4 Top Viogniers for Roast Turkey

Wines to pair with a classic main course


Roast turkey is a classic holiday meal, but it really tends to only be part of the whole picture. Unlike many other main courses, there is a set of dishes that we all expect to appear beside our golden roast bird. These dishes, and in particular the stuffing that makes a roast turkey complete, often have more assertive flavors than the bird itself, so it makes good sense to pair your wines with the elements of the meal that will have the greatest impact.
Having said that, sometimes you still just want to pair your wine with your bird. Turkey is lean and mild flavored, though the dark meat can have a more assertive flavor. I like Viognier-based wines with my turkey, which admittedly tends to have a lemon and herb theme to it. Viognier brings a medium-bodied wine to the table that is perfumed and assertive but generally not too powerful. It works to accentuate the flavors of the bird without dominating them.

Roast Turkey image via Shutterstock

2010 Yalumba Viognier Eden Valley Australia $16

A little vanilla biscuit greets the nose along with subtle notes of ginger, jasmine, dried orange peel and curry leaf. Bright and round on entry, this quickly gains some impressive snap on the palate. There’s plenty of richness but the acid keeps this quite focused. The fruit is gentle if distinct with a creamy edge to the toasted almond, lime and pineapple-tinged core of white peach fruit. The finish shows more mineral notes and an almost stern quality. Through its rather long duration, this shows a bed of dried lime peel and apricot-toned fruit. A rather serious and powerful example of Viognier and quite a fine one at that. 92pts

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2010 AntoLin Viognier Yakima Valley Washington $19

Very tight on the nose and quite well defined with notes of lime leaf, a hint of cream, and toasted almond all over a bed of slightly stewy apricot fruit. This is lovely in the mouth: round and seamless with a creamy outer shell that seems to be covering a nice, tight core of snappy fruit. Very lively and bright on the palate, with the weight of a touch of RS but so much juicy acid to balance it out. White peach fruit is gently accented with hints of tangerine, jasmine, a touch of walnut and lychee. The finish is really lovely with bigger inner mouth perfumes and fine length. This does not hit you over the head but is totally delicious. 91pts

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2010 Field Stone Viognier Staten Family Alexander Valley $25

This is heavy and spicy on the nose with powerful honeysuckle, lychee, peach and mineral aromas as well as some Fruit Stripes gum. Big yet almost lean on the palate, this cuts quite a dashing figure. The flavors are true to type, slightly honeyed perhaps with a bit of spun sugar on the palate. There’s a ton of acid making this refreshing and mineral-driven on the back end. Man, this is floral and spicy. A good example of its type. 91pts

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2010 Brian Carter Cellars Oriana Columbia Valley Washington $20

46% Viognier, 37% Roussanne, 17% Riesling

Rather focused on the nose with plenty of apple and orange fruit, some tree bark and mineral notes with a lightly orange blossom/lilac floral edge to it. In the mouth, this is fairly tense and firm with a lovely bed of minerality under layers of delicate, succulent apple, peach and citron fruit. Very lively with a nice sappy feel that picks up some peach as it transitions through to the moderately long finish, showing a really lovely interplay between mineral and very fresh fruit. I’m really digging this. Finishes with a zesty spiciness. Very lively stuff. 91pts

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