Maison Brotte Domaine Barville Roussanne 2017
This exclusive cuvee is cultivated from a vineyard area of only 0.65ha (1.6 acres). The fruit is harvested at full maturity and entirely by hand very early in the morning. De-stemming and gentle pneumatic pressing follow. The juice is left to settle, and then ferments two weeks in new French oak barrels in which ageing takes place during 8 months, on lees , and with regular stirring.
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There are just over 200 cases of the 2017 Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc Roussanne, sourced from a limestone-rich parcel in the Beau Renard lieu-dit. Mostly barrel fermented and aged in new oak, it's a full-bodied, luscious wine that some tasters may find too rich and too ripe (I certainly found that to be the case last vintage). This year, in addition to the honeyed waves of tropical fruit, pineapple and tangerine, there's a zesty edge of citrus that helps drive the wine forward and provides energy on the finish. It should drink well for 6-7 years, although why wait?
Located in Châteauneuf-du-Pape since 1931, the Brotte family own 3 exceptional estates in the Southern Rhone Valley. Here, Grenache is king and flourishes with its expressive fruit and is masterfully blended with Syrah and Mourvedre to add freshness and structure. Focused on protecting the environment, all Brotte Family estates are certified Sustainable by the Terra Vitis organization. As well as estate-grown wines, Maison Brotte collaborates with other growers to produce top quality wines from other appellations, including Condrieu, Côte Rôtie, Gigondas and Côtes de Provence. Their entire portfolio is consistently highly rated by the industries top publications and always reliable.
Famous for its full-bodied, seductive and spicy reds with flavor and aroma characteristics reminiscent of black cherry, baked raspberry, garrigue, olive tapenade, lavender and baking spice, Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the leading sub-appellation of the southern Rhône River Valley. Large pebbles resembling river rocks, called "galets" in French, dominate most of the terrain. The stones hold heat and reflect it back up to the low-lying gobelet-trained vines. Though the galets are typical, they are not prominent in every vineyard. Chateau Rayas is the most obvious deviation with very sandy soil.
According to law, eighteen grape varieties are allowed in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and most wines are blends of some mix of these. For reds, Grenache is the star player with Mourvedre and Syrah coming typically second. Others used include Cinsault, Counoise and occasionally Muscardin, Vaccarèse, Picquepoul Noir and Terret Noir.
Only about 6-7% of wine from Châteauneuf-du-Pape is white wine. Blends and single-varietal bottlings are typically based on the soft and floral Grenache Blanc but Clairette, Bourboulenc and Roussanne are grown with some significance.
The wine of Chateauneuf-du-Pape takes its name from the relocation of the papal court to Avignon. The lore says that after moving in 1309, Pope Clément V (after whom Chateau Pape-Clément in Pessac-Léognan is named) ordered that vines were planted. But it was actually his successor, John XXII, who established the vineyards. The name however, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, translated as "the pope's new castle," didn’t really stick until the 19th century.
Full and silky in body but also charmingly crisp, Roussanne is native to the Rhône Valley of France. It is responsible for some of the finest Northern Rhône white wines. Roussanne adds richness and acidity to Marsanne’s soft, fruitiness, making age worthy and highly respected whites. Somm Secret—Roussanne takes its name from the French word, roux, meaning rouge or red because of the berry’s pink glow. In California, virtually all of the 339 acres of Roussanne come from true clones brought over by Tablas Creek and John Alban.