Roussanne is one of the key varieties of the Rhone region in France. For a long time, it wasn’t much found outside the Rhone valley.
Nowadays, it is also found in the Languedoc Roussillon, and is also found quite a bit in California.
Aromatic and impulsive, let’s look into this wonderful grape variety.
HOW TO PRONOUNCE?
Roo – sahn
WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?
The origin of Roussanne is believed to be from the northern Rhone valley. Today it still one of the region’s most important varieties
It is a key component in the appellations of Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage and Saint-Joseph.
It is a tricky grape to grow: it is well known for providing low yields as well as being very susceptible to rot.
Why do people bother growing it I hear you ask? Because it produces beautifully aromatic and elegant wines, so it’s worth the effort!
The name comes from the French word “roux” (red), because of its russet-coloured skin.
In the Rhone region, Roussanne with its aroma and elegance is often blended with Marsanne. Marsanne is an easier grape to grow, and one that provides the wines with weight and body.
WHAT DOES IT SMELL LIKE?
The key aromas of Roussane are a mix of fruity and floral. Think apricot, lime, honeysuckle and iris.
WHAT DOES IT TASTE LIKE?
Roussanne is a noble grape variety that produces top quality wines. These wines often have a good acidity, and a very aromatic nose.
Depending on its region of origin, and how early it is picked, Roussanne will range from a medium to high acidity. Typically, it is also going to be rather light in sweetness.
WHAT FOOD WILL IT GO WELL WITH?
Roussanne freshness and elegance calls for delicate dishes such as lobster and crab.
It can also be very interesting sweet spices such as tagines or a Madras curry. A marriage made in heaven!
As I always do, I will also recommend cheese, because cheeses pair best with white wines!
Hard cheeses such as Emmental or Gruyere (the real deal of course, not cheap commercial brands) work brilliantly. You could also go for a Comté or a young Cheddar..
WHERE ARE THE BEST REGIONS FOR ROUSSANNE ?
The Rhone Valley is still very much the home of Roussanne. Look for Hermitage Blanc or Saint Joseph and you will find whites that are in my view vastly underrated.
In the New world, California is definitely making a name for itself when it comes to Roussanne. The Central Valley produces both blends and single varietal that are well worth a try.
5 TO TRY :
- Les galets dorés, Mourgues du grès 2015, costieres de nîmes, France
- Domaine Perrier Père et fils, chignon Bergeron Fleur de Roussanne, Savoie, France
- Domaine Bernard Gripa, Saint Joseph 2015, Rhône, France
- Alain Jaume & Fils Domaine Grand Veneur, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhône, France
- Truchard Vineyards Roussanne, Carneros, California USA