Rhone Rangers San Francisco Grand Tasting – A Complete Rhone Weekend, not just a Tasting. Learn More & Win Tickets

The Rhone movement is underway. (I am still riding high from the recent Paso Robles Rhone Ranger experience, check out the video.)

The Bay’s area’s  own Jon Bonné, esteemed wine writer for the San Francisco Chronicle published not one but two articles over the weekend about Grenache, a rising Rhone star, and such a beautiful wine when made properly. (Winemakers take note, we are not looking for your heavy hand here. Think minimal wine making technique, and Pinot Noir like, not Cabernet.) Some great examples of are in Jon’s article ‘The Chronicle recommends: American Grenache.’ As well as as “.. make way for Grenache” which explains the rise in popularity and nuance.

But Grenache is only one of the many Rhone varietals to be poured at the Rhone Rangers San Francisco Grand Tasting event. Taste through Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Counoise, Carignane on the reds;  Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Picpoul Blanc and more on the whites. (Yes my beloved Sonoma-ites Grenache Blanc IS a white varietal – the Rhone Rangers primary goal is – education!) And of course the endless combinations of Rhone blends. At the end of this post is a contest too win tickets to the Grand Tasting – try and bear with me for a few paragraphs of Rhone rambling.

Why Rhones Are Popular, Unique

What makes Rhone wines unique in my opinion, as that while many of the varietals drink very well as a individual wine, Rhones in France are most commonly blended. Each varietal has something unique to offer, and far more variance than the traditional nobel Bordeaux varietals (Cabernet, Merlot,, Malbec etc). The sum of the whole often far exceeds the sum of the parts as they say, and there and almost endless number of combinations and end results when blending, both for red and whites.

Become a Rhone Ranger Sidekick & Save

The Rhone Rangers has launched a new version of its popular Sidekick consumer program. We have eliminated membership fees in favor of a more streamlined process. Sidekicks need only enter their contact information into the list signup form to get priority information about Rhone Rangers events, the opportunity to meet winemakers and growers of Rhone varietals, discounts at member wineries, special notice of member winery events, an information-packed educational newsletter and more.

Membership is free, carries no commitments, and can be cancelled at any time. Click here to become a Rhone Rangers Sidekick! Sidekicks also get a promo code for $5 off.

It Isn’t Just A Sunday Walk Around Tasting – Education Abounds

Many I talk to think of Rhone Rangers SF event as the big tasting at Ft. Mason. Actually thats only one part of it, and this year,  I am more excited about the seminars than anything I think. There are 2 seminars on Saturday and one on Sunday, which include tastings. Bonus: Jon Bonné is the moderator.


Sustainability has become a buzzword, but it has been an essential part of the practices of many Rhone Rangers wineries for decades. Discuss and taste wines of sustainable, organic and biodynamic producers, and taste wines from each as we explore how and why Rhone producers sit at the forefront of sustainability in American wine. Wineries include: AmByth Estate, Bonny Doon Vineyard, J. Lohr, Landmark, Montemaggiore, Qupe and Terre Rouge.

Saturday, March 26, 2011, 2:45 PM – 4:00 PM. Seminar #2 – MOURVEDRE ON THE MOVE

Dark, brooding, meaty, loamy,  Mourvedre is a grape for Rhone fanatics. Long known for its ability to add structure and age-worthiness to blends, American Rhone producers are pushing Mourvedre to new heights both on its own and in its traditional blending role. Taste six different Mourvedre-based wines from up and down the west coast — both varietals and as leading roles in blends — and learn why Mourvedre is on the move! Wineries include: CORE, David Girard, Folin Cellars, Kenneth Volk, Quivira, Tablas Creek and Tercero

Sunday, March 27, 2011, 11 AM – 12:30 PM. Seminar #3 – WILD WINES AND THE STORIES OF HOW THEY CAME TO BE

Whether it’s a 12% alcohol Syrah, a Buying online propecia Viognier made with a month of skin contact, a Rhone blend made from grapes that European winemakers consider suitable only for blending, or a dessert wine made from air-dried Mourvedre, Rhone Rangers producers are pushing the envelope. Come taste these unusual wines from eight winemaking pioneers, as they share with you the inside stories on their wildest wines and how and why they headed off into uncharted territory.  Wineries include: Big Basin Vineyards, Caliza, Clos Saron, Katin, Pax Mahle Wines, Stolpman, Tarara and Terry Hoage. Ticket includes VIP early admission (at 12 noon) to the Grand Tasting.

