Just what it says: A Gallery. Not going to get all bogged down in crazy notes–you’re going to know most of these wines, I’m not posting everything I tasted and I’m not picturing anything I wouldn’t recommend. I wasn’t technically *working* the event or hired to promote it or any labels, so it was kinda fun and relaxing to just wander around casually tasting and making some mental notes. HOSPICE DU RHONE Day 1 tickets I won fair & square from SOMMJOURNAL in a contest. The answers were: Le Chairlot, Mazards, Cote and Les Reynards–so the question should be obvious. Day 2 I was a guest of TONNELLERIE LEROI. Almost everything here I have visited before or NUMEROUS times in the past, but new vintages and putting faces with things is nice. Just look at this as kinda my creme de la creme of the event.
Obviously, the Kunin table was kind of a chill to see. Lots of somber faces and hugging going on. Had a nice chat with Seth’s wife and tasted through not only the new releases, but some 5 & 10+ YO Syrahs. The 2004 Alisos was straight brilliant. RIP Seth. Pape+Star rules all. I dare you to find a better-made wine for the price. KUNINWINES.com
Mr. Darren Delmore manning the BEAUCASTEL.com table in fine farmer-shirt fashion. Holy shit that Coudoulet is just SCREAMING.
So this is Day 1–the “Vintage” day, with Jason Haas. Another table with a lot of hand-shaking and “sorry” going around. Winemakers need to stop dying. But holy crap did they roll out some beauties. 2003 straight Syrah was my absolute WINE OF THE DAY, hell: WINE OF THE WEEKEND but I have ALWAYS preferred the straight-variety-bottlings from TABLASCREEK.com and I know I yell and scream about them way too much and everybody just keeps drinking the Esprit and Cotes and Patelin because that’s what’s available, but seriously, folks. Get yourself some of the straight-bottlings. Day 2 tasted through basically ALL the same bottles but CURRENT RELEASES.
As blingy as these things are and as coveted as the brand remains, I didn’t find them all that compelling in this company. LE VIEUXDONJON.com
These were very nice. I tasted these around the corner from some completely overblown pancake-syrup Barossa’s and they came as a smart, refreshing delight. YANGARRA.com is a JFW.com label, of course.
Finally got to wrap my lips around the NOLIMITWINE.com bad boys from Ethan Lindquist and Lee Tomkow. Been meaning to taste these forever and BOOM: there they are, with Ethan pouring. This is a big boy from Slidehill in Edna, one of my favorite Syrah Vineyards ever.
While we’re on New World, holy wow are THESE fun! Lean though. You’re going to hafta be a big IPOB/The New California Wine fan and then they are just magic. Low alcohol, lots of vegetal and funk, but also tons of great fruit. One of those hipster-wine brands doing everything right. DIRTYANDROWDY.com
These were beautiful wines, great personality behind them but found them a bit fruitless for the price-point. Not particularly complex at this point, and re-visiting in 5 years would possibly shine a light on whether they ever will. Great story, wonderful people, I’m going to give you 3 websites if you want to research these: LA FERM DU MONT and LUX FONTIS (kinda) and HERON WINES
Along with Laely Heron, Stephane Vedeau was pouring his tall line-up of Rhones. LOVE THESE WINES–especially the Marsanne and Roussanne. In addition to the websites directly above, here’s a couple more: CLOSBELLANE.com and of course the EASY way to get in touch with all these wines is just to contact SKURNIK.com
Another blurry screenshot, but one that COUNTS. One of my all-time favorite sleeper brands (and regions) is HALCONVINEYARDS.com from the incredible Yorkville Highlands in Mendocino. DON’T get it confused with “Halcyon”. One of my favorite things about my fairly-frequent visits to the North Coast is restaurants having these on their lists. And here they are pouring at Hospice du Rhone
BRAND NEW DISCOVERY and very glad I stopped at this table. I like trying new things–I really do… just sometimes… it doesn’t work out well. NOT the case with The Garnachista at CRGRAYBEHLWINECO.com So good, they immediately came home with me and went on the blog: The Garnache-ISTA
Back to Paso, and the lovely and talented Mark Adams behind the table pouring his LEDGEVINEYARDS.com line-up. These are definitely not in the classic Paso Robles mold, where the concentration is ripeness, concentration and oak for the tour-buses. These are restrained and nuanced, bound over with complexities attributable to both careful vineyard planning and sourcing, but Marks definite *style*. If you’re into the blingy Paso Rhone club-offerings and allocations–not mentioning any names here, but there’s quite a few–CHECK THESE OUT.
Gotta mention Napa! “Napa Syrah” doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue as the first place we go anymore for Rhone Varieties, but these KALEWINES.com really struck me. And I’m not merely including them to be equal-opportunity. They are really REALLY well-made and good. Stagecoach Vineyard needs no introduction and this was the cheaper of their pourings–and also my favorite: something that–if you read me regularly–happens over and over and over. I’ve never had these wines before or even seen the label. These are the kind of gems you discover at HOSPICE DU RHONE
My love for MUNICIPALWINEMAKERS.com is unabashed and well-documented, but I had never had the chance to taste the mothership POTEK.com Very nice.
I turned about an hour on one of the days into my own little personal St. Joseph Fest. I like these wines better than crowd-favorite CdP, but I’ve always been partial to the North and Syrah. SKURNIK.com and VOSSELECTIONS.com
FRANCOISVILLARD.com Were these at the Philippe Cambie table? I can’t remember.
Got to meet the great Jeff Cohn and taste through not only some great vintage stuff but new releases and some 50/50 French collaborations–which I was a little mixed on. JEFFCOHNCELLARS.com
Oh oh oh! Here’s the Clos Bellane whites! I THOUGHT I had a picture of these. Just stupidly good. CLOSBELLANE.com
These were… um… big. SOULGROWERS.com is an interesting concept, these are BRAND NEW, and not sure if even available in the US.
Interesting side-by-side, that is all. No relational comparisons expressed or implied. Obviously it wouldn’t be a real Hospice du Rhone without these two heavily represented.
Another blingy label pouring with honestly didn’t impress to a crazy extent. DOMAINEDUCOULET.com
How bout we close out on Washington? Been wanting to try these *North* and *South* babies for quite some time. They are actually quite well marketed and readily available–even here locally. Quite well-done wines: Pick your style. ROTIECELLARS.com
OK, that’s it–I’ll stop now. Don’t forget to pay attention to when HOSPICE DU RHONE is rolling around again. Dates for next year have been announced.
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