Viognier is a white-wine grape variety known for producing textural, aromatic wines with pronounced fruit flavors as apricots are the variety’s classic flavor associations. On the nose, Viognier wines can also be very herbal, with aromas of chamomile, lavender, thyme and even a possible hint of pine. In aged examples and sweeter styles, this potentially overpowering herbal profile is softened by honeyed notes. Just consider a fantastic grilled salmon and a mango and not a salad with a glass of Viognier.


Like Chardonnay, Viognier has the potential to produce full-bodied wines with a lush, character. In contrast to Chardonnay, Viognier varietal has more natural aromatics that include notes of peaches, pears, violets.

The potential quality of Viognier is also highly dependent on viticultural practices and climate with the grape requiring a long, warm growing season in order to fully ripen but not a climate that is so hot that the grape develops high levels of sugars and potential alcohol before its aromatic notes can develop. The grape is naturally a low yielding variety which can make it less economically viable to planting in some vineyards.

The Best Viognier Wines are well-known for their floral aromas, and terpenes, which are also found in Muscat and Riesling wines. There are also many other powerful flower and fruit aromas which can be perceived in these wines depending on where they were grown, the weather conditions and how old the vines were. Although some of these wines, especially those from old vines and the late-harvest wines, are suitable for aging, most are intended to be consumed young. Viogniers more than three years old tend to lose many of the floral aromas that make this wine unique. Aging these wines will often yield a very crisp drinking wine which is almost completely flat in the nose. It is thus better to select a young wine for the ultimate in flavor The color and the aroma of the wine suggest a sweet wine but Viognier wines are predominantly dry, although sweet late-harvest dessert wines have been made.


In the late 1960s, just 35 acres of Viognier vines were all that remained in the world, located exclusively in the vineyards of Condrieu and Château-Grillet. Fortunately, the 1970s saw new life into the near-extinct variety, by the Yalumba winery in Australia’s Eden Valley and a handful of California winegrowers. During the 21st Century, Viognier has had a remarkable renaissance and is now found more widely in France, and in Italy, Spain, Switzerland, the US, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and even Japan. In other locations, notably California and Australia, Viognier has emerged as a prestigious niche variety.


The origin of the Viognier grape is unknown; it is presumed to be an ancient grape, possibly originating in Dalmatia which is present-day Croatia and then brought to Rhône by the Romans. One legend states that the Roman emperor Probus brought the vine to the region in 281 AD; another has the grape packaged with Syrah on a cargo ship navigating the Rhône river, en route to Beaujolais when it was captured, near the site of present-day Condrieu, by a local group of outlaws. The origin of the name Viognier is also obscure. The most common namesake is the French city of Vienne, which was a major Roman outpost.

Viognier Wine & Food Pairings

The best selections could be mild creamy curries like kormas or spicy south-east Asian curries. Even curries made with curry powder work well as do spicy dishes with a hint of peach or apricot, echoing the flavors in the wine

Mild spicy noodle dishes like Pad Thai

Chicken salads with apricot, peach or mango

Fruity chicken – and even lamb – tagines with apricot

Dishes with ginger, saffron and coconut

Chicken, pork or rabbit with creamy sauces, especially if the dish includes a dash of viognier. More intensely flavored viogniers can stand up to roast pork, chicken, and turkey

Rich shellfish dishes such as seared scallops, grilled lobster and baked crab, especially with a hint of spice

Creamy and buttery cheeses

Sweet root vegetables especially carrots, parsnips and sweet potatoes and spicy butternut squash



Chilean Sea Bass


Crab Cakes





Creamy or buttery Pasta Dishes

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With all these great food ideas it is time to order and sample some great Viognier Wine. Please check out the selections below or go to our website for the ultimate source of all wine and spirits

Alban Central Coast Viognier 2017

Viognier from Central Coast, California

Barboursville Reserve Viognier 2017

Viognier from Virginia, Other U.S.

