My friend @sonomawilliam, a blogger, wine “MacGyver” and garagiste turned commercial vintner for Two Shepherds Vineyard asked me to be a part of a blue-chip list of “who’s who” in the blogger world for a #winechat dedicated to American Rhone wines.  This was a precursor to a “Weekend Celebration of American Rhones” held in the Bay area. 

Humbled, I joined the chat which included bloggers like David White of Terrorist, Jameson Fink of Wine Without Worries, Fred Swan of Norcal Wine, Elaine Brown of Hawk Wakawaka Wine Reviews, Meg Maker of Makers Table and Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard, who is known as an industry legend and guy who started the Rhone train “a rolling” in America. 

We tried several wines and I enjoyed them all thoroughly.  I must say that each of these were diverse, unique and delightful.  Our line-up included the following:

  • Two Shepherds Grenache Blanc 2012 – citrus, orange blossom and minerality make this a delightful alternative to your usual white wine.  In the spirit of full disclosure, these wines impressed me enough to make my very short list of paid wine clubs.
  • Bonny Doon Cigare Blanc Reserve 2011 – hazelnut, walnut paste, stone fruit that was an alternative to your usual white.  I very much enjoyed this.
  • Cornerstone Syrah Napa Valley, Black Label — I’ve always been a big fan of Cornerstone wines and this one did not disappoint.  Full of plum, truffle, violets, coffee and blackberry.  It was just as good or possibly better on day two.
  • Kieran Robinson Le Voyageur Bennett Valley Syrah 2010 – this was my first experience with this brand and I’m impressed. It was smooth with notes of cocoa, cherries, smoke and almost a meaty quality.
  • Tablas Creek Esprit de Tablas 2011 – another impressive wine with notes of cranberry, currant and big berry. 

Lesson learned during this tasting.  American Rhones are diverse, hold their own against French versions and I highly recommend you seek them out if you haven’t prior.  Keep me posted on how much you enjoy them.