Sunday, January 19, 2014

2009 Truchard Roussanne

liquid gold 
the scent of fresh cut wood -- maybe honey
lilies, caramel
rich, fatty texture -- a hidden acidity comes through at the end

What a very, very good wine, albeit perhaps not to everyone's taste at first. The opulent scent of altar flowers combined with a round, rich, almost syrupy mouthfeel and a finishing dryness make an unusual package. The roussanne is one of only a few white grapes used in the northern Rhône, particularly in three appellations contrôlées called St.-Joseph, Hermitage, and Crozes-Hermitage. In all these cases the word "Blanc" should follow, to distinguish the appellations' white wines from their more famed reds, which are all syrah-based. The other white grapes of the northern Rhône are viognier and marsanne; for quick reference as to their generally accepted ranking, think of viognier, roussanne, and marsanne as King, Queen, and Jack respectively. 

What meal do we pair with a roussanne? The cooking of the northern Rhone, exemplified in its nonpareil culinary capital, Lyon, seems to celebrate hearty country food like sausages or tripe -- see Madeleine Kamman's recipe for deep-fried tripe called "Fireman's Apron," "one of the glories of Lyon's cuisine" (The New Making of a Cook, pp. 909-910) -- and is altogether heavy on the onions, potatoes, and black pepper. Does imagining all that make us thirst for an unctuous, globulous wine of springtime lilies and caramel? Or do we think we might prefer a beer?

In any case we should recall that with this delicious Truchard roussanne we are in California, in the Carneros region of Napa. So perhaps for our meal we should be contemplating something Californian -- some sort of "fusion" or other.

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