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Rhone Rangers Tasting: March 16th, San Francisco

RhoneRangerWords_Small.jpgStrict astrologers will quibble with my pronouncements, but I'm ready to officially declare that it is Spring! My feckless abandon is no doubt due in part to the fabulous weather we seem to be having here in San Francisco. My real sense of the season, however, derives from the wine tasting events that are popping up with increasing frequency on the calendar.

The Annual Rhone Rangers Tasting in San Francisco is certainly one of the harbingers of warmer weather and good wine in San Francisco. Held at Fort Mason, like all the other big tastings, Rhone Rangers offers the change for wine lovers to taste through a vast field of Syrah, Grenache, Viognier, and many other varietals and blends that fall under the general banner of Rhone-style wines.

Like many such public tastings, Rhone Rangers presents a particular problem even to the most ambitious of tasters, namely: too many wines. I'm mulling over my own tasting strategy for this year -- wondering whether I should try something different, like "only wineries I've never heard of before" or "only Grenache" or "whites only."

No matter what I finally settle on, you can bet I'll be there, as I adore these wines, and this is always a great tasting event. I highly recommend it to anyone, especially those that might be stuck in the Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc zone of California wine. There's a lot more out there, and this tasting will provide a heck of an education to anyone looking to explore alternatives to such varietals.

And of course, for those who are crazy for Rhone-style wines, then there's a whole weekend of activities, from a winemaker and library wine dinner on Saturday, March 15th to a Viognier seminar on Sunday morning. Complete details can be found on the event web site.

Rhone Rangers Grand Tasting
Sunday, March 16th
2:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Fort Mason Festival Pavilion
Buchanan Street and Marina Blvd
San Francisco, CA

Tickets to the grand tasting are $60 in advance, and should be purchased online.

And remember my tips for optimum performance at public tastings: wear dark, comfortable clothes; get a good night's sleep; come with food in your belly; and SPIT !

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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.