2009 Chateau du Trignon Roussanne $16: Straight retail price at Mt Carmel in Hamden, CT. This is what makes wine obsession worthwhile. A beauty, neither heavy or light, it lingers with the claims about Roussanne we love: honey, almonds, lavender and elegance. I store this with my collectibles. We’re finishing our second case. It gets better in the glass, tastier as the bottles evaporates. This hails from its native soil, the southern Rhone, near Gigondas. Typically one gets blends from France, because growers detest this grape; not because it’s hard to grow, but because it ripens so unevenly. I mean, who wants to go through all that effort for a $15 wine? Nothing under $20 tastes better. Nada. Two Mice.
The next three were all snagged at the Wine House in West LA [ed. no doubt from the closeout bin!].
2009 Maison Bleue Jaja White $15: I’m sure the wine maker is a nice person. S/he probably thought there was something smart about blending Roussanne with Chardonnay (68% Roussanne, 27% Chard, 5% Marsanne). But I wonder if anyone thought about tasting it before asking for $19? A truly addled beverage. The Chardonnay acts as a psychotropic drug, giving the Roussanne a sense of agoraphobia. The Rousanne is afraid to leave the glass as Mother Chard tells it what to wear, how to speak, and whom to date. No Roussanne apparent. The Marsanne laughs in the background. Awful wine. Cooked with it next day. Too bad, as I’m usually bullish on Washington wine. Jaja means ‘everyday wine’ in France. April 31st, perhaps. The disaster comes from Maison Bleue winery in Yakima Valley. Lesson here: if you’re not Australian, skip the exotic blends. If you’re Australian, I’m jealous because you guys are always too darn happy. 14% No Mice!!
2010 Holus Bolus Blanc $18: 100% Roussane. OK, here’s the deal. This comes from the McGinley Vineyard in Santa Ynez’ Happy Canyon AVA. It USED to be called Westerly Vineyard. What??? Did someone get tired of La Tache and decide to call it something else? Is Erdener Treppchen now Erdener Mueller? Californians want us to believe that vineyard origin is important, so we will pay a heftier price. Note that most New World wineries don’t play this game of exalted terroir. I wouldn’t care if I could cook with this wine. First sip, pretty good. Second sip, the same. Thirty minutes later, you have Paul Masson sherry. Oxidation nation. Yech. Save your $18! No rodent.
2009 Stolpman La Coppa Blanc $19: This is the entry level of Stolpman’s typically terrific Roussanne offerings and it’s not bad. Ten percent of Viognier, with its low acid, complements the bottle nicely. Of course, Sashi’s L’Avion is on another level (reviewed last time). But for $19, about half the price of L’Avion, this will do. This is a good winery that stays on the mark. The vineyard is the Ballard Canyon Road, a scenic wonderland. One mouse.
2008 Alta Colina Claudia Cuvee Paso Robles $28: Very good effort from Paso. [ed. tBoW reporting]. Picked this blend off the first sips which is a good sign because it means (1) Field Mouse is having a positive impact on tBoW and (2) the blend is working well: 58% Marsanne, 215 Rousanne and 21% Grenache Blanc. Peachy flavors. Floral nose. No almonds or lavender but still quite tasty. Small production at 248 cases. Serve chilled. Check out the funny home video with the winemaker. 14% 1.5 Mice.