The Rhone Rangers rode into the Skirball last weekend and as a major Rhone wine lover I was thrilled to attend the tasting again. A seminar and luncheon was also offered in the day’s events, see an upcoming article from Contributing Editor Michael Perlis as he covered that portion.
Wine 101ers: What is a Rhône
Basically Rhône grapes were born in the Rhône Valley of France and are now grown here in the U.S. The most common reds make up the “GSM” blend: Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. On the white end you may have already had a Viognier – think Sauvignon Blanc without the high acid and with more delicate fruit. Other whites that may have crossed your palate are Roussanne and Marsanne, sometimes alone or in a white Rhône blend. If you want to wine geek out more here is a listing of “The 22 Rhone Ranger Grapes” direct from the Rhone Rangers website.
Wineries A-F (Part Two, Wineries H-Z will run next week)
For some of you that think I was nuts to skip a particular winery…it may have been because I “Gave a Positive Review Already” and chose to forage on to other wineries. These wineries will be noted as GPRA and will have a hyperlink to my review…if I can find it. While some others, that may have been equally stellar as those I did visit, suffered my absence (Ha!) due to me suffering a wee bit of palate fatigue, so those are noted as SPF. (Editor’s note: any links for the West Ranch Beacon, aka WRB, are now closed, the webmaster chose not to save the links when he closed up his site. Also note that every article I wrote for the WRB is re-purposed on this site every Tuesday.)
Adelaida Cellars – GPRA I will never forget the wine dinner I had with some nicely aged wines from the Adelaida cellar – and a lesson that Paso wines don’t have to be drunk right away. http://www.westranchbeacon.com/category.php?catg=8&id=2721 and http://www.westranchbeacon.com/visit-article-archives-view.php?catg=8&id=6287
Andrew Murray Vineyard – SPF
Beckmen Vineyards – Enjoyed the 2013 Cuvee Le Bec Red Blend and a 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon at a tasting two weeks ago with Tasting Room Mgr. Neil Redmond (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10208567024880517&set=pcb.10208567026520558&type=3&theater) so I skipped the Cuvee at this tasting but really enjoyed a big yet balanced wine club offering: The 2014 PMV Syrah Clone #1.
Bernat – SPF
Bonny Doon – Rock star (and there were a few of them at the event repping their wineries) Randall Grahm poured about a dozen of his wines. I had been a fan of his “Le Cigare” label for as long as I can remember. Well, at least since I first heard the story about the law against landing a flying saucer in the vineyards of France. This time I really liked the 2011 Le Cigare Volant Red Blend, 2011 Le Cigare Volant Reserve Red Blend, Clos de Gilroy Grenache, 2014 Old Telegram Mourvedre and the 2011 Bien Nacido Vineyard “X-Block” Syrah. My absolute faves being the Reserve, Mourvedre and the X-Block.
Broken Earth Winery – SPF
Calcareous Vineyard – A beautiful winery with an expansive view for picnickers paired with equally outstanding wines. Been a favorite of mine for many years, so it was a treat to see them at Rhone Rangers. This time I enjoyed the fruit and spice in the 2013 Syrah, the 2016 Tres Violet blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre, the 2013 Moose blend of Syrah and Petit Verdot and the tart and bright 2015 Lily Blanc blend of Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Viognier. I had a full lineup to taste back in 2011 here: http://evewine101.com/2011/04/29/calcareous-vineyards-lineup-paired-with-pals/ 2014 here: http://westranchbeacon.com/weekly-column.php?id=2342 and most recently here: http://www.westranchbeacon.com/visit-article-archives-view.php?catg=8&id=6287
Cass Winery – GPRA http://www.westranchbeacon.com/weekly-column.php?id=5402,
http://evewine101.com/2016/01/05/vintage-beacon-april2011-a-truly-inspired-cass-wine-pairing-dinner/ and most recently: http://www.westranchbeacon.com/visit-article-archives-view.php?catg=8&id=6287 another rock star, Ted Plemons, co-owner of Cass Winery was pouring once again. This time I only had one: the 2013 Rockin’ One Red Blend, tasty stuff.
Chacewater – GPRA http://www.westranchbeacon.com/weekly-column.php?id=5402
Clayhouse Wines – SPF
CONSILIENCE WINES – SPF
Derby Wine Estates – Enjoyed the steely fruit in the 2014 Picpoul Blanc, the 2012 Grenache Blanc, 2012 Fifteen 10 Red Blend, the very big 2013 Petite Sirah and the spice and bright red fruit of the 2011 Mourvedre. One of my favorite tables.
Ecluse Wines – GPRA Tasted these Paso wines very recently, and I loved their entire lineup. http://evewine101.com/2016/02/26/ecluse-unlocking-a-paso-favorite/
Epoch Estate Wines – The two red blends were simply awesome: the Syrah heavy 2012 Ingenuity Red Blend and the Big/Spicy/Yummy 2013 Estate Red Blend.
Fess Parker & Epiphany – GPRA and SPF
Four Brix Winery – GPRA I was just at the winery this past April however I didn’t get to see co-owner/winemaker Gary Stewart – yet another rock star – at that time. It was nice to be able to chat with him at this event…and see that he was pouring all of my favorites. Don’t miss the “Smitten” Viognier.
Part Two of this story will run next Tuesday.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.