Search Articles

Please Share

FacebookTwitterDiggDeliciousStumbleuponGoogle BookmarksRedditTechnoratiLinkedin


Most Read Articles

Favorite Wines from the Rhone Rangers Grand Tasting

The 12th Annual Rhone Rangers San Francisco event ended yesterday with a Grand Tasting held at the Fort Mason Center in the San Francisco Marina. It was an excellent tasting with more than 120 wineries from up and down the west coast pouring their creations based upon Rhone-varietal grapes

The Rhone Rangers is a non-profit, educational group focused on promoting American-made Rhone varietal wines. The group was established in the 1980’s and its members now include more than 200 wineries from California, Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

There are 21 Rhone grape varietals recognized by the Rhone Rangers. The principle white grapes include: Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne and Grenache Blanc. The other whites are Bourboulenc, Clairette Blanc, Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains, Picardin, Picpoul /Piquepoul Blanc, and Ugni Blanc. The most prominent red grapes are: Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre and Petite Sirah (Durif). The additional red varietals are: Cinsault, Carignan, Counoise, Muscardin, Picpoul Noir, Vaccarese and Terret Noir.

Most of the wineries were pouring at least four different wines. Some offered eight or more. Therefore, even with five hours to taste and a handy spit cup, it was impossible for me to taste even half of the wines on offer. But, I did my best to taste what I thought to be a representative sampling. I didn’t taste many wines from the Paso Robles area, because I attended a Rhone Rangers tasting specific to that area just a month ago. I’ll write about those separately on another day. I did try to hit wineries that are new or with which I was less familiar. 

Since I wasn’t able to taste every wine, there’s no black mark against those that I don’t call out for excellence here. I may well not have tasted the wine. So, please look at my comments as a recommendation as to what you should seek out and be aware that there are many other great wines out there. All wines listed below are in alphabetical order by winery (within each category)

The Top Whites

//" onclick="; return false;">Cass Winery 2008 Roussanne, $26

Crushpad 2008 White Blend Catie’s Corner, $35

Crushpad 2008 White Blend SaraLee’s Vineyard, $35

Epiphany 2008 Grenache Blanc, Santa Barbara County, $23

Epiphany 2007 White Blend, “Inspiration” Santa Barbara Country, $22

Treana 2007 White Blend, $25

Truchard Vineyards 2007 Roussanne, $20

Twisted Oak Winery White Blend “Ruben’s Blend” Calaveras County, $24

Outstanding Whites

Frick 2007 Viognier, Gannon Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley, $27, 160 cases

Halter Ranch Vineyard 2007 Viognier, $24

JC Cellars 2007 Marsanne, Preston Vineyard, $32

Michaud Vineyard 2006 Marsanne

Stage Left Cellars 2007 White Blend Central Coast, $34

Very Good Whites

Bogle 2007 White Blend, “Ghost du Blanc”, $18

Cass Winery 2008 Viognier 3.5, $26

Cedarville Vineyard 2007 Estate Viognier, $20

David Girard 2007 White Blend “Couer Blanc,” $22

Hagafen Cellars 2008 White Blend “Don Ernesto Collage,” $15

Holly’s Hill Vineyards 2008 Viognier, $20

Stark Wine 2007 Viognier, Damiano Vineyard, $25

Twisted Oak Winery 2007 Viognier, Calaveras County, $22

Top Bargains among the Whites

nsform: none; margin: 0px" class="paragraph_style_2">Epiphany 2008 Grenache Blanc, Santa Barbara County, $23

Epiphany 2007 White Blend, “Inspiration” Santa Barbara Country, $22

Truchard Vineyards 2007 Roussanne, $20

Hagafen Cellars 2008 White Blend “Don Ernesto Collage,” $15

Top Reds

Edmunds St. John 2005 Syrah “Wylie-Fenaughty” $25

Four Vines 2006 Syrah, One Tree Hill Block, Los Alamos Vineyard Santa Barbara County, $40

Four Vines 2006 Syrah, Killer Canyon Vineyard, Paso Robles $40

Four Vines 2006 Red Blend “Anarchy” $40

Inspiration Vineyards 2007 Syrah, Dry Creek Valley $29

Skylark 2006 Grenache, $26

Skylark 07 Syrah Rodgers Creek, $35

Skylark 2007 Syrah Stagecoach Vineyard

Stage Left Cellars 2006 Syrah “The Scenic Route,” Del Rio Vineyard, $38

Stage Left Cellars 2006 Grenache Nielsen Vineyard $48

Stage Left Cellars 2006 Petite Sirah Russel Family, $44

Outstanding Reds

Epiphany 2006 Red Blend “Revelation” Santa Barbara County, $35

Epiphany Petite Syrah Santa Barbara County, $25

Epiphany 2005 Red Blend “Gypsy” Santa Barbara County, $23

Four Vines 2006 Petite Sirah “The Heretic,” $40

Olson Ogden 2006 Syrah, Stagecoach Vineyard, $52

Skylark 2007 Red Blend “Las Aves,” $29

Stage Left Cellars 2005 Grenache

Very Good Reds

Four Vines 2006 Red Blend “Peasant,” $40

Olson Ogden 2006 Syrah Sonoma-Napa, $28

Olson Ogden 2006 Syrah Unti Vineyard, $38

Top Bargains among the Reds

Edmunds St. John 2005 Syrah “Wylie-Fenaughty” $25

Inspiration Vineyards 2007 Syrah, Dry Creek Valley $29

Epiphany Petite Syrah Santa Barbara County, $25

Skylark 2006 Grenache, $26

Skylark 2007 Red Blend “Las Aves,” $29

As always, this was a great event. Even the weather held up nicely. This is an event you should definitely attend if you can. It isn’t too expensive or over-crowded and there is a tremendous variety of really good wines.

This article is original to Copyright 2009 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, and information on events and more.

Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on Facebook.