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Roussanne is a difficult grape to grow, and a tricky wine to make, but when it is good, it’s very good. Happily, Jerome Quiot and the folks at Château du Trignon turned in a superlative effort in 2011 with the Château du Trignon Roussanne Côtes-du-Rhône Blanc. Our tasting panels were taken by this wine’s lovely flavors, supreme purity, elegance, and balance. Comments such as “Rarified air” and “I could drink this wine all night, with or without food” give testimony to the wine’s charm and eminent drinkability. Light, fresh floral flavors beguile the nose and glide gleefully across the tongue before slipping down the throat with a flourish. This is not a wine for Chardonnay drinkers who beg for smoke and butter, but for those who appreciate delicacy, finesse and the natural flavors of an extraordinary grape. In short, Château du Trignon’s 2011 Roussanne Côtes-du-Rhône Blanc is the real deal, a wine without guile. Enjoy this superlative white Rhône offering moderately chilled or simply cool. Most of us preferred it lightly chilled (about 50° F), but as you like it.
Château du Trignon’s 2011 Roussanne Côtes-du-Rhône Blanc provides a wonderful accompaniment to seafood, salads, and white meats. This elegant Roussanne possesses charm and elegance in addition to plenty of crisp floral flavors to complement Coconut Shrimp, Jerk Tuna Tartar Wraps, and Chicken and Muenster Cheese Flatbreads. Vietnamese Spring Rolls with thin slices of shrimp, pork, and fennel pair nicely, too. A hearty salad of mixed organic greens, grilled chicken, cashews, and Mandarin orange slices offers a fine complement as well. And for most of us, a clean glass with this wine is all that is needed in the way of accompaniments, as the 2011 Château du Trignon Roussanne Côtes-du-Rhône Blanc makes one very fine aperitif. Bon appétit.
Château du Trignon has for over a century been one of the Southern Rhône Valley’s most respected wine estates. With considerable holdings in Gigondas, Rasteau, Sablet and other premier Côtes-du-Rhône locales, five successive generations of the Roux family firmly established Château du Trignon as a first rate purveyor of powerful, structured red wines. And since its purchase in 2007 by the Quiot family of Domaine du Vieux Lazaret and Châteauneuf-du- Pape fame, Château du Trignon has become equally adept at producing compelling white wines, most notably the estate’s Côtes-du-Rhône Blanc made from 100% Roussanne. The Quiots have also expanded the estate’s red wine portfolio, adding a delicious Vacqueyras to the mix. Jerome Quiot has pushed the envelope in regard to the property’s other red wines as well. Thanks to his acumen, Château du Trignon’s red wines now display considerable charm and depth as well as power and might.
Roussanne is a unique white grape variety that derives its name from the russet colored skin of its fully ripened clusters. Its home is the mostly red wine producing appellations of Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage, and St. Joseph in the Northern Rhône Valley of France. In fact, Roussanne is the only white grape varietal other then Marsanne that is permitted in those premier appellations. Small amounts of Roussanne can also be found in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and a few special Côtes-du- Rhône vineyards.
Roussanne is a difficult grape to grow and an even harder grape to produce as a varietal. Its yield is low and irregular, and it is quite susceptible to powdery mildew and other viticultural maladies. By natural selection as well as all commercial accounts, Roussanne should be extinct and likely would be if it weren’t for a select group of passionate growers in whose hands Roussanne shines. From its fully ripened clusters flows one of the world’s most intriguing white wines, which often bears the distinct and haunting aroma of wildflowers and herbs. Roussanne can be enjoyed young or after many years . Unlike most white varietals, it can age for up to ten years or more in the bottle.
Presently, small plantings of Roussanne exist in Australia and South Africa. There are approximately 200 acres of Roussanne under cultivation in California, too, making Roussanne one of the continent’s rarest grape varietals.
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