Do you have a favorite wine? A certain varietal you always go for? From a specific wine-producing area? I don’t: I like to try everything and give every winemaker equal time on my palate. Last week it was Rhônes.
For my wine 101ers this is a wine from the Rhone region of France, or, lucky for us all, Rhone varietals made here in the good old USA. The most common Rhône grapes include Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Petite Sirah, Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne (Learn more here from the group that has helped put U.S. Rhônes on the map, Rhone Rangers: http://www.rhonerangers.org/grapes).
With that said, my glass was full when I arrived 30 minutes before our event was due to start and I got to taste some exceptional wines. And it was kept full throughout the day by these new favorites wines, though I was sorry I couldn’t visit more tables:
Alta Colina 2012 Viognier “12 O’Clock High” and 2010 Syrah “Old 900.”
Anglim 2011 Syrah, 2012 “Cerise” Red Blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre (GSM) and a bit of Viognier and 2011 Mourvedre.
Bonny Doon 2012 Grenache “Cuvee R” and 2009 Syrah Bien Nacido.
Donelan Wines full lineup: 2012 “Venus” White Blend made up predominantly of Roussane with some Viognier, 2012 “Cuvee Christine” Syrah that was just released at the tasting, 2012 “Cuvee Moriah” Red GSM Blend, 2011 Obsidian Vineyard Syrah and a 2012 Pinot Noir that was hiding out on the table, as it’s not a Rhône grape!
Ecluse Wines 2010 “Prelude” White Blend of Viognier, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc.
Law Estate Wines had all their outstanding new releases. Three red blends: 2011 “Audacious”, 2011 “Beguiling” and 2011 “Sagacious.” The 2011 “Beguiling” Syrah was also very noteworthy.
Minassian-Young Vineyards 2012 Mourvedre and a 2012 Red Blend of Mourvedre and Grenache was incredibly balanced.
ONX Wines, who I had just visited at another tasting this summer, shared a couple of new releases that I dug: 2013 White Blend Field Day and 2012 Red Blend “Reckoning.”
Tercero Wines 2013 “Verbiage” Blanc Blend of Grenache Blanc and Viognier, “Verbiage” GSM Red Blend and 2010 Grenache Larner Vineyard.
Vina Robles 2013 Viognier Huerhuero Vineyard, 2013 Rose “Roseum” Huerhuero Vineyard and 2009 Syrah “Syree” blend of Syrah and Petite Sirah.
Zenaida Cellars 2012 Grenache and 2012 100% Petite Sirah “Knucklehead.”
All of the Participating Wineries
Bonny Doon Vineyard
Broken Earth Winery
Fess Parker Winery & Vineyards
Guyomar Wine Cellars
Halter Ranch Vineyard
Kenneth Volk Vineyards
Law Estate Wines
Martian Ranch & Vineyard
Meyer Family Cellars
Mitchella Vineyard & Winery
Mounts Family Winery
Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery
Quivira Vineyards & Winery
Steinbeck Vineyards & Winery
Tablas Creek Vineyard
Vines on the Marycrest
Zaca Mesa Winery
Zinke Wine Company