Bon Cap 2009 Viognier Review

… will knock you out and stuff a crapload of lilies right in your face. Next thing you know, you’re waking up in a coffin

The label of a condensation-misted bottle of Bon Cap Viognier

Reader, I have a problem. I keep attracting big, butch whites.

It’s not that I have anything against big butch whites. It’s just that, well, I find them a tad overwhelming. I have this old-fashioned tendency to prefer a bit of subtlety. A bit of femininity, dare I say?


But the big butch whites just keep coming.

My first warning ought to have been the alcohol level of this wine. It’s 14.5%, by the risen Lord! But the alcohol level isn’t my biggest problem.

No. My biggest problem is that this wine makes me think I might actually be dead.

Because some bastard has apparently stuffed a crapload of lilies right in my face and I can’t seem to shove them away.

That’s the overriding aroma. Lily. You might call them ‘lilies of the field’; I call them ‘lilies of the mortuary’. Bleurgh. That heavy, languid, vulgar scent that overpowers your senses like chloroform. The smell of intoxicating death. Cadaver in a wedding dress.

(Sorry, all you lily fans out there, if I’m pissing on your funeral. But I really don’t like that scent. It’s depressing, that’s what it is. Surely I’m not the only one to think this? Come on, drop me a comment if you agree. Join me in my battle against the conspiracy of (lily-livered?) lily-lovers.)

Anyhow, yeah, Viognier isn’t (I realise) the subtlest of grapes. So what did I expect? And I must credit the chaps at Bon Cap with managing to keep a rein on this wine, despite its headstrong ABV. Particularly in light of the fact that the grapes are organically grown, that probably takes a fair bit of winemaking skill. Not that I know the first thing about the technicalities of it, so I’m really just guessing.

(Yeah, I know, you’d all desperately have preferred a 2,000 word essay, here, on the technicalities of Viognier winemaking, wouldn’t you? Well. Sozamonia.)


Anyway, the thing is (what I really me-e-ean): it’s not a bad wine — hence my strenuously impartial rating — it’s just not to my taste.

Amongst the lilies, then, we have a floral abundance: lavender, violet, the usual heavily aromatic suspects. There’s a nice old lacing of dark muscovado sugar as you exhale (yes, lungs, exhale! You’re not dead, remember?) In your slack-tongued gob, it’s heavy, too.

Bottom line: if you happen to fancy an alcoholic reminder of your fragile mortality, you could do a good bit worse than Bon Cap Viognier. It’ll give you all the wino-goth thrills you could wish for. But you’ll excuse me, won’t you, if I go for something a little sunnier?

Rating ★★★ (3 stars)
ABV 14.5%
Price I got mine for £9.49 (I think) in The Wine Society’s sale (was originally £11.49). But it’s all gone now.

4 thoughts on “Bon Cap 2009 Viognier Review”

  1. The aroma of lilies sounds fascinating, I’ll have to look out for that in similar examples. I have to say I tend to find new world Viogniers (particularly NZ) a bit overpowering – it’s very hard to control the potential alchohol of ripe Viognier, and 14.5% vol is quite normal, even in Southern France.

    Personally I end up sticking to Condrieu or Cote Rotie (yes, it’s allowed in the blend for Cote Rotie reds) as two areas where Viognier really can add elegance and yes, even subtlety.


  2. Yes, Simon, the lilies were unexpected — but overwhelmingly powerful. I’ve not had a wine like it before. Though I’ve not drunk heaps of Viognier, having been somewhat discouraged (by new world examples).

    Clearly Condrieu and Cote Rotie are the key to altering my perspective. Thanks for the suggestion.

    1. Sadly both tend to be cripplingly expensive – although often worth it I think. Majestic used to have a Condrieu at (just) under £20, currently their cheapest seems to be the Guigal ’08 at £28. I can recommend it . . .

      Re: Cote Rotie, anything with Rene Rostaing’s name on is worth selling your grandmother for (and you’ll have to). Chapoutier and Guigal also reliable.

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