Posts Tagged ‘Rhone Wine’

Rosé the Rhone Way – A Post in Pictures

A few weeks ago, William and the North Coast Rhone Rangers organized a beautiful Rosé tasting in the garden at Quivira Winery. Between the wonderful weather and the gorgeous bottles of Rosé, I ended up with a lot of really great pictures. I decided to just put them all up here and let the wine do most of the talking (with my own notes interspersed of course).

The pictures below represent just a few highlights from the tasting. The whole event was lovely and I look forward to adding some of these wonderful wines to my personal collection.

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2012 Broc Cellars Santa Ynez Rosé $20

We started the day with the Broc Cellars Rosé. The blend is 50% Counoise and 50% Cinsault. It was a great refreshing way for us to start off the tasting. With clean, fresh, watermelon flavors it felt like a perfect start of summer wine. I personally am really excited about Broc Cellars – with a tasting room located in Berkeley, I know I will be stopping by before at least one Cal Football game this year.

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2012 Campovida Rose di Grenache $34, 134 case production

The next Rosé was from Campovida. I had met the winemakers a few weeks earlier at the 7% Solution Tasting and was excited to get a chance to try their wine. Grenache Rosé is definitely something I've been enjoying a lot lately and this was no exception. To go from loving Grenache to discovering Grenache Blanc, it is only fitting that I've now progressed to Rosé and am growing quite passionate for it as well.  The Campovida was also selected by attendees as their favorite wine of the day, in a poll completed by attendees, by quite a margin, congrats!

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2012 Front Porch Rosé $25, 90 case production

My personal favorite of the day was the Front Porch Rosé being poured at the Idlewild table. As a blend of 70% Grenach and 30% Syrah, it has a lovely juicy flavor that was reminiscent of guava.

Of course, there were also some amazing Idlewild wines (which for some reason I didn't manage to get a picture of). The 2012 Vin Gris ($22, 70 case production) was an exceptionally light Syrah Rosé. With only 1.5 hours on the skins, it had delicate strawberry and crisp citrus tones.

The third wine at the table was another favorite – the Idlewild Grenache Gris ($28, 122 case production). With 3 days on skins and stems, it was darker in color than the Vin Gris. The wine had a beautiful nose and lovely cranberry flavors. I had tasted it a few weeks earlier and was happy to try it a second time and see that it was still as wonderful as I remembered.

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Mounts Family Winery 2012 Grenche generic viagra Rosé $16, 82 case production

The Mounts 100% Grenache Rosé caught my eye initially just with how light and peachy the color was (I told you the pictures did a lot of the talking here). With only 4 hours of skin contact and low sugar content, it had such a light and crisp grapefruit flavor. It was absolutely perfect on the sweltering Sonoma day.

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Quivira 2012 Rosé $19, 602 case production

It wouldn't be a complete review without mentioning the host winery's Rosé as well. This Rosé is a blend of 51% Grenache, 32% Syrah, and 17% Mourvedre. There was a lovely strawberry flavor that I very much enjoyed along with the bright pink color. The wine is also organic which I always support. In addition to the Rosé, I also picked up the Quivira 2011 Grenache. I had to contain myself from buying anymore and I'm sure next time I visit I will also be grabbing a few of their blends.

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Drink Pink, Dress Pink

It wouldn't be a day of wine tasting without me hamming it up for a few photos as well. I was very enthusiastic that my dress matched many of the wines. I would love to say this was a happy accident but I noticed that most of my dresses had some wine spots on them and I figured in this case, no one would see if I spilled wine on myself. Ironically, since I took the precaution, I managed to refrain from my usual clumsy nature and keep all of my wine in the glass.

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I can't take her anywhere…

The commentary on the event would not be complete without mentioning the beautiful sustainable garden at Quivira. It was fun to explore and see just how many different types of produce were flourishing. I can hardly keep my key lime plant alive so I was definitely impressed. My friend, Natalie, really enjoyed exploring the gardens as well. I hear the raspberries are delicious…

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A wonderful end to a beautiful day of wine tasting!

After tasting a lot of lovely Rosé, we all went back to William's house for a wine filled homemade dinner that went way past sunset. It was a wonderful day and I'm looking forward to more of these smaller Rhone Ranger tasting events. At $15/ person, the Rosé tasting was a fun and inexpensive way to explore a very specific wine topic. Quivira was a perfect location for it and intimacy of the event really let me talk to the winemakers a little bit more. Thanks William for putting together such a beautiful tasting!

Related Posts

Rosé the Rhone Way in Healdsburg June 1st with the Rhone Rangers

Millennial Writer to Join Simple Hedonisms – Introducing Nikki Lincoln

Interview: Nikki Lincoln, Simple Hedonisms New Millennial Writer

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What I Drank Last Week (May 19-25)

By Nikki Lincoln

As some of you may know, this week started off with a big event in San Francisco known as Bay to Breakers. I enthusiastically participated and after all was said and done, I was looking forward to taking a little break from drinking so no wine was cracked open for a couple of days. However, that didn't last long and by Tuesday I was back on the wine grind.