Cristom Viognier 2016

Viognier from Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon

Penner-Ash Viognier 2018

Viognier from Oregon

Darioush Signature Viognier 2018

Viognier from Napa Valley, California

Miner Family Viognier 2017

Viognier from California

M. Chapoutier La Combe Pilate 2016

Viognier from Rhone, France

Yalumba Organic Viognier 2017

Viognier from South Australia, Australia

Guigal Condrieu 2017

Viognier from Condrieu, Rhone, France

Domaine Pichat Condrieu La Caille 2017

Viognier from Condrieu, Rhone, France

Peay Vineyards Estate Viognier 2017

Viognier from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California

Chateau Lagrezette Le Pigeonnier White 2015

Viognier from France



Barbera is a red Italian wine grape variety that, as of 2000, was the third most-planted red grape variety in Italy (after Sangiovese and Montepulciano). It produces good yields and is known for deep color, full-body, low tannins and high levels of acid

Barbera is believed to have originated in the hills of Monferrato in central Piemonte, Italy, where it has been known from the thirteenth century. In the 19th and 20th centuries, waves of Italian immigrants brought Barbera to the Americas where the vine took root in California and Argentina among other places. Recent DNA evidence suggests that Barbera may be related to the French-Spanish vine Mourvedre.

Century-old vines still exist in many regional vineyards and allow for the production of long-aging, robust red wines with intense fruit and enhanced tannic content. When young, the wines offer a very intense aroma of fresh red cherries and blackberries. In the lightest versions notes of cherries, raspberries, and blueberries and with hints of blackberry and black cherries in wines made of more ripe grapes. Many producers employ the use of toasted oak barrels, which provides for increased complexity, aging potential, and hints of vanilla notes. The lightest versions are generally known for flavors and aromas of fresh fruit and are not recommended for aging. Wines with a better balance between acid and fruit, often with the addition of oak and having a high alcohol content are more capable of cellaring; these wines often result from reduced-yield viticultural methods.

The Barbera vine is very vigorous and capable of producing high yields if not kept in check by pruning and other methods. Excessive yields can diminish the fruit quality in the grape and accentuate Barbera’s natural acidity and sharpness. In Piedmont, the vine was prized for its yields and ability to ripen two weeks earlier than Nebbiolo even on vineyard sites with less than ideal exposure. This allowed the Piedmontese winemakers in regions like Alba to give their best sites over to the more difficult to cultivate Nebbiolo and still produce quality wine with Barbera that could be consumed earlier while the Nebbiolo ages. Harvest for Barbera usually takes place in late September-early October, usually two weeks after Dolcetto has been picked. In recent times, winemakers have been experimenting with harvesting Barbera later at higher sugar levels to produce heavier, more fruit-forward wines. In some vintages, these producers may even harvest their Barbera after Nebbiolo.[1]

Barbera can adapt to a wide range of vineyard soils but tends to thrive most in less fertile calcareous soils and clay loam. Sandy soils can help limit the vigor and yields. The grape rarely thrives in very alkaline or saline soils.

The Best Barbera Wine

Barbera is usually made into dry red wines which are basically table wines. Most barbera consumers will see the varietal barbera wine, sometimes blended with a small percentage of the French grapes cabernet sauvignon or merlot.

  • Barbera d’Asti: Barbera d’Asti, a DOCG wine from the town of Asti, and Barbera d’Alba DOC, from the town of Alba and the surrounding area in the Piedmont hills, are the quintessential Barbera wines of Italy. Asti is thought to be slightly more delicate and feminine, while Alba barbaras should be aged a little longer to mellow their acidity. The “superiore” designation, for example in Barbera d’Asti Superiore, indicates at least 12 months of aging before release. The Nizza subzone of Asti, centered around the town of Nizza Monferrato, is the newest DOCG for barbera wines.
  • Sparkling barbera: West of Piedmont, the wine region of Emilia-Romagna is home to a unique sparkling version of barbera that is similar to Lambrusco. It is produced in very small quantities and is rare to find outside of Italy. Look for wines labeled Colli Piacentini DOC. Another slightly sparkling (“frizzante”) barbera is produced in the Barbera del Monferrato DOC, but again, this wine is rarely exported.

