Once a year, West Coast wineries who specialize in Rhone-variety wines gather in San Francisco. And they bring wine! This is that weekend. Rhone Rangers SF takes place this Saturday, June 10, at the Golden Gate Club in The Presidio.
The events include a luncheon, a live auction, two seminars and a grand tasting with nearly 70 wineries. The lunch honors Sondra Bernstein of Sonoma’s the girl and the fig restaurant. She has been a wonderful advocate of Rhone-variety wines for many years. The auction features rare and large-format bottles. Yum!
The two seminars are led by esteemed writers who are also California Rhone-variety experts. Luke Sykora leads “And Now for Something Completely Different” which explores some of the Rhones less famous grapes, including Counoise, Picpoul Blanc and Carignane. The Patrick Comiskey celebrates “The Pioneers of Rhone Rangers” and features the wines of Edmunds St. John, Terre Rouge, Qupé and Eberle Winery.
Note that Taste of Mendocino takes place at the same time and very nearby at Fort Mason. I plan to attend both and hope you will too.
What are Rhone Varieties?
“Rhone varieties” refer to the many different grapes, red and white, which are used in the greater Rhone Valley. In the north, where the weather is cool and the terrain steep and often granitic, the allowable grapes are Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne. Further south the land spreads out and is more influenced by the Mediterranean Sea. There, Viognier is little used but Syrah, Marsanne and Roussanne remain. In addition, red grapes include Grenache, Counoise, Mourvedre, Carignan, Cinsault, Terret Noir, Muscardin, Petite Sirah and Vaccarese. Other whites include Grenache Blanc, Picpoul Blanc, Clairette Blanc, Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains, Picardin and Ugni Blanc.
That’s a lot of varieties! You may be more familiar with the wines by the names of the Rhone wine regions, including Cote-Rotie, Hermitage, Condrieu, Cotes-du-Rhone, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, etc.
Copyright Fred Swan 2017. All rights reserved.