Coming down the mountain...

Turnip fries and Viognier

There were several highs from our recent snowy weekend in the Tahoe. One worthy of official mentioning was the meal we had on our way home. We pulled off in Placerville and found The Independent Restaurant and Bar. It was warm enough to sit out on their sundrenched patio, which sorta guranteed that we were going to have a great meal.

I had the soup-of-the-day, which was lamb stew, and couldn't resist ordering the turnip fries. Now, what to drink...

Their wine list has a really nice selection of varietals and features many local (Sierra Foothills, El Dorado, California Shenandoah AVAs) vineyards. I spotted a Viognier and was delighted. 

Viognier is a white wine grape with a lush aromatic qualities and loads of peachy character. All the fresh harvest scrumptiouness of Viognier goes really well with fall and winter foods (think roasted root veggies or Thanksgiving dinner). The turnip fries in particular paired perfectly with the 2009 Lava Cap Viognier.

A little more on Viognier (vee-own-YAY)
Once confined to a very small growing region in the Rhone Valley, Viognier is somewhat of a newcomer to American vineyards. It can at times be overoaked, but done with care, it's a wine that both Chardonnary and Sauvignon Blanc lovers will swoon over. Don't expect too much minerality or acidity from this soft wine.

Viognier should be welcome at your spring and summer table too because it goes just as well with garden party foods as it does with harvest eats -- just keep away from briny foods, vinaigrettes and spicy curries. Look for producers from Languedoc-Roussilon and California. Loredona 2011 Viognier from Lodi is a steal at ~$12 a bottle.


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