Search for Events
Wine of the Day via RSS
Recent Blog Articles
- 4 Great Gifts for Wine Collectors
- Recapping an Epic Tasting of 1968 Cabernet Sauvignon
- A Blow to the Stomach - SF Chronicle to End Standalone Food Section?
- New Pinot Noir and Cabernet Releases from Sojourn Cellars
- Fervor versus Flavors
- Update: Missing Articles on NorCalWine
- Thoughts on the Inaugural Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak AVA Tasting
- Body Count - On Describing the Body of Wine
- Lateral Moves North
- Enjoy an Epic Tasting of 1968 Napa Valley Cabernets and Other Upcoming Events
- Charles Banks Acquires Historic Qupé Winery In the Santa Maria Valley Appellation
- Spotlight on the Moon Mountain District Sonoma County AVA
- Tasting the Wines of Andrew Murray Vineyards
- Mendocino Sparkles
- Discovering Mendocino
- Review: New California Wine by Jon Bonné
- 12 Things You Should Know about Sake
- Tasting Report: 14th Annual Mt. Veeder Appellation Tasting
- New Research: How Our Brains Categorize Aromas
- Upcoming Wine Events for September 20 - 23
Recent Wines of the Day
- 2011 Harney Lane Old Vine Zinfandel Lizzy James Vineyard Lodi
- 2006 Santana Supernatural Rosé by Mumm Napa
- 2011 Jekel Riesling Monterey and 2011 Jekel Pinot Noir Santa Barbara
- 2012 Matthiasson Chardonnay Linda Vista Vineyard Napa Valley
- Review from the Cellar - 2010 Qupé Mourvedre Ibarra-Young Vineyard
- 2012 Tres Sabores Rosé “Ingrid and Julia” Napa Valley
- 2011 Testarossa Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands
- 2009 Lucia Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands
- Review: 2009 Buccella Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
- 2008 Vin Roc Cabernet Sauvignon Atlas Peak Napa Valley
- 2009 Cornerstone Cellars “The Cornerstone” Napa Valley
- 2009 Laetitia Pinot Noir Single Vineyard La Colline Arroyo Grande Valley
- 2010 Lange Twins Chardonnay Estate Grown Clarksburg AVA
- 2012 Borra Vineyards Artist Series Kerner Lodi AVA
- 2010 Wren Hop Pinot Noir “Fire Messenger” Sonoma Coast
- 2011 Lucia Pinot Noir Soberanes Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands
- 2011 Roar Chardonnay Sierra Mar Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands
- 2010 Frostwatch Chardonnay Bennett Valley Sonoma County
- 2007 Smith-Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain District Napa Valley
- 2012 Voss Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley
Wine of the Day
- White Wines
- Written by Fred Swan
- Wednesday, 23 December 2009 04:41
A white wine grape most used in the Rhone region of France. In the Northern Rhone, specifically Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage and St. Joseph, it is used on its own or in blends with Marsanne to create still, and sometimes sparkling, wines. In some of those areas, it is also allowed to be added in small quantities to the red, Syrah-based wines. In recent years, Marsanne plantings have been increasingly replacing Roussanne because its low yields, susceptibility to damage from weather and mildew and unreliable ripening make it a risky bet.
Further south, in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, it is typically used as the primary grape in the white wines, but the blend is different. There, the complementary grapes are Grenache Blanc, Picpoul Blanc, Clairette, Bourboulenc and Picardin. People are surprised to learn that Roussanne and all of these other white wine grapes are also allowed to be used without restriction in the red wines of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, which are typically based primarily on Grenache (Noir) but can also include Syrah, Mourvedre, Counoise, Cinsault, Picpoul Noir, Muscardin, Terret Noir and Vaccarese.
Roussanne is also grown in other areas of southern France and in Italy as well as in New World regions where Rhone-style wines are made, such as Australia, California, southern Oregon and Washington.
Roussanne is robust enough to handle time in oak, but still tends to have subtle flavors and aromas that favor floral, herbal tea and light stone fruit. In cool growing areas, the wine can be light to medium in body with high acidity. In warmer regions, the body can be more viscous or oily and the acidity more moderate.
Roussanne-based wines can age well in bottle, though they seem to be a wine that you either want to drink fairly young or after several years. They go through a bit of an “awkward phase” in between.
Some vines in California that had been thought to be Roussanne actually turned out to be Viognier. With that cleared up, the amount of Roussanne planted in the state is just a couple of hundred acres with about 10% being at Tablas Creek near Paso Robles. However, the wines are definitely worth seeking out. They are delicious and excellent with food. Tablas Creek makes two versions of Roussanne whites. The one they call Roussanne is fairly traditional while the one they call Bergeron is based on grapes picked earlier and has higher acidity and more mineral notes. L’Aventure, also in Paso Robles, makes a nice Roussanne. Terre Rouge in the Sierra Foothills has a lot of fans as well.