Your Wine IQ

Roussanne


International Varieties: Chardonnay   Gewürztraminer   Muscat   Pinot Gris   Riesling   Sauvignon Blanc

Major Varieties:   Airén    Chenin Blanc    Grüner Veltliner    Müller-Thurgau    Pinot Blanc    Sémillon    Silvaner    Trebbiano    Viognier

Regional Varieties:   Albariño    Aligoté    Amigne    Arneis    Chasselas    Colombard    Cortese    Fiano    Grechetto    Grenache Blanc    Malvasia Istriana    Marsanne    Muscadelle    Muscat of Alexandria    Ortega    Palomino    Parellada    Petite Arvine    Prosecco    Rieslaner    Roussanne    Savagnin    Scheurebe    Seyval Blanc    Tocai Friulano    Torrontés    Vermentino    Welschriesling


Roussanne is an important white grape that often complements Marsanne in white Rhône blends. Some producers prefer to age Roussanne-based wines in oak. Roussanne is difficult to grow, with wind, mildew and rot among the problems. The ideal Roussanne, though, is worth the trouble, featuring bitter but deep notes of tea and pears. Like Marsanne, a nutty flavor emerges as the wines age. Roussanne, when well-made, can often age well for over 10 years.

Roussanne probably originated in the northern Rhône, which is still the grape's heartland. It is permitted in the wines of Hermitage AOC, Crozes-Hermitage AOC, and Saint-Joseph AOC. The other area where it is allowed is in Saint-Péray AOC, where it is often used in sparkling wines as well as normal dry whites. One place where it still outranks Marsanne is in the white wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, where many blends are composed almost entirely of Roussanne. Roussanne is found in the Côtes du Rhone, Languedoc-Roussillon, and Provence.

The grape is also found in Italy. It was brought to Australia as early as the 19th century, and is still used in blends or as a varietal. Rhône blends in Washington use the grape. California also grows the grape.