Rhone Rangers Ride into Santa Monica for Annual Wine Tasting

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The Rhône wine region is an AOC (Appellation d’origine controlee) in Southern France, probably best known in the US as the homeland of Châteauneuf-du-Pape—a popular wine that can contain as many as 18 different grape varietals (even white).

Not satisfied with letting the French have all the fun, in the 1980’s a group of winemakers from California’s Central Coast – John Alban (Alban Vineyards), Bob Lindquist (Qupe) and Randall Grahm (Bonny Doon Vineyards) – began planting Rhône varietals like Syrah, Grenache and Viognier. The vines took hold—and so did marketing efforts—and the Rhone Rangers was born, keeping Americans safe from the threat of drinking something boring.

Today, the Rhone Rangers include almost 200 member wineries, producing wine from any of the 22 different grapes sanctioned by the AOC for Rhône juice. Some wines are single variety, some are blends—and many can be tasted at Rhone Rangers tasting events, like the one which took place on Sunday, August 8, at Pier 59 Studios West, in Santa Monica.

Those who saddled up and trekked over had the chance to taste Marsanne-Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Carignan, Cinsault, Mourvedre and others, from the likes of Cline Cellars, Tablas Creek Vineyard (which is an offshoot of the actual Rhône winery Chateau Beaucastel), Koehler Winery, Edward Sellers Vineyards & Wines, Qupe, Justin Winery and more. Schaffer’s Genuine Catering provided food for the day. When the event ended at 5, many of the wineries headed to Pourtal wine bar, where they poured their wines for kemo sabes old and new before riding off into the sunset.

If you missed the tasting but want to scout out these delicious juices [Ed note: Rhône varietals tend to be Jess and my favorites], many of them are surprisingly affordable and – like Grenache, in particular – are starting to gain in popularity. I’ve even seen some in the grocery store! Then, of course, there is always next year’s Rhone Rangers tasting…

Rhone Rangers Hi-Ho

Rhone Rangers Hi-Ho

Posted on by Arianna Armstrong in Arianna's Wine Tasting Notes

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