Roussanne: Varietal of the Month

Marcy Gordon on Oct 24, 2019

Most likely you are well acquainted with Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris, and perhaps Riesling and Viognier. But if you are looking to try a new white wine that is medium to full bodied, wonderfully aromatic and refreshingly acidic– perhaps you should give Roussanne a chance. Hailing from the Rhône wine region in France, Roussanne is an aromatic white wine grape with a wide range of flavors depending on where it’s grown, be it a cool or warm climate. The flavor profiles can range from crisp apple, bright lemon and ripe peach to unctuous honey and guava notes. Roussanne is often blended with Grenache Blanc, Marsanne and Viognier, but is a delight on it’s own as well. Juicy with good acidity Roussanne can hold it’s own with rich foods like full cream cheeses, pate or buttery lobster. There is not a lot of Roussanne grown along on the Wine Road, but it’s becoming more common, so keep your eyes peeled when you are out tasting.

Here are capsule reviews of Roussanne wines you may find along the Wine Road.

bottle of Williamson 2018 Roussane with wine in glasses

Williamson Wines
2018 Relish Roussanne, Mendocino County

Pale yellow with a tinge of green this zesty Roussanne has a zippy floral nose of spicy carnation and tangerine pith with a full mouthwatering flavors of grapefruit and apricot. The excellent acidity level and medium body support a crisp yet round mouth feel with a long honey toned finish.    

Bottle of Mutt Lynch "Pure Joy on the Beach" Roussanne with with happy dog on the label and glass in front of bottle

Mutt Lynch Winery
Pure Joy on the Beach—2016 Roussanne, Sonoma County

Medium yellow gold in the glass, Pure Joy on the Beach is aptly named. Sunny aromas of gardenia and honeysuckle accompany the creamy smooth flavors of bright lemon and apricot with a delightful note of beeswax on the mid palate. Great acidity balances the buttery body of this Roussanne that sings to the finish with long spicy notes on the finish.

Bottle of Trattore Farm Roussanne with glass of wine in front of bottle.

Trattore Farms
2017 Roussanne, Alder Springs Vineyard, Mendocino County

Bright clear yellow, this Roussanne is unctuous and juicy with a soft lemony nose and notes of quince, green apple, Meyer lemon, apricot and wild flower beeswax on the palate. The taught acidity yields a dry chamomile tea that persists give this wine a clean and pleasant finish.

Bottle of Quivira blend of Roussanne Viognier between two glasses of wine

Quivira (The Quivira Collection)
2017 Roussanne Viognier Wine Creek Ranch, Dry Creek Valley

This 80% Roussanne 20% Viognier is a wining combination full of lemon, lavender, marigold, and guava with a bit of tomato leaf on the nose. The rich creamy mouth feel is bursting with lemony flavor and notes of caramel and ginger. It’s bright and dry with a great balance of fruit and acidity. The finish delivers a distinct honeycomb tone that’s unexpected yet warm and luscious.

Posted by Marcy Gordon

Marcy Gordon is a freelance wine and travel writer. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications including Wine Enthusiast, San Francisco Chronicle, Sonoma Magazine, The California Travel Guide, and Forbes Travel Guide. In 2017 she was awarded a fellowship to the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers. She is the co-host of the award winning Wine Road Podcast.

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