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Tuesday I'd finally felt recovered from Bay to Breakers and decided to go to Happy Hour with a couple of work friends. My only requirement was that the place have wine so I was happy when RN74 was thrown out as an option.JC Quincy

My coworker and I were in a particularly silly mood and after spending zithromax overnight the whole walk laughing and joking around, I decided it would be nice to cool down with a crisp white. Ideally, when I want something cool and refreshing, Sauvignon Blanc is my go to so I was happy to see one on the menu, and extra excited that it was from the Loire Valley after having read about it earlier in the day. The wine was very light and refreshing with mild flavor and acid.

For my second glass, I decided to go for a Grenache from Southern Rhone. My friends all decided to follow suit and it was fun to see that they all trusted my judgement. This wine was big and fun with an earthiness to it. We enjoyed it so much that we decided to get a second glass. If drinking this wine at home though, I think it would do a little better having some time to breath in a decanter or passed through an aerator.

After the three glasses of wine, we were all in fine spirits and despite one friend having tickets to the Giants game (now close to being over), we decided to try one more wine. I thought it would be fun to try something I wasn't familiar with at all and went with the Louis Antoine Pais from Chile. The bartender then proceeded to explain the wine to me and warn that I shouldn't be shocked by the hint of bubbles since this wine was a little “gassy.” Needless to say, my coworker erupted in a fit of giggles over this. I really enjoyed the wine and I love a bit of effervescence in a wine, especially when it unexpectedly comes from a red. Next time I come back to RN74, this is going to be the first wine I order so I can get a better idea of the taste.

All in all, it was a very fun happy hour both in company and location. I  love when a bar has a great selection of wine by the glass since it let's me try more wines that I might not normally have access to. It's also fun to share my interest with my friends, as well as a bunch of laughs. I did feel bad about my friend missing the Giants game though so I promised next time we'll go somewhere that he can at least watch it.

SAUVIGNON BLANC, JEAN-CLAUDE ROUX QUINCY, LOIRE VALLEY, FRANCE 2011 $12/glass

GRENACHE, PIAUGIER GIGONDAS, SOUTHERN RHONE, FRANCE 2010 $16/glass

PAIS, LOUIS ANTOINE LUYT QUENEHUAO, MAULE VALLEY, CHILE 2011 $12/glass

Macallan Finest Cut Event

A couple of months ago some friends and I went to a Macallan tasting event. I'm sure you've heard of these – they put you in a big pretty room, give you a free cocktail and then some samples while an MC shows you a video and explains why the scotch is superior to others. Basically, they're a really fun time to try a new spirit with your pals. So a couple of weeks ago when I got an email about another Macallan tasting event, I was caught off guard. Hadn't I JUST gone to one of these? However, upon opening it, I was pleased to find out that this was a smaller scale event at a local whiskey restaurant, Nihon. I enthusiastically signed up and invited a friend who went with me to the big event.

This event baffled me in the best way possible. Having been to plenty of events where the idea is to sell you on something, it was oddly refreshing to show up in a room, be handed two tasting coupons, and be told to sit anywhere and enjoy the free (very fancy) sushi. The only announcement that was made was to let everyone know that it was actually a charity event for the World Children's Initiative and that they were making a donation on behalf of all of the attendees. Well played, Macallan, well played. In addition to having great scotch (and an ice ball machine), you also have a place in my heart for just being really, really good people.

2010 Coppola Diamond Cabernet Sauvignon

Coppola Diamond CabAfter the Macallan event, we decided to go back to my apartment for some wine and GeoGuessr (the most addicting game on the Internet, I'm sorry). I was feeling a big red so I decided to open up the 2010 Coppola Diamond Cabernet Sauvignon. This actually ended up being surprisingly light for a Cab. I picked out some blackberry tones and felt that it was the kind of red that would be very enjoyable to drink in the summer. That particular note in red wine is nice in that blackberries aren't known for having an overwhelming flavor and likewise, this was a gentler red. I could imagine being able to enjoy it even on a warm day.

Price: $18

2011 Mirassou Cabernet Sauvignon20130522_211723

We decided to end the night with one more wine. This time I decided to open a wine I had received as a sample. The 2011 Mirassou Cabernet Sauvignon was much more robust than the previous Cab. The flavor was fruity and had more black currant tones than blackberry. The slight jamminess of the wine was a noticeable contrast compared to the Coppola Cabernet.

Price: $12

2011 Coppola Director's Cut Chardonnay

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The next day brought us to Chardonnay Day and the arrival of Momma Lincoln. Lucky for me, this was a fortuitous coincidence as my mother loves Chardonnay. I decided to pop a bottle of 2011 Coppola Director's Cut Chardonnay in fridge as I waited for her much delayed flight to arrive. She was very happy to arrive at my apartment and be immediately treated to a glass of her favorite kind of wine.

The wine was very light with an almost floral nose that I presume to be the presence of the cloves that the tasting notes suggest. I hadn't had a Chardonnay in a while and had forgotten how different the acidity is than a Sauvignon Blanc or the other whites I'd had recently. It was interesting to think about those differences more and figuring out my preferences. More importantly though – Mom liked it.

