Posts Tagged ‘Hospice du Rhone’
I am an obsessed wine geek, there is no doubt. Our house & farm is covered in wine books, wine making or tasting materials, wine samples, glasses and more. I’d furnish the entire house in wine barrel furniture if I was allowed.
As a result, I read
a lot of weekly material, blogs, wine writers etc. Simple Hedonisms was supposed to be more about educational wine writing than it has evolved into, although in my defense I do try and incorporate some small nugget or three into many of my reviews.
Some weeks I may feature 4-5 articles, some I may only have one, or even forget, but I will try to do my best. If you find this weekly article useful as it evolves, share your thoughts.
I have long admired Richard’s detailed Cellartracker notes, there was never any doubt how dedicated this man is to capturing and sharing information about wine. His latest, almost breath taking record from the Rhone Rangers San Francisco event is an incredible resource:
(3) Fred Swan interviews Rhone Pioneer John Alban on the First Hospice du Rhone
Norcal Wine is one of the best Bay area resources for wine education, and intellectual, investigative journalism. With the 20th Anniversary of Rhone mecca Hospice du Rhone only 2 weeks away, this is a timely,
Cheers and have a
What event is like Christmas, a Birthday, and New Years all combined into one weekend? For this Crazy about Rhône wines publication – it’s viagra online canadian pharmacy
g/” target=”_blank”>Hospice du Rhone, the largest international celebration of Rhône wines. Hospice du Rhône (aka “HdR”), held every spring in Paso Robles, is extra special this year as it celebrates its 20th anniversary.
What is so Unique about Hospice du Rhône?
There is a palpable energy about this event that is undeniable and infectious. Perhaps it’s the gathering of hundreds of people who trek from all over the US & Europe to spend 2.5 days in reverent, yet celebratory, homage to Rhône variety wines.
I am invited to numerous wine events every year but no gathering of wine aficionados that I have attended includes participants who exhibit the level of passion and devotion that characterize HdR attendees.
There is no doubt that it is a more serious type of wine enthusiast who plunks down $800 (if buying the whole experience) and journeys to Paso Robles, a great Rhône wine destination itself. Paso is 3-4 hours drive from both LA and San Francisco. (While many will make the drive, the nearby San Luis Obispo airport has surprisingly good connections.)
People at HdR sense their mutual love of all things Rhône and are generally quite friendly. Each year I meet friends new and old from all walks of wine life. Participants range from normal passionate wine lovers, here to enrich their knowledge, perhaps new but passionate about Rhones; to winery personnel who are there to enjoy and learn; to wine writers and bloggers, who make an annual trek to “ Rhône Mecca.”
The seminars & tastings at HdR are designed so that no matter how new to Rhônes you are, or experienced you may be, you will learn something that will broaden your horizons and your palate at each session.
In addition, you can rub elbows with winemakers; restaurateur and Rhône devotée Sondra Bernstein of the girl & the fig; Rhone writer, guru & publisher Patrick Comiskey of Wine & Spirits; event founder and US Rhône winemaking
pioneer, John Alban; and many more. At each seminar, tasting, lunch, dinner, etc. – you never know with whom you will taste next too. But take notes and Google their names later, for odds are, you regularly will be next to someone remarkable and not even be aware!
You need only one thing to attend HdR (besides your credit card) – a desire to learn more about the 22 grapes that make up Rhône wines. Your experience there will span many styles, and countries.
Unique International Flair
The HdR team does an excellent job making sure that there are Rhône wines from all over the US represented, and not just wines from Paso Robles (the local Rhône epi-center). What’s extra special to me, particularly after my January trip to the Rhône Valley of France, are the many international wineries that attend.There is a large contingent from of Frenchies, wineries from Spain, Australia and more are represented.
If the price to attend HdR seems a bit high, consider the cost of the many weeks and plane tickets it would take you to traverse the globe & visit all of these producers on your own!
One of the nice things about HdR is that you can break up the weekend and purchase, on an a la carte basis, tickets to the tastings and seminars. For example, if you can’t get away for Friday, you can purchase tickets to just the Saturday events, or you can opt to purchase tickets to individual seminars or a tasting.
Talking to the HdR team, it appears that tickets are selling very fast. While HdR tickets always go fast, this year they are likely to sell out even earlier due to the 20th Anniversary. Indeed tickets for the Thursday night special CdP event (which replaces the usual bowling gala), sold out almost immediately (I even missed out on those!). Rooms in Paso, and the remaining tickets to this event, will be drying up shortly. Don’t be one of the many people each year who procrastinate, and then sadly are turned away. Indeed, tickets this year are in such high demand, that I was not able to procure a pair of Saturday tasting passes to give away as I have done in past years.
It’s hard to say which I like better, the seminars or the tastings.
