Y. Rousseau’s Colombard is called “old vines,” but it could also be called “only vines,” as the vineyard sourced for these white grapes is one of the last of just two or three remaining sites planted to Colombard in the Russian River Valley. There was a time in California’s history when Colombard was the number one grape grown, predominantly in the Central Valley, where it was used to produce “easy drinkers” (aka jug wine), as well as add a crisp acidic backbone when blended with other white varietals. Oh how times have changed. Even in the grape’s native Gascony the Colombard vineyards are dwindling, as its prone to powdery rot and mildew. So, suffice it to say, Yannick was pleased to find these old vines growing in his new Northern California wine country home. And, like the passionate professional he is, he pays due respect with his expression of this lesser-known grape variety.

Learn more about the Colombard grape.

About the Wine: The Y. Rousseau 2016 Old Vines Colombard is made from 100% Colombard grapes harvested from 45-year-old (as of the 2016 harvest) vines from a dry-farmed vineyard in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley AVA. The grapes went through a 7 hour skin contact maceration. The wine then aged sur lies for 4 months in mixed stainless steel (85%) and neutral French oak (15%).

ABV: 12.5%

Flavor Profile: Deep breath in and immerse yourself in the freshness of apple, lychee, and white nectarine. Visually, the Y. Rousseau 2016 Old Vines Colombard is a just off-white, champagne-like hue on the pour and in the glass. Initial aromas — let me just say you can’t not smell this wine, even on the pour — are at first the same as what the bottle revealed. But swirl and release all kinds of floral aromas, most reminiscent of a bouquet of fresh daisies, complete with pollen, stems, and leaves. Fruit aromas are more akin to stone fruits than before — yes, there’s that white nectarine and add to it some soft mango and raw macadamia nuts. There’s a very thin line of acidity that runs through all these scents, but there’s no denying that the white floral perfume is dominant on the nose.

The palate of the Y. Rousseau 2016 Old Vines Colombard is surprisingly sour, but all-together quite smooth. The initial sensation is like licking a lemon, but this quickly dissipates. Primary flavors are of mango sorbet, rambutan, dragonfruit, grass, and ground cardamon.

I have to add at this point that, despite these fruit-filled flavors and that initial salivation, this is actually quite a dry white wine. The finish is clean, leaving just a subtle aftershock of a sensation around the palate, but no actual lingering aftertaste.

Note: Serve this wine just slightly chilled to enjoy all these textures and aromas, with the added enjoyment of a little effervescence along with that primary palate.

Food Pairing: This wine makes a great aperitif, as it’s full of great aromas and flavors, but leaves the palate so clean and dry. However, because it basically leaves the palate at ground zero, this also makes the wine quite versatile and perfect for almost any style of cuisine. But on a hot summer’s evening, on a Friday night, I enjoyed the Y. Rousseau 2016 Old Vines Colombard with a homemade pizza.

More Info: I received the Y. Rousseau 2016 Old Vines Colombard as a sample for review. (Cheers Yannick and Olga!) Retail: Currently Sold Out. For more information and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Y.Rousseau website.

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