Price: $21

2011 Pueblo Del Sol Sauvignon Blanc

20130525_200439For the rest of Mom's visit, I wasn't actively keeping track of the drinks we had because I just wanted to enjoy spending time with her. However, Saturday night, after spending the day rearranging my apartment and setting up some much needed wine racks, she picked out a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc she wanted to try. As it was a sample that I was given, I told her I should probably take notes on it… and I'm so glad I did.

This wine was exactly what I look for in a Sauvignon Blanc. It was very dry and acidic with a crisp apple flavor. I really enjoyed this wine and I am definitely going to find where I can buy a few bottles because this would be perfect for a picnic on one of those rare warm SF days or with some oysters.

Price: ~$11

Last week was a pretty busy drinking week for me so now that Momma Lincoln has left, I've decided to take a few days off from the vino. My big drinking this week will be at a couple more specific tastings so no wines of the week next week, but I'll try to post something regardless.

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Unique Wines Styles Are Returning: Bonny Doon 2010 Cigare Blanc Reserve

It's fitting with today commencing the Weekend Celebration of American Rhones, in San Francisco, to celebrate this amazing, unique release of Cigare Blanc, the flagship Rhone white  blend from Bonny Doon Vineyards.

It's creator, Randall Grahm, tonight at a very special ceremony will be awarded the first ever Rhone Rangers lifetime achievement award. As I wrote in  the American Rhone winemakers and consumers owe Randall this, and much more.

The Re-Emergence of The Original Rhone Ranger, Pioneer's Vision

In his spot-on keynote speech at the Wine Bloggers Conference in Portland, (video or transcript )  Randall gently chided the wine industry, for being a victim of its own success, almost 'selling out' and lamenting the world of unique wines, that had some risk to making them.

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'Modern winemakers live in an era of tragic self-consciousness about the economic consequences of their winemaking decisions, utterly aware of the peril of somehow falling outside of the stylistic parameters of accepted wine styles.'

On a macro level this is sadly true. Wines, especially whites, are made risk free, manipulated, and churned out by the container load for mass market.  “Flash Detente' – seriously? I'll go return to my beer brewing roots before I ever cross this line. Every article I read on it gives me hives – where does this end?

But there is a burgeoning new movement, a tiny but growing population of bold winemakers who return to the risk taking Randall laments, making wines of unique varieties, vinification, climates and more. (Teaser, also watch for notice for a special tasting of a gang of 13 of these upstarts in Healdsburg in May.)

These vintners of passion often selling their crafts for a modest price, keeping the approachable.  Sommeliers are loving this re-birth. Some old school journalists have no clue what to do with it – why not keep just writing about Cabernet & Zinfandel. Other visionaries like Jon Bonné of the Chronicle embrace  and support the change, and even has a book coming out. (You can pre-order now, I did.)

Leading By Example and Creativity – Winemaking With Risk (Equals Reward.)

Randall leads the path again (one that I follow, inspired, with my own  Rhone project.) His special 2010 Cigare Blanc Reserve and 2008 Cigare Volante are aged 'en bonbonne' - glass carboys, protected from light and air, and stirred….magnetically.  As only Randall could do.

Why? Randall was inspired by wines of Dan Wheeler tasted from carboy, and astonished by how fresh the wines were, 20 years later, followed by a similar experience with Emidio Pepe.

At the Wine Bloggers Conference, Randall held a special semi private tasting of some of his wines, including the 2010 Cigare Blanc reserve & 2008 Cigare Volant Reserve 'en bonbonne'. The gift was lost on some, but it was a special experience to taste these the normal and en bonbonne' side by side. There was a clear, textural and flavor difference.

It inspired me to taste them both again later several times, where I could focus without Rex Pickett of Sideways making drinking from dump bucket jokes to impress a nearby female. Not a problem as I am a DOON Club member, and regularly order, and have, including a re-order of this wine.

Review: Bonny Doon Vineyard 2010 Cigare Blanc Reserve en bonbonne

A certified biodynamic blend of 56% Grenache Blanc and 44% Rousanne. (You had me at Grenache Blanc.) As Randall's own tasting notes concur, it continues to improve in bottle, and was changed, even more favorably from last fall. CBR10C_bottle_250pxh

The 2010 vintage  was allowed to go through secondary malo-lactic (a personal preference for me, as I think many white wines, with sufficient acidity, should do to enhance mouth feel and complexity.)

  • To The Eye: Slightly cloudy, but clearer than previous tastings.  Its turbidity makes me  love it even more. It's about time the consumer world understood a tad of turbidity in whites might make it better. I will follow with less trepidation.
  • On The Nose: wondrous nose of yellow pear, stone fruits, hints of white grapefruit and phizer viagra hazelnut.
  • On The Palate: Amazing. Lush, but in a restrained way. Textural and 'grown up' but with a vibrant acid backbone that lingers beneath in balance.  The front palate starts off bright and fresh, the mid palate shows the wondrous texture, mouth feel  ripe pear, yellow peach, citrus.  The finish is of ripe Meyer lemon, lingering pleasant acidity.

I have yet to figure out how Bonny Doon makes these so wonderful in flavor and low in alcohol, as Roussanne and Grenache Blanc both require proper ripening, ever for my acid addicted palate. Bravo.

A wine that while wonderful solo, would be heavenly with rich seafood, creamy pasta, or roasted chicken.

