Wine Talk

Snooth User: napagirl68

My fav (US) Rhones from Rhone Rangers SF Grand Tasting...

Posted by napagirl68, Apr 2, 2010.

This show specifically deals with Rhone varietals produced in the USA.  Most are produced in California, some in Oregon, and a few in other states as well.  Heavily represented was the Paso Robles area of California, which is bringing Rhone varietals to the forefront of California wine drinking. One of the challenges of that region is the climate, which produces such a high brix that alcohol level are commonly 15.6 - 16%!!   However, the wines do not knock you out with fumes, as they really are well rounded.  I promised to post specifics of ones that I liked, so here they are:

Anglim 2007 Hastings Ranch Vineyard Mourvedre - my fav Mourvedre at show, and there were a lot!  White pepper predominates in this lovely wine. Earthy tones and good balance, nice, almost dry, finish.

I liked this winery so much that I bid and won the silent auction.  Received the 2006 Cerise (mourvedre, syrah, grenache, viognier), 2005 Best Barrel Blend (Mourvedre, syrah, grenache), and  the 2006 Cameo (Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier).  So far drank the Cerise and LOVED it.  Highly recommend this winery.

Big Basin Vineyards 2007 Mandala Syrah.  This is my Hands Down fav Syrah!!!   Blackberry, spice, cardamon, and some pepper.  Hits you in waves, finishes very nice.  This is a must have.

Frick Winery 2006 Cinsault, Dry Creek Valley.  I am one of these freaks that likes a blending grape done as a single varietal.  I also love Alicante Bouschet done properly.  This cinsault is a spicy, cherry/berry medium bodied gem. 

Outpost Winery 2007 Petite Sirah, Howell Mtn.  This was my number one favorite.  White pepper (yes, a thing for me!), clove and sage are interwoven in this lovely, well balanced, full bodied wine.  Hands down, my most fav Petite Sirah I've had in awhile.

Pride Mountain Winery 2007 Syrah.  Great syrah, but not my fav at show.  Would please most Syrah lovers tho.  Spicy brambleberry, some floral notes, but a definite heavy hitter.. masculine.

Ridge Vineyards 2008 Carignan, Buchignani Ranch.  WOW.  Love Ridge anyway, but really like this Carignan. New release.  Had only previously tasted Livermore Carignan's (Thomas Coyne).  I really like this one.  Big, ruby color- cherry, licorice, vanilla.. full body and earthy...

Black Sheep Vineyards (Murphys, Ca) also owns Michaud Vineyards- had a Cinsault that I also loved, but lost my notes!   One to try tho...

Tablas Creek Vineyards, too many to mention! LOL!  I love ALL their wines.. especially any year of the Esprit de Beaucastel White and Red.  Tablas creek is one of the paso wineries that uses restraint in their alcohol level....  there is much online about this acclaimed winery, credited with bringing US Rhones to the forefront of award winning wines.

Unti Vineyards..  2005 Benchland, Dry Creek Valley Syrah.  Unti is great.. have always loved their Zins as well.  This wine is full of blackberry, leather, and chocolate.. an interesting wine.  What is great about Unti, is that they are really trying to restrain the alcohol in their wines (like Tablas Creek).. which is becoming hard to do in California.

There you have it!  What a fun tasting!  I highly recommend the event to all.  Very casual, lots of food tastings as well.  MORE than enough time to taste all you want and more!




Reply by napagirl68, Apr 2, 2010.

Correction to my post:  "Sheep Ranch" is actually "Black Sheep".. my bad!

Reply by zufrieden, Apr 3, 2010.

Great tastings post.  Keep up the great work!

Reply by dmcker, Apr 6, 2010.

Any wines that were surprising disappointments to you? And did all the wineries offer only the most recent vintage or two, or some 'library' bottles, as well?

Reply by napagirl68, Apr 6, 2010.

Dmcker, suprisingly, I was not overtly disappointed by anything I tasted.  I did, obviously, prefer some over others, but I tasted nothing that I considered "bad".  I tended to avoid the roses, just because they are not my favorite, and I wanted to choose varietals I either liked or was curious about.  I, of course, didn't taste every wine there (over 400), so I can't speak for all of them.  It seemed pretty obvious to me that the wineries did try to bring their "best" wines.  However, there weren't many older vintages.  I actually had to look through the booklet to see, and it appears that the oldest vintage was a 2000 (and there was only one of that vintage).  And there was a small proportion of  2004/2005's as well.  But most were 2007 or newer.

I have had yet another bottle of one of Anglim's rhone blends (2005 Best Barrel blend), and I just can't say enough about their wines.  Just wonderful.

Reply by MarkAse, Apr 8, 2010.

I can definitely agree on Outpost.  Both my business partner and I have been impressed with what we've tasted in the past.  They were especially good at a recent tasting (Family Winemakers I believe, but not 100% sure as my notes are not in front of me)

Reply by napagirl68, Apr 16, 2010.

@MarkAse... you mention business.. If in the business I recommend trying the others too... really PHENOMENAL!!  I have drunk a lot of wine over the past x years, and I spend $$$$ when appropriate.  These recommendations, although personal, are sound. 

Reply by MarkAse, Apr 16, 2010.

Thanks Napagirl....I've tried pretty much everything on the list, the focus for me is smaller, lesser known producers so Ridge and Pride don't really fit...although they make some outstanding stuff.

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