An Unlikely Entry - Beyond Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc: 2010 Andrew Rich Roussanne

Posted by Joe Salamone

An Unlikely Entry - Beyond
Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc
2010 Andrew Rich Roussanne
Northern Rhone Lands in Washington State

Today, we step way outside of our comfort zone. We move far from France, Germany, etc. and turn our sights to a Roussanne from Washington State.

Yes, in the name of variety, in the name of delicious, well-made, very well-priced wine (~$20), it seems like a good idea.

Andrew Rich's Roussanne is an unlikely offering, an unlikely grape for Washington State, and that's part of the fun of it.

Andrew Rich's 2010 Roussanne gives you the opportunity to move beyond Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Working in somewhat simple terms, Andrew Rich's Roussanne strikes a middle ground between these two grapes with some of the weight of Chardonnay and some of the zippy, mineral spine of Sauvignon Blanc.

The fact is that when you work in esoterica like this, the wine has to speak for itself. It has to be twice as good as it should be; it has to overperform. It has to be bold enough to establish its own place in the market. There's no easy umbrella, like "Washington State Bordeaux blend" or "New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc," to help the wine sell itself.

Basically, this all means that the wine has to be very good.

In this, Andrew Rich has succeeded, in spades. The 2010 Roussanne shows all the floral honey suckle notes associated with the grape, backed by a stony minerality. There's a beguiling aroma to the rich palate that's backed by a focused nervous acidity.

The push-pull of richness and zippy tension makes the wine an ideal complement to scallops and other seafood, though the wine is compelling enough to just drink on its own.

And oh yeah: Obscurity has its benefits. At just about $20, this is an exceptional value, with all the complexity and weight and rigor of many bottles twice the price.

To be honest, if it wasn't for a colleague, who had a bottle (and then, another one) and fell in love, we'd likely never have even known of the wine. The production here is so small that the estate basically sells it all locally. We had to do some work to bring this to New York.

Andrew Rich was lured to the northwest by two friends he had met in Beaune at enology school. Prior, he spent six years at Randall Grahm's Bonny Doon, one of the earliest champions of Rhone varietals in the New World. There Rich worked with Roussanne, amongst other things.

He felt that Roussanne would work well in Washington's climate. Nearly a decade later, he's been proven right. In the energetic 2010 vintage, his Roussanne offers a beautifully compelling take on this Rhône varietal.

Go beyond Chardonnay this summer - this is an unlikely wine, an unlikely offer... all the more compelling for its uniqueness. At this price, we expect to sell through our small parcel even though we're hoping to keep some for the shelves.

To order, please email us at or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits