2009 Roussanne, Estate Grown and Bottled Santa Ynez Valley
Roussanne is a richly complex, white grape variety indigenous to the Rhône Valley of France. It is a difficult grape to grow because it is very susceptible to rot and mildew and ripens late. So difficult that there is less than 300 acres planted in the all of California. We are so taken with its haunting aromas and bold flavors that we planted eight acres in our vineyard with the Tablas clone in 1999. We planted another 2 acres in 2006.
Growing Season and Harvest:
After a relatively uneventful winter, the vines came to life in early April only to be frost bit in late-April. Thankfully, only a small portion of our vineyard was damaged. May’s weather was not any better with sprinkles and wind during the critical bloom period. After a heat spike of +100º in mid-June, things settled down to our normal 55º in the morning and 85º in the afternoon. Harvest started as usual in early September and went quickly as there were few grapes to pick. Another cold snap hit in mid-October, but it did not hurt as most of our grapes had been picked. Yields were low due to the weird weather but the quality was encouraging.
After being hand harvested, this Roussanne was 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.
On the nose, aromas of apricots, figs, honey and spice fill the glass. A lingering finish has a touch of minerality, a signature characteristic of our vineyard. Enjoy with lobster risotto, Pad Thai or rosemary roasted chicken over the next five years. Serve slightly cool (50-55ºF).
"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.." 93 points. Wine Enthusiast Magazine Editors' Choice, September 2010.
"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.
"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.
“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