Tag Archives: Rhone Rangers

Spending the Day With the Rhone Rangers

by Don Sonderling – August 13, 2016

The Rhone Rangers Tour Comes to Los Angeles

Rhone Rangers Los Angeles Tasting 2016

With a flourish The Rhone Rangers rode into town on Saturday, August 6th hosting a grand tasting event at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.  The day’s program started in the morning with a winemaker seminar (Red & White Rhone Blends), followed by a winemaker luncheon, giving attendees the opportunity to chat with winemakers while tasting a variety of rosé and white wines produced from Rhone varietals.  The Grand Tasting followed in the afternoon.  Over 40 California Rhone wine producers poured a diverse assortment of wines for a thirsty, enthusiastic crowd of about 600 Rhone wine devotees.

This  event offers wine enthusiasts the chance to sample wines from small, boutique wineries, to familiarize themselves with different styles, blends and individual varietals, and in many cases, talk with the winemakers themselves.

Jason DiFrancesco, owner/winemaker of LEVERAGE Wines, from Paso Robles, was especially excited to present his initial release of Rhone wines, which included a rosé, a Grenache/Syrah blend (Acceleration) and a GSM (Trajectory).  About the event Jason commented, “Events like the Rhone Rangers afford new boutique brands like mine to have personal interaction with those enjoying our wines.  For now, that’s our best way to have Rhone style Paso wine enthusiasts try these limited production wines.  Folks in Paso, Orange County, and Phoenix can visit our website and request a tasting appointment at our partner wine locations until we hopefully grow into a tasting room in the future”.

Rhone Rangers-Four Brix Winery
Four Brix Winery from Ventura California poured five different wines, including a 2011 Rhondezvous-Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre and 2012 Rhondezvous-Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre/Counoise, both from Paso Robles, giving the taster an opportunity to compare two similar, but slightly different and most interesting wines.

 

The Santa Barbara region was well represented by such standouts as Larner Vineyard and Winery (with the affable Michael Larner pouring), Beckman Vineyards, Andrew Murray Vineyards, Kaena Wine Company, and several others.

Sculpterra Winery at Rhone Rangers Los Angeles Tasting 2016

Paso Robles, well recognized for their Rhones, was represented by wineries such as Sculpterra Winery, Epoch (pouring their always standout Block B Syrah), Calcareous, Derby Wine Estates, Pomar Junction, Cass, Villa Creek and more than a dozen others.

Rhone Rangers Los Angeles Tasting 2016

Not to be left out, the Northern part of the state was represented by wineries such as Bonny Doon, Chacewater, Kale Wines and Ridge Vineyards, to name but a few.

Bringing together such a varied assortment of wineries in one location provides the opportunity to taste and compare wines made from the same grapes, but from a variety of geographic “terroirs”, and experience and evaluate their differences or similarities.   In addition to contrasting how terroir and weather influences the flavor characteristics of the varietal, perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of a varietal specific tasting is the opportunity to try varieties of (Rhone) grapes that are uncommon.  The Rhone varietal family consists of 22 grapes, and tasters at the event were able to sample lesser known varieties such as Picpoul, Ugni Blanc, Cinsault and Counoise.

For this writer, personally, perhaps one of the most exciting parts of attending events like this is the opportunity to re-visit wineries I haven’t been able to get to for several years.  Suddenly you take a sip and say to yourself:  OH My!  I’ve got to get back up there!  Many of us (myself included) get in the habit of visiting comfortable favorites and old friends, so attending the Rhone Rangers and similar tasting events helps to break you out of your comfort level, and expose you to entirely new and exciting wine encounters.

For more information on the Rhone Rangers, what they do, and upcoming events, visit their website

Cheers – hope to see YOU at a Rhone Rangers event soon.

I’ll Drink to That!

The Rhone Rangers Ride into Los Angeles

reported by Xochitl Maiman

Rhone Rangers – American Rhone wines take center stage at the Skirball Cultural Center – Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Rhone Rangerswine tasting Los Angeles Rhone Rangers are a group of 150 wineries dedicated to making wines from the 22 grape varieties originally made famous in France’s Rhone Valley. These varieties range from the better-known Syrah and Viognier to the lesser known Grenache, Mourvèdre and Roussanne, to the more obscure, but equally intriguing grapes like Counoise and Picpoul.

This summer The Rhone Rangers will hold their Grand Tasting  as part of a full day of events, including a seminar, luncheon and silent auction featuring rare and unique wine and lifestyle lots. The seminar, moderated by Wine & Spirits writer Patrick Comiskey, will focus on Rhone blends and a panel of winemakers will weigh in on the art of blending Rhone wine varietals.

Participants include:
Kale Wines – Kale Anderson, owner/winemaker
Larner Vineyard – Michael Larner, winemaker/general manager
Qupé – Bob Lindquist, owner/winemaker
Ridge Vineyards – David Gates, vice president of vineyard operations
Tablas Creek Vineyard – Jason Haas, partner/general manager
Tercero Wines – Larry Schaffer, owner/winemaker
Two Shepherds – William Allen, owner/winemaker

The winemaker luncheon will showcase a variety of rosé and white wines paired with a sumptuous buffet served on the patio overlooking the beautifully landscaped Skirball grounds.

