Category Archives: Northern Rhone

Best of Hospice du Rhône 2012

Report on 172 wines tasted at the two Hospice du Rhône grand tastings this year, including new finds (for me): Kale Wines, Keplinger, Paul Lato and Torrin. Also some great Chateauneuf-du-Papes and Northern Rhônes. Continue reading

Posted in California Wine, Chateauneuf du Pape, Languedoc, Northern Rhone, Paso Robles, Rhône, South African Wine, Syrah | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Chave: Great Northern Rhone Dynasty

Domaine Jean-Louis Chave is one of the Northern Rhone’s most important producers, along with Chapoutier and Thierry Allemand. The Chaves are also one of the world’s great winemaking dynasties, like the Antinoris in Tuscany and Hugels in Alsace. Chave produces not only excellent red Hermitage—a blend of grapes from parcels in seven different sections of that summit of Syrah—but also one of the world’s great white wines—Chave Hermitage Blanc. Continue reading

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California Rhônes: Thoughts on 2012 Rhône Rangers Tasting

The biggest Rhône grape success story in California in terms of quality of offerings and relative value is Syrah. I’ve written previously here about the different styles of Syrah. California produces a lot of great Syrah, including cooler climate Syrahs that have savory and peppery characteristics reminiscent of Northern Rhône Syrah.
California also does well with Viognier, the white grape that produces the very expensive, floral and peach flavored wines of Northern Rhône’s tiny Condrieu appellation. Our versions typically lack the minerally qualities of great Condrieu, but the best producers are capturing Viognier’s peach and floral flavors, with good underlying acidity.
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Posted in California Wine, Chateauneuf du Pape, Northern Rhone, Petite Sirah, Rhône, Syrah | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Syrah: The Rodney Dangerfield of Wine

Syrah is a black grape that, unlike Pinot Noir, is relatively easy to grow and to make great wines from. Unfortunately, while it is a grape that is popular with winemakers, and there are many very well made and reasonably priced bottlings on the market, it has yet to gain much respect among U.S. consumers. Continue reading

Posted in California Wine, Northern Rhone, Syrah, Washington State | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

2011 Wine & Spirits Top 100 Tasting: Highs and Lows

This is an event I look forward to every year, even if I’ve ragged a bit on the opacity of the selection criteria in the past. There’s always an eclectic group of producers ranging from the very well known and perpetually excellent to the less well known and only occasionally excellent, or at least aspiring to excellence. There’s enough of each to keep it interesting. There’s also always great food on hand. This year’s venue, the Metreon, had its pluses and minuses. The view from the Metreon balcony is one of the best in San Francisco, so the outdoor, balcony part of the event, especially given the beautiful weather conditions, proved to be a scenic and inspiring place to taste wine. The indoor part, on the other hand, especially after dark, tended to be gloomy, cavernous and more than a little depressing. Continue reading

Posted in Australian Wine, Awards, Burgundy, Cabernet Sauvignon, California Wine, Champagne, Chateauneuf du Pape, Greek Wine, Italian Wine, Loire, Napa, Northern Rhone, Port, Rhône, Riesling, Winemakers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Star-Crossed Rhone Dinner: Disappointing Showings and the ‘Cranky Old Guy’ Phenomenon

This dinner looked great on paper, featuring an older Rayas, a mature Beaucastel Roussanne VV, four vintages of Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle, mature Vieux Télégraphe and Beaucastel reds, and a 1952 H. Plantin Brusquieres Châteauneuf, one of the oldest CdPs I’ve ever tasted. Unfortunately, in terms of the wine, our dinner was star-crossed. Continue reading

Posted in Chateauneuf du Pape, Northern Rhone, Rhône, Syrah, Wine Dinners | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Delicious Wine from a Challenging Year: 2008 J.L. Chave and Allemand Northern Rhones

I wasn’t expecting much from 2008 Northern Rhones after reading about the heavy rains that fell there, especially in early September, and the predominantly cool and overcast weather that hung over most of the growing season. So it was exciting to taste these 2008s from two of the best producers in the Northern Rhone, Jean-Louis Chave and Thierry Allemand, who seem to have pulled some delectable rabbits out of rain soaked hats in 2008. Continue reading

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