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American Roussanne

Tonight, I opened bottle of Santa Ynez-grown Roussane, and it was a revelation.

It was from the producer Renard (never heard of them); I noted big, ripe, assertive, blossomy, yet food-friendly flavors with nary a hint of sweetness or overpowering oak.

Please list some of your favorite California producers of Roussanne (or other white Rhone vareitals). I'd like to experience more wines like this....

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  1. J.C. Cellars has a good line...

    IMO these are vintage-specific varietals. One year very fruity and complex, the next year very thin and austere... I'm curious... which year was the Roussanne you had ??

    1. Rosenblum makes a very good Rousanne. I think Garretson also makes one that is very tasty.

      1. Tablas Creek, a joint venture involving the people behind Beaucastel, makes lovely Rhône varietals and blends. www.tablascreek.com

        Terre Rouge's Enigma (Marsanne, Viognier and Roussanne) is a perennial favourite. Have never had the opportunity to try their white varietals. www.terrerougewines.com

        If Viognier is on your list, look for Calera's Mount Harlan offering. www.calerawine.com

        1. I have yet to taste a California Roussanne that was anywhere near as good as some of the Rhones I've had.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Agreed, but Terre Rouge, Tablas Creek AND Edmunds St. John are probably the Top Three, IMHO.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Then feel free to recommend your favorite Rhone whites in this thread!

              To be honest, the main reason (besides the very pleasant California bottle I had last night) for specifically requesting American producers is it's very hard for me to remember names of French wines.

              1. re: Yaqo Homo

                Beaucastel's Chateauneuf du Pape Roussanne vieilles vignes is the ultimate. One of the best dry white wines I've ever tasted.

                JL Chave's Hermitage blanc is a marsanne-roussanne blend but also great. Should have some age before drinking.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Thanks, I'll add them to the "to try" list I keep; that way I won't have to remember their names.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    The magnum of 1983 Chave Hermitage Blanc I had in 2003 was stunning. THAT was the best dry white I've had this century! ;^)

                    But I've had many bottles of Beaucastel CdP VV -- it is indeed wonderful wine.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        Yes. Sorry. Thought that was obvious from context, but I edited my post.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      I agree with you about the Beaucastel. it is spectacular.
                      as a side note, most of the other wines from the Perrin family are worth a try. some of their lower priced wines under their name are well worth the price

                2. I second, or is it third, the comments regarding Terre Rouge. Another solid Amador County producer is Sobon Estate; they have a nice and minerally Rousanne. www.sobonwine.com

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: rosielucchesini

                    (&#@!*, I just gave away my bottle of Sobon Roussane. Maybe I can hint to my cousin that we should open it with dinner this weekend...

                  2. Some excellent Roussannes are produced in the State of Washington, by such wineries as McCrea Cellars, Syncline and DeLille Cellar's "Doyenne."

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Luwak

                      I am partial to the Andrew Rich Roussanne, which is made in OR, from Columbia Valley fruit. Oak fermented so just enough oak to make it interesting.

                      1. re: Luwak

                        Though not 100% Roussanne (it's close enough), it's fun to compare the McCrea and the DeLille (which is 100%), as both come from the same vineyard source.

                      2. I have recently enjoyed a wine from Demetria Estates in Santa Ynez called Papau (or Papou - I believe it's Greek for Grandfather). It is a blend of 50% Viognier and 50% Roussanne. I thought it was excellent. Sounds like it might be to your liking.
                        I am also very fond of the Tablas Creek wines and of the Roussanne bottled by Jaffurs.
                        What a great thread. I look forward to trying some of the wines listed. Thank you.

                        1. Qupe Roussane Bien Nacido

                          1. I like Tablas Creek as well. Garretson has some nice Rhone blends, but his reds are probably better.
                            Copain is a nice high end producer.
                            Sine Qua Non is another high end producer, but I've never had any of those wines.
                            Several people make nice viognier, including Cedarville, Sierra Vista, Alban, Melville and Arger-Martucci.
                            Give Jewel Viognier a try. It's $10 a bottle. They use a shortcut in making their wine that leaves a tell-tale chemical taste to their wine. I can't remember the exact process. But for $10, who's complaining?

                            1. L'Aventure, out of Paso Robles, CA, makes a great Roussanne. Sells out pretty quickly, though. And I agree with Whiner's recommendation for the Qupe Bien Nacido.

                              1. Haven't tried it in a couple of vintages but have previously enjoyed the Zaca Mesa Santa Ynez Roussanne, as well as their Viognier.

                                1. You've got a lot of recs. and most (with exception of the Rhones), I've not tried. Gotta' get busy!

                                  For a domestic producer of Rhone (known more for other things), I like the Marsanne and Viognier by Joseph Phelps, Napa. Both are very good examples of a "domestic" Rhone varietal wine.

                                  Another great domestic Viognier is Gregory Graham, Napa. Hard to find, but worth the effort.


                                  1. Keep in mind that much of the "Roussanne" originally planted in California -- from cuttings obtained by and through Randall Grahm -- turned out NOT to be Roussanne. (This wasn't discovered until less than 10 years ago. For one account of this, check out the article here: http://www.jancisrobinson.com/article...


                                    There IS Roussanne in California, but -- like Pinot Blanc -- much of it turned out not to be what people thought.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: zin1953

                                      I'm familiar with this story, not to imply that it's not true. I'm also a big fan of Rhone varietals, particularly ones produced in the Central Coast and Paso Robles regions of California. To my tastebuds, Viognier and Roussanne wines produced by wineries that I like taste very different. I have little doubt that I could differentiate between the two in a blind tasting. The article that you referenced states the Roussanne usually has much less body than Viognier. I find this very interesting because I think that Roussanne, or what I've come to know as Rousanne, definitely has more body than Viognier.

                                      1. re: JimN

                                        Again, broad generalization BUT . . .

                                        To me, in their youth, a well-made Viognier is definitely fuller bodied and more aromatic than Roussanne. Roussanne will put on some added weight with age; indeed, it will not only improve with age, it often needs it. In contrast, Viognier is -- IMHO -- best in its youth.