The event continues with the grand tasting and will feature over 40 wineries. This walk around tasting will provide the unique opportunity to meet the winemakers and winery owners and begin to understand their passion for making wines with Rhone varietals. New this year in the grand tasting is a VIP lounge with seating, food and specially selected wines to sample.

 
Ticket Options
Saturday Pass: Winemaker seminar, luncheon and VIP grand tasting – $150
VIP Pass: Early admission to the grand tasting and the VIP area – $85
Grand tasting: General Admission to the grand tasting. 2:30 – 5:30pm – $65
All Los Angeles events are taking place at the Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 North Sepulveda Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90049. Parking is complimentary.

Tickets are available online.

Look to your favorite Rhone producing winery for ticket promotions.

At the time of this posting the following wineries were scheduled to pour:

Adelaida Cellars – Andrew Murray Vineyard – Beckmen Vineyards – Bernat – Bonny Doon – Broken Earth Winery – Calcareous Vineyard – Cass Winery – Chacewater – Clayhoue Wines – CONSILIENCE WINES – Derby WIne Estates – Ecluse WInes – Epoch Estate Wines – Fess Parker & Epiphany – Four Brix Winery – Halter Ranch Vineyard – Hearst Ranch Winery – Jaffurs Wine Cellars – Kaena Wine – Kale Wines – Kaleidos – Kenneth Volk Vineyards – Larner Vineyard & Winery – Leverage – Lone Madrone – Martian Ranch & Vineyard – Morgan Winery – Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery – Qupe – Record Family Wines – Ridge Vineyards – Rock Wall Wine Company – Sculpterra Winery – Stolpman Vineyards – Tablas Creek Vineyard – Tercero Wines – The Withers Winery – Treana & Hope Family Wines – Two Shepherds – Villa Creek Cellars – Vina Robles – Zinke Wines

I’LL DRINK TO THAT!

 

Summer 2016 Wine Tasting in Los Angeles

by Xochitl Maiman – July 4, 2016

It’s summer 2016 and Southern California wine enthusiasts have three great reasons to plan a visit to Los Angeles!

Three of the year’s best wine tasting events are headed to the Los Angeles area to be held at three of the city’s most iconic and diverse venues. The Garagiste Festival, celebrating  the small production artisan winemaker, rolls into LA on July 9th and will be held at the Art Deco masterpiece that is The Wiltern. Pinot-files will be delighted with the Stars of Pinot on July 20th at the famed Sofitel LA in Beverly Hills. On August 6th, enjoy the wines of the Rhone Rangers, winemakers producing wines from the 22 grapes of the Rhone wine growing region of France. This event will be held at the Skirball Cultural Center, with it’s distinct modern architectural design serving as the backdrop for an afternoon of sublime wine tasting.

wine tasting Los Angeles Garagiste FestivalThe Garagiste Wine Festivals are the first and only wine festivals dedicated to the undiscovered and under-recognized artisan ‘garagiste’ producers who are making some of the best, most exciting, handcrafted small-lot production wines in California. Most of these wineries do not have tasting rooms and do not sell their wine in stores. These festivals provide a unique opportunity for the wine consumer to get acquainted with over 60 of these winemakers under one roof and taste their wines and feel their passion for their craft. If it’s variety you’re looking for, the wines poured at the Garagiste Festival represent all your favorite varietals and many you’ve probably never heard of.

Get up close and personal with the garagiste winemakers on Saturday, July 9th at the 2nd Annual Garagiste Festival – Urban Exposure in Los Angeles at the historical and gorgeous Wiltern Theater. This day’s events include a winemaker seminar, Rare and Reserve tasting and Grand Tasting. To preserve an intimate experience for consumers with one-on-one interaction with winemakers, tickets are very limited for the Garagiste Festivals and always sell out.

Details and ticket information.

wine tasting Los Angeles Stars of Pinot 2016

If you are obsessed with Pinot Noir, like I am, then, yes, Los Angeles has something for you too! The Stars of Pinot returns to the Sofitel Hotel on July 20th, and will feature over 200 wines from 60 of the world’s top producers.

Details and ticket information.

wine tasting Los Angeles Rhone RangersHave you heard of Viognier, Marsanne, Counoise or Mourvedre? These are just 4 of the 22 wine grape varietals of the Rhone wine region of France. Perhaps you’ve heard of the famed Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines, but maybe you’re just not sure what grapes are in those bottlings? The Rhone Rangers are a group of 150 wineries dedicated to making wines from the grape varieties of the Rhone and many of these wineries are riding into Los Angeles on August 6th to share their spectacular expressions of these grapes with you. Learn from the winemakers themselves why they love to work with these grapes. Find out what really is in a GSM blend. Taste the difference between cool weather Syrah and the Syrah from the hotter growing regions like Paso Robles.

Join over 50 of the Rhone Ranger wineries at the Skirball Cultural Center on Augustus 6, 2016. The day’s events feature a winemaker seminar and luncheon beginning at 11am and a Grand Tasting beginning at 2:30 pm, with VIP access at 1:30pm.

Details and ticket information.

I’LL DRINK TO THAT!

Rhone Rangers – Los Angeles Tasting Event – 2011

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.

Denise Lowe and Xochitl Maiman

Denise Lowe and Xochitl Maiman

I’LL DRINK TO THAT !