Last year it was difficult not to fall in love with the warm, humble French from the Roussillon. However, the Saturday tasting featuring food pairings and chef demos was also not to be missed.
Friday, April 27, 2012
Seminar One: Why Spain (continues to) Rock!
Presenters: European Cellars | Eric Solomon Selection Portfolio Producers: Exciting viticultural and winemaking practices have been taking place in the Priorat and beyond. European Cellars | Eric Solomon Selection will bring some returning and new producers from their portfolio to feature in this seminar. Take a look (and taste) at why Spain continues to ROCK! The panel will star Rhône variety practitioners from Spain.
Seminar Two: The Return of the Bionic Frog
Presenter: Christophe Baron of Cayuse, Walla Walla, Washington: Christophe Baron from Cayuse Vineyardsin Walla Walla, Washington will update you on his efforts since his first appearance on the Hospice du Rhône scene in 2000. Since 1997, Cayuse Vineyards has been farmed organically. Cayuse wines are created with minimal intervention, to protect the minerality, other aromas and flavors the vineyards give to the wines. The wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered.
- 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Rosé Lunch with dishes created by Chef John Toulze of the girl & the fig
- 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. – BIG Rhône Rendezvous featuring BIG bottles and the cuisine of Blackberry Farm.NEW! This is a walk around tasting of large format bottles from over 100 Producers. Twenty years calls for a BIG Rhône Rendezvous don’t you think. Producers from far and wide will be pouring BIG bottles at this BIG, lively affair. Many have dusted off wines from their cellar and others have created something unique to celebrate this momentous occasion. To complement this BIG evening of BIG bottles highly-acclaimed chefs hailing from esteemed Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee will be serving up a taste of the South in a BIG way. Tables flowing with charcuterie and cheese will span the Tasting Pavilion throughout the entire evening. An hour into the tasting, Blackberry Farm will unveil food stations billowing with robust and scrumptious bites.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Seminar Three: A Collective Quest
Presenters: Yves Cuilleron, François Villard and Pierre Gaillard of Les Vins de Vienne, Chavanay, France: Three vintners, three approaches to winemaking and growing. Les Vins de Vienne have succeeded in producing an alchemy that combines three sensibilities into a high-performance team spirit. This collective commitment to the production of quality wines is brought about by each individual experience. The wines and philosophies of these three long time amigos of Hospice du Rhône will be explored.
Seminar Four: Research, Revelations and the Art of Being Different
Presenter: Chester Osborn of d’Arenberg, McLaren Vale, South Australia: Numerous studies, both geologic and sub-regional have taken place since Chester’s last presentation in 1999. The ever dynamic Chester Osborn of d’Arenberg will be detailing these studies and will explain and show you how this information has impacted his viticulture and winemaking practices.
- 12:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Lunch and Live Auction with Chef Rick Manson of the Far West Tavern
- 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. – Grand Tasting
- 7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. – Farewell BBQ featuring Chef Maegen Loring of The Neon Carrot
- 2012 Attending Rhône Wine Producers and Importers
- Food Purveyors
- Event Guide
- A Must Have – the iRhone iPhone app
- Rhone Resources
The Rhone Countdown Continues
Over the next four weeks, I will be continuing my Rhone Countdown I started in xxx with more stories and Rhone reviews. Stay tuned for regular articles and reviews.
I’d love some reader input – is there anything in particular that you’d like to see as part of that countdown article-, education-, or review-wise? Another live tasting like I did for Rhone Rangers? Let me know…
Tick Tock – the Countdown to Two Amazing Rhone tasting events continues. This next weekend , March 24-25 is the Rhone Rangers “Weekend Celebration of
American Rhones.” Over 100 domestic Producers from California, Washington, Oregon, and even Virginia assemble in Ft Mason, San Francisco for two days of seminars, winemakers dinner, auctions, and tastings.
Just one month later, April 26-28th Rhone lovers head to Paso Robles for Hospice du Rhone, “the World’s Largest International Celebration of Rhone Variety Wines.” This event is a stunning immersion of seminars, lunches, dinners, & tastings.
Each week Simple Hedonisms is celebrating with at least one Rhône wine review.
Rosé Wines – Man Up – Drink Pink. This Isn’t Your 1990′s White Zin, It’s a French Classic Wine
My friend Lisa Ortman of Ortman Family Cellars used to say “Man up, Drink Pink.” The myths surrounding Rosé wines are still a bit perplexing to me. Lets smash a few of them, shall we.
1. Most quality Rosé wines are dry aka not sweet.
No, not that corporate mass produced sugary garbage at the bottom of the supermarket shelf, the real stuff from your local artisan winery or imported from France.
