When Derek informed me that he wanted to review the Drive By Truckers' Decoration Day for our Memorial Day post, he asked me what wine I thought we should pair with it. I was at a loss. Wine and record pairing is certainly not a science, but is there really a wine that pairs well with Southern Rock? It seemed to me that wine wasn't the right choice at all, that this kind of music makes one want to drink beer and take slugs of whiskey. But then, Derek in his infinite wisdom and ever adorable Southern drawl asked, “What about Viognier?” I questioned his logic, a French white with a notoriously mispronounced name? Explain yourself. He did, and the thought process behind this strange coupling was kind of perfect. Memorial Day (Decoration Day in the south) is the kick off of summer, the time for picnics, sweet tea, homemade deserts made with fresh fruit, and the sensual aromas of flowers in bloom. All the heady, intoxicating tastes and aromas that feed our nostalgia. So Viognier, a wine that itself has these same aromas, that is both sweet and floral, and delicate yet strong, seems to be a good choice after all.

Viognier, pronounced VEE-OWN-YAY, is a white grape that hails from the prolific wine region in France known as the Rhone. It is grown throughout the region, but most famously in the northern section of Condrieu where it is made into a sought after wine of the same name. I've been to Condrieu, and remember quite vividly a drunken journal entry I wrote while tasting through the local wines that went something like: “This is the perfect wine, I have fallen in love, I may never leave.” I left in fact, but I'll never forget my two days in that magical land.

This Viognier is from the Southern part of the Rhone, specifically an area called the Cotes de Ventoux. Le Paradou is a new wine project created with the idea of making affordable wines from estate grown fruit that is farmed sustainably. One of the creators, Frederic Chaudiere, comes from an old and well respected wine making family and the name Le Paradou, comes from the centuries old farmhouse on their property. This white is made from %100 Viognier sourced from high altitude vineyards in the Luberon mountains. The nose is textbook Viognier with exotic fruits, honey and white flowers. On the palate the wine is full and silky with apple and peach fruit, more honey and a steely freshness. The finish is long and clean, almost cool. It's incredibly refreshing, like sweet tea on a hot summers day. The perfect white for a Memorial Day party.

LE PARADOU VIOGNIER, 2006