  • Recommendation: This is one to buy a case and drink 1-2 bottles a year. Buy online while you can.

94 points. Yes its pricier than every day wine. Life is short, live a little.

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Related Articles

Drink 2013: Small Batch is the Second Coming of Local Wine SF Weekly

Pssst – Syrah Isn’t Dead: Tasting Notes: 2009 Bonny Doon ‘Les Pousseur’ Syrah

Winery of the Month: Highlights of Bonny Doon Vineyard’s ‘Day of the Doon’ at San Juan Bautista ‘Popelouchum’ Vineyard

Wine of the Week – Bonny Doon Vineyard Vin Gris De Cigare, Rosé

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Winemakers Notes & Geeky Stuff

I have written in various places about the inspiration to age wine in demijohns/carboys/bonbonnes. Some of it has come from my fascination with oxidation/reduction chemistry, an aspect of wine art/science not well understood and its importance greatly unappreciated. Years ago, as a young pup I tasted wine from carboy with Dan Wheeler of Nicasio Cellars in his do-it-yourself-handdug cave in Soquel, and was astonished at how youthful were the wines, twenty plus years later, almost as if they had been placed in suspended animation. At about the same time, I also happened to taste the wines from Emidio Pepe in Abruzzo, who also aged his product in demijohns, likewise evincing extraordinary youthfulness and vitality.

We did some small encouraging experiments years ago, then more or less forgot about them until relatively recently, at which point we began the carboy ageing project with red Cigare. It wasn’t until ’09 that it dooned on me that perhaps there were even more interesting things to discover with the white. The ’10 Cigare Blanc Réserve, our second vintage of this wine, is absolutely amazing, an advance over the ’09. To refresh everyone’s memory, this wine is more or less the same blend as our standard issue Cigare Blanc, apart from the fact that we’ve allowed it to undergo malolactic fermentation, and at that point, we gave it a light SO2 addition, racked it to glass demijohn (bonbonne), where it reposed for a year and a half, getting anaerobically stirred more or less fortnightly.

The wine derives entirely from the Beeswax Vineyard, located at the mouth of the Arroyo Seco, and is farmed biodynamically and produced according to biodynamic specifications (very easy on the extraneous additions).

I’ve had the pleasure of tasting this wine over the last year, and what is most remarkable about it is that every time I taste it, it gets younger and younger! The wine was not filtered, and therefore is partly cloudy, though lately, it is curiously, getting brighter and brighter. The wine has a rich, unctuous texture, despite its modest (12ish%) alcohol, as well as possesses the most satisfying savoriness. In the nose, there is a wonderful suggestion of hazelnuts (hmm, white Burgundy, anyone?), as well as a beautiful fragrance of wintergreen and a wine-like pear. A great gastronomy wine, one that will perfectly suit rich, cream-based dishes.

Vital Statistics:

  • Blend: 56% roussanne, 44% grenache blanc (Certified Biodynamic®)
  • Vineyard: Beeswax (Certified Biodynamic®)
  • Appellation: Arroyo Seco
  • Serving Temp: 50-55ºF
  • Alcohol by Volume: 12.4%
  • TA: 6.2 g/L
  • pH: 3.62
  • Optimal drinkability: Drink now-2020
  • Production: 497 cases

 

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For The Love of Rhône: Randall Grahm Lifetime Achievement Award; A Rhône Weekend in SF. (And Reader Offers)

It's no secret that if you tap one of my veins, it's likely a blend of Mourvedre, Grenache and Syrah will spring forth. My love for this wine category has caused me to change my entire life, quickly transforming, with no master plan, from avid consumer, to (once) a widely read blogger, and from garagiste to commercial vintner.

Rhône wines can be a challenging category.  It's not mainstream – your classic new world oaky Cabernet consumer perhaps can't even describe what Rhone wines are, let alone appreciate the breadth of complex whites the category offers. “Serious” wine snobs may turn their noses as they consider they are not 'geeky' enough - after all its not some obscure Italian varietal, or skin fermented white wine whose name you can't spell,  fermented in an exotic container and bottled in 500 ml granite bottles. Its just 'grenache.'

Yet many American Rhone wines ARE rare. Grenache Blanc has existed in California for only ten years, with only 220 acres planted in the entire state. The source I work with for Roussanne & Marsanne are the only known in the entire AVA. The Mourvedre is only one of two plantings. The cool climate Grenache  - perhaps 3-4 at most. Even in Rhone 'heavy' areas like Paso Robles, the total acreage of most Rhone whites is minuscule.

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On the reverse side,  not all off  the old guard of some media get 'it.  Respected and esteemed Chronicle wine writer,  and Rhone advocate, Jon Bonné, was recently criticized publicly by a veteran wine writer for his waxing poetic on Grenache,

Yet, we not only persevere as a domestic category, we prosper and slowly grow. We are after all 'Rhone Rangers'  both as consumers and winemakers. When everyone said pull the plug on our NY event one week after Hurricane Sandy, we turned it into a fundraiser, showed up despite many challenges, and eager enthusiasts filled the tasting, amidst a Noreaster snow storm. THIS is how we Rhone.