2. Rosé is for women.
For the record men – Rosé is made from RED WINE GRAPES. The only reason its pink is because it doesn’t spend much time on the skins during fermentation, which is the ONLY reason that red wine is even red! This concept is as assanine as the thought that “real wine drinkers don’t drink white.” (Which I’d contend its the opposite if anything.)
3. Rosé is a summer wine only.
This myth is perpetrated both by consumers and by wineries, who are deathly afraid of being caught with any Rosé left by October. It’s true, a good Rosé is a great summer sipper and aperitif. But its hardly limited to that. I was amazed at my trip to France and the Rhone this January – most restaurants had more Rosé by the glass than whites, and swarthy French men bundled up in wool had no issue ordering a bottle of Pink. The higher acidity in Rosé pairs it nicely with food, and its one of my top recommendations for the winter Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays as well.
4. Rosé can’t age.
Generally the spirit of Rosé is a wine meant to be drunk young, fresh, and consumed in the first year or so of release. But many Rosé wines can actually age quite well, particularly if they are a ‘true’ Rosé – that is to say grapes picked early in the season to be higher in acidity, lower in alcohol. The acidity preserves the wine, and softens with age. Indeed a few Rosé wines I have bought and specifically but aside awhile to let the brightness subdue a bit. The freshness will tamper down a bit, and the wine will change. Generally one wouldn’t hang on to a Rosé more than a few years, but for every rule, there is an exception, especially with wine geeks.
Rhône Rosé Panel: Quivira, Mounts, and Skinner Vineyards
I recently compared three Rhône Rosé wines in an impromptu panel. I am debating putting out a “call for Rosé” as I did in December for sparkling, for a more thorough review – stay tuned. If interested, email me.
Rhône wines in my opinion, especially Syrah and Grenache, make exceptional Rosé wines. These three do not disappoint.
(1) Mounts 2010 “Pink” Syrah Rosé
I frequently wax poetic about the Mounts, and I hope to write an in depth article soon.
Watching their evolution over the last 4 years has been a rewarding experience as this four generation Grower family continues to innovate and has become a Dry Creek Valley Rhone producer to follow.
This 2010 is a wonderful Rosé of Syrah. Kudos to Dave Mounts for picking, making a true rose’, not a Syrah juice bleed off.
Bright salmon pink color. Essence of strawberry, watermelon, tomato vine, on the nose. Crisp, bright in the mouth, cherry, jolly rancher, watermelon, in mouth.
Lingering mouth watering finish. Drinkable all year round, and a few years bottle time thanks to the nice acidity. At 13% alcohol, can drink a few of these.
Sadly the Mounts are down to about a dozen cases, and there is no 2011 Rosé. I only hope they make it again for 2012. Pretty please? At least hold 6 more 2010 bottles for me.
(2) Skinner Vineyards 2010 Grenache Rosé
A winery in the Sierra Foothills I have my eyeballs on. This Rosé is mostly Grenache with a touch of Mourvedre.
Color – clear, salmon-strawberry color. On the nose -cherry, red fruit, hint of watermelon,
tomato vine, red hard candy
Palate – Enjoyable, food friendly, excellent acidity. Cherry, hard candy vibrant front palate , pleasant mid palate, and a lingering finish with notes of spice & hazelnut.
Would pair well with many foods and cheeses.
(3) 2011 Quivira Rosé
Quivira is another of my favorite Dry Creek Rhone producers and new winemaker Hugh Chappelle continues to do great things as Quivira lets him be the creative artisan he wishes to be.
Quivira’s newly released low production rose’ – never lasts long. New in screw top this year.
Like last year, heavily Mourvedre based, unlike Grenache based Rosé of years prior.
Light, bright, pink in color. Nose of watermelon jolly rancher and strawberry. Wonderful in the mouth, watermelon, white peach, red fruits. Mouth watering acidity that lingers on finish.
13% alc. Fresh. Bright. Fun.
The weekly review of Rhone wines as we count down to the the March 24-25 Rhone Rangers “Weekend Celebration of American Rhones” and the
April 26-28th20th anniversary of Hospice du Rhone, “the World’s Largest International Celebration of Rhone Variety Wines” in Paso Robles, continues.
David Girard Vineyards – El Dorado
This week I am sharing a gem wine, and winery in El Dorado, a region that is an emerging powerhouse of Rhone wines in Northern California: David Girard Vineyards.
I met owner David Girard, and winemaker Mari Wells Coyle just over a year ago when I visited. Mari was nice enough on a day off to come spend some quality time and geek out with me. I was won over by her wines and her warm personality.
