By Kelly MacConomy
ALEXANDRIA, VA-The 8th and final season of the HBO fantasy/action series “Game of Thrones” premiered April 14 and the final episode will air May 19.Wine has featured prominently throughout life in Westeros. This month, Z~Oenology takes a look at GOT-themed events at nearby wineries and explores the storied Rhône varietal Viognier.
Viognier is the signature white wine of Virginia. The grape hails from the Rhône region of France and is the only white grape permitted to be cultivated in the northern Rhône Valley area of Condrieu. How very Stark.
No doubt it was Jon Snow’s wine of choice, but Viognier had all but disappeared by the 1960s, when renewed interest saved it. And, in 1989, the late, great godfather of Virginia winemaking, Dennis Horton, brought Viognier to his Horton Vineyard in Gordonsville, where the vine and the wine went wild like dragons in the north. In 2011, the Virginia Wine Board declared Viognier the state grape.
In 1993, Dennis Horton’s Viognier won first prize in a California battle—rather, tasting competition—and jousting for best Viognier began. Horton’s remains a favorite to this day. Knight’s visor tips to Jefferson and Barboursville (Charlottesville), Little Washington Winery (Washington, VA), Pearmund (Broad Run), and Breaux, Chrysalis, Sunset Hills, Walsh Family Winery and Veritas (all in Loudoun County).
But closest of all is Paradise Springs winery in Clifton. Founded by Jane Kincheloe, a Saint Agnes School graduate who branched out to a Westeros winery in Santa Barbara, California, Paradise Springs serves a lovely Viognier in a forested setting. Beware the White Wine Walkers!