Roussanne Wine: 10 Splendid Bottles, Tasting Notes, Food Pairing

by Elaine Lau

Roussanne is a white grape variety that produces elegant, fragrant wines.

Roussanne has similar characteristics to the Marsanne and Viognier grapes. It is the only white grape allowed in the northern Rhône appellations of France, besides Marsanne. 

In the southern Rhone Valley, you’ll also find rare full-bodied, red Roussanne blends in the Chateauneuf du Pape AOC.

In this article, we’ll discover the 10 popular Roussanne wines, their tasting notes, and the best food to pair with them. We’ll also explore the vineyards and winemaking of Roussanne and check out its investment potential.

Further reading

What Is Special About Roussanne?

Roussanne Grapes

Roussanne originated in the Rhone valley and Isere valley in France.

The name Roussanne refers to the fruit’s russet-colored (roux in French) belly that appears on ripening.

This grape variety produces fantastic single varietal wines and is also blended with Marsanne to craft a variety of white Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, and Saint-Joseph wines in Northern Rhone. Besides Marsanne, Grenache Blanc, Chenin Blanc, and Viognier are its other blending companions.

Roussanne wine’s rich texture and full body, reminiscent of red wines, has inspired the creation of red Roussanne blends with Pinot Noir, Syrah, and other grapes.

Top 10 Roussanne Wines

Here are 10 exquisite bottles of Roussanne to buy in 2023:

1. 2001 Sine Qua Non Rien Ne Va Plus ( $1701)

2001 Sine Qua Non Rien Ne Va Plus

This lush, full-bodied, and well-balanced wine carries the richness of honey and well-integrated wood. Once in the glass, oxygen lightens its yellow color and adds a dramatic flair to the wine.

2. 2009 Alban Vineyards Estate Roussanne ($99)

2009 Alban Vineyards Estate Roussanne

This Roussanne is a richly textured wine with fruity notes, moderate acidity, and low minerality. The Alban estate, founded by John Alban, is exclusively dedicated to producing Rhone wine varieties. 

3. 2014 Ferraton Père & Fils Saint-Joseph Les Oliviers ($84)

2014 Ferraton Père & Fils Saint-Joseph Les Oliviers

This Marsanne-Roussanne blend has a nose of white flower, ripe white fruit, apricot, and white peach with a subtle hint of toast. It beautifully captures the palate's acidity, round tannins, and minerality.

4. 2014 Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Tempo Blanc ($231)

2014 Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Tempo Blanc

This wine of the Roussanne white variety greets the nose with a floral aroma of citrus and orchard fruit. The palate registers tasting notes of lemon pith, apricot, and pear skin with a remarkably long finish.

5. 2015 Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf-du-Pape Clos de Beauvenir Blanc ($107)

2015 Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf-du-Pape Clos de Beauvenir Blanc

This well-balanced wine has a  perfumed nose of honeysuckle, melon, orange blossom, and almond milk with hints of lemon. An exotic fruit and citrus-driven flavor profile delivers a bottle of incredible freshness.

6. 2017 Stolpman Vineyards Estate Roussanne ($30)

2017 Stolpman Vineyards Estate Roussanne

This dark-yellow bottle from the Ballard Canyon vineyard offers a bouquet of orange cream, melon, salted lemons, and a subtle hint of oak. It registers medium acidity and peach fruit notes on the palate.

7. 2018 Tablas Creek Vineyards Roussanne ($45)

2018 Tablas Creek Vineyards Roussanne

Here’s a Tablas Creek bottle that boasts powerful lacquered wood, honey, orange, and cardamom aromas. It has a pronounced caramel, honeysuckle, and ripe pear flavor with hints of sweet oak, fresh acidity, and a lingering finish.

8. 2018 Big Basin Vineyards 'Homestead Block' Roussanne ($51)

2018 Big Basin Vineyards 'Homestead Block' Roussanne

This beautifully textured Roussanne is packed with flavors of apricot, dried flowers, tangerine oil, and honeysuckle.

9. 2019 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Roussanne Vieilles Vignes ($165)

2019 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Roussanne Vieilles Vignes

This rich, full-bodied Roussanne has a complex pear, white flower, and honeysuckle nose with zingy acidity and marzipan notes on the palate. 

10. 2019 Domaine Raymond Usseglio & Fils Chateauneuf-du-Pape Pure Roussanne ($84)

2019 Domaine Raymond Usseglio & Fils Chateauneuf-du-Pape Pure Roussanne

This is a beautifully textured wine with balanced acidity and good minerality. The well-balanced wine boasts tangerine, peach, spice-box, and brioche flavors.

Mouthwatering Food Pairings With Roussanne

Roussanne Wine Pairing

Roussanne wine pairs exceptionally well with Asian cuisine, roast chicken, cream sauces, pork, and veal. It is also a worthy companion to seafood dishes like shellfish, crab, cob, and lobster. 

You can also enjoy traditional French dishes like the bouillabaisse with a glass of Roussanne. 

Investing In Roussanne-Based Wines

Roussanne Vineyard

If you’re looking to invest in collectible Roussanne-based wines, visit the Vinovest website.

Vinovest is a trusted AI-driven wine investment platform that lets you buy, store and sell wines from around the world with just a few clicks.

You can relish a bottle of Roussanne in its youth or after cellaring for a decade or two. A few years into its youth, the wine enters a phase where it loses its flavors before developing more complex flavors towards the end of the cellaring period.

Some Roussanne bottles have shown commendable price appreciation:

  • The price of Sine Qua Non-Suey Roussanne TBA increased by over 74%, from $1,860 to $3,243 between 2020 and  2021.
  • The 2007 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Roussanne Vieilles Vignes appreciated by 95% from $100 in 2020 to $195 in 2021.

Roussanne has also been a great performer at wine auctions. For instance, in March 2016, at a Christie’s auction, a lot of one magnum and three bottles of Sine Qua Non, The Hussy Roussanne Assortment 2000 was sold for $1,178.

These exquisite wines are a favorite among wine critics too:

  • 2001 Sine Qua Non-Rien Ne Va Plus was awarded 96 points by Wine Advocate.
  • Wine Advocate also awarded 90 points to the 2018 Tablas Creek Vineyard Roussanne.

Roussanne Vineyards And Winemaking

Roussanne region

The Roussanne white wine grape is grown in vineyard plots with warm terroirs and stony, calcareous clay soil. It is native to the northern Rhône Valley in France and produces both still and sparkling wines. 

Outside Rhone Valley, the Roussanne grape is popular in Southern France, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States (Central coast.)

The late-ripening Roussanne grapes are susceptible to wind damage, powdery mildew, and quick rot in the vineyard.

Harvesting Roussanne grapes is also a challenge. Early harvest produces highly acidic wines, while late-harvested grapes result in wines with elevated alcohol levels (above 14%.) 

Also, as Roussanne is prone to oxidation, it requires careful monitoring during winemaking.

The different stages in its winemaking are:

  • The harvested Roussanne grape clusters are first pressed to extract grape juice.
  • The wine is fermented with yeasts in oak barrels or steel tanks. Some Roussanne wines are also subjected to six months of malolactic fermentation to preserve their freshness.
  • After fermentation, the wine is aged either in oak or steel barrels. While oak elevates the wine flavors, steel enhances its minerality.

Enjoy A Glass Of Rich, Exquisite Roussanne!

Roussanne Wine

The incredible flexibility, rich flavors, and floral aromas of Roussanne continue to inspire new varieties and blends. 

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