This wine is 100% Roussanne from the Bien Nacido Vineyard. These grapes come from a hillside block, five acres planted exclusively for Qupé in 1997, and also planted exclusively to the Tablas Creek Roussanne clone (which came from Chateau de Beaucastel).
Roussanne is a late ripening thin skinned variety. This combination leads to some rot in the vineyard every year. Our highly trained harvest crew sorts the grapes in the vineyard. As always, the fruit was whole cluster pressed and fermented, then aged exclusively in one year old Francois Freres Burgundy barrels, barrels that we used once for Chardonnay. Aged a total of 18 months in barrel, the first year on the lees in the one year old barrels, then racked and aged the last 6 months in neutral wood.
Powerful and heady is a most apt description of this wine. Aromas of pineapple, vanilla, honey, honey suckle, apple, pear and mango mix nicely with hard spice notes from extended barrel age. Mouth coating flavors of crisp apple, verbena tea and some citrus notes are found in each mouthful. The rich texture and well structured sugar/acid balance of Roussanne make it a food friendly wine. The 2012 will complement thick and creamy dishes accented with butter, nuts and slow cooked root vegetables such as parsnips, carrots, roasted turnips and rutabaga are lovely matches as are richer shellfish such as lobster, crab and scallops.
This is the best white wine that we make and by far the most expensive to produce, but the results are worth it! It's a baby now and I recommend aging it for another year for it to start to open up. If you are inclined to cellar our Roussanne like I do, you could put this down for 10-15 years and be greatly rewarded!
Review: Score 92 points - Vinous
"There's a lot to like in the 2012 Roussanne Bien Nacido Hillside Estate. Rich, oily on the palate and loaded with varietal character, the 2012 hits all the right notes. Yellow stone fruits, pears, honey, mint and exotic floral/earthy notes are all pushed forward in this impeccably layered white. The 2012 was done entirely in neutral oak." - Antonio Galloni