Top 10 White Rhone Producers

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If there is any white Rhône wine I am particularly familiar with, it is Chave’s Hermitage Blanc. Until fairly recently this was inexpensive, though recently it has soared in price placing it well outside my comfort zone.

Fortunately, Chave has introduced an affordable St. Joseph Blanc “Celeste” as well as a Crozes Hermitage Blanc “Sybele” under their négociant label J. L. Chave Selection that together serve as a great introduction to the style. I prefer the Sybele for its waxy softness and the slight bitter/herbal edge of its fruit. The Chave Hermitage Blanc was famous for its extended and profound dumb period, rendering the wine virtually undrinkable for a decade before it emerged in mature splendor. I have a feeling that early reports of Sybele’s precocious demise are simply harbingers of better things to come. Be patient with this Roussane, Marsanne blend.

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  • Being a numbers guy, I'm just mildly interested in the total # of this sampling that you were able to cull down to 10. So how many did you taste? Texas seems to have a problem with distribution so I will need more friends in NY and CA who are willing to ship me some "vinegar" from time to time! For the time being I am enjoying the local stuff.

    Apr 05, 2012 at 2:42 PM

  • Lots of imports and bigger guys. We just had the Domestic Rhone Rangers event where over a hundred producers, mostly small, poured. All of us ship wine :) Perhaps you will get around to us sometime? :)

    Apr 05, 2012 at 3:42 PM

  • I live in Oregon and absolutely love the Viognier and Grenache Blanc at Dobbes Family Estate. I think the Viognier is the best I've ever had and it is really cool that Joe Dobbes is the only winemaker in the state who is currently selling a 100% Grenache Blanc. It is always refreshing to try something unique. I wish I'd seen Oregon represented on the list above.

    Apr 06, 2012 at 12:31 PM

  • Texas is actually the best place to grow and vinify Viognier with Double Gold Medal Winners from Texas Wineries like Becker's, Lone Oak, Brennan's, McPherson, just to name a few. Andrea Imner named Becker Viognier the best Viogner she has tasted. This reaises the question, Why were Texas' great Viogniers not on the list? Is it an oversight or a bias?

    Apr 06, 2012 at 10:31 PM

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