Where Does Barbera Grow?

Barbera is a very vigorous, adaptable vine which can grow in various soils from calcareous clay to limestone to sand and can withstand hot climates. The grape’s naturally high acidity means that it can achieve full ripeness without tasting flabby or unbalanced by alcohol.

The majority of barbera is planted in Piedmont. Barbera ripens before the nebbiolo grape, which goes into Barolo, the long-aged king of Italian wine. Many Barolo producers also make a less-expensive barbera-based wine to drink, they joke, while waiting for the Barolo to mature. A few acres in other areas of Italy like Emilia-Romagna, Puglia, and Sardinia, are also devoted to growing barbera.

Because of its heat tolerance, New World growers have begun planting barbera grapes in warm wine regions like South Australia (for varietal wines), Argentina (as a blending grape), and in California’s Central Valley (for bulk wines) and Sierra Foothills (oaked varietal styles).

Wine Regions

As of 2010 there were 50,720 acres of Barbera planted, making it the sixth most widely planted red grape variety in Italy. In the Piedmont region Barbera is widely grown in Asti and Monferrato regions. While there is no officially defined Classico region, the region of the Asti province between the towns of Nizza Monferrato, Vinchio, Castelnuovo Calcea, Agliano, Belveglio and Rocchetta is considered among locals to be the “heart” of Barbera in Piedmont. In 2001, The town of Nizza was officially recognized as a sub-region within the greater Barbera d’Asti. Being one of the warmest areas in Asti, Nizza has the potential to produce the ripest Barbera with sugar levels to match some of the grape’s high acidity. The wines of Barbera d’Asti tends to be bright and elegant while Barbera d’Alba tends to have a deep color with more intense, powerful fruit.[5] In the Alba region, many of the best vineyard sites are dedicated to Nebbiolo with Barbera relegated to a secondary location, which limits the quality and quantities of the wines labeled with the Barbera d’Alba.

Beyond Italy

Outside of Italy, Berbera is rarely found in Europe except for small plantings in Greece, Romania, and the coastal region of Primorska in Slovenia.

The influence of Italian immigrants has led to a scattering of Barbera plantings in South America, in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. In Argentina, it is widely grown with 1,061 hectares (2,620 acres) planted as of 2010, mostly in Mendoza and San Juan provinces, and used mostly for blending.

There are some small plantings in Israel.

Barbera has been grown in Australia for about 25 years in the Mudgee region of New South Wales, with later plantings in a number of wine regions, including the King Valley in Victoria as well as the McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills regions in South Australia.

South African producers have begun widespread plantings of the grape in the warm climate regions of Malmesbury, Wellington, and Paarl.

In the United States there are 4,693 hectares (11,600 acres) of plantings mostly in California, where Barbera is one of the most successful of the Piemontese grapes to be adopted in the state. It is widely planted in the Central Valley, where it is a blend component in mass-produced jug wines. In recent years, the fashion of Italian grapes has caused more California winemakers to look into producing high quality varietal Barbera.

What Kinds of Wines Are Made with Barbera?

Barbera is usually made into dry, still red wines. For Italian Vino da Tavola (meaning “table wine”), barbera will be blended with more tannic grapes from southern Italy to make cheap bulk wine. Most barbera consumers see on shelves, though, will be varietal barbera wine, sometimes blended with a small percentage of the French grapes cabernet sauvignon or merlot.

