Andrew Rich makes his wine at the Carlton Winemakers Studio, the nation's first "green" cooperative winemaking facility. Carlton is also home to Dominio, Penner-Ash, Soter, and Ponzi. Each winery shares the studio's state-of-the-art equipment--including the building itself, a gravity-driven system that's registered with the US Green Building Council.
Before he became an artisinal winemaker, Rich worked years as a magazine editor. A restless soul, he eventually grew fed up with being tied to his desk, so in the 1980s, he quit his job and enrolled in a winemaking program in Burgundy.
Ironically, it was while Rich was living among the world's most renowned Pinot and Chardonnay plots that he fell in love with the white varietes of the Rhone: Roussanne and Marsanne.
When Rich finished school in France, Bonny Doon's Randall Grahm hired him to put his expert knowledge of Rhone varieties to use--as a "cellar rat." This was back when Grahm was pioneering the production of Rhone varieties in California. Rich soon proved himself, however, was and eventually put in charge of making Rhone-style wines in Bonny Doon's second cellar.
In 1994, after overseeing Bonny Doon's Rhone variety production for five years, Rich moved to Oregon to participate in the state's burgeoning wine industry, start his own winery, and "give Rhone varietals a particularly Northwest spin."
The superb 2005 vintage showcases just how successful this "Northwest spin" can be. This wine's fruit comes from the Columbia Valley, a sliver of which dips down into Oregon from Washington. As Steve Tanzer put it, this area "has enjoyed a succession of warm vintages in recent years, and it's quite likely that 2005 will turn out to be the best of them. In recent months I tasted some excellent white wines from this near-ideal growing season without extreme heat. . . . There was no mistaking the excitement of producers, many of whom told me that 2005 was a potential five-star vintage."
Sourced from Ciel du Cheval and Alder Ridge vineyards, the 2005 Andrew Rich Roussanne was fermented slowly in neutral French oak, remaining on the lees until bottling in August of 2006. The nose reveals scents of flowers, honey, minerals, and stone fruits, while the palate is rich, structured, and somehow elegant all at once. This is Rich's fourth vintage, and he says that "Texturally, I think this is my finest to date." Drink now, and enjoy this with with rich, complex dishes.