Grenache Blanc: Articles on the Grenache Blanc White Wine Grape Varietal

Grenache Blanc & Picpoul: Less Known White Rhone Varietals Surge in U.S. Popularity

The Rhone Report: About Rhone and Rhone-Style Wines and Winemakers is part of an ongoing series.

Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier are the best known of the white Rhone varietals.  But there are two less recognized grapes that really add a “je ne sais quoi” to the overall quality of a white Rhone blend and each produces a zippy single-varietal wine as well.  These are Grenache Blanc and Picpoul.  Both are newcomers to the United States and are slowly starting to gain popularity.

2008 Hospice du Rhone Events: Highs & Lows of American Rhone-style Wines Tasted

The Rhone Report: About Rhone and Rhone-Style Wines and Winemakers is part of an ongoing series.

The 16th annual Hospice du Rhone events in Paso Robles, California from May 1 to 3, 2008 was an opportunity to consider Rhone-style wines from a fresh perspective.  Unlike most tasting opportunities, these events included Rhone-style wines from the Rhone Valley itself (51 wineries), elsewhere in France (4 wineries) as well as from Spain (4 wineries), Australia (17 wineries), South Africa (6 wineries), Chile (2 wineries), Argentina (1 winery) and the United States.  The American wines were mostly from California (144 wineries), but a few examples from Arizona (2 wineries) and Washington State (5 wineries) were also included.  While this is a California-dominated event, and while many of the Rhone Valley’s best producers aren’t represented, there is still sufficient European and other entries to make for interesting comparisons and contrasts.  The events included two general tastings and a series of focused seminars.

America's Best Rhone Style White Wines: 11th Annual Rhone Rangers Tasting Reviewed

The Rhone Report: About Rhone and Rhone-Style Wines and Winemakers is part of an ongoing series.

Like many lovers of Rhone style wines from America, we have just returned from the 2008 edition of the annual Rhone Rangers tasting event at Fort Mason in San Francisco (March 18). This was the 11th year that the Rhone Rangers, a group of about 200 American producers of wines using 22 varietals traditional to France’s Rhone Valley, have shown off their wines at this public tasting event. This year, about 138 wineries presented approximately 520 wines.

During the tasting, we enthusiastically tasted as many wines as we could within the 5 hours (3 public and 2 trade/media) the event was open. We tasted 30 white wines first, and then we tasted 50 reds. We skipped the rosés, not because we don’t love them, but because we didn’t have time. Kudos to Rhone Rangers for providing eco-friendly paper spit cups instead of the plastic cups so common at other tastings. We divided our attention between wines and producers we have known previously, producers new to us, and specific bottlings we didn’t already know. While we found many wines to admire, we are sure we missed other gems.

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