Zaca Mesa Viognier 2009, Roussanne 2007, California
Cost: $20, 25
What: These two white wines are spectacular. They are the kind of white wines that red wine drinkers love.
The Viognier has a beautiful floral nose, with hints of honeysuckle. It has a crisp, clean taste with a smooth, silky feel. The beautiful fruit flavor is loaded with citrus and balanced by good acidity. The wine has an elegant feel to it.
The 2007 Rousanne is a super star. It is very complex, and takes some time to open in the glass, but when it does, look out. It has a full aroma of apricots, honey and spice. The luscious fruit is balanced by good acidity, leading to a long, lush finish with hints of minerals. This is a rich, full-bodied wine.
The Rousanne was a favorite at local tasting about 18 months ago, and it’s easy to see why.
A difficult grape to grow, less than 200 acres of Roussanne are planted in California. The result is worth the effort. After pressing and fermentation in French oak, this wine was aged for 10 months “sur lies” or with the yeast and solids left in the wine. This adds to the rich, creamy mouthfeel.
Don’t overchill these wines, and let them breathe for 15 minutes or so before drinking.
Winery: Zacha Mesa is located in the Santa Ynez Valley of Santa Barbara County. The winery is dedicated to estate-grown and bottled Rhone varietal wines. They hand craft their wines using traditional methods from grapes sustainably grown in their own vineyards.
The original property was bought by a group of friends in 1972, with the first vineyard planted in 1973. Many varieties were planted to see what would work. A winery was built in 1978 and expanded in 1981. By the early 1990s, the group decided that the Rhone varieties (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Viognier and Roussanne) were best suited for their property. Many vines were pulled out.
Over time the ownership group dwindled to one of the original partners. The winery has been family owned for almost 25 years.
The name comes from the land where the vines are planted. Zacha is the Native American word for restful, peaceful place. And Mesa is the Spanish word for table. They have many vineyards that are flat like tables.
Goes with: I had the Viognier with bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches, which is not a typical pairing. Sometimes I like to see how wine matches every day food. This time the pairing was terrific.
The Viognier was sweet and tart and stood up well to the crisp bacon and the acid in the tomatoes. It also would go well with roast chicken, turkey, light fish, oysters, sushi and creamy cheeses.
The Roussanne was a great match for lobster tails drenched in warm butter. The richness of the wine perfectly matched the richness of the lobster. It would go well with many dishes, from rosemary roast chicken to crab to cream sauces to hearty fish dishes to veal chops.
Author Bottle Report