Saturday Night Wine Makers Dinner – Rub Elbows with the Big Dogs

Saturday, March 26, 2011. 6:00 – 9:30 PM. Join more than 15 top Rhone Ranger wineries participating in a walk around tasting of current and library releases, dinner with the winemakers and live auction at Dogpatch Studios, 991 Tennessee St in San Francisco. Catering will be provided by Girl & the Fig (the well-loved Sonoma food purveyor and restaurant, famous for its Rhone-Alone wine list).

Wineries include: Bonny Doon, Caliza, Clos Saron, Folin Cellars, J. Lohr, Kukkula, Landmark, Quady North, Quivira, Qupe, Ridge, Rock Wren Wines, Stolpman,Tablas Creek, Tarara, Terre Rouge, Terry Hoage, Thacher and Waterbrook. Proceeds benefit the Rhone Rangers Scholarship Fund. Attendance limited to 200. Advance tickets only; no tickets available at the door.

Last But Not Least -Sunday Tasting – Over 500 Wines, 100 Wineries

Sunday, March 27, 2011 2:00 – 5:00 PM. The weekend culminates with the Grand Tasting, come taste over 500 wines from more than 100 Rhone Rangers wineries. For a list of participating wineries, click here. Sample gourmet foods from 25 or more specialty food purveyors, including cheese, bread, olive oil, charcuterie, fruits and other sweets and chocolates. A silent auction will feature Rhone Rangers wines and wine-related items; proceeds from the auction will benefit the Rhone Rangers Scholarship Fund. This event takes place at the Fort Mason Festival Pavilion. Attended ZAP? You get a promo code for $5 off.

Make it a Rhone Immersion Weekend with the New Rhone Rangers Weekend Pass

New this year! Spend a weekend with the Rhone Rangers!  The weekend pass ticket, new for includes tickets to all three educational seminars with early VIP admission (with the trade) to the Grand Tasting on Sunday. And the $150 price is a $40 savings over the price of the individual tickets.  Winemaker dinner not included.  Limited availability.  TICKETS: $150/each.

OK OK – How do I Enter to Win Tickets Already?

It couldn’t be easier. Simple enter in comments one of three things:

  • Your favorite Rhone Ranger member winery, and why. (List here.)


  • Your favorite Rhone varietal or blend (Syrah, GSM, White Rhone blend etc)

OR (I told you this was easy)

  • What varietal or blend would you be most excited to taste at the event.

Contest ends this Thursday night. Two winners will be drawn and announced then.

I will be streaming ‘live’ both days at the event. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and the Twitter hashtag #RRSF (hint, you can just click that hashtag and follow on the web, use of Twitter not required!)

Rhone on!

Cheers and thanks for reading Simple Hedonisms Wine Blog !

Related Reading:

‘Sonoma William’ Joins Forces With the Rhone Rangers; Some History & New Directions

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18 Responses to “Rhone Rangers San Francisco Grand Tasting – A Complete Rhone Weekend, not just a Tasting. Learn More & Win Tickets”

  • Karin Robert:

    Favorite Rhone Ranger Member winery…. Ridge Vineyards

    Why… Really enjoyed the 2005 Grenache Lytton Estate wine at a friends house this weekend and would like to learn more about different Rhone varietals

  • Lynn:

    My favorite Rhone varietal is Syrah; however, my favorite Rhone Ranger member winery is Unti, because I lovelovelove their Grenache Rose. Although, Quivira does a lovely one too. I can’t decide! :)

  • Larry:

    For whites, I have to give a shout out to Vaalea, the viognier/roussanne blend from Kukkula, because, hey, we Finns have to stick together. Represent. Looking forward to trying their Rhone red blend named Sisu.

    Grenache is my new favorite varietal though. More and more restrained, serious, European-styled offerings being offered. I’ve loved Unti’s ever since back a few years when it was a smaller competitive market.

    I have to laugh at the jokes that nowadays it is easier to get rid of a case of pneumonia than a case of Syrah because there are a lot of lackluster domestic efforts. Not all, but taste a Clape, even his intro-wine Le Vin des Amis, and you remember how fascinating Syrah can be.

  • I tasted a roussane/marsanne blend at Joseph Swan. I have never tried before it was like a lite tasting brandy. I found it to be kind of interesting.I would like to try others to get more aquained with these varietals. My very favorite varietal is the mouvedre. I’m in love with this big bold robust grape if done right, either on its own or blended. I have tasted some realy great ones at Quvira, Imagery, Navvaro, and if remember right Joseph Swan also does a mouvedre too.

  • Diane Thompson:

    Oooh, picking a favorite is so tough – like picking your favorite child. Oh, wait, I only have one child… nevermind…If I can only pick one, I have to go with Bonny Doon. The tasting room and restaurant in Santa Cruz are great,love the wines and Randall Grahm is a fantastic thought leader, always pushing the boundaries. Really interested to see how the new vineyard in San Benito County shapes up. And, did I mention that he’s trying to cultivate truffles – really puts him over the top :-)

  • Randy:

    My favorite grape is Syrah because a friend of mine named Shiraz mentioned that he got his name from the Persian city Shiraz where legend has it the French derived the name Syrah. The oldest sample of wine (7000 years ago) was found in clay pots there.

  • Steven Kloman:

    My favorite rangers are up in the foothills: Terre Rouge and Holly’s Hill. Both are great syrah producers.

  • William Allen:

    entry from Paul Juster on Facebook

    1) Frick Winery – He alone has introduced me to many Rhone varieties that I have never heard of!!!
    2) Counoise – Frick introduced me to this varietal and it was awesome!!! Lots of boysenberry and cherry!!! Highly recommended!
    3) Would be interested in Mourvèdre, Carignan, and Syrah. Sable Ridge in Bennett V…alley makes a divine Syrah!

  • Katie Redel:

    If I have to choose one Rhone Ranger as my favorite, it would be L’Aventure! They have amazing wines that age really well. For whites, Tablas Creek does it for me! I haven’t been able to get down to Paso as much as I’d like, so being able to see both of them in SF would be great! Rhone style wines are my favorite :)

  • Gina B.:


  • JodyT:

    Syrah is my favorite, only because I’ve had such limited exposure to the rest. I do have a bottle of viognier from Santa Ynez that I’m dying to open…

  • Jonathan Kramer:

    1) I’be been a fan of Boony Doon wines for many years, especially the Le Cigar Volante blend. They consistently produce outstanding wines and have been in the forefront of making Rhone varietals and blends. They also make an amazing 2) Mouvedre, which takes me to the next question :) More wineries are producing 100% Mouvedre now, which is exciting and I notice there’s a seminar at the event about it too! 3) As to what blends I’m looking forward to tasting, I’m a BIG fan of a well crafted GSM due to its complexity, and diversity of styles. However, we’re seeing more wineries incorporating some of the other varietals including Charbono, Zinfandel and Barbera. I tasted Kachina’s Charbono last weekend at the Barrel Tasting and it was amazing!

  • mary:

    My favorite Rhone Ranger member winery is is Clos Saron! I’d also be excited for my husband to taste their Heart of Stone (I tried it without him and *love* it) and for us both to taste everything else they offer.

  • Joicy:

    I tasted in Paso Robles area last Summer. Loved Tablas Creek’s tasting room and garden. Besides their Espirit blends, I liked their Grenache Blanc. I’d love to taste through what other wineries are doing with this varietal.

  • […] I wrote a few weeks ago its much more than the big walk around tasting that most associate with it. There are 3 great […]

  • […] My taste buds are still a tingle from 2 days of Rhone immersion with the past weekend’s Rhone Rangers event in San […]

  • […] Rhone Rangers San Francisco Grand Tasting – A Complete Rhone Weekend, not just a Tasting.  […]

  • […] taste buds are still a tingle from 2 days of Rhone immersion with the past weekend’s Rhone Rangers event in San […]

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