Category Archives: Rhône

Good Value ‘House Wine’? Try a Côtes du Rhône

Are you looking for a versatile wine you can enjoy with all kinds of casual food—grilled meats, pastas, pizza? Would you like to find a “house wine” for under $20 that still makes a meal feel special? France’s gigantic eastern appellation—the Rhône—may be a better value than you might think. Continue reading

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Smells Like Rhone Spirit: Tablas Creek’s Esprit

To commemorate the release of the 10th vintage of the Esprits, the 2010, Tablas Creek general manager Jason Haas convened vertical tastings of both the red and white Esprit for invited journalists and wine buyers in New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles. I attended the tasting in San Francisco, and was delighted to have a chance to compare the vintages and to look back at these wines which have been so inspirational to California-based fans and producers of Rhone wines. Continue reading

Posted in Paso Robles, Rhône | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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

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

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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 2011 Wine & Spirits Top 100 Tasting: Highs and Lows

50-year-old Wines at the 5th Floor to Celebrate a 5th Decade

We celebrated Sandy’s fifth decade at the Fifth Floor with a special menu that Executive Chef David Bazirgan came up with to pair with our wines. The food was creative and outstanding. Our wines were very good overall, and nothing was corked or faulty. As 1961 was not only a good year for people, but also an excellent year in Bordeaux, Barolo and Chateauneuf-du-Pape, it was a treat to have a bottle of that vintage from each of those appellations, all of which were in remarkably good shape. In short, it was a memorable night, and a great celebration. Continue reading

Posted in Barolo, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Chablis, Champagne, Chateauneuf du Pape, German Wine, Port, Rhône, Riesling, Wine Dinners | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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 , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Star-Crossed Rhone Dinner: Disappointing Showings and the ‘Cranky Old Guy’ Phenomenon