A BOTTLE WORTH EXPLORING: CONO SUR BICICLETA

A regular go-to for me is Cono Sur`s Bicicleta Viognier. This is not a vintage, so its pretty much always stocked at all LCBO outlets, year-round. Don’t take just my word for it – WineAlign’s Steve Thurlow includes this bottle in his Top 20 under $20.

Background

Generally speaking, finding a 100% Viognier wine is not common – its usually blended with some Chardonnay or Syrah. Finding a 100% Viognier from Chile is even more uncommon. Chile is dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. Viognier is not even in the top 10 most planted varietals. Cono Sur was one of the first to both produce and export Viognier from Chile. If I was a Chilean wine producer, I’d take a trip into the Colchagua Valley and take note of what Cono Sur is doing and start planting, cause they’re proving that Viognier can be made in a beautiful well-balanced and clean expression of the wine, with great potential.

Aroma & Taste

I like to let this warm up a little – just below room temperature. You’ll find an incredible bouquet of honeysuckle, orange blossom, yellow apple, and apricot. On the palate, apricot, citrus, and almond take over. Tertiary flavours of oak and slate are also quite noticeable. There’s also this enjoyable soft bitterness that seems to compliment all of the flavours – I’m pinning this on the likelihood that the juice remained in contact with the skins in the winemaking process.

Profile & Vinification

This Viognier has a beautiful medium gold colour. This colour is extracted from the thick skins of the grape during the maceration period (period where skins stay in contact with the juice). At 6.7 grams of sugar per litre, this is a dry expression of Viognier. At 13.8% abv, this Viogner is .2% away from being considered High alcohol – likely due to the intense sunshine seen in the Colchagua area. It’s a medium+ in body, and feels incredibly well-balanced. It’s apparent that the winemaker ensured that its natural acidity was preserved (done so by aging in stainless steel tanks for 6 months). The finish is fairly high for a white wine – a medium+, leaving you with strong apricot notes on the palate with that soft bitterness.

Food Pairing

I whipped up a chicken stir fry with toasted almonds and was blown away by how incredible this pairing was. If you aren’t feeling the stir-fry, word on the street is that Chicken Curry, Quail, Pork Chop with Apricot Sauce, Teriyaki Tofu, Sesame Tempeh, Pan Seared Tilapia with Avgolemono Sauce (never even heard of this), Halibut (yum), Sea Bass, Lobster, Crab (more yummmm), Shrimp, Poached Salmon, Savory Orange Chicken pair well with this Viognier!

The Tasting Grid

WineCono Sur Bicicleta
RegionColchagua Valley, Chile
VarietalViognier
ColourMedium gold
AromasHoneysuckle, orange blossom, yellow apple, apricot, stone (mineral)
StructureSweetness: Dry (6 g/L)
Acid: high
Alcohol: medium (13.8%)
Body: med +
Finish: med +
FlavoursStone fruit (apricot), citrus, blanched almond, slate, oak
Assessment of qualityVery good.
NotesIncredible value wine. Drink now.

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