2022 Laurent Miquel “Nord Sud” Viognier, IGP Pays D’Oc, France (Alcohol 13.5%, Residual Sugar 2 g/l) LCBO Vintages $15.95 (750ml glass bottle)

I’ve been admiring the evolution of winemaker Laurent Miquel‘s wines for quite some time now, and so I’m always looking forward to tasting his new releases as they appear in the Ontario market.

With this Nord Sud Viognier he manages to capture remarkable finesse in a wine at such an accessible price point, especially with Viognier, a variety that so often produces clumsy, flaccid, and pretty much undrinkable wines at this tier. Miquel, however, has learned a few tricks over his decades making wines in the south of France, and now consistently presents vibrant, imminently quaffable bottlings that, I’d argue, get better year after year.

Named Nord Sud for the direction of the vine row plantings, the fruit is partly protected from the intense gaze of the midday sun, the kiss of death for a Viognier wine if one is looking to preserve any kind of freshness, and freshness is something that this 2022 Nord Sud Viognier release has in spades.

Sourced from clay-limestone soils of the pays d’Oc, this wine certainly isn’t shy or reserved. It’s certainly ripe Viognier, that’s for sure, but where one would once have found more tropical notes, in more recent vintages I have noticed an emergent cool, fresh pear character. In this 2022, the lusciously ripe pear really comes to the fore, both on the nose and the palate, accompanied by peach, apricot, and lemon notes. 30% of the wine is raised in French barrique, adding another little layer of micro-ox complexity and spice.

The texture is textbook ripe Viognier, medium plus weight, but accompanied by a fair bit of textural interest. While the acidity isn’t exactly what I’d call “crisp”, it’s does have more freshness and verve than one would usually expect, making it an easy wine to drink a fair bit of over a short period of time.

I do like to chill this down a fair bit and then allow it to warm and develop its full expressive bouquet in the glass. As for pairings, I think this really stands up as a decent glass by itself, but would pair well with a nice mango salad, grilled garlic shrimp, or Pad Thai. Just go easy on any citrus adjustments.


3.5 apples out of 5
(Three and a half out of a possible five apples)


Laurent Miquel wines are represented in Ontario by Lifford Wine & Spirits.

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