Roussanne: The White Wine for Red Drinkers
We started this series on alternative wines by looking at Viognier. Next up, we look at Roussanne, a variety in which there are only 70 to 80 hectares grown in Australia.
If you’ve heard of Roussanne before, it was probably in correlation with Marsanne, another alternative white grape variety. Roussanne is frequently combined with Marsanne for more body and perfume, but 100% Roussannes are less common. There are just under 60 growers of Roussanne grapes in Australia.
How would you describe it?
- Herbal teas
- Honeysuckle aroma
- Citrus notes
- Lime peel
- White peach
Would I like it?
Roussanne is an ideal variety for people who don’t normally like white wines. It’s referred to as a “red wine drinker’s white” because of its fullness and richness, mouth-filling flavour and lingering taste.
If you are a white wine drinker though and appreciate a good Chardonnay, then it’s also a fantastic alternative.
Roussanne is a versatile accompaniment to a wide range of foods — for example, it matches equally well with Thai, Italian and traditional French cuisine. It can be a substitute for where you would normally pair a red wine.
So, if you find it difficult to match the right wine to food, then breaking out a bottle of Roussanne at your next dinner party may make things easier for you!
Where is it predominately grown?
The Yarra Valley makes outstanding Roussannes, and plantings can also be found in the Hunter Valley‚ Margaret River‚ Rutherglen‚ and McLaren Vale to name a few.
I’m interested — what should I try?
The Australian winery winning numerous awards for the Roussanne is St Huberts, located in the Yarra Valley. St Huberts annually produces the most consistent 100 per cent varietal and at the 2016 Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show St Huberts won a silver medal for their 2016 vintage Roussanne and a bronze medal for their 2015 vintage Roussanne.
While well known, the Roussanne from St Huberts can be difficult to source! Given that fruit is entirely sourced from a 1.3 hectare block, you can understand its limited availability. Your best bet is to buy direct from the winery, or try Nick’s Wine Merchants.
Other drink-worthy Roussannes: (and we’ve made sure these are easier for you source!)
- Around $20: 2015 d’Arenberg Money Spider Roussanne
- Around $30: 2016 Jamsheed Beechworth Roussanne
- Around $35: 2016 Yangarra Roussanne
- Around $40: 2016 Yelland & Papps Second Take Roussanne
Happy Roussanne drinking!
Today’s Best Roussanne and Marsanne Prices
Shannan Kesper •