Andrew Rich Wines 2014 Roussanne

Bringing the Rhône to Oregon

When professional athletes are washed up, they wind up on ESPN talking about their sport. For Andrew Rich, his path to winemaker went the other way – he was the well-respected editor of a wine column for a national magazine when he decided to give it all up and enroll in a winemaking school in Burgundy. Before long, he was in love with the wines of the Rhône valley just to the south – Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Roussanne, Viognier, and the famed Châteauneuf-du-Pape blends.

Back in the US, Andrew landed a job with quirky California winery Bonny Doon – also famed for its Rhône-style varietals. After five years, looking to start his own label, he accepted an invitation from an Oregonian who was at that same French wine school.

In Oregon, Andrew discovered something extraordinary – not only is the Willamette Valley a great winemaking region, it was also within a three-hour drive to Rhône varietals in the Columbia Valley.

Before long, Andrew was making a name for himself – as the first in the Willamette Valley to bring in Grenache and those Rhône grapes. Two decades later, he’s a star in the Oregon wine world.

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Andrew Rich Wines, Carlton, Oregon
2014 Roussanne

Roussanne is a rare grape to find on its own. It is far more typically blended with Marsanne, and sometimes Viognier.

I’m excited to be featuring this Roussanne from Andrew Rich – one of the wines that inspired my wine journey. It’s one of Andrew’s favorite wines as well – a passion project that keeps him making it for decades despite the challenge of selling an unknown varietal.

Andrew still adheres to the old-school winemaking techniques that he learned in France – whole clusters of grapes, no additives, and leaving wine to age for 18-20 months in mostly neutral barrels. This is original, European style winemaking at its best. Recently asked what new techniques he was experimenting with, he answered: “New techniques? Pfft.”

Picked early during a very warm vintage, this Roussanne is more old world than new. The classic notes of white flowers, honey, and wet stones are all there and the flavors are well integrated with a wonderful texture that lends itself to heavier dishes. This is an all-season white and is especially good with crab, scallops, and charcuterie.

A Cellar 503 selection in September 2018, Back to school: Unusual Varietals Columbia Valley | Roussanne

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