By James Atkinson
Yalumba has been holding innovative workshops for consumers to demonstrate Viognier's unrivalled potential as a white wine accompaniment to food.
Yalumba considers Viognier to be its flagship white wine variety, with five different SKUs, starting with the entry level Y Series and with the Virgilius as the pinnacle.
"The 2010 Virgilius has just been released and for the last few weeks we have been taking it out, showing it to people in places where it does its best – as an accompaniment to food," Yalumba head of winemaking Louisa Rose told TheShout.
She said Yalumba has taken this approach to the point where the events are "more a cooking school than a wine tasting".
"Our guests are given a mystery box of ingredients and asked to create a dish that matches to the Viognier wine they are also given.
"Following the judging of the mystery box, we have a cooking demonstration and meal hosted by Poh Ling Yeow (ex Master Chef) and me with some dishes she has matched to Viognier and specifically the Virgilius," Rose said.
She said the events have created lots of discussions about the versatility of Viognier with food, "its love of flavours and spices and the fact that in many ways it behaves as much a red wine as a white wine".
At the recent 'Great8' wine dinners hosted around Australia by Yalumba, consumers and trade alike were hugely impressed by the 2010 Virgilius, which was matched in Sydney to slow-cooked ocean trout and in Adelaide to pigs head terrine.
"Such events, including the more traditional wine dinners are great ways to help people 'catch on' about Viognier and what it's suited to," said Rose.
"From there our ideal is to have Viognier put on in restaurants by the glass, and ideally matched to specific dishes. This lowers the risk for people trying a wine they might not be familiar with."