Halliday reviewer Jane Faulkner makes a compelling case for the texture, flavour and food-friendliness of France’s Rhone white varieties, which are excelling around the country. Article includes words from Yangarra's Peter Fraser, as well as Louisa Rose (Yalumba) and Alister Purbrick (Tahbilk).
Read Jane's full article here.
On Yangarra Estate Vineyard and Roussanne:
Back in 2013, McLaren Vale’s Yangarra winemaker Peter Fraser made a trial roussanne using two 675-litre ceramic eggs. In one, the fruit was fermented on skins for 120 days and the other was made without skin contact. The final wine was a 60/40 blend of the two batches, with skin contact making up the majority. Peter took a risk in his approach to this wine, which is called Roux Beauté. “It has all that phenolic material and it’s such a textural white, so I wondered what would happen if you extracted all the tannins out of the skin and made it like a red wine, but managed the tannins, and enhanced the texture and flavour. It was scary making it, but fortunately it worked.”
Still using ceramic eggs, the 2015 Roux Beauté is again a 60/40 skin-contact dominant wine, this time spending 160 days on skins; it has morphed into an extraordinary wine. Roussanne often has aromas of herbal tea florals and poached pears, but it’s the texture and complexity that sets this wine apart. The Roux Beauté is one of two roussannes from Yangarra and both wines express their site as much as that wonderful varietal profile.
Peter admits his attraction to Rhone whites was based solely on grenache. “We believe grenache to be the pinnacle variety for the region. It’s not really scientific – we just thought if grenache does well, we should be looking at white varieties that grow with it [from its homeland]. So we delved into Chateauneuf-du-Pape.”
Under French wine law, the southern Rhone blend of Chateauneuf-du-Pape takes in a number of reds including grenache and allows six white varieties to be used: grenache gris and blanc, picardan, piquepoul blanc and gris, plus roussanne. “As roussanne was one of the more regal Chateauneuf whites, we thought we’d try that.” Initially, Peter took cuttings from nearby d’Arenberg and grafted them over in 2003. The first wine was made four years later.
Discover what's happening at Yangarra with news on wine releases and special events in and around the winery.