Roussanne is a white wine grape, commonly blended with Marsanne, that is the principal component of the white wines from the Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Crozes-Hermitage and Saint-Joseph appellations of the Rhone Valley. In the southern Rhone appellation of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Marsanne is one of the six varietals allowed in making the white version of this wine and may also be added to the red version of Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
The aroma of Roussanne is often reminiscent of a flowery herbal tea. In warm climates, Roussanne produces full-bodied wines of richness, with flavors of honey and pear, while in cooler climates it is more floral and more delicate, with higher acidity. In many regions, however, it is a difficult varietal to grow because of its susceptibility to mold problems.
Wines made from Roussanne are characterized by their intense aromatics which can include notes of herbal tea. In their youth these wines show more floral, herbal and fruit notes, such as pear, which become more nutty as the wine ages. When bottled as a single varietal, Roussanne pairs well with acidic or slightly acidic, medium-bodied dishes; the warmer climate Roussannes, on the other hand, tend to be less acidic and pair well with more savory dishes.
Roussanne pairs well with shellfish, heavier fish, chicken, pork and veal with acidic sauces for the southern Rhone white wines and more savory sauces for the warmer climate Roussannes.
Cheeses that go well with Roussanne include herbed Boursin, Bucheron, Dry Jack, sheep-milk Feta, Gouda, Havarti, Mahon, Pave Affinois and Raclette.