Not very many people buy white wine from the Rhone region of France, but let me start out by saying I really enjoy wines from the Rhone, red, white or rose they have all found a soft spot in my wine memory. Why? With the exception of the Cornas appellation they are blended from several varietals which provides the layers of flavor I find makes wine worth drinking. Having had several Rhone whites that run from layered fruit flavors to delicate stone and floral tinged wines I was eager to try the 2010 Chateau Roustan Costieres De Nimes White, the experience was good, but not what I was expecting. In fact, this wine is very similar to the wines of Languedoc, which the appellation was a part of until it was officially designated a Rhone wine in 2004.
A blend of 60% Rousanne, 20% Grenache and 20% Viognier this wine is an even toned light yellow on the Marine Corp dehydration chart, a swirl and sniff yields in a nose dominated by peach, like slicing a fully ripe peach for a summer snack. A dry medium to heavy weight wine in the mouth the palate is also dominated by peach, with a hint of lime and some very, very light floral notes on the back end. That was the cause of my disappointment, the overwhelming flavor of peach while good, took away from the stylish layering of flavors I enjoy in wine from the Rhone region. In some ways it reminded me of a good quality $10 and under Australian Chardonnay, though the flowers from the Viognier was a saving grace.
The good clean finish lingered for a while and suggests a nice complement to a light meal. In fact, if I were to buy again it would be a wine served with food, rather than alone on its own merits. One suggestion comes to mind, pick up a bottle or two for the coming Super Bowl festivities. The fruit will pick up a peach-mango or tequila-lime salsa from Paul Newman and the weight and finish would work well for white wine drinkers grazing on wings and other finger food during the game.
While it may be difficult to find the Chateau Roustan outside of ABC Fine Wine and Spirits, other wine shops are sure to have several similar wines to choose from, ask your favorite wine retailer for their recommendation. You can pay a lot for Rhone wine and I do believe you get what you pay for from that particular region; however, this wine and its cousins run around $10 a bottle and are a good way to separate your social events from others who might be serving the usual value Chardonnay at their party.