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Rhone Rangers Wine Tasting: March 18th, San Francisco

RR_SF_2007_small.jpgThere comes a time, ladies and gentlemen, when we all have to ask ourselves one simple question: just how much do we love Syrah? There are a lot of varietals vying for attention these days, but not all of them are created equal in each of our minds. For some people Cabernet will always be king. For others, Zinfandel. As for me, I find it very hard to choose one favorite varietal, but I also admit that one of my favorite tastings every year is the famed Rhone Rangers wine tasting, where I get a chance to taste Syrah (among other things) from all over the state.

For those not familiar with the movement, the Rhone Rangers is an advocacy organization made up of wineries, winemakers, and wine lovers who all love the varietals typically grown in the Rhone Valley of France. These 22 different varieties of red and white grapes have varying degrees of history in California viticulture, but collectively they began a rise to popularity about 15 or 20 years ago as folks on the central coast began producing Syrah that made everyone sit up and take notice.

Syrah is still king, but now there are hundreds of Viogniers and Grenaches, scores of Mourvedres and Roussannes, and many more red and white blends being made everywhere from Mendocino to Santa Barbara. And once a year, they all come to San Francisco for our tasting pleasure.

See you on Sunday!

Rhone Rangers Grand Tasting
Sunday. March 18th, 1:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Fort Mason Festival Pavilion
99 Marina Blvd, San Francisco, 94123
(415) 441-3400

Tickets are $45 in advance ($35 for Rhone Ranger members), but will jump to $55 at the door. They can be (and should be -- hint, hint) purchased in advance online.

Parking is crazy that day, don't bother trying to park anywhere close to Fort Mason. Take public transportation or park farther away and walk.

My usual tips for public wine tastings apply: get a good night's sleep the night before, eat lunch before you arrive, drink lots of water, wear dark clothes, and for Pete's sake, people -- SPIT! You don't want to be one of those stumbling fools that the rest of us responsible wine lovers mock all afternoon.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.