2018 Halcon Vineyards, Roussanne, Yorkville Highlands, Mendocino County.
The very first estate white from Halcon, the golden hued Roussanne is an exotic and low alcohol white that defies that by being lovely in texture, it reminds me of some of Yves Cuilleron’s Saint-Joesph and Crozes-Hermitage Blancs with a layered palate and an oily mouth feel. Paul Gordon, vigneron at Halcon, budded over a quarter acre block of his Syrah to Roussanne in 2017 and last year harvested just a tiny amount of grapes to make this wine, which shows some potential. Gordon notes that 2018 was a deceptively cool vintage at his Halcón estate and was marked by consistently cold nights, (and) as a result the grapes hang-time was extremely long, he picked the Roussanne nearly in November! The Halcon Roussanne shows the varietal is pure and classic form with a slight hint of oxidation, a rich body and phenolic bite with a touch of white flowers, cinnamon, anise and wet rocks on the nose before opening to apple butter, pear and fig along with a touch of lemon zest and steely mineral as well as lingering bitter almonds. Halcon makes some of the best wines for the money in California, I’ve really been thrilled with them and over the last few years they have even got better, it is one of the best mailing lists to join for great Syrah, the 2017’s are awesome, especially the Alturas (Cote-Rotie like) Syrah.
This wine was aged in a single neutral barrel, which helped add glycerin in this only 11.5% natural alcohol wine, plus a little extra which was fermented and aged in steel to add life and fresh detail. Fermented with native yeast. Gordon, a huge Northern Rhone fan, could not have been more pleased with his newest wine, loving the the classic nutty, butterscotch and waxy aromas that come through in this Graillot Crozes-Hermitage Blanc like offering. Gordon, who’s Syrah and Petite Sirah bottlings are some of the best in California and two of my favorite wines also added this Roussanne and a new Mourvedre to his tidy lineup of quality stuff, these limited production and hand crafted wines are exceptional values. This youthfully crisp and energetic example of Roussanne, gathers itself with air and adds that mentioned round oiliness. This unfined and unfiltered wine should develop nicely in bottle over the next 3 to 5 years. Gordon calls it a hypothetical cross between Beaucastel Blanc and Chablis, which might explain its presence in the mouth a little better, if not exactly in taste, this would be great with crab and or lobster dishes, will only 25 or so cases made it is a rarity. This organically farmed site with schist soils is one of the most unique and high elevation estates, with its great exposures and Pacific Ocean influences it is a stunning place from which amazing wines are born, don’t miss them.
($30 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive