Posts Tagged ‘the girl & the fig’

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



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…


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

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