Rosemary is the first thing I think about when I'm reaching for Château Roquebrun's white wine. Rosemary is an odd spice in a white, but I think comes out of three different aspects of this wonderful blend from the Midi in Southern France.
The first aspect is the beautiful intensity of this wine. It is concentrated and full. There's a mouthfilling attack, much like biting into a fresh rosemary sprig.
Secondly, there's an herbaceousness on the palate that you can't deny. Descriptive record after descriptive record says that this wine presents a pleasurable grapefruit flavour, and I can't argue that. Citrus is there, but that astringency also reminds me of piny herbal notes.
Speaking of pines, the wood in this wine is not shy. It's oak barrelled, which is the third aspect I'm talking about because an extra jolt of tannin brings me back to that slightly woody rosemary feel.
What, you hate rosemary? Forget I mentioned it. Château Roquebrun Coteaux du Languedoc 2004 is a superbly balanced wine. There are yeasty notes, baked pear, plus a floral and mineral nose. It's amber to golden in colour. And a bracing vineux finish that reminds you what a remarkable value this really is. I guess what I want to say is that there is something for everyone in this bottle.
SMOOTH LIKE CHARD, REFRESHING LIKE SAUVIGNON
If you still need convincing, let me tell you about how easy it is to pair with dinner. I don't know much about the Roussanne that makes up 80% of this blend, but in this particular case it seems to shapeshift to suggest both classic Chardonnay and classic Sauvignon Blanc pairings.
I've had it with creamy sauces and straight-ahead fish dishes. Exotic cuisine is no trouble either. A mild chicken jalfrezi, with its luscious coconut and sweet pepper, is a match. The innate sweetness of the wine (I'd say it approaches semi-dry just because it's almost as sweet as a Chenin Blanc) is perfect for Indian food.
A composed lettuce salad topped by mounds of tuna and capers, sliced carrots, blanched onions and cubed potatoes is another way you could go. I like to boil a medium-dice of grelot potatoes in a heavily flavoured beef stock. Remove just as they become tender. Then throw in sliced onion for thirty seconds. Then I rip up a Boston lettuce and add to it a balsamic and rice vinegar dressing. Top it all off with the garnishes and voilà: a nice composed salad and this Château Roquebrun Coteaux du Languedoc 2004 is at your service.
(Thanks to Bill at Wine for Newbies for hosting this month.)
Cave de Roquebrun, Roquebrun, France. 13%.