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Be assured of one thing, domestic vintners and winemakers dedicated to Rhones, do so for passion, not money.

An Eternal Debt Of Gratitude to The Original Rhone Ranger & Special Recognition Award

With that backdrop, it's all the more clear to me the incredible debt that all Rhone enthusiasts (and wineries) owe Randall Grahm, lauded as the original Rhone Ranger. (In truth there are a few other early pioneers. Sadly, not all support the namesake organization.)

CigarePoster_Aug2012_275pxw2Randall has been committed to Rhones since he released the first Cigare Volante in 1984.  In a world where we take Grenache Blanc for granted, only the earliest and smallest of Rhone plantings, sometimes mis-identified, could be found, and there was little experience to reference.  There were certainly easier paths to follow.

Randall has been a personal inspiration for me. He helped my find the Grenache Blanc vineyard I started with in 2010, even viagra soft tabs offered encouragement, as he does for so many, despite the often one man show that he is, tirelessly & humbly promoting, pouring, his crafts.

This year, at the Rhone Rangers March 22nd Winemaker Dinner in San Francisco, the Rhone Rangers organization will award its first lifetime achievement award. As a board member who was in the meeting when the topic came up, the unanimous decision took only as long as it did for the suggestion to be comprehended.

We can only hope that Randall recognizes the deep respect, and love that so many have for he and his efforts. Simple Hedonisms has written about Bonny Doon wines many times, and I hope to review more wines all week, in tribute.

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YOU have a chance to be at the award ceremony, and thank Randall, in person.

This dinner always sells out, but as of this writing, about 10% of tickets remain.  The event itself is pretty phenomenal, with a special meal catered by the girl & the fig, 16 featured winemakers, a pre-dinner tasting, and lively auction at the end. Do not wait until Wednesday night to decide to buy one, you'll likely regret it and be empty handed.  (Note: dinner is on a Friday night this year, not Saturday.)

Tickets are here: http://rhonerangerssfwmd.eventbrite.com/

Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Rhone Rangers Scholarship Fund, which provides grants and scholarships to help educate the next generation of American Rhone winemakers. 

Wineries: Anaba Wines, Baiocchi Wines & Vineyards, Bonny Doon Vineyard, Davis Family Vineyards, Folin Cellars, JC Cellars, Kenneth Volk Vineyards, kukkula, Margerum Wine Company, Mounts Family Winery, Petrichor Vineyards, Ridge Vineyards, Tablas Creek Vineyard, Terre Rouge, Two Shepherds and Villa Creek Cellars.   

A Weekend Celebration of American Rhone Wines

The dinner is the tip of the spear of the now largest Rhone  wine event in the U.S.

Saturday morning two seminars will be moderated by Jon Bonné, Wine Editor, San Francisco Chronicle,  followed by the Grand Tasting Saturday afternoon, where over 100 wineries will pour white, red, and rose' Rhone wines. Sorry, no Cabernet.

This years seminars are quite exciting and unique.

  • “Old World Inspiration, New World Innovation” with wine importer,  Patrick Will, Vice President of VINTUS.  This seminar will include benchmark wines from Guigal (Condrieu, Tavel, Chȃteauneuf du Pape and Côte Rôtie), as well as wines from Rhone Ranger winery members who were inspired to create their “Rhone style wines” while using innovative new world craftsmanship.
  • “Mourvèdre: A Rising Star in the World of American Rhones” will feature six wines (red and rosé) that are based on the grape known as Mourvèdre,  Mataro, Monastrell and at least fifty other names depending on where it is grown.

In the afternoon there is the Grand Tasting:  Trade/Media  & VIP Tasting  1-3 pm, and the Consumer Tasting is 3-6 pm.  Note, by popular request is on Saturday this year.  Enjoy Rhone wines followed by dinner in the city.

Tickets:

  • A weekend pass that includes the seminar pass and Grand Tasting is available here for $150.
  • Tickets to the Grand Tasting, only, are  available here for $50. (Seriously, only $50?)

For those of you 'afraid' of Ft Mason events as a drunkfest, as someone who has been on both sides of the table, this tasting attracts a more engaged, enthused audience, and is not over crowded – so, come, learn, enjoy.

Reader Offer #1 – use code '”22RRgrapes” to save off of either purchase.

Insider Info: Download the 80 page event guide and start planning your tasting in advance!  RRSF2013PrintedProgram-FinalProof

Share Your Rhone Love and Win A Pair of Tickets to The Seminars or Grand Tasting

Love Rhones? Or keen to learn more? (We all start somewhere.)

On Tuesday evening I will select a winner who can select to win a pair of tickets to the Grand Tasting or The Seminars.

To enter to win, simply share in comments below. Make sure I have your  FULL name and email.

1. What is your favorite Rhone varietal, and if you have a special food pairing you enjoy with it.

OR

2. Which Of the Pouring Wineries Are You most excited to try, and why? (list here. )

Rhone Twitter #WineChat This Wednesday Night

In celebration of the event (Twitter hashtag #RRSF) I will be leading this week's weekly Twitter #winechat – the topic and wine of choice being imagesdomestic Rhone wines. Open a bottle and join me in a glass as I wax semi poetic on Rhones.