Vineyard manager Ron Mansfield, whom I have also had the fortune to meet this year, is a quiet genius in Rhone vineyard management and wine growing. I am delighted to source grapes from him in 2011 for my own project. (See A new Mother Lode: vintners rediscover Sierra foothills by Jon Bonne’.)
you road trip there, or seek them out at the Rhone Rangers March 25th Grand Tasting at Ft Mason. Tell them William sent you.
Wine Review: 2009 Mourvèdre, El Dorado, Estate Vineyard
Mourvèdre is one of my favorite red wines. It can be hard to find as a single varietal, and even harder to find well made. Some Northern California vintners want to treat it like Cabernet and over oak it. This red Rhone grape has much to express if left alone from the clutches of New World Cabernet makers.
Mourvèdre is often known for its meatiness, slightly gamey profile, with notes of smoked meat & bacon. This Mourvedre is a bit of a departure from that, and a bit unlike most Mourvèdre I have had before. It also stood out in the 2011 Rhone Rangers ‘Mourvèdre On The Move’ seminar. It’s lighter, feminine, and more seductive than most you will come across – reminiscent of Pinot Noir in many ways.
To The Eye: A clear medium red, you can actually see through.
On The Nose: A floral nose of violets leap out of the glass, along with hints of spice, red berry, and tea.
In The Mouth: A wonderful combination of red fruits: Strawberry, pomegranate, cherry notes, with a hint of black tea. The wine dances across the palate and delivers completely front, mid and finish. The acidity is mouth watering, the finish lingering and pleasant. It’s silky and seductive in the mouth.
This wine may surprise you slightly if looking for “classic” Mourvèdre (whatever that might mean to you), although some of those undertones exist. All I know is I want more for my cellar.
Recommendation: Highly recommend. Consume now or cellar for 3-4 years. 92 Points.
Buy online $34
and_tasting.php” target=”_blank”>Weekend Celebration of American Rhones” and the April 26-28th 20th anniversary of Hospice du Rhone, “the World’s Largest International Celebration of Rhone Variety Wines” in Paso Robles.
I am frequently asked “why Rhone wines.” I love, drink, taste, and buy wines of many varieties and categories, but I REALLY love Rhones. Why? I will write a more in depth article soon, but highlights were captured in an article a year ago in: Why Rhone Wines & Wine Review: Wesley Ashley Wines – Intelligent Design Cuvee.
I’d recommend reading the full post, but if I can capture one meaningful paragraph:
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.”
Palate Evolution – Blends Are Good!
This is an important turning of enlightenment for the American wine consumer, who is lead to believe over the last three decades that single varietal wines are best. When one visits and tastes the Old World wines of Spain, France etc you learn quickly how untrue that is, and how uncommon. (There are of course some exceptions, like in Burgundy for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.)
That isn’t to say that 100% varietal wines are bad – I think the French are missing out by not making 100% Grenache Blanc. I can also readily admit often White Rhone blends with Grenache Blanc, are better, and easier to make, than many of the mediocre 100% Grenache Blancs. Blending gives a winemaker aroma and flavor profile tools you otherwise don’t have with a single varietal.
Anyway, I digress. Tonight’s review is about a Red
Rhone blend, from a brand that pays homage to Rhone blends: Wesley Ashley Wines. The above principles are sound, and the same.
Red Rhone blends, because of the great diversity of their components, offer the exploring wine drinker an infinite number of flavor profiles, far more than a Bordeaux blend. The variance between Cabernet, Merlot, Malbec etc, especially (sadly) when made in a New World style provides a far less range of differentiation than the red fruit of Grenache or Cinsault or Counoise, meatiness of Mourvedre, smokey complexity, white pepper of Syrah, and the raspberry of Carignane. Red Rhone blends are a never ending series of new discoveries as they vary by their composition and region.
Even before tasting, I knew I was going to likely love this wine when I saw that it had changed from the previous release, and Grenache was now the primary vintage. I also knew they had a hit on their hands when I was a guest at a wine club event last summer, and a few bottles sneaked out, and crowds went loco, even though owner Jim Sloate thought it wasn’t ready and didn’t want it released yet.
This red Rhone blend is comprised of 75% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 5% Petite Sirah, a big change from the previous Carignane dominant release.
To The Eye: Translucent, nearing opaque dark red. (As it should be, Grenache is by its nature not a deep purple color producing wine.)
On The Nose: This nose knows its Grenache. That classic undertone of cherry hard candy, strawberry, hint of spice. Fortunately the Grenache was kept in neutral oak, allowing its essence to shine through.
In The Mouth: Red fruit at the front, the syrah’s meatiness comes through mid palatte, with hints of coffee & mocha at the finish.
Recommendation: Buy. A Great Rhone red blend. I like it solo, but would love to pair it with lamb, grilled pork or chicken. $38 online or taste by appointment in Santa Rosa. (As well as the upcoming Rhone Ranger event.) Media Sanple.