  • Barbera d’Asti: Barbera d’Asti wine from the town of Asti, and Barbera d’Alba, from the town of Alba and surrounding area in the Piedmont hills, are the quintessential barbera wines of Italy. Asti is thought to be slightly more delicate and feminine, while Alba barbaras should be aged a little longer to mellow their acidity. The “Superiore” designation, for example in Barbera d’Asti Superiore, indicates at least 12 months of aging before release.
  • Sparkling barbera: West of Piedmont, the wine region of Emilia-Romagna is home to a unique sparkling version of barbera that is similar to Lambrusco. It is produced in very small quantities and is rare to find outside of Italy. Look for wines labeled Colli Piacentini. Another slightly sparkling (“frizzante”) barbera is produced in Barbera del Monferrato, but again, this wine is rarely exported.

Barbera Wine, The Essence and Flavors

The barbera grape makes wines that are juicy and relatively light-bodied despite its bold, deep purple color. Barbera is extremely drinkable due to its refreshingly high acidity, low tannins, and moderate alcohol.

Barbera tasting notes often include:

  • Strawberry
  • Raspberry
  • Red cherry
  • Black cherry
  • Blackberry

Barbera wines grown in Italy’s cooler areas can be more herbaceous and tart than those grown in warmer climes.

The Best Barbera Wine and Food Pairing


Grilled and roast pork and wild boar

Steaks like hangar steak and onglet

Braised lamb dishes such as lamb shanks

Italian-style stews and braises such as rabbit with olives or braised duck

Italian-style sausages with lentils, or in a pasta sauce

Pizzas with a sausage topping

Pasta with meat and cooked tomato sauces such as bolognese. Spaghetti and meatballs


Mushroom risotto

Meat-stuffed pasta such ravioli and agnolotti

Fonduta with truffles

Spicier stews with chili.

Flavors such as garlic, tomato and olives


Please order from our selection below or go to the main site for all our fine wine and spirits.

Pio Cesare Barbera d’Alba

Alessandro e Gian Natale Fanitino Barvera d’Alba Cascina Dardi Superiore 2016

Renato Ratti Battaglione Barbera d’Asti 2017

La Spinetta Barbera d’Asti Ca di Pian 2015

Terra d’Oro Barbera California 2017

Shadow Ranch Barbera Sierra Foothills 2016

Fontanafredda Briccotondo Barbera 2015

Cascina del Pozzo Barbera d’Alba Fossamara 2015

Pico Maccario Villa Della Rosa Barbera D’Asti

Ellena Giuseppe Barbera d’Alba 2015


Best Tempranillo Wine

Best Tempranillo Wine

Tempranillo is known as Ull de Llebre, Cencibel, Tinto Fino and Tinta del Pais in Spain, and Aragonez or Tinta Roriz in Portugal. Tempranillo is a black grape variety widely grown to make full-bodied red wines in its native Spain. Its name is the diminutive of the Spanish temprano (“early”), a reference to the fact that it ripens several weeks earlier than most Spanish red grapes.

The confirmation of wine in ancient Spain was discovered in 1972, when archaeologists unearthed a mosaic of the wine god Bacchus at Baños de Valdeprados in north-central Spain. Tempranillo may well have been the wine shown in the mosaic because it has been in Spain since 800 BC.

The Phoenicians brought wine to Southern Spain. Tempranillo originated from this area, so it’s quite possible that Tempranillo is related to the ancient Phoenician species in Lebanon. Tempranillo now grows most commonly in the Navarra and Rioja regions, which are about 300 miles west of Barcelona, Spain. It is the main grape used in Rioja, and is often referred to as Spain’s noble grape.

In 2015, Tempranillo was the third most widely planted wine grape variety worldwide with 570,000 acres under vine, of which 88% was in Spain.

The variety does best when hot, sunny days allow its thick-skinned berries to ripen fully, with cold nights to help them to retain their natural acid balance. The result is bright, lively, fruit-driven wine with just the right balance of warmth and tanginess. And this is where Tempranillo comes into its own. It is no surprise, then, that the continental terroirs of Argentina and Australia have been the first New World regions to adopt Tempranillo.

