Thursday, January 13, 2011

Aussie-Flavored Roussanne

The story: I have been looking for single varietal bottles of roussanne lately. This white Rhone grape can be very rich and the Rhone Rangers from the Central Coast have made some wines that really intrigued me. Although generally blended with marsanne (and in Southern Rhone several other white grapes) when vinified and bottled on its own this reddish-brown skinned grape can be herbal and dense, offering orchard fruit aromas and a viscous oily mouthfeel that beguiles. For me roussanne has the potential to be a great winter white wine as it is often a bit full-throttled, certainly complex and worthy of contemplation, and really delicious (unless it is not....but you don't have to worry about that on this example).

Roussanne is now widely planted outside of France, primarily in California, some in Washington, and a bit in Australia.

The wine: The 2009 Yangarra Estate Roussanne McLaren Vale hails from a producer who prides themselves on making Rhone wines from all single vineyard estate fruit with minimal intervention once the fruit is picked. McLaren Vale, located just south of the city of Adelaide, boasts a rather Mediterranean climate. For this wine that mild climate resulted in a relaxed 13.5% abv. Seeing that roussanne is a rather late to ripen grape this makes for a full flavored wine without being huge. The wine pours yellow gold and offers a bit of herbal funk that just flirts over the top of golden apples and pastry. The nose is layered enough to invite a linger, and each layer offers something nice. Across the palette the wine offers the tell-tale slightly oily texture with a very dry profile of ripe pear, and lots of delicious savory herbs and minerals. A decent bit of acid frames the minerality in a rather long finish.

The verdict: It is an absolutely delicious wine that offers a great alternative to sauvignon blanc, and chardonnay (not that one needs to seek out alternatives.) D loved this wine, and enthusiastically asked about getting a case. At approximately $22 retail it is not the least expensive white wine to suggest but is worth the money. Obviously crafted with care and ultimately tasty, interesting, and fun this is a really great wine. 3.5/5

No comments:

Post a Comment