6022 Miles Apart

by Alison Smith

…is the approximate distance from Paso Robles, California to heart of the Rhône Valley in France.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape vineyards, Spring 2011

Having just spent a week visiting Southern Rhône in March, I was eager to attend the 2011 Hospice du Rhône in Paso Robles the first week weekend in May, hunting for deals to feature on Wine.Woot! The HdR (as we refer to it in the trade) was a world-wide lineup of producers from Spain, Australia, France, and America, of course. An incredible way to taste the world without having to deal with jet-lag. A total treat for me, I chose to spend the first afternoon focusing on producers who opened old & rare bottles. What a wonderful way to taste the age-ablity and quality of a few hundred wines in a few short hours - and yes I now have a few new favorites!

About 1/3 of my personal wine consumption is of Rhône varietals – soo many to explore. Check out this delicious list the fine folks at HdR provided… there will be a quiz tomorrow, class! (NOT.)

  1. Bourboulenc: (Burr-buh-lanc) light bodied, delicate floral, citrus, peach, melon, earth
  2. Camarese: (Cam-are-ess) firm, tannins, delicate aromatics, pepper, spice
  3. Carignane Noir: (Care-ig-non No-our) tannic, solid acidity, good color, cherry, raspberry, pepper
  4. Cinsault Noir: (Sahn-so No-our) elegant, soft & lightly aromatic, strawberry, raspberry, smoke, earth
  5. Clairette Blanc: (Claret Blan) big bodied, floral, aromatic, honeysuckle, tropical flowers, tropical fruits
  6. Clairette Rose: (Clare-et Rose) light aromatics, fruit notes, soft strawberry, cherry, rose petal
  7. Counoise Noir: (Coon-wahz No-our) lively acidity, spice, richness, raspberry, cherry, cranberry
  8. Grenache Blanc: (Gra-nash blan) big bodied, soft, delicate peach, melon, pear
  9. Grenache Gris: (Gra-Nash Gree) full-bodied, light in color, delicate strawberry, cherry, rose petal
  10. Grenache Noir: (Gra-Nash o-our) big bodied, supple, & rich strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, black pepper
  11. Marsanne: (Mar-san) broad palate, soft & rich, peach, nectarine, stone fruits, tuberose, sweet nuts
  12. Mourvèdre: (More-ved) tannic, deeply colored, aromatic, black currant, dark cherries, leather, smoke, earth
  13. Muscardin: (Mus-car-dan) floral, aromatic, firmly structured, rose petal, barnyard, earth
  14. Muscat a Petits Grains: (Mus-cat ah Pet-eet Grahn) elegant, aromatic, floral, musk, honey, honeysuckle, lily, stone fruit
  15. Picpoul Blanc: (Peek-pool Blan) floral, soft, aromatic, pear, earth, lily, daisy, wildflowers
  16. Picpoul Noir: (Peek-pool No-our) floral, elegant, aromatic, rose, violet, dark cherry
  17. Roussanne: (Roo-sahn) firmly structured, powerful, very rich, apricot, honey, almond, nutmeg, honeysuckle, iris
  18. Syrah/Shiraz: (C-rah)/(She-raz) highly colored, firmly structured and aromatic, plum, raspberry, blueberry, blackcurrant, violet, roasted meats, smoke, chocolate, pepper, anise
  19. Terret Noir: (Tare-it No-our) delicate, perfumed, bright acidity, rose petal, lavender, dark berries, spice
  20. Ugni Blanc: (Ewn-yee Blan) delicate fruit, good acidity, pear, honey-dew melon, earth
  21. Vaccarese: (Vac-car-ess) aromatic, firmly tannic, floral, pepper, spice, earth, smoke
  22. Viognier: (Vee-ohn-yea) big bodied, very aromatic, complex apricot, musk, peaches, grapefruit, lychee, papaya, mango, tropical flowers

Download the free and AWESOME HdR iPhone App for this list and more at your fingertips.

The Cellars of Chateau de Beaucastel (owned by the Perrin Family who also have Tablas Creek Vineyards in Paso Robles)

We see a smattering of offers on Wine.Woot! of a handful of Rhône varietals, such as the Davis Family Vineyards "Cote Rose" Syrah/Viogner blend, the Mathis Grenache, Pear Valley Vineyards Syrah, and of course Peter Wellington's Marsanne & Roussanne offering... so get ready to learn and taste some lesser known grapes coming your way soon! I’m keeping the list of my favorite producers to myself for now… see you on the boards.

Cheers -
TexaCali Ali