March 24-25th in SF: A Weekend Celebration of American Rhônes or 'Palate Enlightenment'. Read, Learn, Share and Win Grand Tasting Tickets

Unless you have been asleep for the last month, or not reading my blog posts (how dare you!) you should be aware I have been counting down to two upcoming amazing Rhone weekends. (Ok last weekend my new day job had me buried, and no weekly review.)

March is the Rhone Rangers weekend in San Francisco and April is the international Hospice du Rhône .

Read on, and enter to win tickets to next Sunday’s March 25th Grand Tasting. (Ends Monday!)

 

Why Rhones? Palate Enlightenment

I am asked frequently why I am so passionate about the Rhône wine category. For many, I think Rhone wines were the ‘epiphany’ wine – the one that made you go “AHA” – THIS is what wine is about.

I am not alone, if you attend Rhône focused tastings & events I find attendees to be more passionate than any other category.

Many of us got here in a traditional path – we drank big New World Cabernet and Bordeaux varieties to start. Maybe we stumbled or were lead into white wines. With luck many of us found Pinot Noir, before over ripening, doctoring became rampant (and now thankfully is quickly retreating.) At some point we discovered a well made Grenache, Roussanne, Mourvedre, cool climate Syrah, or a great blend, that sung in harmony.

Rhône wines offer something for every palate, and have a wide range of diversity.

  • For the newer wine drinker, perhaps seeking to branch out from Cabernet, a warmer climate Syrah can be a pleasant change, shares some characteristics, but offers a different flavor profile.
  • A Pinot Noir drinker, eager to find more wines that express themselves and aren’t buried in new oak may find a modest Grenache or Mourvedre, and fall in love.
  • For those who love whites, or who seek something interesting in a white, or even just want to learn to like whites: Rhone white wines can offer incredible density, complexity, acidity.

    Much to love. Indeed I have converted many a “I don’t drink white wine” naysayers with Rhone white wines.

Many Rhône producers, like legend and trailblazer Tablas Creek, follow the European philosophy that Rhone wines shine most as a blend. Rhone wines have more diversity across the varietals and give winemakers a huge flavor portfolio to work with, and thus consumers a myriad of combinations and flavor profiles. In Rhone wines, often the Sum of the Whole, is greater than the sum of the parts.

No matter how we got here, everyone has a story they love to share, and the journey of palate evolution never ends. Many, including winemakers will find the style of one variety, say Syrah, that they drank 5 years ago, is very different than what they prefer now. We have a wealth of winemaking styles, climates, terroir, and even grape clonal (genetic) differences that makes Rhone tasting a never ending exploration.

I Drank ALL the Kool-Aid!

One of these days I might write an article on my full story, but lets just say I am “all in.”Profile Picture

  • Eighteen months ago I joined the Rhone Rangers marketing committee as Media, and Social Media Marketing lead
  • Last Summer I was voted onto the Board of Directors, as Media representative
  • Last fall my partner & I launched a new Rhône label & micro-winery Two Shepherds. We don’t talk about our brand here, but its done very well thanks to supporters, and great accounts like the the girl & the fig, Spoonbar, K&L, Bottle Barn, Toast Wine bar, who have just about cleaned out our 2010 white releases, and now tapping into our newly released 2010 reds. I make wines in an old world, nuanced style, as I have been writing about, and put my money (literally all of it) where my mouth was. Sometimes I wish we sold less so I could drink it!
  • Over Winter I assumed the role of the President & Leader of the newly reformed North Coast Chapter. I am determined, with our members, to brand our area as a great place to Rhône . Look at our 4 page map and see how many producers we have.
  • Did I mention I have a full time demanding day job to pay for all this? :)

My only regret this year is that instead of roaming around as media (which I still do at many events, Simple Hedonisms is at an all time high of readers) I will be pouring our wine at the Saturday seminar #1, and the Sunday tasting. Not that I don’t love to share and pour our wine, but the Rhoneophile in me will be chomping at the bit to taste. Last year I could have used two days, not 4 hours.

Come see us, we will be easy to find, next to our beloved restaurant partner the girl & the fig. Our 2011 Whites are doing well, especially our flagship Grenache Blanc, and will be released soon. Mention this article for a sneak preview of a 2011 sample.

 

March 24-25th: A Weekend Celebration of American Rhones

The Rhone Rangers is America’s leading non-profit, educational organization dedicated to promoting American Rhone varietal wines. Nothing at all wrong with imported Rhones, I certainly by and drink my share, and a part of my heart will never leave the Rhone Valley – but the 140 members of the Rhone Rangers produce a wide array of great, diverse wines.

To pour a wine at a Rhone Ranger event, it must consist of at least 75% of one or more of the 22 Rhone varieties, designated here. How many can you name? (In fairness, we don’t even yet grow all 22 here in the US. )

This weekend event is a wealth of tastings and Rhone immersion.

1. Seminars

Saturday has two great seminars:

  • Rare Wines; Taste the Unusual. 12pm, Firehouse. From Picpoul to Counoise and beyond, come and meet the rarest Rhones and find out what makes them so unusual.
  • Wine & Swine, A pairing of American Rhones with how to buy viagra in canada Bacon. 2pm, Firehouse. Some say everything tastes better with bacon, we say how about bacon with your wine! This seminar will demonstrate the bacon-friendly aspects of your favorite Rhone varieties.

Sunday has one:

  • A Celebration of Syrah from Diverse Regions. 11am, Golden Gate Room. Rhone Rangers producers are pushing the envelope on syrah in a variety of ways. Come and taste the most widely grown Rhone variety from points north and south and east and west.

Rhone Rangers seminars are a value, at $45-$65 compared to many events. The seminars are moderated by Rhone enthusiasts and popular wine writers Jon Bonne’ of the SF Chronicle and Patrick Comiskey of Wine & Spirits. These esteemed gentleman will lead you through the tasting with input and comments from each of the wine makers. An inexpensive, unparallelled tasting & educational opportunity, for only 40 people per session Saturday, and 70 total on Sunday. These will sell out, don’t wait. To see who is in each seminar, and buy tickets, see here: http://www.rhonerangers.org/calendar/sf_grand_tasting.php

2. Saturday Night Winemakers Tasting, Dinner, Auction

Saturday night, at the newly opened Ft Mason General’s Residence, 17 winemakers will pour for you at a walk around tasting, then pour, sip and eat with you at dinner. Your meal is prepared by none other than the renowned girl & the fig.

This event also sells out every year, don’t wait. http://www.rhonerangers.org/calendar/sf_grand_tasting.php

3. Sunday Afternoon Grand Tasting

The most popular event & culmination of the weekend: 110+ wineries from all over the US, many whom are small, hard to find will pour for you. Food purveyors and food trucks will also be on hand. Grab the program, make a plan, and taste your way through your favorite varietals, or learn & taste about some new ones.

NEW – Buy Wine and Take it Home! For the very first time, attendees can buy wine right at the table, pay for it and take it home. Since many of these wineries are small, and may not have local distribution, this is a perfect time to grab that gem you liked and take it home. Over 60 wineries will be selling wine, and will be specially marked in the program, as well as the flag at their table. To make it even easier, you may check your purchases at one of two holding points, so that you can continue to taste unencumbered. For those of you who attended Taste of Mendocino, this was a great experience.

 

Share & Enter To Win a Pair of Tickets – Ends Monday

To

win, simply post below in comments one of the following:

(1) Tell us what Red or White Rhone variety (grape) you are most interested in learning about, and why, in a brief sentence or two.

OR

(2) Tell Us Your Favorite Producer or Wine, from the List of those Participating

Correct answers will be pooled and drawn by random number generator Monday night! If you don’t win, grab a ticket, at $45

 

Follow On Twitter

You can follow the event’s fun live on Twitter, simply follow or search for hashtag #RRSF – cheers!

 

Related Articles

Tuesday Mar 20th – Join The Rhone Rangers and “SonomaWilliam’ for a Live Rhone Twitter Tasting 530-700 pm

Wine of the Week: Baxter Winery 2006 Carignan – And the Rhone Countdown Begins

Tasting Notes: Wesley Ashley Wines 2009 Intelligent Design Cuvée – And Why Rhone Blends Rock

Wine of The Week: David Girard 2009 Mourvèdre – A Pinot Lovers Mourvèdre

Why Rhone Wines & Wine Review: Wesley Ashley Wines – Intelligent Design Cuvee – #WBW71

 

 

Rhône

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15 Responses to “March 24-25th in SF: A Weekend Celebration of American Rhônes or 'Palate Enlightenment'. Read, Learn, Share and Win Grand Tasting Tickets”

  • A favorite Rhone varietal? I don’t know. I’m a Pinot Noir girl, which is why I’m attending this event. Just want to learn more. (OK, I’m currently sipping a Viognier, and it’s quite nice). #ShesNewToRhone

    • Pinot Noir? Perfect. Then I recommend a lighter Grenache from Vintners like Cass, Tablas Creek, the Sheep brand, David Girard. (or their Mourvedre. See my review under Related Articles.)

