2009 Renard Roussanne, Santa Barbara, Westerly Vineyard
What Chardonnay Wishes It Could Be!
A few years ago the highly esteemed wine writer Hugh Johnson visited The French Laundry and consumed my Roussanne, not one bottle, but two! These of course were half bottles, but none the less, this was quite a compliment for me. Since then, I have tried to throttle back the ripeness of the wine, so I'd be curious how he would receive the wine now. Over time I've discovered I greatly appreciate the more restrained elegant wines as they always draw me back to the glass to further ponder and enjoy the flavors and textures within it. In addition, I strongly believe I must avoid picking over ripe as it destroys any sense of place or for that matter, varietal expression. Based on these conclusions I harvested the Roussanne at least 10 days prior to what I would normally harvest, thus ensuring a far brighter, more floral and vibrant expression. I followed this with a fermentation and aging strictly maintained in stainless steel barrels (no, not tanks, barrels!). While I enjoy the use of oak in some wines, I wished maintain the purity of the expression of both Roussanne and the McGinely Vineyard in Santa Ynez. The result is an elegant, refined wine that creates a floral and mineral juxtaposition. As always, I feel this is one of the better food wines out there when done correctly.