The next day started bright and early with the first seminar on white wines at 9:30 AM. [White wine – it’s what’s for breakfast, right?] John Alban complimented us all on making it to the seminar given what must have been a late wine-filled evening for everyone.
The white wine seminar was called Costieres de Nimes – A Southern Rhone Exception for Whites. Moderated by Jeb Dunnuck of The Wine Advocate, presenters were Michel Gassier of Vignobles Michel Gassier, Luc Baudet of Chateau Mas Neuf, Francis Collars of Chateau Mourges du Gres and Diane de Puymorin of Chateau d’Or et de Gueules, each speaker presented two wines from their respective wineries:
Chateau d’Or et du Gueules – 2015 Domaine de la Petite Cassagne, Blanc [Grenache Blanc, Rolle]
Chateau d’Or et du Gueules – 2015 Les Cimels, Blan [Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Rolle]
Chateau Mourgues du Gres – 2015 Les Galets Dores [Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Rolle]
Chateau Mourgues du Gres – 2013 Capitelles des Mourgues, Blanc [Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Viognier]
Vignobles Michel Gassier – 2013 Nostre Pais, Blanc [Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Viognier]
Vignobles Michel Gassier – 2013 Lou Coucardie, Blanc [Viognier, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc]
Clos des Centenaires / Mas Neuf – 2013 Compostelle Blanc [Roussanne, Viognier]
Clos des Centenaires / Mas Neuf – 2012 Armonio Blanc [Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Viognier]
I apologize if I have misspelled any of the names of the winemakers, wineries or wines. Admittedly, I need to work on my French wine knowledge. Also, please excuse the lack of diacritical marks in this entire series of articles.
I was unfamiliar with the Rolle grape – turns out it is what the Italians call Vermentino.
We loved the fruit, freshness and vibrancy of these wines. This region of the Southern Rhone is devoted primarily to red wine, so this gave us a unique opportunity to taste fairly rare wines from a region that has been producing wine for about 2,500 years.
The second seminar was right up my alley [and everyone else’s] – comparative tastings of Syrah and Grenache from the Central Coast, called A Tale of Two Treasures: Paso Robles and Santa Barbara. In this seminar, moderated by Matt Kettmann of Wine Enthusiast, two wines each were presented by Jordan Fiorentini of Epoch Estate Wines, Russell From of Herman Story Wines, Trey Fletcher of Bien Nacido Estate and Chris Hammell of True Believer from Hammell Wine Alliance. Yes, this was the same Chris Hammell that we had the chance meeting with the previous evening and he was as entertaining during the seminar as he was at dinner, along with all the other participants, which just helped to support the theory that the Rhone winemakers are the coolest of all the winemakers.
Bien Nacido Estate – 2011 Grenache [Estate, Santa Maria Valley]
Epoch Estate Wines – 2011 Grenache [Sensibility, Paderewski Vineyard, Paso Robles]
Herman Story Wines – 2013 Grenache [On the Road, Central Coast]
HWA True Believer – 2013 Grenache [Santa Maria Valley]
HWA True Believer – 2012 Grenache [Santa Maria Valley]
Bien Nacido Estate – 2013 Syrah [Estate, Santa Maria Valley]
Herman Story Wines – 2013 Syrah/Grenache [Larner Vineyard, Ballard Canyon]
Epoch Estate Wines – 2012 Syrah [Block B, Paderewski Vineyard, Paso Robles]
Although I am not much of a blind taster, in this case I wish we could have tasted these wines blind. It would have been fun to try to determine which were which. I’m pretty sure I could have picked out Jordan’s wines, since I am most familiar with hers. Regardless, this was red Rhone heaven.
It was getting closer to the Closing Tasting, but first it was time for lunch, prepared by Chef Brian Collins and his team from Ember restaurant, along with lots of Rhone wines to pair with the food. There was also a live auction.
The day was already a success and now it was time for the Closing Tasting!
Michael Perlis has been pursuing his passion for wine for more than 25 years. He has had the good fortune of having numerous mentors to show him the way, as well as a wonderful wife who encourages him and shares his interest. After a couple of decades of learning about wine, attending events, visiting wineries and vineyards, and tasting as much wine as he possibly could, he had the amazing luck to meet Eve Bushman. Now, as Contributing Editor for Eve’s Wine 101, he does his best to bring as much information as possible about wine to Eve’s Wine 101 faithful readers. Michael is also Vice President of Eve Bushman Consulting (fka Eve’s Wine 101 Consulting) http://evebushmanconsulting.com/ and President of MCP Financial. Michael can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.