If I had to choose one cheap wine to sip by a pool under the June sun at midday, this would be a serious candidate. Viognier is an ancient grape with an unknown heritage, but was probably originally brought to the Rhône by the Romans. It is a genetic cousin to Nebbiolo, the esteemed varietal responsible for Barolo and Barbaresco. The origins of the name itself are also a mystery. Once a commonly grown grape, Viognier is now something of a curiosity, but it is capable of producing delicious, refreshing wines.
Like Riesling and Muscat, Viognier is known for its distinct floral aromas paired with potent fruit, and it is generally dry. It can be quite versatile as a companion to food. The 2008 Pie de Palo is no exception, showing delightful tropical and citrus aromas paired with flowery notes, and a mouthfeel that is at once soft but possessed of a decent level of acidity. Thank you, Argentina! I would readily pair this with Thai food, sashimi, or obnoxious French cheeses, but it is also good on its own, like Explosion Sauce. $8.