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Domaine Sainte Rose Barrel Selection Roussanne 2011
The current journey is no less arduous. It began in 2002 when we, Charles and Ruth Simpson, bought the Domaine with an ambition to create outstanding wine. And we are ambitious people, each giving up high-flying careers to pursue our dream. And so far, so good, with a few bumps along the way. From our 33 hectare vineyard we have produced wines that have won critical acclaim. Jancis Robinson and Tim Atkins are but two of our admirers. You can read their reviews along with the wine medals we've won and plaudits received from other critics on the individual wine pages.
We're not ones to get into the often confusing and elevated language of wine making, but we do feel it necessary to mention our land, our terroir. The vineyard spreads from the clay/limestone soils found along the banks of the River Thongue up onto the gravelly soil of the plateau. We work entirely in the Vin De Pays or what is now Indication Geographique Protégé (IGP) system, which allows us to plant the grape varieties that we think you the customer wants. We classify all our wines as IGP Cotes de Thongue due to the situation of the Domaine right beside the river.
An extensive appellation producing a diverse selection of good-quality and value-priced wines, Languedoc-Roussillon is one of the world’s largest wine-producing region, spanning the Mediterranean coast from the Spanish border to Rhône. Languedoc forms the eastern half of the larger appellation, while Roussillon is in the west; the two actually have quite distinct personalities but are typically grouped together. Languedoc’s terrain is generally flat coastal plains, with a warm Mediterranean climate and a frequent risk of drought. Roussillon, on the other hand, is defined by the rugged Pyrenees mountains and near-constant sunshine.
Virtually every style of wine is made in this expansive region. Dry wines are often blends, and varietal choice is strongly influenced by the neighboring Rhône Valley. For reds and rosés, the primary grapes include Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre. White varieties include Grenache Blanc, Muscat, Ugni Blanc, Vermentino, Maccabéo, Clairette, Piquepoul and Bourbelenc.
International varieties are also planted in large numbers here, in particular Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In Roussillon, excellent sweet wines are made from Muscat and Grenache in Rivesaltes, Banyuls and Maury. The key region for sparkling wines here is Limoux, where Blanquette de Limoux is believed to have been the first sparkling wine made in France, even before Champagne. Crémant de Limoux is produced in a more modern style.
Full and silky in body but also charmingly crisp, Roussanne makes a stellar blending grape. Thought to be native to the Rhône Valley of France, and still predominantly grown there, it is responsible for some of the finest Northern Rhône white wines. Roussanne adds richness and acidity to Marsanne’s soft, fruitiness, making the age worthy and highly respected whites from the appellations of Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage and St.-Joseph. It has also earned approval as one of the white varieties for Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
In the Glass
Persistent aromas of exotic herbal tea, a full body nearly as complex as a red wine, and distinct apricot and honey flavors make Roussanne unique. With age, these wines gain a more oily or glycerin texture.
Richer fish dishes such as salmon, lobster, crab or grilled shrimp work well with Roussanne and its blends. A meal of roast chicken with herbs and winter vegetables is also delicious. Stuffed butternut squash, vegetarian curry and baked brie with apricots are other ideas to pair with Roussanne based wines.
Roussanne takes its name from the French word “roux,” meaning rouge or red because of the grapes’ pink glow. In California, virtually all of the 339 acres of Roussanne come from true clones brought over by Tablas Creek and John Alban.