Established in 1989, Alban Vineyards was California’s first winery dedicated exclusively to the varieties planted in the Rhône Valley. Pioneered by John Alban at a time when most local winemakers were concentrating on Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, his project was ground-breaking and, alongside the likes of Randall Grahm, Joseph Phelps, Fred Cline, Robert Haas and a handful of others, he has been one of the leaders in the Rhône Rangers movement. And particularly so when it comes to Viognier. Alban started planting this grape in California during a period when it only accounted for around 20 hectares in Condrieu and Château-Grillet, France. He joked that: “I almost single-handedly doubled the world’s acreage.” So there are very few more trustworthy if you are looking for top-flight Viognier than Alban Vineyards.
John Alban fell in love with Viognier on tasting a Condrieu on his 24th birthday, his next stop was France and the rest is history. Alban Vineyard’s Central Coast Viognier comes predominantly from their own sustainably-farmed estate. It’s all-guns-blazing, full-throttle stuff. Big, perfumed, honeyed, floral and unctuous, this is a wonderful drop, especially when served with pork and apricots, mussels, honeyed duck or tagine.