Wine Talk

Snooth User: Stephanie516

Rhone White Wines for Fall

Posted by Stephanie516, Oct 27, 2009.

I read this article a couple of days ago from the Wall Street Journal. I thought it was pretty interesting because fall for me has always meant a switch to red. Has anyone tried the Rhone Whites? I'm going to give this a go at the end of the week! Let me know if its really worth the wsj buzz.

Check out the article here:
"Whites That Make Fall Meals Better"

There's also a great video tab underneath the article title.


Reply by chadrich, Oct 27, 2009.

I'm a new world vs old world wine guy (there, I said it). But have really enjoyed a lot of the wines based on Rhone grapes that are coming out of California. Tablas Creek, while not my favorite, is probably the best know and dependably locatable example. Bonny Doon is also producing various single varietal bottlings and blends of Marsanne, Rousanne, Viognier and Grenache Blanc. Alban and Copain also spring to mind as producers who are doing high quality work with some of these same grapes.
But yes, by all means buy and try Rhone whites (whether real Rhone or relocated), I think you'll enjoy them.

Reply by torchtaker, Oct 28, 2009.

In contrast to chadrich, I am very much an old world wine guy and have tasted a few white Rhône wines that definitely have potential for fall weather. I would like to suggest drinking white chateauneuf-du-pape, which to my taste is too strong and warm for summer drinking bu fits in very well when the leaves start changing colours. Good premier cru white Burgundy also fits in very well in this season (or any other ;-)

Reply by ChipDWood, Oct 28, 2009.

Viognier baby! Fall is it's season. In our experience, dishes that involve root vegetables, for whatever reason, go extremely well with Viognier (think: Pumpkin bisque. Yummy).

Although I must say, the best Viognier pairing (and I know Snooth had an entire thread to the very topic about a year ago)- is artichoke dip
( )...

Change ya life. Now all ya need is some Barren Ridge Viognier ( ), some crusty bread to dip it in, and you're all set.

That Betty Crocker. She's a sweet talker.

Reply by Brad Coelho, Oct 28, 2009.

This subject is near and dear to me. My wife loathes white Rhones, mostly due to the fact that she craves acidity in her whites and several of the white Rhones she's tried verge on the soft, plump end of the spectrum. Something to remember is that there are a slew of different grapes that go into these wines, all with distinct profiles, textures and flavors. White Hermitage is probably considered the most 'noble,' as the best (from Chave) can evolve into Meursault-like expressions of Marsanne, w/ brilliant minerality and honeysuckle driven flavors. These are also the most expensive, but whites from St. Joseph, though rare, are an excellent introduction into fine, old vine Marsanne. Viognier from the north, whether it be Chateau Grillet (the only appellation named for the producer, or vice versa) or a fine Condrieu is one of the sweetest smells in wine. Apricots and wild flowers, w/ a bit of peaches mixed in for good measure. These wines, in my opinion, need to be drunk very young, while their vibrancy is at an apex, showing off their exotic beauty. They tend to lack the structure to age, yet exceptions to the rule always exist.

The southern Rhone gets confusing, but a good place to start is in the generic 'Cotes du Rhone' appellation. Janasse makes cheap, fabulously pure white CDRs and St. Cosme is a consistent winner for the price. The two stalwarts of Chateauneuf blanc are stylistic opposites- w/ Beaucastel's big, thick Roussanne dominated whites being the most famous (total winter wines, low in acidity and jammed w/ rich, unctuous flavors), but Clos des Papes being the most fine. Clos des Papes is a melange of just about every white grape allowed in the region, w/ racy acidity, firm mineral grip and subtle, nutty flavors. Rayas is another white that is way too pricy, but ages beautifully. For those that want to migrate from the new world to the old, Boisrenard blanc & Domaine St. Prefert use a bit of oak to spice up their whites & they may be good starting points.

Much love for the white Rhones- tis the season to pop one!

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Oct 28, 2009.

So what your telling me is that two weeks after Snooth publishes an article on winter time being the right time for white Rhone wines ( the Wall Street Journal writes the same article? Coincidence? I think not.

Reply by dmcker, Oct 28, 2009.

Welcome to the cannibalistic world of journalism, Greg. You can take credit that Snooth has arrived as a site to watch. Also for helping out a previously uninspired writer over at WSJ... ;-)

Reply by dmcker, Oct 28, 2009.

Forgot to mention the last white Rhone I had:
2006 Domaine Méo-Camuzet Clos Saint-Philibert, Hautes-Côtes de Nuits Blanc

Generally I favor whites further north up the Rhone, but only the most confident Meursault need try to stand near this baby--and they'll be twice the price or more...

Reply by dmcker, Oct 28, 2009.

Sorry, that last post was a mistake for this thread. I really hate the fact that there's no editing function in this forum for posts once they're made. I had the above in my cut-and-paste memory for posting on another site and just pasted and posted here without proof reading.

The Rhone I meant to post about here was a Chante-Alouette Hermitage from Chapoutier. Their Cuvee de l’Oree isn't too shabby either, though just a mite pricier...

Reply by cigarman168, Oct 28, 2009.

so is there also any ranking classification for Rhones whites as Red in Bordeaux?

Reply by dmcker, Oct 28, 2009.

Well, there's always the Parker ratings... ;-)

Unfortunately he has been the main culprit in the rise to the stratosphere of premium Rhone wine prices in the past decade or two. I had a small 'horizontal' the other night of eight Chapoutier wines from the 2005 vintage. The Chante-Alouette at the 'bottom' end, L'Ermite at the top, Cuvee de l'Oree and Le Meal in between but closer to the top, and a St. Joseph Les Granits in between but closer to the bottom in pricing for the whites, while there were also reds, but that's for another thread. The prices on the Japanese market range from $55 or more for the Chante-Alouette to $300 or more for the L'Ermite. 15 years ago the prices would only have been a fraction of what they are now.

You'll need to look for specific wineries and negociants (like Chapoutier which has been very good for the past 20 years or Jaboulet, which has slipped in recent years) as valued by the marketplace or recommended by acquaintances, wine forums, etc. And taste as much as you can on your own, so you can then find what you think to be the best so you can recommend them to friends, customers, et al.

As a final note, my horizontal the other evening further clarified the common sense Brad Coelho mentions above that St. Joseph provides a lot more value for the dollar.

This lack of 'classification' may make marketing wines in new markets like China more challenging, but also should be a lot more fun for you. The Bordeaux classifications from 150 years ago are extremely problematic, anyway...

Reply by cigarman168, Oct 28, 2009.

DM, thanks. As I always talk with my customers, be loyal to your own taste rather than buying wines just based on the ranking markings.

Reply by thebrokewino, Oct 29, 2009.

love me some rhone in general, and i dig the whites occassionally too. i think the last i had was a perrin et fils cotes du rhone reserve 2007. perrin bros make killer wines in the south, can't miss them at all (beaucastel!?) i would have killed to be at that chapoutier tasting, btw.

i read the wsj article too, actually, didn't realize snooth had talked about it too. props! plus, there are a lot of rhone style influenced producers in cali, one winery i chat with on twitter is named tercero you can check out their stuff on the interwebs too

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