Viognier is a white grape variety renowned for producing aromatic and full-bodied wines with floral aromas and flavours of stone fruits like peach and apricot. Its history traces back to the Rhône Valley in France, particularly the Northern Rhône region of Condrieu, where it has been cultivated for centuries. Viognier nearly faced extinction in the mid-20th century due to its low yields and susceptibility to diseases, but dedicated efforts by winemakers revived its cultivation and popularity.
In Australia, Viognier gained prominence in the late 20th century, particularly in South Australia and namely in the Barossa. Here, the grape thrives in the region’s Mediterranean climate, where warm days and cool nights allow for optimal ripening while preserving acidity. The Barossa expression of Viognier often showcases ripe tropical fruit and stone fruit flavours along with floral notes.
Viognier was planted on our Kalleske property in 2005. Being a skin contact wine, Plenarius Viognier showcases the best fruit traits that Viognier offers together with the extra characters achieved by treating it like a red and fermenting on skins for 9 days. The 2023 growing season was mild and gentle, delivering pristine grapes and a resultant ravishing wine.
Vintage 2023 has produced exceptional wines. It was the longest and latest on record, stretching from mid-March to early-May. The vines got off to a superb start with a wet and cool Spring providing plenty of sub-soil moisture for the growing season ahead. Summer brought typically average temperatures and was generally dry with occasional finite rain. The vines were in fantastic condition for slow and steady ripening into Autumn with its mild days, cool nights, and isolated light rain. Yields from 2023 are good and quality is excellent.
Plenarius is from a single vineyard of Viognier on the Kalleske property at Moppa. The vines are low yielding and soil is shallow sand with clay subsoil.
The grapes were harvested in the cool of the night on March 14th. They were then destemmed to an open top fermenter. It was treated like a red wine with hand pump-overs morning and night to circulate the fermenting juice through the skins extracting flavour and subtle tannin/phenolics. The must was entirely wild yeast fermented with absolutely no additions. The wine was on skins for 9 days with ferment temperature ranging up to 25 degrees Celsius. At dryness the must was drained and the wine was filled to seasoned French oak hogsheads. It underwent natural malolactic fermentation in barrel and was matured for 11 months on lees prior to racking for bottling with zero additions, bottling as 100% grapes.
Plenarius 2023 is deep copper gold in colour.
Varietal Viognier abounds with notes of honeysuckle, tropical fruit juice, honey, dried apricots, lemongrass, perfume, and a nuance of cream sherry.
The palate concurrently appears sweet and dry. Whilst there is no residual grape sugar, the inherent ‘sweet’ oily fruits of Viognier give the wine a luscious pseudo sweetness. This is balanced with chalky skin phenolics adding a cleansing dryness. The natural acidity is in check, perfectly adequate to add a bright edge. Richly flavoured, very drinkable, this dynamic wine is completed with a vast finish. It is a very engaging Viognier with its complex mesh of aromas, flavours and textures providing a provocative and enchanting drink.
Within 12-18 months from release.