WBW #19 When in Rhone

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WBW#19 When in Rhone, March 8,2006

Yes, you read that right, it’s time for the 19th Wine Blogging Wednesday to be held on Wednesday, March 8,2006. Wine Blogging Wednesday is the global monthly virtual tasting event founded by Lenn of Lenndevours where wine bloggers follow a theme for wine tasting, post their findings on their blog on the chosen day, with a round-up posted by the lucky host of the event shortly thereafter. I’m excited to be hosting, and hope you enjoy the theme.

There’s nothing quite like the noble grape varietals that have established themselves in France’s Rhone region. These grapes are distinct, yet have familiar characteristics to varietals that get more press and are coveted by collectors. Although wines from the Rhone don’t command the high prices that certain popular varietals are fetching right now, they certainly aren’t short on flavor or complexity. For the reds, dark fruit and spice are common flavor attributes, the whites showcase tropical fruit and floral notes.

This month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday theme “When in Rhone” aims to help us become acquainted with these varietals that are being used all over the world. Winemakers have decided to ‘do as the Rhonins do’ and transport and clone the varietals in rich soils from Australia and New Zealand to the warm central coast of California, and the vines are adapting quite nicely. Consumers are becoming aware of the high caliber wines crafted from these distinct grapes in areas other than the Rhone. Events like the Rhone Rangers, and Hospice du Rhone are continuing to gain recognition and popularity as they showcase the latest efforts by the winemakers focusing on these varietals.

Now, you’ve most likely had a Shiraz or Syrah, or by now Viognier, but it’s time to go a little deeper if you haven’t already. Blends showcase the best traits of each varietal, and offer amazing complexity and supple texture. You’re not limited to white or red, but let’s focus on getting a blend, unless you find a rare varietal on it’s own, that would also make for an interesting review. Both of the sites mentioned above have extensive lists of California Winery’s that produce or specialize in these wines, but you aren’t limited to any region in the world, including the motherland.

Here is a list of all 22 varietals associated with the Rhone. For more information visit the Hospice du Rhone page where this was taken from for pronunciation and flavor profiles on all these different grapes. (Good luck tracking some of these down.)

Grenache Noir, Grenache Gris, Syrah/Shiraz, Viognier, Mourvedre, Roussanne, Carignane Noir, Marsanne, Cinsault Noir, Ugni Blanc, Muscardin, Picpoul Blanc, Picpoul Noir, Bourboulenc, Camarese, Clairette Blanc, Vaccarese, Grenache Blanc, Terret Noir, Muscat a Petits Grains, Clairette Rose, Counoise Noir

I’ll be posting the round-up as soon as I can after the 8th. I’m looking forward to seeing some old world and new world notes from everyone, so have fun making your choices.


Email your entry to me at [email protected]