Wine By Grape Variety | Roussanne
Roussanne is a white wine grape variety and one of the most important white varieties grown in France's Rhône Valley. It is a tricky grape to cultivate as it is difficult to ripen, notoriously prone to rot and is a particularly low yielder.
Roussanne's name comes from its russet-coloured skin and it produces richly aromatic wines, often with fruit characteristics of lime and blossom. In the northern Rhône it is typically blended with the white Marsanne grape to produce the white wines of Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, Saint-Joseph, and Saint-Péray. Generally, the Marsanne grape is the dominant partner as it lends colour, body and weight to the blend, as well as richly scented fruit, while Roussanne contributes bouquet, delicacy and finesse.
The grape is grown less extensively in the southern Rhône although it is one of the permitted grape varieties in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. There are plantings of Roussanne in the Languedoc-Rousillon wine region of France and in the last decade the grape has been cultivated with particular success in California, where it is produced both as a single varietal and as a component of Rhône-style blends.