Roussanne is arguably the main white blending grape of the Rhône Valley. It may not be as prevalent as Grenache Blanc, but it’s a widely planted variety that is very rarely bottled on its own, though this is changing.
Roussanne produces lean, firm wines with notable acidity, making it the perfect compliment for fat and opulent Grenache Blanc and Marsanne. In addition to adding cut to a wine, Roussanne also provides fine, fresh aromatic notes that recall almond and hazelnut with a wide array of pithy citrus and orchard fruits as a base.
Roussanne is probably most important in St. Peray, where it serves to add a bit of backbone to the prevalent Marsanne. While a challenging grape to grow, plantings of Roussanne have spread around the globe, with significant and noteworthy wines coming from California’s Central Coast, Australia and Washington State.
Photo courtesy Susan Sharpless Smith via Flickr/CC