We found some new Favorite Things among the over 100 wineries at the 15th Annual Rhone Rangers Grand Tasting event in San Francisco on March 25th. If you like varietals such as Roussanne, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc, Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Cinsault then keep reading to see which wines we suggest you look out for (including some great Rosés).
Incidentally, the guidebook from the Rhone Rangers was one of the best we’ve seen and made keeping notes incredibly easy so we could focus our energy on the wines. The booklet had names, addresses, phone numbers, and website information for each of the participating wineries, and even listed which wines would be poured, whether or not the winery was selling their wines during the event, and there were several lines for notes under each winery’s listing.
Favorite Wines at the San Francisco Rhone Rangers Grand Tasting
Andrew Murray Vineyards (Los Olivos, CA) – 2011 RGB (50% Roussanne, 50% Grenache Blanc)
Beckmen Vineyards (Los Olivos, CA) – 2011 PMV Grenache Rosé
Bonny Doon Vineyard (Santa Cruz, CA) – 2010 Le Cigare Blanc (55% Roussanne, 45% Grenache Blanc), 2011 Vin Gris de Cigare (73% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 8% Grenache Blanc, 5% Roussanne, 4% Cinsault), and 2007 Le Cigare Volant (60% Grenache, 32% Syrah, 4% Mourvèdre, 4% Cinsault)
Cline Cellars (Sonoma, CA) – 2010 Mourvèdre (Ancient Vines)
Domaine de la Terre Rouge (Fiddletown,CA) – 2009 Enigma (44% Marsanne, 29% Viognier, 27% Roussanne)
Epiphany Cellars (Los Olivos, CA) – 2010 Grenache Blanc
Halter Ranch Vineyard (Paso Robles, CA) – 2011 Rosé (44% Grenache, 28% Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre, 8% Picpoul Blanc)
Lagier Meredith Vineyard (Napa, CA) – 2011 Rosé of Syrah
Meyer Family Cellars (Yorkville, CA) – 2011 Rosé of Syrah
Mounts Family Winery (Healdsburg, CA) – 2009 Estate Grenache
Petrichor Vineyards (Santa Rosa, CA) – 2010 Les Trois (84% Syrah, 16% Grenache)
Proulx Wines (Paso Robles, CA) – 2011 Rosé of Grenache
Qupé (Los Olivos, CA) – 2009 Bien Nacido Hillside Estate Roussanne
Ridge Vineyards (Healdsburg, CA) – 2010 Buchignani Ranch Carignan
Sheldon Winery (Santa Rosa, CA) – 2010 Vinolocity Blanc (50% Viognier, 25% Roussanne, 25% Grenache Blanc)
Tablas Creek Vineyard (Paso Robles, CA) – 2010 Grenache Blanc, 2010 Cotes de Tablas Blanc (54% Viognier, 30% Grenache Blanc, 8% Marsanne, 8% Roussanne), 2010 Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc (60% Roussanne, 35% Grenache Blanc, 5% Picpoul Blanc), 2010 Patelin de Tablas (39% Syrah, 36% Grenache, 22% Mourvèdre, 3% Counoise), 2010 Cotes de Tablas (46% Grenache, 39% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, 5% Counoise), and 2009 Esprit de Beaucastel (40% Mourvèdre, 28% Syrah, 27% Grenache, 5% Counoise)
Favorite Food at the San Francisco Rhone Rangers Grand Tasting
The food provided at the Rhone Rangers Grand Tasting wasn’t substantial. However, it did provide an opportunity to try samples from 28 different food purveyors and these vendors were our favorites:
Bert’s Desserts (Petaluma, CA) is a quality confectioner, and our favorites were the White Chocolate Lemon Cream Truffle, the Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups and the Dark Chocolate Covered Roasted Almonds.
Fra’ Mani Handcrafted Foods (Berkeley, CA) is a respected producer of salumi and their Roasted Pork was absolutely divine.
Hottie Biscotti (Firebaugh, CA) has some interesting flavors and we were most impressed by their Orange Almond, Lemon Blueberry and Pineapple Coconut biscotti.
Jade Chocolates (San Francisco, CA) is an artisan chocolatier with some tasty combinations. They had multiple products at the Tasting, but our favorites were the Orient Espresso (bittersweet and milk chocolates, espresso, and cardamom), Krakatoa (bittersweet chocolate, black pepper, and lemongrass), and Mahal (bittersweet chocolate, ylang ylang, cinnamon, and coconut).
The San Francisco Rhone Rangers Grand Tasting is the largest American Rhone wine event in the United States and The Rhone Rangers is America’s leading non-profit organization dedicated to promoting American Rhone varietal wines. The Rhone Rangers will be conducting other Grand Tastings in 2012 and you should attend one of them if you like rhone varietals (and you may be able to try some of the wines we mention above). On June 3, the Rhone Rangers Los Angeles Tasting takes place at Vibiana in Los Angeles. On November 7-8, the Rhone Rangers New York City Tasting is at City Winery in SoHo. For more information, head on over to the Rhone Rangers website.