Sunday, March 27, 2011
Rhone Rangers ride The Sierra and Its Foothills: San Francisco Tasting Lassos Them In
For lovers of Rhone varietals, nothing can be more ecstatic than the annual Rhone Rangers tasting at Fort Mason in San Francisco. (That’s assuming you don’t follow the organization around to its many tastings elsewhere, of course. ) But for a devotee of Sierra and Its Foothills wines, it’s a pleasure to taste so many flagship wines all in one place.
That “flagship” wine question is one I always ask, and yesterday I asked it of these wineries: Clos Saron, Crystal Basic Cellars, David Girard, Holly’s Hill, Miraflores, Prospect 772, Sierra Vista, Skinner, and Terre Rouge. Here’s what I heard (and tasted):
Clos Saron (Yuba County).
Crystal Basin Cellars ( El Dorado County).
Their 2008 Mourvedre, El Dorado Reserve, uses grapes sourced from Fodhla Vineyard and Spanish Creek Ranch. Their winemaker refers to this as “the Merlot of the Rhone.”
David Girard Vineyards (El Dorado County).
The 2009 Coda Blanc is a white blend of Rousanne, Grenache Blanc, Rolle, Marsanne, and Viognier. The 2008 won a Silver in the 2010 San Francisco Chronicle competition, and this newer vintage is lovely too.
Holly’s Hill Vineyards (El Dorado County).
Miraflores Winery (El Dorado County).
Prospect 772 (Calaveras County).
The 2008 The Brat is a 60/40 blend of Grenache and Syrah. “We called this wine “The Brat” because it is based in Grenache and Grenache is a temperamental grape,” they note.
Sierra Vista Winery (El Dorado County).
Skinner Vineyards and Winery (El Dorado County).
Terre Rouge (Amador County).