Ah Roussanne, one of those grapes that was used for blending for so long until finally someone took the bull by the horns and showcased this varietal on it's own. I am glad they did. The first time I had it was when Brett Escalera rolled his out with Consilience. Then Epiphany. I took note. The grape is fascinating. For a white it is nearly as big as a red at times. It can stand up to a rich meal because of it's coppery-flower tones or can be enjoyed on it's own. Santa Barbara County is known for the micro-climates that benefit growing all types of wine grapes and producing exceptional individual expression. Here are some of my current Roussanne picks:
Zinke 2012 Roussanne, Kimsey Vineyard $28
For a Roussanne (which are generally quite full bodied and unctuous) this wine is showing more like a fun European white, comprable to Verdehlo or some other fun Vino Verde showing gentle, subtle lychee notes however it still carries many lovely complexities that the Roussanne grape is known for with honey-apricot tones on the palate. If this wine were a person I would say she were Clair Underwood (House of Cards), now, not to be a spoiler but to me this refined beauty is friendly enough, yet seductive when she needs to be and with time quite powerful. This will age beautifully gaining more texture, more body, more umph. Drink up or lay it down for a year or two and re-visit.
Press Gang Cellars 2011 Roussanne, Stolpman Vineyard $26
Another light version of the grape. This steely, food-friendly (limited) production wine reminds me of Vermentino due to it's herbal qualities. But it is Roussanne. It has a finesse. If I had caviar I might substitute this for the bubbles.
Stolpman 2011 L'Avion, $38
And for a more expressive, less subtle version of the grape here is a home run hitter. According to Peter Stolpman he describes the wine as such: "Lime blossom, sweet beeswax; an especially fresh vintage, with mid-palate weight and structure to assure its longevity in bottle" True. It is a beauty. Weighty and complex carrying promises of the future.
There are a lot of Roussanne's here in SBC. Please let me know your favorites!