Almost 11 here on the west coast, and I probably should scribble a few notes from Hospice du Rhone today. Friday is the *older vintages* day–tomorrow the same wineries pour but current stuff. Still, many producers were pouring current releases, and some are very young: only having maybe 2014 or even 2016 as their ‘library’ selections. So I kinda divided this into favorite *young wines* and standout archives. And I’m not going to get terribly verbose about these–YOU GUYS KNOW MY PALATE–you just have to trust me.
Headed straight for southern Oregon–one of the most UNDER-RATED wine regions in the world–and Craig Camp at Troon. This Syrah right here is just NAILS, literally St. Joseph in an American bottle. I’m calling this WOTD–or maybe Syrah of the Day or maybe Red of the Day?
Cris Cherry’s MAHA project somewhat blew me away. It’s a tad hot, but it doesn’t go the direction several other Paso wines in the room have gone. It manages the proof with aplomb, pulling a great group of Rhone descriptors behind.
Absolute favorite older wine of the day: 2009 DANE CELLARS Justi Creek Syrah with touches of brett, eucalyptus: a gorgeous patina’ed and mineralific shocker.
2018 DELMAS Family SJR and the finest state-side Viognier I have had. No, I’m pretty certain of that. This stuff is BRILLIANT, capturing all the spicy, buttery, ripe, green, sultry, acidic, vegetal, funky and ethereal aspects we love about Viognier. Practically WOTD. Definitely White of the Day.
Older stuff. ’06 Casey Graybehl going wild. THE.GRENACHISTA!
Solid line-up of QUPÉ–AS USUAL–highlighted by this mag of Grenache. Met the new winemaker from VWE; chatted about filling big shoes and continuing *style*, confirmed the Sonnie’s is no more since the sale of the Slide Hill. Been hearing this a lot lately–do we have another Tensley/Colson Canyon situation?
Speaking of iconic vineyards that are NO MORE, 2011 McPrice Meyers Les Galets confirms everything I’ve ever said about Les Galets: it IS (oops: WAS) the vineyard to be reckoned with. That and Colson Canyon rank right up there. Poured his Larner next and was just kinda like, Nah… I’m leaving this table with the Les Galets memory intact.
Totally west-side and BANGIN, J. Lohr never disappoints. Rhone-varieties may be a bit of an out-lier for them, but they bring it. I’ve long heralded their *Estate Series* South Ridge Syrah: a blend of Adelaida, Estrella and Creston, and this far more expensive offering comes nearly exclusively from the former.
Gorgeous, gorgeous stuff. Pierre Gaillard never fails. WAAAAY too young though!
NOT something you expect to bump into at a Rhone festival–OR from someone who has pretty much made their name on Santa Ynez Valley Grenache–but the Malene RRV Vermentino garnered a spot in my TOP OF THE DAY. Check it out if you can find it.
HOSPICE DU RHONE happens every-other-year in Paso Robles and somewhere back east and is an event NOT to be missed by any Rhone enthusiast.