What a terrific find -- a Viognier from Washington's Columbia Valley in which the character of the northern Rhone grape comes through loud and clear. Viognier must really like the climate up there in Washington, because, with a little help from winemaker Chris Bert, the 2007 vintage of Roots Viognier has a cool minerality and pretty scent of flowers and peaches. It's ripe and voluptuous, but not too sweet, which is exactly what you're looking for in a Viognier. Better move fast on this one: Bert made just 150 cases and at this writing, it's available in Southern California at only two retailers.
Drink this creamy, structured white with steamed mussels and clams, scallops and smoked fish. It would be great with a seafood chowder too.
-- S. Irene Virbila Region: Columbia Valley, Washington
Price: About $20
Style: Rich and structured.
What it goes with: Steamed shellfish, scallops, smoked fish and seafood chowder.