A thick-skinned red grape with a high anthocyanin count that makes for deep-colored wines with moderate tannins, The Best Tempranillo Wine is well suited to modern consumer tastes. While the variety lacks its own idiosyncratic flavor profile, the wide range of aromas detectable in Tempranillo-based wines result in tasting notes ranging from strawberries, blackcurrants and cherries to prunes, chocolate and tobacco depending on vineyard age and mesoclimate.

Oak and Tempranillo certainTly marry well together. American oak is the traditional choice of winemakers in Rioja, Tempranillo’s flavor profile integrates well with the vanilla and coconut notes imparted by new American oak barrels. Further west in Ribera del Duero, the fashion is to use higher proportions of French and used-oak barrels to allow Tempranillo’s fruit to shine with a focus on more spiced oak flavors.

Best Tempranillo Wine: What are the labels telling you in regard to the flavors?

If you’re buying Spanish Tempranillo and you should be buying these fine wines, it’s helpful to understand the labeling requirements and how they affect the flavor. There are 4 legal aging terms that are listed on most bottles of Spanish wine.

  • Vin Joven: Vin Jovens are released young and meant to be consumed right away. These are rarely aged in oak and are uncommon outside of Spain.
  • Crianza: These reds require 2 years of aging, with 6 months in oak. Traditionally, producers use American oak, which is much stronger than other types of oak.
  • Reserva: These are reds that are aged 3 years, with a 1 year in oak. These wines are a big step up in quality and have rich, round flavors because of the minimum oak requirement.
  • Gran Reserva: Reserved for wines from phenomenal vintages and aged a minimum of 5 years before release with 18 months of oak aging, most producers will do 20-30 months in barrel to create the outstanding flavor.

BestTempranillo Wine and Food Pairing Suggestions

Tempranillo pairs well with all types of food because of its savory qualities. Regional Spanish cuisine, which includes roasted vegetables and cured meats. However, the wine is diverse and not only pairs with local Spanish food, but it also works well foods from all over the globe.

  • Roasted red peppers stuffed with rice and morcilla blood sausage
  • Brazilian pork and bean stew (feijoada)
  • Roast lamb with redcurrant jelly
  • Lasagna, pizza and dishes with tomato-based sauces
  • Barbecue grilled-meats, smoky dishes
  • Grits, polenta, and dishes with corn as a major ingredient
  • Mexican food such as tacos, nachos, burritos, and Chile rellenos
  • Hamburgers
  • Dry Indian Chili Chicken
  • Cajun Filet Mignon
  • Jambalaya Pasta or Rice
  • Lamb Chops
  • Sirloin Steak
  • Lamb Chops
  • chicken wings,
  • turkey sausage,
  • bacon,
  • ham,
  • sole,
  • vegetable stew
  • roasted eggplant and grouper

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Please Check out these samples and order the Best Tempranillo Wine Also go to our Main Site for an endless selection of great Wine and Spirits

Finca Allende, Calvario, Rioja, Northern Spain, Spain,

Legaris, Alcubilla de Avellaneda, Ribera del Duero, 2015

Màquina & Tabla, Páramos de Nicasia, Toro, 2015

Mauro, Terreus Paraje de Cueva Baja, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León, 2015

Olabarri, Bikandi Reserva, Rioja, Northern Spain, 2005

Abadia Retuerta, Pago Negralada, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León, 2015

CVNE, Imperial Reserva, Rioja, Northern Spain, Spain, 2014

Jané Ventura, Finca els Camps Ull de Llebre, Penedés, 2007

La Loba Wine, La Loba Matanza, Ribera del Duero, 2015

Oxer Bastegieta, Artillero, Rioja, Northern Spain, 2014

Pinna Fidelis, Vendimia Seleccionada, Ribera del Duero, 2012