In 2000, we made a delightful Merlot/Malvasia blend and 2 whites - a Sauvignon Blanc and a Viognier. This is a story about that viognier. None of us had heard of viognier but we were determined to make white wines that year and quite frankly, beside the Sauv Blanc the Viognier grapes were the only other white grapes our supplier had in stock, so Viognier it was. According to the best information available, Viognier is to be barreled for just a few months so the spice, floral, citrus, apricot, apple and peach flavors associated with the best of this noble wine are not drowned out by the oak. Our little band of winemakers always keep the wine in the barrels for 1 year and, by golly, this is what we would do with the viognier. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? To compound the travesty of keeping the wine too long in the barrel, our white wine barrel was brand new so the tannins were strong to begin with. We anxiously awaited the bottling of this wine in September of 2001 to see what "God hath wrought" (to quote the creator of the atom bomb). By the smell, we knew it wasn't vinegar but it did not resemble the bouquet of any wine any of us had ever experienced. So strong! More like whiskey than wine. And the taste just out of the barrel was smoky and oaky, not at all like the spice, floral, citrus, apricot, apple and peach flavors associated with viognier. The oak and smoke were in fact so strong that some in our gang thought it was a failure. Somewhere in that heavy mix of cigars and pencil shavings I suspected that we had a very special wine. Lo and behold, about a month later this very powerful, unique wine had begun to round out and, if one used one's imagination, you could almost taste fruit! Well, here we are almost 7 years out from the great viognier experiment and those of us who still have any of this wine left in our cellars feel very lucky indeed. To be sure, the oak is still there as the foundation of the wine and a wonderful, smooth, complex blend of fruits have begun to assert themselves. This has truly become a wine for the ages and one in which we are very fortunate indeed to have blundered our way upon.