I find it interesting that Viognier seems to polarise not only drinkers, but winemakers as well. It’s perhaps not unexpected for a variety that is still quite new in mass market Australian terms, but there’s a diversity of styles (see our recent mega-tasting for some examples) that, it seems to me, speaks more of uncertainty than confident choices.
By contrast, one of the things I enjoy about Anita Bowen’s wines is that they are all about confidence. Not showiness, but a certainty that enables them to reveal themselves slowly, never crying out too loudly for either love or admiration. Her 2008 Viognier stood out in the mega-tasting lineup for its appropriate winemaking and sense of stylistic resolution. This more recent vintage is no different, though apparently achieved with more subtle winemaking inputs.
A heady, perfumed nose of honeysuckle, spice and nectarine skins. It’s an entirely coherent aroma profile without being especially complex (in the sense of having a cascade of different flavours). It is, however, very well defined and precisely layered, and becoming more expressive the longer it sits in glass.
The palate is similarly etched, with an additional, quite adult, streak of phenolic bitterness that strikes me as entirely positive. First, the entry, which is immediate and fleet, depositing bright fruit flavours onto the tongue before reaching a middle palate that shows good balance between acidity and the sort of viscous mouthfeel that can easily sink Viognier. The tension between these two elements is more interesting to me than the flavours here, which are very correct but slightly simple and “grapey.” The after palate shows that lovely bitter, pithy streak before the wine tapers off through a reasonable finish.
This wine just feels right in the way it has been judged and executed.
Balthazar of the Barossa