Viognier’s popularity is starting to spread

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A white wine that bridges the boundaries between chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, viognier is a white grape variety from the northern Rhone Valley that’s spread its vines to become a fashionable label in wine shops and restaurants.

With the body and richness of chardonnay (without the oak), and the azestiness of sauvignon blanc (without the high acidity), viognier with its creamy, aromatic dry style, and seductive apricot flavours, has inspired winemakers around the world to emulate this southern French gem.

For a good introductory style, try Asda Extra Special Viognier 2010, France (£5, Asda, www.asda.com), an aromatic, soft white from the Languedoc.

An easy-drinker with a little apple crumble sweetness and spice, this delicate white suits all types of seafood, and even a mild mid-week curry.

But for the real deal, a voluptuous viognier from Condrieu such as Domaine Pichon Condrieu, Rhone 2009, France (£29.15, as part of a mixed case of six, www.fromvineyardsdirect.com) is a wine to swoon and take your time over.