thai will work for a vegetarian pairing.
Impressions: The 2014 Rune Viognier is drinking well; if you have this in your cellar, I’d open it and enjoy it within the next year or so. It is another stellar example of what this grape can do in Arizona. I’d argue that this vintage has the classic “Kublai Khan pleasure palace vibe” of Condrieu, also, so if you’re into that particular style of Viognier, this vintage, as well as the 2015 Vintage, should not be missed.
Personified, I feel this particular Viognier is a quiet historian, prone to deep contemplative thoughts over a white chocolate mocha while working on a thesis on Senaca and other aspects of Stoicism in the early Roman Empire. She had a rough year last year, but philosophy kept her going. She has a pot of white flowers on her desk: orchids, from her mother.