It's likely Randall

will make a brief appearance at the beginning.

Cheers, and lets get ready to Rhone!

Related Articles:

Pssst – Syrah Isn't Dead: Tasting Notes: 2009 Bonny Doon 'Les Pousseur' Syrah

SF Chronicle: A bright moment for the Rhone-minded

Winery of the Month: Highlights of Bonny Doon Vineyard’s ‘Day of the Doon’ at San Juan Bautista ‘Popelouchum’ Vineyard

As Syrah falters, make way for Grenache (SF Chronicle)

Wine of the Week – Bonny Doon Vineyard 2010 Clos de Gilroy – Central Coast Grenache

Wine of the Week – Bonny Doon Vineyard Vin Gris De Cigare, Rosé

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

Followup to “A New Beginning & Old World Renaissance? Robert Parker to Cease Reviewing California Wine” – A Great Video I Must Share

4th of July Weekend Marks Two Year Anniversary for 'Sonoma William' – and Brings More Changes, Evolutions & Decisions

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Tasting Notes: Bonny Doon Vineyard 2010 Contra Old Vine Field Blend

It’s time to wax poetic (again) about Bonny Doon Vineyard. It’s hard not to, when one comes across a wine viagra canadian online pharmacy this approachable in price and palate. natural viagra

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I loved the 2009, which Jon Bonne’ picked as a top 100 wine of 2010, but if memory serves (sorry not digging into the cellar, although some 2009 is still for sale on BDV website) I like the 2010 even more.

This year’s blend is less a cornucopia as the 2009,  made from 68% Carignane, 32% Syrah. Fermented with native yeast, in individual lots.

Carignane can be a difficult grape to vinify, tannic and harsh if over extracted and not worked with properly. Or wonderfully complex, meaty, and layered, as this example shows.

The QR code on label is a great resource – shows you local places to buy and price.

 

Bonny Doon Vineyard 2010 Contra Old Vine Field Blend

  • To The Eye: A dark, menacing inky purple that if you gaze at too long may mesmerize you.
  • On The Nose: Complex, layered. Meatiness, dark fruit, plums, black cherry, spice.  There is a lot going on to enjoy.
  • In The Mouth: As one might expect, the carnival of an aroma profile carries over to the palate: Blackberry, dark

    fruit, hints of red fruits, its both bright and fresh from lively acidity, and slightly brooding, at the same time.

  • Recommendation: A must buy for under $20. Received

    a media sample, but as a Bonny Doon wine club member I’ll be receiving more.

Wine Geek Info:

  • Varietal Composition: 68% Carignane, 32% Syrah
  • Appellation: 68% Contra Costa, 25% San Luis Obispo, 7% Santa Maria
  • Vineyards: 68% Gonsalves, 25% Alamo Creek, 7% Bien Nacido
  • Alcohol by Volume: 13.7%
  • TA: 5.8 g/L
  • pH: 3.64
  • Production: 1,989 cases

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Tonight on Twitter: A Rhone Ranger #RRLA Tasting & Chat with Icon Randall Grahm, Other Wineries.

This Sunday in LA, 40 Rhone Ranger wineries assemble in

LA to help the enlightment and evolution of local palates.

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As they did for the San Francisco #RRSF, the Rhone Rangers (@RhoneRangers) will host a live Rhone tasting on Twitter from 530-630 pm.

Simply follow hashtag #RRLA, the same hashtag that will be used at the event.

If you have to Google who Randall Grahm is your Rhone education is just beginning. Read about Randall Grahm , the original Rhone Ranger. Yours truly (@SonomaWilliam) will take part of course, never one to miss a Rhone event.

 

Bring a glass of a domestic Rhone, red, white or Rosé, your favorite Twitter client loaded with hashtag #RRLA, or click your browser here.

Open your Rhone bottle, share what you like, and interact with Rhone Rangers wineries, ask questions about all things Rhone!

See you on the Twitter airwaves, Thursday night as well as Sunday, where I’ll ‘broadcast live’ from the event. Cheers and Rhone on!

 

Related Articles:

 

Sunday June 3 – Ride to SoCal With The Rhone Rangers at LA Pouring. (Also, Discount Code,Ticket contest & Live Twitter Tasting Thursday.)

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Winery of the Month: Highlights of Bonny Doon Vineyard’s ‘Day of the Doon’ at San Juan Bautista ‘Popelouchum’ Vineyard

 

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

 

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


5 Responses to “Sunday June 3 – Ride to SoCal With The Rhone Rangers at LA Pouring. (Also, Discount Code,Ticket contest & Live Twitter Tasting Thursday.)”

Sunday June 3 – Ride to SoCal With The Rhone Rangers at LA Pouring. (Also, Discount Code,Ticket contest & Live Twitter Tasting Thursday.)

Live in Southern California and missed the big San Francisco 2 day Rhone weekend this March? Visiting LA next weekend? Or a LA local looking to evolve your palate?

This Sunday June 3, The Rhone Rangers ride into Los Ange

les on Sunday, June 3, 2012, with over 45 wineries pouring over 200 American-grown Rhone wines.

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Read on for Discount code, a contest giveaway AND a live Twitter tasting with Guest Celebrity and Rhone legend!

