Andrew Rich "Ciel du Cheval" Roussanne 2015
Andrew Rich has a long, storied, and circuitous career. From an epiphany while writing about wine for a New York City magazine, he set out to learn winemaking in Burgundy, which then led him to studying with the iconoclastic Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon in Santa Cruz for five vintages, where his love of Rhône wines cemented. With over twenty vintages under his belt, Rich's wines are a reference point of Pacific Northwest wines.
Roussanne is one of the noble grapes of the Rhône where, with its cousin Marsanne, makes rich (no pun intended), luxurious and fragrant styles of white wine. From Châteauneuf-du-Pape to Crozes-Hermitage, these grapes are responsible from the finest whites. This single-vineyard Roussanne follows this tradition, with peach, guava, pastry cream, dusty minerality, and dried herbs. It's a more sumptuous style – pair with herb-roasted chicken, pulled pork, or salty, fatty fish like herring with potatoes and herbed farmer's cheese.
The Ciel du Cheval vineyard is a remnant of an ancient glacial period – over the course of thousands of years this desert plain would flood, freeze, and flood again. The prehistoric deluges carved out the plains, ground boulders into dust, and brought mica from the Rockies. These "channeled scablands," as they're called, produced this vineyard and is revered by winemakers for its singular traits – it's easily considered one of the lodestars of Columbia Valley terroir.
Decadent, round, and oh-so food friendly, this white is a sure bet for the heartiest fare. Enjoy!