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