It is not every day that we’re in praise of a white wine here at weirdcombos. But we’ve always had a soft spot for Southern Rhône whites. Hence our annual multi-case purchases of Domaine de la Becassonne. What a surprise, then, to come across this really good and very affordable bottle of Hillgate Roussanne at our local Trader Joe’s the other day.
Tablas Creek, a Paso Robles winery, has a really informative article about Roussanne. As a variety of grape, it is fairly obscure: mostly limited to parts of France. They think that the Rhône is the likely original source for this grape. Roussanne is difficult to grow. Perhaps that explains its relative obscurity: too bad, as this makes an excellent, rich, creamy, memorable white.
Roussanne is difficult in other ways. Apparently the first vines planted in California were shown later to be another Rhône white, Viognier. To me the two taste and smell so differently, I’m hard pressed to believe that nobody noticed this for many years, but there you go.
This Lake County Roussanne was a bargain at something like $6.99 a bottle. Sadly, I can’t find any info about Hillgate winery on line. But CellarTracker, my new darling source for wine information, knows this one. Their readers give it an average score of 86.5/100, if scores meaning anything to you.
We thought this was delish! Transparent pale golden yellow, it starts out powerfully with lots of peaches, pears, and sweet smelling muscadet on the nose. The wine is full bodied with minerally, flinty notes, lots of cream but no butter, and a hint of bitterness on the long, luscious finish.
This is a wine well worth stocking up on—I just hope it’s not Viognier in disguise 😉