Updated July 19th 2023
Viognier is an excellent wine for shrimps, spicy food and cheeses. This aromatic full-bodied white wine stands up to bold flavors, which makes it interesting for food pairing. In this wine guide you will not only learn about which is the best food for Viognier, but also the difference between Viognier and Chardonnay.
Viognier is a perfumed full-bodied white wine which pairs lovely with many types of foods. It is originally from Southern France, but today it is planted all over the world. If you enjoy the full-bodied style of Chardonnay, we recommend you try the more floral Viognier. Keep reading to lear about the typical characteristics of Viognier and the best food pairings for the grape.
Viognier is one of the most floral white grape varieties. It is an aromatic full-bodied white wine with a characteristic perfume. In addition to flowers such as jasmine, this grape variety gives wines with typical notes of peach, pear, tangerine and honey. When Viognier is aged in oak, it usually has aromas of vanilla and spices.
The style of Viognier differs depending on where it is grown, but it is almost always dry. This wine has a natural sweetness which makes even the dry styles taste slightly sweet. Viognier's texture is often slightly oily or creamy, especially when aged in oak, which makes it a pleasant pairing with many foods. Its acidity is low or medium.
Viognier is originally from the Rhône Valley in France, and it is the only permitted grape variety in Condrieu - an AOC in northern Rhône. Today it is grown all over the world, and the style differs slightly depending on the climate and the wine making process.
The best serving temperature for Viognier is 9-13°C (48-55°F).
It is common to confuse Viognier and Chardonnay, especially when aged in oak. Both have the potential to produce rich, full-bodied white wines with a creamy texture. There are some significant differences between Viognier and Chardonnay which are important to keep in mind when paring the wines with food.
Tips! If you want to know more about the best food for Chardonnay, you will find the answer in our wine guide about Chardonnay Food Paring.
The most important when pairing Viognier and food is to respect the following characteristics of the wine:
Tips! When pairing Viognier with food, think complement rather than contrast.
A classic food pairing for Viognier is shrimp, especially shrimp dishes with a hint of spice, cream or fatty sauces. Viognier with shrimp cocktail is an excellent pairing. It will also pair well with grilled shrimp, scampi, shrimp pasta and spicy shrimp dishes - basically anything with shrimp.
Viognier also pairs well with moderately spicy foods with shrimps, such as Pad Thai and mild shrimp curries.
Viognier is a great pairing with poultry, especially turkey and chicken. The oily texture and the wine's flavours of stone fruit and honey pair well with the tender turkey/chicken meat. Intensely flavored Viogniers with oak can stand up to roasted turkey and grilled chicken.
Also chicken salad with mango and peach will pair well with the flavours of the Viognier. It also works well with chicken dishes with cream.
Viognier is a good pairing with heavier fish dishes, especially grilled fatty fish or fish with cream sauce. Good fish parings with Viognier include:
Just like other aromatic white wines, such as Riesling and Gewürztraminer, Viognier is a good choice for spicy and savory dishes. The wine’s natural sweetness and floral aromas balance the spices in the food. Pair Viognier with moderately spicy dishes. If the dish is too spicy it will overpower the wine, and you will not be able to taste the delicate floral aromas of Viognier.
Viognier is a good choice for:
Tips! If your food is very spicy, choose a Viognier with a higher sweetness level to balance the heat in the food.
Not many white wines can be paired with meat, but Viognier is an exception. The wine's rich oily texture and full-bodied profile make it a good choice for lighter meats like veal or pork. In particular, meat cooked in cream will be a good pairing.
The rich and creamy texture of Viognier makes it an excellent pairing with creamy and buttery cheeses. Soft and creamy cheeses like Brie, Délice de Bourgogne and Camembert pair very well with Viognier and other rich white wines.
Viognier also pairs well with semi-soft cheeses like Emmenthal, Gruyère and Comté. The nutty flavours of this type of cheese usually pair well with the creaminess in the wine.
Thanks to the aromatic profile of the wine and its natural sweetness, Viognier could also be paired with stronger and more pungent cheeses, including blue cheese.
Tips! Viognier is a good choice for a cheese board with many different types of cheeses.
Viognier pairs well with different vegetarian dishes, especially those with a hint of spice. Mild vegetable curries, veggie wok and sweet and savoury vegetarian dishes will taste well with a bottle of Viognier.
A fruit salad with nectarine, apricot, peach or mango will be perfectly suited for the flavours of Viognier.
To learn more about the best wine for vegetarian dishes, we recommend our wine guide for vegetarian food.
Enjoy your bottle of Viognier!