  • Tom Cutts:

    Since I’m an East Bay guy, I’m looking forward to how Stage Left Cellars stacks up. I’m a fan of their wines!

  • I am most interested in learning more about Roussanne, Mourvedre, and Cinsaut, because I know nothing about it! Roussanne I first experienced at Rosenblum Cellars grown at Fess Parker, and I found it to be a nice alternative to Chardonnay. Mourvedre I know to be a blending varietal, but I know little about its stand alone potential. My favorite producers of these varietals are Rosenblum Cellars and Two Shepherds.

  • Joicy:

    After visiting and continuing to sample their subsequent vintages, I am a fan of Tablas Creek. I stumbled upon Tablas Creek’s white Patellin de Tablas blend at Southie in Berkeley. They were offering from the barrel and it was a perfect non-spendy food wine for casual afternoon fare. Sometimes I find bigger Rhone whites to become too intrusive on the palate or perfumey after a few swallows, so a lighter, more racy style is my preference.

  • ian young:

    Unti, hands down! They make a fabulous syrah. (Especially their Benchland bottling.)
    I’m also looking to learn more about grenache! It’s one of my favorite grapes but I don’t think I’ve tried very many domestic versions and can’t wait to see how local wineries treat it.

    Thank you!

    • Great pick Ian. Best of luck on the contest hope to see you there. Some great Grenache – locally try Mounts, Sheldon, (my own Two Shepherds) from El Dorado Hollys Hill, David Girard, Paso Robles Tablas Creek, Cass – just to rattle off a quick few.

      • ian young:

        Thanks for the reccs! Making a note of all those.

        Think i’ll open up some 07 CdP tonight to stary gerting in the mood for rrsf.

  • Elissa:

    Bonny Doon! Easily one of the most fun and unique places to taste wine. It is one of the first wineries that got me excited to learn about new varietals. Affordability is always a plus, as well.

  • Most interested Syrah blends

  • Patti:

    I love Meeker Winery’s Carignane. This is generally a varietal that isn’t always used on its own. It isn’t expensive and I simply love it. It is a winner in my book all of the time!

  • [...] All that sunshine, plus the soil, provides certain conditions which have been harnessed by Adam Tolmach and his basically hands-off approach in his Roll Ranch Viognier and Syrah which I opened last night for the Rhone Rangers twitter tasting hosted by @WilliamSonoma aka William Allen and celebrating the Rhone Rangers event this weekend in San Francisco. Here’s a link to Rhone Rangers tickets and info. Read more about the Rhone event in SF and other things Rhone on William’s blog “Simple Hedonisms.” [...]

  • [...] March 24-25th in SF: “A Weekend Celebration of American Rhônes” or “Palate Enlightenment”. … var conf_7895 = { APIKey: '2_i9P6X9HnzsYiLJsGGPSTgI0DaHVhO-EripMB5jvWkaAkOEykGNe-L66C-zUijebj', lang : '', enabledProviders: '' }; var image7895 = {src:'http://simplehedonisms.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Grenache-Day.jpg',href:'http://simplehedonisms.com/archives/7895',type:'image'}; var ua_7895 = new gigya.services.socialize.UserAction(); ua_7895.setUserMessage(''); ua_7895.setLinkBack('http://simplehedonisms.com/archives/7895&#039 ;) ; ua_7895.setTitle('Join The Rhone Rangers & The Grenache Symposium, Friday Sept 21st for #GrenacheDay'); ua_7895.addMediaItem(image7895); var params_7895 ={ userAction:ua_7895, cssPrefix:'#gig-div-buttons-7895-bottom', shareButtons:'facebook-like,google-plusone,share,twitter,email', // list of providers containerID: 'gig-div-buttons-7895-bottom', cid:'' }; gigya.services.socialize.showShareBarUI(conf_7895,params_7895); Posted in Rhone wines, Social Media | Tags: #grenacheday, grenache, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Day, Grenache Symposium, rhone wines [...]

  • [...] March 24-25th in SF: “A Weekend Celebration of American Rhônes” or “Palate Enlightenment”. … [...]

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