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06.03.2007

Syrah Around The World: Tasting at Hospice du Rhone 2007

hdr07.jpgBetter late than never, as they say. It's taken me quite a while to find the solid three or four hours required to transcribe the scribblings of a full day's worth of wine tasting at the recent Hospice du Rhone event. Writing up the large tastings I go to is the most painstaking and difficult aspect of my coverage here on Vinography, and these days, time is a precious commodity around the Vinography household. Hence the several weeks between the event and my scores for the 250+ wines I tasted during the 2007 Grand Tasting.

For those who have not had the pleasure of attending Hospice du Rhone, it is a unique treat for anyone who enjoys Rhone style wines. A laid-back two and a half days of seminars, dinners, and parties which offer a unique blend of California and international wines and wine talent. The event begins with a night of bowling and debauchery, which is followed by a full day of seminars on everything Rhone (see my coverage of the particularly nice one on Rhone whites) that ends with various dinner parties at wineries in the area. Day two for some people begins with a big dose of antacid and more than a liberal dose of coffee to compensate for the previous evenings festivities. The second day includes more seminars and the grand tasting, which offers the remarkable and instructive opportunity to taste California, French, and Australian Syrah side-by-side.

The overall event is a very down-to-earth, and often humorous, celebration of the twenty-two Rhone varietals and the people who love them. Often held on a weekend that conflicts with my personal schedule, HdR was shifted earlier this year, and I was able to attend for the first time, which allows me to bring you my scores for the best of the wines I tasted over the course of two days. The quality of the wines on offer was extremely high, including many wines that are never sold at retail, as they are gobbled up by mailing list members or imported in such limited quantities that only collectors and restaurants receive them.

For this reason, I have left off the retail pricing on the wines, though I have provided links to help you find some of my favorites, should you care to try to purchase them.

There is not a lot of white wine made in the Rhone Valley, but there is quite a bit of Rhone style white wine made in California in particular. It was surprising to see how few were on offer at the tasting -- a far lower ratio than say, at the California centric Rhone Rangers tasting in San Francisco.

Enjoy.

WHITE WINES:

WHITE WINES SCORING BETWEEN 9.5 and 10

2000 Alban Vineyards Roussanne, Paso Robles.

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9.5

2003 Chapoutier Charle Aloutte Hermitage Blanc, Rhone Valley, France.
2003 Tablas Creek Vineyards Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc, Paso Robles. Where to Buy?
1998 Qupe "Alban Vineyard" Roussanne, Santa Barbara
1996 Qupe "Ibarra Young Vineyard" Viogner, Santa Barbara

WHITE WINES SCORING BETWEEN 9 and 9.5

2006 Alban Vineyards Viognier, Santa Barbara
2004 Gangloff Condrieu, Rhone Valley, France
2000 Ferreton Pere et Fils Hermitage Blanc, Rhone Valley, France
2005 Villard Cuilleron Viognier (barrel sample)
2001 Tablas Creek Vineyards Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc, Paso Robles
2001 Garretson "Stolpman Vineyard" Roussanne, Paso Robles
2006 Domaine Saint Prefert Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc, Rhone Valley, France
2006 Linne Calodo "Contrarian" Roussanne / Viognier, Paso Robles
2006 Kunin Viognier (barrel sample), Santa Ynez Valley
1996 Qupe "Ibarra Young Vineyard" Marsanne, Santa Barbara

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9

2002 Tablas Creek Vineyards Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc, Paso Robles
2003 Jaffurs Roussanne, Santa Barbara
2004 E. Guigal St. Joseph Blanc, Rhone Valley, France
2005 E. Guigal "La Dorian" Condrieu, Rhone Valley, France
2005 Gangloff Condrieu, Rhone Valley, France

WHITE WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8.5 and 9

2003 Garretson "The Reliquary" White Blend, Paso Robles
2002 Ethan (Qupe) Viognier, Arroyo Grande
2002 Jaffurs Viogner, Santa Barbara
2006 Torbreck Roussanne/Marsanne White Blend, Barossa Valley, Australia
2005 Domaine du Grand Tinel Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc, Rhone Valley, France
2003 E. Guigal St. Joseph Blanc, Rhone Valley, France
2005 E. Guigal Hermitage Blanc, Rhone Valley, France
2005 Ferreton Pere et Fils Condrieu, Rhone Valley, France
2005 Rolf Binder "Hovath" Viognier, Barossa Valley, Australia

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8.5

2005 Ferreton Pere et Fils Cotes du Rhone Blanc, Rhone Valley, France
2005 Kenneth Volk Viogner, Paso Robles
2005 E. Guigal Condrieu, Rhone Valley, France

RED WINES:

RED WINES SCORING BETWEEN 9.5 and 10

2005 Alban Vineyards "Reva" Syrah, Santa Barbara.
2005 Alban Vineyards Grenache, Santa Barbara.
2005 Saxum Vineyards "Rocket Block" Syrah, Paso Robles.

RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9.5

1998 Gangloff "Barbarine" Cote Rotie, Rhone Valley, France.
1999 Domaine Charbonniere Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone Valley, France.
2000 Alban Vineyards Grenache, Paso Robles.
2002 L'Aventure "Cote a Cote" Red Blend, Paso Robles. Where to Buy?
2002 Villa Creek Vineyards "High Road" Grenache Blend, Paso Robles.
2003 Andrew Adam Vineyards Syrah, Paso Robles. Where to Buy?
2003 Big Basin Vineyards "Rattlesnake Rock" Syrah, Santa Cruz Mountains. Where to Buy?
2003 Chapoutier La Sizeranne Hermitage, Rhone Valley, France. Where to Buy?
2003 Domaine Colombier Hermitage, Rhone Valley, France. Where to Buy?
2003 Domaine de Marcoux Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone Valley, France. Where to Buy?
2003 Domaine Saint Prefert "Charles Giraud" Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone Valley, France.
2003 L'Aventure "Cote a Cote" Red Blend, Paso Robles. Where to Buy?
2003 L'Aventure Estate Syrah, Paso Robles. Where to Buy?
2004 Domaine Saint Prefert "Colombis" Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone Valley, France.
2004 Saxum "Bone Rock" GSM Blend. Where to Buy?
2005 Domaine de la Boisson "Cuvee des princes de Orange" Cotes du Rhone, Rhone Valley, France.
2005 Linne Calodo "Sticks and Stones" Red Blend, Paso Robles. Where to Buy?
2005 Pax "Alder Springs Vineyard" Syrah, Mendocino County. Where to Buy?
2005 Saxum Vineyards "Bone Rock" GSM Blend, James Berry Vineyard, Paso Robles.
2005 Torbreck "Descendant" Shiraz/Viognier, Barossa Valley, Australia. Where to Buy?
2005 Torbreck "Runrig" Shiraz/Viognier, Barossa Valley, Australia.
2005 Villa Creek Vineyards "High Road" James Berry Vineyard Syrah, Paso Robles.
2006 Pax "Alder Springs" Syrah, Mendocino (barrel sample)

RED WINES SCORING BETWEEN 9 and 9.5

1998 Guigal Chateau Ampuis Cote Rotie, Rhone Valley, France
1999 J.C. Cellars "Ventana" Syrah, Mendocino
1999 L'Aventure Syrah (out of Magnum), Paso Robles
2000 Domaine de Janasse Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone Valley, France
2000 DuMol "Eddies Block" Syrah, Russian River Valley
2001 Kunin "Alisos Vineyard" Syrah, Santa Barbara
2001 Qupe "Bien Nacido Vineyard" Syrah, Santa Barbara
2002 Anglim Syrah, Paso Robles
2002 Ethan (Qupe) Syrah, Purisima Mountain
2002 Kaleidos Syrah, Paso Robles
2002 L'Aventure Estate Syrah, Paso Robles
2002 Twisted Oak "%#&@!" Red Blend, Lodi
2003 Anglim Syrah, Paso Robles
2003 Charbonniere "Les Hautes Brusquierres" Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone Valley, France
2003 Chateau Ampuis Cote Rotie, Rhone Valley, France
2003 Pax "Alder Springs" Syrah, Mendocino
2003 Peay Vineyards Estate Syrah
2003 Villa Creek Vineyards "High Road" James Berry Vineyard Syrah, Paso Robles
2004 Domaine de la Boisson Gigondas "Selection de Victor", Rhone Valley, France
2004 Domaine de la Boisson Gigondas Vielles Vignes, Rhone Valley, France
2004 Domaine La Barroche "Fiancee" Red Wine, Rhone Valley, France
2004 Domaine La Barroche "Pure" Red Wine, Rhone Valley, France
2004 Hewitson "Mad Hatter" Shiraz, McLaren Vale, Australia
2004 Jacob Toft GSM Blend, Paso Robles
2004 Killakanoon "R" Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia
2004 La Crau de Ma Mere Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone Valley, France
2004 La Vieux Donjon Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone Valley, France
2004 Rolf Binder "Hanisch" Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia
2004 Two Hands "Bull & Bear" Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia
2005 Charbonniere "Les Hautes Brusquierres" Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone Valley, France
2005 Charbonniere Vielles Vignes Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone Valley, France
2005 Domaine Saint Prefert Chateauneuf du Pape , Rhone Valley, France
2005 ENO "Eaglepoint Vineyard" Grenache, Mendocino
2005 ENO "Las Madres" Syrah, Carneros
2005 Linne Calodo "Rising Tides" Red Blend, Paso Robles
2005 Linne Calodo "The Martyr" Red Blend, Paso Robles
2005 Pax "Obsidian" Syrah, Knights Valley
2005 Qupe "Bien Nacido Vineyard" Syrah, Santa Barbara
2005 Saxum "Broken Stones" Syrah
2005 Spencer Roloson "Vim & Vigor" Syrah / Grenache Blend, Lake County
2005 Torbreck "The Factor" Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia
2005 Two Hands "Gnarly Dudes" Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia
2006 Tablas Creek Vineyards "Nursery Block" Rhone Blend (barrel sample)

RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9

1999 Domaine Diraud Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone Valley, France
1999 Ferreton Pere et Fils "Le Meal" Ermitage, Rhone Valley, France
1999 Guigal Chateau Ampuis Hermitage, Rhone Valley, France
1999 J.C. Cellars "Rodney's Vineyard" Syrah, Santa Barbara
2001 Bernerini Domaine De la Solitude Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone Valley, France
2001 Domaine Aphillanthes Cotes du Rhone Villages, Rhone Valley, France
2001 Domaine Charbonniere Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone Valley, France
2001 Garretson "Rozet Vineyard" Grenache, Paso Robles
2001 Garretson "Rozet Vineyard" Syrah, Paso Robles
2001 Justin Vineyards Reserve Syrah, Paso Robles
2002 Twisted Oak "Tanner Vineyard" Syrah, Calaveras County
2003 Domaine Saint Prefert Red Wine, Rhone Valley, France
2003 Hitching Post "Purisima Mountain" Syrah, Purisima Mountain
2003 Hug Vineyards "Bassetti Vineyard" Syrah, Paso Robles
2004 Chapoutier "La Bernardine" Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone Valley, France
2004 Charbonniere "Cuvee Mourre des Pedrix" Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone Valley, France
2004 Charbonniere Vacqueyras, Rhone Valley, France
2004 Killakanoon "Greens Vineyard" Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia
2004 Killikanoon "Parable" Shiraz, Clare Valley, Australia
2004 Kunin "Alisos Vineyard" Syrah, Santa Barbara
2004 Lurton Mas Janiel Cotes du Rhone, Rhone Valley, France
2004 Rolf Binder "Halliwell" GSM Blend, Barossa Valley, Australia
2004 Rolf Binder "Heinrich" GSM Blend, Barossa Valley, Australia
2004 Rolf Binder "Heyson: Shiraz, Barossa Valley Australia
2004 The Gomersal "Magpie Estate" Grenache, Barossa Valley, Australia
2004 Torbreck "The Pict" Mourvedre, Barossa Valley, Australia
2005 Hewitson "Old Garden" Mourvedre, Barossa Valley, Australia
2005 IO "Neilson Vineyard" Grenache, Santa Barbara
2005 Linne Calodo "Nemesis" Red Blend, Paso Robles
2005 Pax "Cuvee Moriah" Syrah, California
2005 Pax "Walker Vine Hill" Syrah, Russian River Valley
2005 Torbreck "The Struie" Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia
2005 Two Hands "Lily's Garden" Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia
2006 Kunin Syrah, Santa Barbara (barrel sample)

RED WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8.5 and 9

1998 Qupe Mourvedre, Santa Barbara
2000 Bernerini Domaine De la Solitude Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone Valley, France
2000 Edmunds St. John "Robles Vineyard" Red Wine, Paso Robles
2000 Ferreton Pere et Fils "Les Miaux" Hermitage, Rhone Valley, France
2000 Hitching Post "Colson Canyon" Syrah, Santa Ynez Valley
2001 Domaine de Janasse Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone Valley, France
2001 Domaine du Grand Tinel Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone Valley, France
2001 Gangloff "Barbarine" Vielles Vignes Cote Rotie, Rhone Valley, France
2001 Hitching Post "Bien Nacido" Syrah, Santa Rita Hills
2001 Jaffurs Syrah, Santa Barbara
2001 Justin Vineyards Syrah, Paso Robles
2001 Usseglio Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone Valley, France
2002 DuMol "Eddies Block" Syrah, Russian River Valley
2002 Pikes Shiraz, Clare Valley, Australia
2002 Twisted Oak "Ferriere Vineyard" Syrah, Calaveras County
2002 Twisted Oak Grenache, Lodi
2003 E. Guigal Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone Valley, France
2003 E. Guigal Cote Rotie, Rhone Valley, France
2003 IO GSM Blend, Santa Barbara
2004 Domaine de la Boisson "Sablet" Cotes du Rhone Villages, Rhone Valley, France
2004 Domaine de la Boisson Vacqueyras, Rhone Valley, France
2004 Halifax Shiraz, McLaren Vale, Australia
2004 IO "Ryan Road" Syrah, Paso Robles
2004 Killikanoon "Killermans Run" Shiraz/Grenache, Barossa Valley, Australia
2004 Killikanoon "Prodigal" Grenache, Clare Valley, Australia
2004 Terlato Syrah, Dry Creek Valley
2004 Torbreck "The Steading" GSM Red Blend, Barossa Valley, Australia
2005 Baker Lane Syrah, Sonoma Coast
2005 Callaghan "Sonoita" Red Blend, Arizona
2005 Hewitson "Miss Harry" GSM Blend, Barossa Valley, Australia
2005 Kunin Syrah, Santa Barbara
2005 The Old Faithful "Almond Grove" Mourvedre, McLaren Vale, Australia
2005 The Old Faithful "Café Block" Shiraz, McLaren Vale, Autralia
2005 The Old Faithful "Northern Exposure" Grenache, McLaren Vale, Autralia
2005 The Old Faithful "Top of the Hill" Shiraz, McLaren Vale, Autralia
2006 Kunin "Popo" Syrah, Santa Barbara
2006 Pikes Viognier, Clare Valley, Australia
2006 Torbreck "Cuvee Juveniles" GSM Red Blend, Barossa Valley, Australia

RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8.5

2001 Domaine de Montvac Gigondas, Rhone Valley, France
2001 Domaine de Montvac Vacqueyras, Rhone Valley, France
2002 Justin Vineyards Reserve Syrah, Paso Robles
2003 Chateau Fines Roches Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone Valley, France
2003 Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone Valley, France
2003 Domaine St. Paul Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone Valley, France
2003 Ferreton Pere et Fils Cotes du Rhone, Rhone Valley, France
2003 Frankland Estate Shiraz, Western Australia
2003 Kenneth Volk Old Vine "Lime Kiln Vineyard" Mourvedre
2004 IO "Upper Bench" Syrah, Santa Maria Valley
2004 Kenneth Volk Grenache, Santa Ynez Valley
2005 Domaine de la Boisson, Cotes de la Ventoux, Rhone Valley, France
2005 Ferreton Pere et Fils Crozes Hermitage, Rhone Valley, France
2005 Hewitson "Ned & Henry's" Shiraz, McLaren Vale, Australia
2005 Terlato and Chapoutier Shiraz/Viognier, Victoria, Australia

RED WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8 and 8.5

2003 Chateau Gigognan Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone Valley, France
2004 Ferreton Pere et Fils Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone Valley, France
2004 Pikes GSM Blend, Clare Valley, Australia
2005 Domaine de Montvac Vacqueyras, Rhone Valley, France
2005 Frankland Estate "Rocky Gulch" Syrah, Western Australia
2005 The Wishing Tree Shiraz, Western Australia

Comments (6)

Gilberto wrote:
06.04.07 at 10:12 AM

Estimado Alder,
I was a this years event along with the owner of Vinicola Adobe Guadalupe form Baja California, Mexico. D.Miller was on one of the panel tastings he poured his Kerubiel (Syrah,Tempranillo,Mouvrede,Grenache,Cinsault,Viognier).Look forward to meeting you.

Saludos,

Gilberto.......

wineguy wrote:
06.04.07 at 10:46 AM

Thanks for the rundown. I was wondering when we were going to get this...

Good to meet you. Hope to see you again next year!

Allen Clark wrote:
06.04.07 at 1:18 PM

Alder - I've been going to HdR since 2000, and found your impressions to be very much in line with mine. I might add that it has been consistently great, year after year, in every respect. I'm especially grateful that it hasn't moved out of Paso Robles, because the remoteness is the sole reason the crowds have remained manageable.

I've been even more remiss than you in codifying my notes, but certainly remember my favorite of the weekend being the Reva, one of your top picks as well. Not that Alban is my favorite producer, but I thought the Viognier better than the library Roussanne shown on Friday. Too many other wonderful tastes to comment here. Hope to see you next year.

ce wrote:
06.08.07 at 1:02 PM

Alder -- great summary as always. Out of curiousity, did you get a chance to taste any of Denner's or Pipestone's wines at HdR? They don't seem to be listed above; not sure if that's because you didn't see them or they didn't rate. I think the Denner guys are doing interesting things in both red and white (e.g., the viognier is great, if somewhat more Californian in style than, say, Alban's). Pipestone IMHO has more of an earthy, semi-European quality to them, a real differentiator vs. the other quality Paso producers.

Alder wrote:
06.10.07 at 4:18 PM

ce: I didn't get a chance to taste them, unfortunately.

vinofyl wrote:
06.11.07 at 11:54 AM

Another great rundown! Thanks Alder. Just opened my '03 Hug Bassetti last night and couldn't stop!!!!!!!!!

Jim

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