New Venue – The 130 Year Old Vibiana

All events take place this year at a new location: the recently renovated Vibiana, a 130 year old

(yes, in LA) historic site located in the vibrant downtown area of Los Angeles at 214 South Main Street, near the LA Times Building.

 

This is event is small, intimate and limited ticket capacity that sells out every year.

 

Summary of Events:

(1) Trade & Media Tasting, 12 noon – 2 PM.

Indoor walk-around tasting, complimentary to qualified trade & media. Registration takes place online now through May 30 at http://www.rhonerangers.org/traderegistration/la_trade.php. Cheeses from Ancon Fine Cheese will be served.

(2) Courtyard Lunch for the Winemakers & Backstage Pass Ticketholders, 2-3:30 PM.

Wineries will break wine out into the courtyard for a lunch break. Backstage Pass Ticketholders (Tickets are $85) will join us for lunch served from gourmet food trucks. Everyone will be given 3 coupons, one for each truck, for food for lunch.Participating food trucks are Slammin’ Sliders (lobster sliders, kobe beef sliders), Flying Pig Truck (pork belly buns and other Asian-inspired foods) discount cialis and viagra and Coolhaus (ice cream). This will be informal, picnic style, no reserved seating, get up and move around to taste wine from your favorite winemaker.

(3) General Admission Consumer Tasting, 3:30 – 6 PM.

Walk-around tasting, tickets are $45 ($40 with Promo Code, SDKLA612) Taste from over 200 wines poured by more than 40 wineries. Food trucks in the courtyard will provide tasty treats for purchase to complement our wines. Bid on wine and wine-related items at the silent auction; proceeds from the auction will benefit the Rhone Rangers Scholarship Fund. This event ends at 6 PM.

Purchase here.

Great, Informative, High Energy Video About Last Years Event.

 

Enter To Win A Free Ticket, Two Winners: only 48 hours!

I told you to be patient and keep reading! Two lucky readers will have be able to attend this event.

To Enter to win, in comments below, simply tell us

Why You Love Rhone wines

OR

Which one of the 40+ Participating Wineries (list here) are you Most eager to taste, and Why.

We pick this Wednesday night at 7 pm Pacific, so don’t delay!

 

Thursday Night – Live on Twitter: A Rhone Ranger #RRLA Chat with Icon Randall Grahm, and Other Wineries.

As they did for #RRSF, the Rhone Rangers (@RhoneRangers) will host a live Rhone tasting on Twitter from 530-630 pm. Simply follow hashtag #RRLA, the same hashtag that will be used at the event.

If you have to Google who Randall Grahm is, (and thats ok) your Rhone education is still blossoming. Read about Randall Grahm , the original Rhone Ranger. Yours truly (@SonomaWilliam) will take part of course, never one to miss a Rhone event.

Bring a glass of a domestic Rhone, red, white or Rosé , your favorite Twitter client loaded with hashtag #RRLA, or click your browser here. Open your Rhone bottle, share what you like, and interact with Rhone Rangers wineries, ask questions about all things Rhone!

 

See you on the Twitter airwaves, Thursday night as well as Sunday, where I’ll ‘broadcast live’ from the event. Cheers and Rhone on!

 

Related Articles:

Winery of the Month: Highlights of Bonny Doon Vineyard’s ‘Day of the Doon’ at San Juan Bautista ‘Popelouchum’ Vineyard

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

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

 

 

 

 

Countdown To The 20th Anniversary of Hospice du Rhône #HdR2012

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.

 

Who Attends HdR? Would I Be Out of Place?

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!

Courtesy of HdR Website

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 viagra drug to traverse the globe & visit all of these producers on your own!

 

Build Your Weekend Experience – A La Carte or The Whole Immersion

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.

 


This Years Agenda & Seminars

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.

Other Events:

  • 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

Courtesy of HdR Website

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.

Other Events

  • 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

 

Resources

The HdR Website is a wealth of information:

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…

 

Related Articles

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

Part 5 of “The 12 Days of Wine Christmas” Wine Seminar Last Minute Stocking Stuffers for Wine Event Lovers & Rhone Hounds

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

Rhône Rosé Panel: Quivira, Mounts, and Skinner Vineyards

Wine of the Week, Winery of the Month – Tablas Creek 2010 Patelin de Tablas Blanc

Can’t make it to Paso Robles for Hospice du Rhone? Attend Virtually-Details Inside

A Rhone Event Like No Other – Hospice du Rhone April 29-30 Paso Robles (OR – The French are Coming!)

 

Wine of The Week: 2009 Petrichor Les Trois Syrah (or Wow!)

Syrah is an interesting varietal that I believe is emerging from

its dark period. Darwinistically most of the “weak” or buying real viagra without prescription the trend chasers who followed the inane idea that Syrah was the next craze have gone on to do other things, and serious growers a

nd producers are now left.

So much Syrah has been replanted or budded over, I expect over the next few years we will see a shortage, and Syrah prices regain lost price footing. This is not an industry to chase trends, especially for red wines, I wonder how many learned their lesson?

