For some reason, I don’t often reach for a sticky, even though I have thoroughly enjoyed many bottles over the years. I suppose it’s the, perhaps unfair, anticipation of flabby, sweet vulgarity that keeps me away; to my palate, there are few things as undrinkable as a low acid, high sugar, sweet white dessert wine. So, despite almost tasting this on several occasions, I’ve restricted myself to admiring its spectacularly pretty packaging and thinking about the various ways in which a cane cut Viognier might go off the rails. Not known for its subtlety, my greatest fear was too overt an expression of Viognier varietal character; I imagined great gobs of apricot flopping over yet more gobs of apricot, cloying its way along my palate, making me wish I’d stuck to admiring how well-judged the slightly blingy label is against the lovely hue of the wine.
The reality of this wine is diametrically opposed to my fears for it, and in fact shows an exceptionally well-judged sense of style in its making. It’s a light sticky, fleet in the mouth, with just enough fruit flavour to fill out its delicate vibe. In fact, the nose could be that of a rich dry table wine, showing apricot kernels, firm stonefruit flesh, light vanilla and heady florals. There’s an almost savoury tone to it that is a lovely counterpoint to the relative richness of the fruit character; certainly, everything seems in balance. Mostly, this aroma speaks simply of fresh fruit, picked and eaten at the point of early ripeness.
The palate shows great continuity of style, echoing the nose’s nimble aroma profile with a palate structure that is gentle but shapely, well matched to the wine’s moderate weight and body. It’s here the wine’s sugar content has an impact, creating good intensity of fruit flavour from entry onwards, and rounding out the mouthfeel. There could probably be a touch more acid, as the fruit just starts to cloy through the after palate. The whole is so light, though, that this isn’t a serious flaw.
Mostly, this is fun, delicious, and just sophisticated enough.