Posts Tagged ‘Jon Bonne’

New Weekly Feature – Top Blogs & Articles Of The Week

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.

Top Picks:

(1) Richard Jennings: Rhone Rangers Tasting “Summary”

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:

California Rhônes: Thoughts on 2012 Rhône Rangers Tasting

(2) Jon Bonné: Sonoma Coast is a sweet spot for Syrah

I write regularly about the virtues of cool climate Syrah. One of my favorite wine writers, Jon Bonné of the San Francisco viagra fast delivery Chronicle, does a great summary piece:

Sonoma Coast is a sweet spot for Syrah

(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,

insightful piece.

John Alban on the First Hospice du Rhone and the State of American Rhone Variety Wine in 1993hdr_20_year_seal

Cheers and have a

great week!

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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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A New Beginning & Old World Renaissance? Robert Parker to Cease Reviewing California Wine

It’s the dawn of a new wine era. Over the weekend, with less fanfare then I expected on the Twitterverse, world renowned wine critic Robert Parker published this to subscribers:

I am thrilled to announce that Antonio Galloni will have expanded responsibilities for The Wine Advocate and as of February 1, 2011. I would like to take credit for my powers of persuasion over recent years in trying to convince Antonio of the virtues of covering additional wine regions, but if truth be known, the writing was always on the wall that his enviable talents and passion for this field would ultimately prevail, and the beneficiaries are the world’s wine consumers.

According to an article on Vinography and The Wine Cellar Insider Parker will still be involved in special tastings but day to day operations goes over to Antonio.

I can hear the likes of Alice Feiring and Randall Grahm (and many more) breathing a sigh with a hope that the era of big, tannic, extracted, dark color wines will transform into a Renaissance of Old World style, where varietals again have a chance to express themselves. I haven’t followed Antonio Galloni, but Alder does reference a belief that he is less focused on ‘intense ripeness’ as Parker. I will hold that hope close to my heart.

By the way for a great read, and more perspective, I highly recommend Alice’s book “The Battle for Wine and Love: or How I Saved the World from Parkerization” and Randall’s “Been Doon So Long.”

One can debate the pros and cons of what “Parkerization’ has done to the wine industry. Certainly it has helped wine sales immensely for some producers. Perhaps it has evolved the thinking and exposure of wine aficionados. Or one could ask if ‘devolved’ by so much dependency on a single point of view.

My beef with the Parker phenomenon has been homogenization: the world is full of hundreds of wonderful, unique wine varietals and styles; and when Spanish & Italian vineyards start planting Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, and winemakers change their traditional styles at the coaching of a consultant to achieve a high Parker score, something was lost in the world. Hopefully not forever in some cases.

The world is cyclical if a trend doesn’t last long enough, and it ‘feels’ like the pendulum had started to shift anyway; certainly many of the serious wine aficionados I know have shared this sentiment for awhile; and it seems the consumer interest is slowly awakening as well. The millions of US consumers herd mentality will take quite some time to turn around the Queen Mary – but there is hope.

Today’s wine consumer has many more choices for wine information – yes even those dreaded wine bloggers. Brilliant wine writers like Jon Bonné each week write about  unique, interesting wines. The communication evolution has changed how consumers learn about and interact with brands, and will continue to do so. Social Media isn’t a fad, its migration of communication, just as we progressed from telegraph, to fax, to email. That doesn’t mean traditional media is dead; just augmented.

Social Media has pushed most wine writers to the web and to publish blogs, engage on Twitter. Millennials show more interest and consume more wine than any previous American generation. The movement is underway.

I send this to wine consumers, new and old. Open your minds and palates. Try new things:

  • Learn to explore more white wines; there is an ocean of complex choices outside of California chardonnay butter bombs.
  • Never let one tasting, varietal, experience, AVA or even country jade you. Try again.
  • Understand that is ok, and actually can be positive if a red wine isn’t so dark light won’t pass through it, many red grapes do not naturally produce dark red colors unless extreme intervention or blending is done to accomplish.
  • Branch out to new wine types, countries, price points.
  • Experiment, read, and ask those with more experience for suggestions. No matter how much you know, there is always someone with deeper experience – one of the  many beauties of wine.

Many winemakers today want to simply be a Shepard and let the varietal and the vintage express itself. A Pinot Noir from a Russian River Valley vineyard generally shouldn’t be the exact same each year. Learn to embrace and appreciate variation.

Let the new decade of non generic, de-globalization of the New World palate commence.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments below.

Cheers and thanks for reading Simple Hedonisms Wine Blog !

p.s. watch for screening of new movie: Escaping Robert Parkerlevitra buy online

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