Monday, March 19, 2012
2004 McCrea Roussanne!
2004 Roussanne A Sleeping Beauty has Been Kissed (by Doug McCrea)
It’s difficult to believe we are releasing a dry white wine that has been in the bottle for 6½ years. But the truth be known, Roussanne has a “dark side” that not many wine lovers realize and possibly only a few wine stewards know.
Historically, our Roussanne is released a few months following bottling and consumed shortly thereafter or almost always within one to two years. Few realize Roussanne’s quirky nature to practically drop dead in the bottle, then to rise like the Phoenix years later.
This is not news in Hermitage, one of the Northern Rhône’s finest appellations, nor in the renowned Southern Rhône’s Châteauneuf du Pape. The phenomenon has been observed for centuries. A few years ago it was a prominent subject of a winemaker’s seminar dedicated to Roussanne, which I attended at Tablas Creek, the sister winery to the legendary Château Beaucastel.
Truthfully, no one knows exactly why the wine exhibits a “dumb phase,” often for many years in bottle, before reappearing with an intense and beautiful bouquet of caramel, cream, roasted nuts and candied apricot.
Not unusual for my sense of curiosity, I had to find out what would happen if I tried it myself! So we allowed about 70 cases to linger in storage until now, a result of experiencing the wine closing down after only about one year in bottle. It was a gamble no doubt, but one that has paid off.
Typically, Roussanne re-emerges like a forgotten treasure in around seven to eight years. Well, that’s where we find ourselves today as 2004 was precisely that long ago. What was once a gamble has turned into a wonderful little jewel, admittedly of which we’re very proud to offer our loyal customers.
To my knowledge, there has never been such a wine from Washington State, one exhibiting the great breed and lineage of Château Beaucastel and planted in the renowned vineyard, Ciel du Cheval on Red Mountain.
Written by Doug McCrea.