It’s been said that the secret to longevity for the French Gascon is Tannat. Bold and generous with dark fruits and sweet spices. Tannat is packed with anti-oxidants. Yannick is brave enough to make this unique varietal, be brave enough to try it. “All for Wine, Wine for All.”
“A lovely wine… well structured, with vibrant earthy, floral, stony flavors” - Erik Asimov, The New York Times
Excellent quality of the grapes and lengthy aging in the barrel and bottle have elevated the best qualities of Tannat: its complex aromatics, remarkable acidity, muscular and at the same time silky tannins, and solid structure. It’s a wine you can confidently age for years (Yannick gives a range of 15-25 years). The multi-layered nose has aromas of dark chocolate, coffee beans, licorice, spices, and dark small berries. On the palate, the wine is bold and intense and at the same time fresh and wonderfully juicy.
Tannat will go great with delicious meats with intense flavors: grilled beef steaks, lamb, duck, or game.
Vineyard and Winemaker’s notes
Tannat’s roots reach through the same French countryside as Yannick’s. As one of the Southwest of France’s hallmark red beauties, it hails from the Madiran region near the Pyrenees mountains. It was the first red grape variety Yannick worked with as an intern winemaker at Chateau Montus and Chateau Bouscassé, the top Tannat wine estates in the region. Grapes for our Tannat hail from the Alder Springs Vineyard near Mendocino, 12 miles east of the Pacific Ocean. Grapes “flourish in splendid isolation” in this remote, rugged, high elevation vineyard, quoting Eric Asimov who wrote about the vineyard (and our Tannat) in The New York Times.
This is the third vintage for our single-vineyard Reserve Tannat. As one of the Southwest of France’s hallmark red beauties, Tannat hails from the Madiran region near the Pyrenees mountains. It was the first red grape variety Yannick worked with as an intern winemaker in Madiran.
Appellation: Mendocino County
Vineyard: High 2,400 ft elevation on a south-facing slope. French clones of Tannat, medium-sized clusters, tight small berries with thick skins.
Winemaking: 3 days cold soaked, aged for 24 months in 85% new French oak barrels
Winery: Y Rousseau Wines
Owners: Yannick Rousseau
Location: Napa Valley, St. Helena
Y. Rousseau Wines is the realization of a dream that began long ago in the South-West of France and evolved as Yannick Rousseau, French native, founder and winemaker, followed his heart and passion for winemaking.
Yannick was born in the Gascony region in the South-West of France known for its delicious, rich food, daily wine consumption and impressive longevity of the inhabitants. His life-long journey in wine started when he was 5 years old and drank his first glass of homemade wine with Pépé, his grandpa. Pépé hunted his own food, made his own wine, and was an artisan butcher.
The first wine Yannick ever made was Colombard, a white variety native to Gascony. Yannick was then studying for his winemaking degree at Toulouse University and interning in Côtes de Gascogne. Not surprisingly, Colombard became Yannick’s ‘founding wine’ when he established Y. Rousseau Wines in Napa in 2008. Yannick was elated to find older Colombard vines in a small Russian River Valley vineyard. The dry, refreshing Colombard has been one of Yannick’s most popular wines since.
Tannat is another wine that Yannick first made in France. He was truly fortunate to work side-by-side with the French Tannat guru Alain Brumont, who enlightened Yannick on the art of blending and a perfectionist approach to winemaking. At Y. Rousseau Wines Yannick now makes not one, but two award-winning Tannats!
Dreams Come True
In 2008, Yannick and his Texas-born wife and accomplice Susan started Y. Rousseau Wines. Before getting there, Yannick honed his winemaking skills as an assistant winemaker at Newton Vineyards and later as a winemaker at Chateau Potelle Winery.
Yannick hadn’t planned to stay in California for a long time when he moved here from France. But he fell in love - first, with Napa Valley terroir and then, with his wife Susan. Together, they have put all their knowledge, experience, and passion in the Y. Rousseau project, crafting small-lot, artisanal wines.
Yannick stays deeply connected to his French roots. He will always remain the son and grandson of a farmer, home winemaker, and country butcher. His down-to-earth, respectful approach to the vineyard is obvious when you taste his wine.
AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, GA, ID, IN, IA, KS, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY
My wife and I were lucky enough to be LabRats for this wine. It arrived on Wednesday so we’ve had a couple of days to enjoy this bottle. It is a monster of a wine and still very young - even at 6 years of age. It has evolved nicely over the last 2 days and is still a big wine in the last glass we sip tonight. We have never had a Tannat wine before and it was a great learning experience as we delved into the grape.
This wine is big, young and amazing. It has one of the deepest colors of wine that I have ever seen. Deep inky purple is an understatement. The aromas on the nose show black fruit with some pepper. The first taste is tangy while full of dark plum, blackberry and raspberry with firm tannins. Notes of Vanilla, dark chocolate with a hint of licorice on the palate are then noticed.
I think that this wine has many years left. Drink now or hold, but definitely BUY!
@OrcasLance I think it’s more old world - but it’s a completely different wine than a Cab - different flavor profile. I get what you’re saying - Big and bold vs more refined… - this is Big, bold and refined…
@OrcasLance@vwsmaltz I would definitely agree with Big, bold and refined. It’s more of Old World wine because of the freshness, earthiness and very typical perfumy nose that reminds me of the very best Tannat made in the Madiran region.
