Friend and colleague Andy Chalk organized a tasting of 12 Texas Roussannes this weekend and I was one of the lucky attendees. So far, I had only tasted Texas Roussannes here and there when I went out to dinner in Dallas restaurants but I do remember thinking a couple of times whether Roussanne could actually be the grape variety for Texas.
At today’s tasting there was great variability, both among the styles and the quality levels. A few wines showed way too low levels of acidity turning them into super-round, weighty blobs on the palate, and two of them had disturbingly high phenolic bitterness in the finish. On the other hand, there were some that were fresh and enticing, perfect accompaniment for fuller flavored seafood dishes. You could easily replace a mediocre New World Chardonnay with a decent Texas Roussanne and be the happier for it.
Below is what I liked.
2012 Arche, Vintner’s Reserve Oswald Vineyard, THP: Its most attractive aspect is the fresh, although not particularly high acidity combined with its ripe fruit. It has a slight oxidative character with dried apricots, dried hay, white tea leaves, apple cider and jackfruit. The presence of fruit is very well balanced with the complexity added by its oxidative notes; a waxy texture and a persistent minerality in the finish render it all the more interesting. (90 points)
2012 McPherson Cellars, Texas: A true to type Roussanne, with everything that is expected from this grape variety: nectarine, honeysuckle, orange blossoms, herbal tea and almond notes, a granite-like minerality in the finish and the signature waxy texture of Roussanne. This one wins the palates by its freshness of fruit and medium plus acidity. I would serve this as a benchmark Texas Roussanne for an out-of-state guest. (88 points)
2012 Barking Rocks, Oswald Vineyard, THP: If you have some seared scallops to pair, this is your wine. Cider, hazelnut, dried apricots, and honey notes on the slightly oxidative (in a good way) nose. The acidity is medium plus adding some freshness that is certainly something to be appreciated in a Roussanne. (88 points)
You can find a detailed discussion of the tasting and all the wines that were included at Andy Chalk’s CraveDFW article.