Yes, it's March in California, and that means one main thing for wine: the annual Rhone Rangers Tasting Event at Fort Mason on Saturday, March 20th. This is one of the three best tasting events that happen annually in San Francisco (the other two being ZAP -- see my review -- and the Family Winemakers event).
On March 20th, over 150 wineries from all over California and the West will gather to present their Rhone style wines for trade and public tasting. There's also supposed to be tasty food there from various artisianal producers.
What type of Rhone style wines will be available for tasting?
Well there are a lot of white grapes that are grown in the Rhone, but very few of them are bottled as single varietals. You will most certainly see Viognier, which has become very trendy as a Chardonnay alternative, and Muscat, but the use of Muscat in the Rhone is typically for blending.
Otherwise, the white wines you will taste will be blends, often of several different varietals including, Bourboulenc, Clairette Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Muscat, Picardin, Picpoul/Piquepoul Blanc, Roussanne, Ugni Blanc, and Viognier.
Most Rhone Reds, like the whites, are blends -- the most famous of which is Chateauneuf-du-Pape, that lovely intense and slightly acidic red wine that people pay beaucoups bucks for. The wines in this style are typically mostly Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre, and then little bits of sometimes dozens of other varietals including Carignan (Carignane), Cinsault (Cinsaut), Counoise, Muscardin, Picpoul Noir, Terret Noir, and Vaccarèse.
The other wines likey to make an appearance are Syrahs, Petite Syrahs, a straight Grenache or two, and various other red blends from many of the varietals listed above.
So if you're a fan, or just getting interested in these types of wines, I recommend heading down to Fort Mason on the 20th. My usual tips apply:
1. Buy your tickets in advance, they often sell out.
2. Get there early. These things are popular.
3. Wear loose fitting, dark colored clothing, and avoid carrying bags and valuables. It is crowded. There are spills.
4. Spit -- you will be able to taste more wines, not to mention remember them.
Seventh Annual Rhone Rangers Tasting Event
Festival Pavilion, Fort Mason
Private Viognier Seminar: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Trade/Industry Tasting: 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Open to the Public: 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
For tickets call (415) 345-7575 or buy them online. See you there !
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Drinking Time Itself: The Champagnes of Anselme Selosse The Great Prosecco Crisis of 2015 Vinography Unboxed: Week of May 17th, 2015 Vinography Images: Up in Flames California's Other Seven Percent Vinography Unboxed: Week of May 10, 2015 Vinography Images: Spring Dreams Tasting One Man's Experience: The Champagnes of Agrapart et Fil Vinography Unboxed: Week of May 4, 2015 Vinography Images: A Shaggy Guardian
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune