Last Sunday I attended the Rhone Rangers tasting at Pier 59 Studios West in Santa Monica. Year after year, this continues to be one of my favorite events. Not too big, nice open venue, and lots of my favorite Rhone style wines, many from Paso Robles.
So, in case you’re wondering what is Rhone Rangers….it is an association devoted to promoting producers in California, Washington, New York and Oregon who specialize in the varietals originally from the Rhone region of France. While there are 22 recognized Rhone varietals, only a few stand out as the principal players. The whites include Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc. Reds are headed up by Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre and supported by others like Cinsault, Petite Sirah and Carignan. Many of these show up in blends, adding even more interest, intensity, color and flavor to these already luscious, complex wines.
The Central Coast is well suited for these varietals and more and more winemakers are producing these wines, experimenting with all matter of blends and styles. Lucky us – so much to taste!
Some of my favorite producers are:
Cypher – Templeton, CA
Ecluse – Paso Robles, CA
Edward Sellers – Paso Robles, CA
Frick – Geyserville, CA
Villa Creek – Paso Robles, CA
Holly’s Hill – Placerville, CA
Ridge Vineyards – Cupertino, CA
Kiamie Wine Cellars – Paso Robles, CA
Cass – Paso Robles
….just to name a few! One new one to add to the list is Jada Vineyard & Winery. I tasted their wines for the first time at this event and was intrigued by their unique 09 White Blend and their rich 08 Syrah, Jersey Girl.
Besides tasting new wines, these events are also a great time to make new friends and catch up with old ones.
I’LL DRINK TO THAT !