Roussanne whine is named so because, well, it uses roussanne grapes. These white grapes originally came from the Rhone wine region in France. French Roussanne is frequently blended with Marsanne for a more complex flavor. These are the only two grapes allowed in Rhone appellations of Hermitage AOC, Saint-Joseph AOC and Crozes-Hermitage AOC, and one of six allowed in the southern Rhone appellation of Chateauneuf-du-Pape AOC. If you don’t know what all of those are, here it is in layman’s terms: Roussanne is a very special grape!
The grapes turn a nice russet color when ripe, and this is theorized to be the root of the grape’s name. The grape is also known as Roussanne Blanc and Bergeron, so keep an out out for those names when shopping for wines. It is also very difficult to grow as it is quite prone to mildew, so while these bottles may cost a bit more than your supermarket’s best whites, you’ll know where that money went when you sip it.
2009 Zaca Mesa Winery Roussanne Santa Barbara County, Santa Ynez Valley
A California Roussannee is special. There are less than three hundred acres of Roussanne in the entire Golden State. The Zaca Mesa Winery behind this bottle planted ten acres of their own to create this wine. This one has been noted for its fig, apricot, pear and honey tones with a hint of steely mineral flavor. An interesting note from the maker: an early September heat spike in September 2009 followed by October storms resulted in a faster harvesting pace and a less sugary product.
2012 Patterson Cellars Late Harvest Roussanne
This Washington wine comes from Columbia valley. A blend, the bottle is only 76% Roussanne, which lays a foundation for the 14% Viognier and 10% Chenin Blanc that finish off the complex and rich flavor. You’ll note tastes of apricot, pear and honeysuckle with hints of herbal tea. Very well balanced, not too sweet or acidic and just enough mineraly flavor, the wine boasts a beautiful honey coloring and is a great Summer drink.
2009 Chateau du Vampire Roussanne
Vampire Vineyards’ first Roussanne from the Chateau du Vampire collection, this is 100% Roussanne grapes, grown at their Paso Robles vineyard. A surprisingly deep blend, the typical fruity flavors of Roussanne wines are accompanied by hints of lemon, almond and vanilla, with a bit of tangerine and apple to complete the package.
2012 Keyways Vineyard and Winery Sparkling Roussanne, Temecula Vally
The first thing you’ll notice about this wine is the green apple aroma. With almond blossom, tangerine and nutmeg tones, the wine tastes like an apple pay in a glass followed by a bite of key lime. Complex, surprising and refreshing, this is a zesty, sparkling Roussanne for those Summer days when the sun just won’t let up.
2011 Agate Ridge Roussanne Rogue Valley
Perfect with shellfish and anything spicy, this wine boasts flowery, peachy, almondy flavors with a nice tropical finish.
2011 Russell Family Vineyard Roussanne
One of the richest and most complex wines on this list, you’ll be struck by its rose petal aromas, exotic fruit scents and flavors, hints of crushed pineapple, marmalade and honeysuckle, sweetened butter, yellow apple and melon, all with a good balance of acidity and sweetness. It may sound too complex for a light Summer wine, but this Paso Robles bottle really pulls it all together.
2010 Eric Ross Marsanne-Roussanne
Apricot, ripe melon, pear and nutty floral flavors with a honey texture and a great aroma. You scarcely even need to drink this wine, you could breathe it in and get your money’s worth, but when you do take a sip, you’ll enjoy one of the most well-balanced wines on the market.
2011 Jazz Cellars Rhapsody Saralee’s Vineyard Russian River Valley White Blend
Try this one with pasta or Thai food. A very smooth and delicious wine with honey-melon, apricot, almond and hazelnut tones to accompany strong foods.
2010 The Rebel White BlendL
Pear and peach flavors create a foundation for apricot, honey and nectarine flavors make up a wine that is surprisingly rich for such an inexpensive bottle. Give it a try and see if you don’t wind up with a favorite affordable wine to keep on hand.
2013 Bergevin Lane Vineyards Linen Sauvignon Blanc
At around eleven dollars a bottle, you might not be expecting much, and you’d be wrong. Pineapple and mango with papaya and standard pear and peach flavors create a sort of tropical delight that goes very well with seafood.