2015 Venus Roussanne/Viognier

Blends

2015 produced a truly beautiful vintage for Roussanne, which makes up 97.5% of the Venus blend, while Viognier accounts for the remaining 2.5%. The fruit ripened slowly, which allowed for intense flavor development with a rather low potential alcohol. In fact, the Roussanne from Bennett Valley was the last to be picked in 2015, coming in 10 days after our last red grapes. As with the previous two vintages, the Roussanne is now sourced from two vineyards: Dry Stack Vineyard, which has been in the Donelan portfolio since our inception, and now the Vivio Vineyard, located across the street from Dry Stack. Although the distance between the vineyards is nominal, the two sites produce very different styles of Roussanne, which results in additional depth of character. Dry Stack makes up 60% of the Roussanne, and provides a full mid-palate with a flavor spectrum that hovers between beeswax, honeysuckle and Parmigiano-Reggiano. The Vivio Roussanne provides the remaining 40%, and contributes flavors of kumquat and white peach with a more delicate mouthfeel, freshness, and a linear finish.

The two Roussanne sites provide a strong base for the figurative icing on the cake, our beloved Kobler Viognier. The 2.5% of Viognier provides the bolt of electricity needed to bring this wine to life. We are thrilled with the finished blend and know that fans of Roussanne will be excited with this edition of Venus.

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Video Terroir

2014 Venus Roussanne/Viognier

Terroir

Sourced from Sonoma County, primarily from the cool Bennett Valley. We’ve seen Bennett valley create its own fog on a clear dewy morning, keeping the area quite cool on an otherwise clear day. Alcohols are excitingly and naturally low: usually less than 13% potential at harvest.

Blends Tasting Notes

2014 Venus Roussanne/Viognier

Tasting Notes

The 2014 vintage shows off these contrasts to the fullest. On the nose, the wine displays bright notes of orange zest and lychee nuts. A second wave of aromas illuminates the more savory side with white pepper, black tea and clove. On the palate, the wine opens with brightness and precision with a surprising fullness alongside fresh acidity that extends into the finish. This is a truly distinct white wine that, like many of our reds, is a classic food wine that can also shine on its own.

Terroir Past Vintages

2014 Venus Roussanne/Viognier

Past Vintages

2013

Our sites for Roussanne are in such cool spots that they continue to be the latest pick of the season, while remaining delicate in nature. The result is a classic duet of complexity and freshness, true to the Venus legacy. The decadence of the Roussanne is adorned with a small addition of Viognier. Both are fermented in neutral barrels and puncheons to display the pure prettiness of the fruit. The palate whispers with sophisticated white pepper and bright characters of key lime pie, fresh apricot, and orange zest.

Wine Advocate: 93pts

2012

This vintage gave us the chance to highlight the full flavors that Roussanne is capable of, even after a mere 10 months in barrel. Since working with the Roussanne from Drystrack Vineyard, we have never seen the wine so expressive so early on.

Due to the favorable growing conditions in Bennett Valley, the Venus jumps out of the glass with notes of lemon zest, meringue pie, and some classic savory components of white pepper and fennel. As with the past few vintages, the 2012 has just a small splash of Viognier, rounding out the nose and mouth with hints of orange blossom, ripe summer melon, and kiwi fruit. This wine delivers beauty and elegance on the palate with intriguing structure.

2011

Lower yields in 2011 and slightly warmer weather almost imperceptibly increased the complexity and richness of this wine. Still incredibly delicate, the aromas seem a bit richer with lemon rind and freesia combined with a touch of tropical fruit. Additionally there are hints of spice and almost nuttiness (no, there is no new oak!). The 2011 shines on the palate, if the aromas are a touch more closed, the mouth feel epitomizes Roussanne’s paradoxical ability: at once broad, rich, fresh, and low in alcohol.

Wine Advocate: 91pts

2010

Ripening in its slow, cool fashion, the Roussanne was harvested at a potential alcohol of 11.8%. The Roussanne being beautiful in its aromatics alone, we employed only a touch of Viognier to bring a final dimension to the aromatics along with a bit more depth to the mouth feel.

As has become typical of Donelan Venus, the 2010 epitomizes prettiness. It’s as if you are drinking delicacy flavored with the typical Roussanne aromas of beeswax, lemon rind, freesia, and melon. The wine is complexly flavored but with a dancing, fresh finish. 2010: another vintage that will be irresistible to uncork.

Wine Advocate: 90pts

2009

As with the 2008, the 2009 epitomizes prettiness. If you could drink delicacy, this would be a close approximation. This wine, with its aromas of beeswax, lily, and freesia, is complexly flavored but without the overbearing weight of a typical Roussanne. Dancing, delicate, and fresh, we hope this will be another wine that is irresistible to uncork.

Wine Advocate: 91-93pts

2008

The gorgeous 2008 Donelan Venus, a blend of 93% Roussanne and 7% Viognier, ranks alongside the great white Rhone Ranger blends produced by Manfred Krankl at Sine Qua Non. It offers a light green hue to its color, explosive aromatics of tropical fruits including lychee nuts, pineapples, and orange marmalade, excellent acidity, and superb richness. This dry, full-bodied, intense elixir’s alcohol is only 12%, which is hard to believe given the flavor intensity.

-Robert Parker

Wine Advocate: 94pts

Tasting Notes Video
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2014 Venus Roussanne/Viognier

Video

Past Vintages Blends