Our Wines


2009 Roussanne, Estate Grown and Bottled Santa Ynez Valley


Winery History

Our wines are made from sustainably farmed grapes that are 100 percent estate grown, produced and bottled. With over 40 years of grape growing experience in the Santa Ynez Valley, our winemaking and vineyard teams meticulously farm our vineyard to focus on terroir-driven wines. We began growing Rhône varieties in 1978 when we were the first to plant Syrah in Santa Barbara County. Since then, we have learned that grape varieties planted in the Rhône Valley of France are best suited to our estate.

Our Estate

Purchased in 1972, our vineyard soils are composed of Chamise Loam and Chamise Shaly Loam. They are well-drained soils that developed over gravelly beds of silt, clay, shale rock and other sandy water-deposited materials.  These soils are on dissected high terraces (or mesas) with elevations of 1500 feet above sea level. This high elevation provides cooler nights, which translates into wines retaining their natural acidity. Since 1997, the winery has replanted more than half of its original vines with high-density plantings of Rhone varietals with new rootstock and clone combinations.

Growing Season and Harvest

It was another cold and dry winter in the Santa Ynez Valley.  Spring was mild and long with plenty of cool sunshine to awake the vines.  Summer was surprising cool, but we welcomed the usual heat spikes around early September.  A threatening storm quickened our pace in mid-October, as we raced Mother Nature. The mild year provided great flavor development without excess sugar for wines of great balance.


After being hand harvested, our Roussanne is gently pressed and placed in French oak barrels to ferment.  The wine was then aged “sur lie” or on the lees (yeast and solids) for 8 months, stirring each barrel regularly to enhance the rich, creamy mouth feel.  

The Wine

Roussanne is a richly complex white grape variety indigenous to the Rhône Valley of France.  It is a very difficult grape to grow and a challenge to vinify.  It is so difficult that there is less than 300 acres planted in all of California.  We are so taken with the grape that we planted eight acres in our vineyard with the Tablas clone in 1999 and continued to plant an additional 2 acres in 2006.

The 2009 Roussanne has haunting aromas of apricot, fig, honey and spice fill the glass.  The long finish has a touch of minerality, a signature characteristic of our vineyard.  Serve slightly cool (55º-60 º F). 

Others’ Opinions

2009 Vintage

"Roussanne is really hard to pull off in California, but if any can do it, Zaca Mesa can. It's as good as the 2007, showing nectarine, pear and tangerine flavors, with the creamy, yeasty complexities of a fine barrel-fermented Chardonnay. It's dry and crisp in acidity and even has a fine, steely minerality. Drink now." S.H.  93 points.  Wine Enthusiast Magazine Editors' Choice, September 2010.

"Bright gold. Dried pear, beeswax and quinine on the pungent nose. Fleshy and broad but surprisingly dry offering bitter pear skin and herb flavors and a hint of honey on the back half. Combines richness and vivacity smoothly, finishing with good nervy cut and spicy persistence." J.R. 88 Points, International Wine Cellar (Tanzer), November.December 2013.

2008 Vintage

"Almond skin and floral details give the lemony citrus notes some charm, with a slightly coarse texture and green apple flavors.  Drink now." - MW 85 points, Wine Spectator, Web only 2012.

"The 2008 Roussanne is a generous white with good varietal character.  Anticipated maturity: 2011-2013."  86 points, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 8-31-11.

2007 Vintage

"There is no question but that this one leads with Riesling-like note of petrol to its developed nose, yet it finds added virtues in scents of toasted nuts and caramel apples that arise with air.  Its complex flavors show a similar interplay of almonds and ripe fruit, and its scant finishing edge of bitterness is eased by service with food.  It is open and ready to drink now and needs no display of patience to be fully rewarding."  *88 points, Connoisseur's Guide to California Wine, July 2011.

"Bone dry, ultra-crisp in acidity, and lean in mineral flavors, this barrel-fermented, lees-aged Roussanne is the opposite of rich.  But it's enormously elegant, and its leanness contains subtle hints of Meyer lemons, grapefruits, toast, yeast and cold, hard steel.  A sommelier's dream for pairing with very complex dishes."  92 points.  Wine Enthusiast, September 2010.

2006 Vintage

“This wine is opening up quite nicely as it takes on a just a bit of age. It is generously perfumed and rich with notes of ripe apples, peaches and a hint of honey to its aromas, and its palatal feel, while beginning to round out with a pleasantly supple edge, is firm and balanced. There is a temptation to say that it is ready to drink now, but it still has a ways to go, and it will reward a year or two of cellaring.” 90 Points, 1-Puff. Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine, July 2009.

“Never overwhelming, Zaca Mesa’s Roussanne travels the road of balance and elegance, making it particularly food-friendly. The ’06 shows crisp acids and restrained flavors of pineapples, apricots, buttercream, cashew nut and minerals. It’s a dry, complex wine that calls for creativity on the chef’s part.” 90 Points, Wine Enthusiast, April 2009

“Initially this feels rich and hefty, the wine’s flavors suppressed by the density of its texture. The weight lifts with air, allowing aromas of freshly cut wheat and spiced apples to bring out more definition in the glass. The components feel balanced, the wine’s structure elegantly firm rather than massive. An impressive white built for the cellar.” 91 Points, Wine & Spirits, June 2008

Gold, Sweepstakes - San Diego International Wine Competition June 2008

Gold Medal - Santa Barbara County Fair Wine Competition, June 2008

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