I’ve got 3 3 3 1 1 1 in the spread sheet.
Delivery location is most always SD, unless you see "@<handle> or "via <handle>
It’s a bit freeform and I try to keep notes as best I understand.
We really do need those tools to keep track of when something gets shipped, ability for any/all involved in a split to receive shipping and tracking notice.
While nobody ever said this would be easy, it needs to be simplified and easier from the buyers’ standpoint. @arianawcc can give you the ss link, so you can appreciate the logistics and complexity from our end.
Nothing compared to what you do, but we’re the consumers, not the vendor. Needs some improvement, as many have said…
And a message board.
Posting like this $uck$, but the whispers get lost. @dave
We got to meet Yannick and his wife on the brick patio of a restaurant at the end of the 2014 RPM tour. They were offering tastings on top of a wine barrel. My (now) wife and I talked to them for a good half hour or so and they were genuinely nice, down-to-earth people.
I am still sitting on 4 of the 2012s of this wine so I am out for this deal but hoping for a sellout! Remember these 24 hr. deals usually are limited quantity, so better to buy first and ask forgiveness later!
@jhkey I’d put it more similar to a very bold petite sirah than a cab. I’ve had Tannat a couple of times and bought a bottle from Tablas Creek in Paso Robles that they were retailing at $65 from their tasting room IIRC back in 2011.
The rarity of finding a pure varietal in the US drives the price a lot I’ve found. Since the yields are low most wineries use it as a blending grape but a few are making pure bottlings.
I’m in for a case if any Houstonites want a couple of bottles to try and to hold.
@schristopher524 Are you a Western New Yorker? There are 4 or 5 of us who occasionally look for partners to split with, and we can be very accommodating with arrangements for handing off the wine, payment, etc. Also, I have free shipping.
You beat me to it @ddeuddeg! I was going to suggest to @schristopher524 that you might be interested and willing to assist in the transfer. I ordered a case, would like to keep 6, could take less or more depending on what others want. I’ll plan on diverting the case to a Fedex store near you, @schristopher524 I’ll plan on some for you too, what were you looking for?
@calvinko805 Hi! I would decant the wine for 2 hours. I would suggest a hearty meat lasagna dish, beef stew, lamb and short ribs! Hope this helps…Drinking window: now to 5-6 years will be The Musketeer’s peak! Enjoy…
At first, I wanted 2 bottles. A minute later I decided 4 would probably be better. As I was going to purchase, I figured I should probably get 6 bottles just to be safe. Then I did the math and ended up getting a case. SMH.
Make sure to let me know which retailer so I can never shop there, let me guess…Total Wine? I don’t know who else would have that much power over you. First time I’ve ever tried to buy wine in my wife that I couldn’t ship to FL.
@wmhatch@yannickrousseau it’s a no for me. Florida is a huge state and for one tiny little store to demand an exclusive agreement that interrupts online sales does not make sense. There’s a very small radius in which it makes sense to drive for exclusivity so I doubt it helps him and only hurts you as the winery.
@kaolis@wmhatch@yannickrousseau says the guy who can probably get a case. It’s one thing when it’s state regs but to have a store that could essentially be a 10 hour drive block a bunch of people from getting a wine. If I want the wine I have to go there and give that guy my money. No thanks.
I apologize for my lateness in this report. Let’s get to it shall we?
We received the bottle Wednesday and I waited until yesterday to open it. As I still consider myself a novice at detecting the nuances in wines, I enlisted my trusty in-laws to assist.
The first thing I noticed was absence of that initial smell of alcohol I’m used to when pouring immediately. I was pleased with the aroma, earthy and fruity. Deep purple in color, maybe closer to maroon. We were all unfamiliar with Tannat and the first sips caused mom and dad to pucker their faces (they really are overactors). Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a bad reaction, just unexpected. Tannin content is very high.
Because of schedule we did not have an opportunity to sit down to a meal, though we were able have a bit of chicken cooked with garlic sauce along with it. I enjoyed the wine by itself, even more with the chicken, however I think the chicken wasn’t enough. We all felt that we’d like a steak dinner with it. This is a big enough wine to go with any of our favorite meals. Big, Chewy, Bold were used as descriptors.
Dad commented that with a bit of decanting, this would go from a very good wine to an outstanding one. I agree as it improved quickly just sitting in our glasses for 10 minutes. This really is a good wine and I was considering getting two bottles, however I see Florida is not on the ship to list so I will have to sit out. So happy to have a little left at home for this evening.
Unrelated notes. This was my second ratting in less than a month. Very excited for that and thank you. Like the last one however, my notification email arrived many hours after the first delivery attempt and Fed ex is too far away for me to go after I get home and retrieve the tag left on the door. Could those emails go out earlier? I received a FedEx notification for a signature required delivery for the case ordered two weeks ago, however no FedEx notification for the sample bottles.
I’ve been looking here for something I can put at the bottom of my wine fridge and “remember” I have in five or six years. I’ve almost pulled the trigger a couple times. This one just hit me right. Can’t wait. I’ll try one right away of course.