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Published:  23 July, 2008

Viognier is more susceptible to taint from cork than almost any other grape variety, according to Louisa Rose, winemaker at Yalumba with special responsibility for Viognier. All varieties have some kind of susceptibility,' she said, but with Viognier the threshold [of noticeable taint] is much lower. As the flavours of Viognier are so aromatic, if you have something there that masks that, you notice it straight away.' At the Viognier Masterclass, held by Yalumba in London last week, nine of the 56 bottles were tainted. Robert Joseph, who hosted the event, said that at the Viognier Symposium held in the Barossa in August the instances of taint were alarming. Rose confirmed this, stating that 15-25% of all wines at the Symposium were corked. The other thing we see very much in Viognier is some phenolic influence from the cork,' she said. Viognier itself is very phenolic, so if you have something that adds just a little extra, then that can cause problems.' Rose would like to see all Yalumba's white wines bottled under screwcap. In the next few years I'd say you'll see the majority of Australian Viognier bottled under screwcap.' From the 2000 vintage, the Yalumba Barossa Shiraz, to be released in the UK in the next few months, will contain 5% Viognier. We think it makes it a better wine,' said Rose.