Let’s put the Oh! in Organic! And Rousanne! And Marsanne..err.. o.


Ok, two out of three ain’t that bad. Unless, of course, you’re counting failures and not successes. In which case, you’re pretty bad.A bottle of Tablas Creek Vineyard 2005 Cotes de Tablas Blanc

But that’s a bit tangential, which, I’m sure, if you’ve read me before, you know is par for the course.

And, if you’ve read me before, you know my hatred for white wines, a hatred shared by the little woman.

So, it was with a bit of a groan that we read this months Great Grape Day choice: Marsanne and Rousanne. Well, ok, it wasn’t an immediate groan. We actually had to look up the grapes Rousanne and Marsanne on Wikipedia first. Then we let out a groan.

I’m sure I wasn’t alone amongst us when I had to scratch my head at the grapes. I’d never heard of them before, the girlfriend[1], from Napa no less, hadn’t heard of them. We were in a store when the mail came in, so we hustled over to the wine section, which isn’t great at this particular store, and started looking. Nothing was coming up, so, flash back to that Wikipedia search. I focused in on the Rhone Valley, so we started looking at the Rhones and obviously were coming up blank, since, well, as you know now, the wines are white, not red.

Once we found out they were whites, we started finding some wines. What we picked was a nice little organic wine from California, the Tablas Creek Vineyard 2005 Cotes de Tablas Blanc which I think is European for ‘You’ll pay 25% more if the label is in a foreign language’.

Unfortunately, this wine breaks my habit of doing a pure example of the target grape, being a 42% Viognier and 6% Grenache Blanc in addition to the 33% Roussane and 19% Marsanne. The reason I really wanted to try this wine was that it is an organic wine. I try to eat local and organic as much as possible. Some things, being here in the Pacific NW portion of the United States, aren’t available local, so we obviously have to branch out for non-local things, so we’ll do as much organic as possible and, surprisingly, we’ve never branched into organic wine, probably due to the fact that we don’t see that many out there, especially at an attractive price point (there is a local, organic winery but the prices are a little high for our regular drinking, hence the joy of Great Grape Day forcing us to try something).

Enough babbling. The grand question. How was it?

It was good. I dare say it was darn good. We both think we’d drink this again. Especially if it was under $10 which, unfortunately, it wasn’t. It has a wonderful melon nose, and a vague meaty taste. It is really the only word I could use to describe the taste. Have you ever had a Ground Cherry? It’s an interesting little fruit that has a vague berry feel and juicy taste to it, but there’s this over-arching taste to it that I could only describe as ’sausage’ (the little woman described it as ‘breakfast’). This wine has that same oddly vague ‘meaty’ taste to me. Sure, it has that same ‘white wine’ taste[2] that a white wine has, but there’s this… taste. It isn’t bad. Like I said, two white wine haters here actually liked enough to say ‘I’d buy that again’.
My biggest regret about this Great Grape Day? Not using:

  • a Roseanne joke (which is probably good, because I can’t actually come up with one)
  • a Roxanne joke (Rousanne…. you don’t have to drink up the red wine…. ROUUUUUUSANNE…)
  • a men are from Marsanne, women are from.. (yeah, that one breaks down at this point)

My regrets are your gains.
[1] No, I don’t have a girlfriend in addition to the fiance. It’s not like she stopped being my girlfriend when she said yes to the proposal, right?

[2] So, I am of the opinion that, excepting the dessert wines, there is this ‘taste’ that defines red wine vs. white wine. If you had two wines, both at the same temperature, and you were blind folded, you could tell the difference between the white and the red, despite the fact that the tastes of reds and whites vary wildly. Am I the only one who thinks that? Does it sound that insane?

Photo courtesy of Tablas Creek Winery.

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