At the end of April is the unparalleled Rhone immersion, in Paso Robles: Hospice du Rhone, “the World’s Largest International Celebration of Rhone Variety Wines.” Syrah of this caliber and profile will be one of the wine styles I will be seeking out and reporting back on.

Cool Climate vs Warm Syrah

As I have written before, one of Syrah’s “problems” with consumer identity is that it produces two very different wines, when grown in warm climates like Dry Creek Valley, versus cool climates like Russian River or Sonoma Coast.

Warm climate Syrah has more lush fruit, berry flavors, is usually higher in alcohol and tends to be popular with the average wine consumer. Cool climate Syrah is leaner, lower in alcohol, with notes of white pepper, olive, minerality – and is generally more appreciated by the more serious aficionados. Many wine consumers and even wine makers will observe their palate change and evolve over years, often to the leaner cool climate style. There is nothing wrong with either of course, but consumers buying Syrah should pay close attention to where its from.

Certainly in France, the focus for the most lauded Syrah comes from Northern Rhone, cooler Côte-Rôtie region, where most Syrah is under 14% alcohol and balanced. I was quite amazed and pleased to hear from several vintners in Châteauneuf-du-Pape during my recent trip there, that they don’t like a lot of Syrah in their blends as they don’t like what it does

in the Southern Rhone, and were slowly supplanting Mourvedre, which does very well in the heat there and ripens more slowly.

 

Petrichor Vineyards

Thank heavens for the big Rhone Rangers tasting last Sunday (and Social Media). It’s ironic that Petrichor is quite nearby, and that Margaret Foley and I are Facebook friends, but had never met. She was kind enough to give me a bottle.

Courtesy of Petrichor Vineyards Website

When I went to the website and learned their winemaker was Duncan Meyers of cult producer Arnot Roberts, I knew I was in trouble.

Arnot Roberts produces wines of amazing balance and restraint, that I wish I could afford to consume daily.

 

Wine Review: 2009 Petrichor Les Trois Syrah, Sonoma County

2009 Petrichor Estate Les Trois

I will cut to the chase and say this is simply a stunning Syrah, one of my new favorites. There wasn’t a lot of vinifcation information on the website, but I could glean that only a 140 cases of this gem produced, a blend of 86% syrah, 14% Grenache.

I feel confident much if not all of the fruit is cool climate, but since it says “Sonoma County” that means its been sourced from a variety of places that don’t have enough percentage to name an AVA, like Russian River Valley, or Sonoma Coast. Or perhaps they just preferred not too. They do have their own vineyard of 8,000 Syrah and Grenache vines, but its unclear when it was planted or what percent is in the wine. Any use of oak in this beyond neutral, seems minimal, and certainly complimentary.

To The Eye: The color is a deep purple, impenetrable to light, without tech sheets, I feel comfortable guessing unfined and unfiltered knowing the heritage of the winemaker .

One The Nose: A wonderful blend of earth, smokey meat, olive brine, red fruit and raspberry, hint of ocean salinity.

In the Mouth: Incredible. The aroma profile carries with saline and mineral notes that dance intermingled with white pepper, red & black fruit. Great supple structure that is elegant and soft, not over bearing, jammy, or puckering. Acidity that lingers and lifts up the wine. I’ll trade acid for tannins any day.

This wine proves again the benefits of cool climate, acidity, minimal-no new oak, in making wines that express themselves naturally.

Recommendation: I don’t lightly recommend a wine that approaches $50 but this is the real McCoy. Break open the piggy bank.

If you want to impress a true wine aficionado (and I don’t mean some Parker/Spectator score chaser who thinks Oak is the bomb) – buy this for a gift or bring to a dinner.

94 points. $48 – online.

 

Related Articles

Rhône Rosé Panel: Quivira, Mounts, and Skinner Vineyards

March 24-25th in SF: “A Weekend Celebration of American Rhônes” or “Palate Enlightenment”

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

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

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

Rhone Rhone Rhone! As I wrote Saturday in

March 24-25th in SF: “A Weekend Celebration of American Rhônes” or “Palate Enlightenment”. Read, Learn, Share and Win Grand Tasting Tickets this weekend its all about Rhone wines.

To celebrate and get the Twitter Hashtag for the event, #RRSF warmed up, the Rhone Rangers canada pharmacy viagra (@RhoneRangers and I (@SonomaWilliam ) will be doing a live Rhone wine tasting and ask all of you to join us.

What’s a Live Twitter tasting?

Just grab a bottle of Rhone wine (Domestic please in this case) preferably from one of the 140 Rhone Ranger members, crack it open, and share your

thoughts with the other bloggers, consumers, winemakers that will join us.

We have already lined up many of the Bay Are bloggers to join us, it should be a lively event! The more the merrier.

 

Details

  • Every time you Tweet during the tasting, use the hashtag #RRSF . This is the hashtag for this Weekend’s event – lets get it warmed up.
  • The tasting is from 530-7:00 pm Tuesday March 20th, Pacific time.

  • For maximum benefit, set up a search column for #RRSF in a aggregation tool like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite – that way all the Tweets for the event are together. Worst case you can also do a search via a web browser simply click here.

Grab a bottle or glass, your smartphone or laptop, and

join the Rhone celebration – Rhone on with #RRSF !

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