August 23, 2017

Spotlight: Rhone Rangers Los Angeles Tasting & Seminar

Who are the Rhone Rangers?

Members are dedicated to promoting American Rhone wines. The Rhone Rangers was started in the mid-80s by a group of winemakers who wanted to make wines other than Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay (two very popular wines of the day). In 1997 the organization was officially formed and now includes over 100 wineries and vineyards in California, Washington, Virginia, and Arizona.

As an event producer, I walk into events with a very watchful eye. Is the signage clear, does the flow of the room make sense, are the bathrooms easy to find?

The Rhone Rangers LA Tasting was very well laid out. Kudos to all involved in the planning, especially Big Red Marketing, the LA event coordinator. Upon arrival I was swiftly checked in as a member of the media and then whisked to the “Rhone-n-Pink” seminar. As described in the program: Moderated by wine expert Dan Fredman, the seminar will cover the art of crafting the popular pink wine, and feature six Rhone Ranger winemakers who will guide guests through their rosés. The wineries: Andrew Murray VineyardsBonny Doon VineyardLone MadroneRanchero CellarsTercero Wines, and Vines on the Marycrest.

Talk about a broad range of styles. Oh, and Randall Graham is a bit of a wine celeb, in my opinion.

Wine #1

Andrew Murray Vineyards 2016 Esperance Rosé, Estate Grown $22

This was my favorite rosé of the day. It is made from 100% Cinsault and my tasting note simply states “stunning”.

Wine #2 

Ranchero Cellars 2016 Galaxie Rosé, Self Family Vineyard, $28

A very easy drinking rosé made from Carignan

Wine #3

Lone Madrone 2015 Mourvèdre Rose, $25

Dry farmed vineyards and made from direct press. A soft, feminine nose.

Wine #4

Tercero Wines 2016 Mourvèdre Rose, $30

Really enjoyed this guy. This wine is not served chilled. The grapes are foot stomped on their skins for 1 hour and then direct to press. The winemaker is not going after a specific color nor vintage consistency. A very unique savory/umami nose, but still a lot of fresh fruit.

Wine #5

Bonny Doon Vineyard 2013 Vin Gris Tuilé, $26

Hands down, the most interesting wine I tasted all day. The nose is super duper nutty with an oxidized feel to it. Randall suggested notes of curry, peanut, sherry, and citrus. According to him, this wine is the ultimate handsell. The color is brick pink with an orange hue. The wine is aged 9 months al fresco in demijohn.

Wine #6

Vines on the Marycrest 2015 Rose (Genache, Syrah, Mourvedre), $28

This is a rosé for food. A skirt steak salad, perhaps? A super spicy palate. Fun.

After the rosé seminar, I enjoyed early access (for trade and media) to the Grand Tasting. Now, I'll have it be known that I am not much of a grand tasting kind of gal. I find large tasting events to be overwhelming, crowded, and not conducive to efficient and thoughtful tasting. If I do attend grand tastings I be sure to walk in with a plan. I research participating wineries before I arrive and get an idea of who I am interested in visiting. There is no way to visit every table and try every wine....it's not a contest. Here are a few of my highlights from the Grand Tasting:

Martian Ranch & Vineyard 2015 "Etheric" Clairette, $22

Wow, interesting, can't compare it to anything. Med + finish. Macadamia nuts but not oxidized.

Tercero Wines 2015 Cinsault, $40

Only 3 barrels made; dirt and meat notes, yet light in color.

Two Shepherds was my favorite winery of the day. I tried their 2014 Grenache Blanc, Saarloos Vineyard (native yeast fermentation with neutral barrels; a slight funk that I like) and their 2012 Pastoral Rouge, Sonoma, Red Blend (cool climate; my favorite red of the day; savory notes plus funk, umami, soy sauce).

 

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you’re looking to Up Your Wine Game and Drink Better, consider booking a private in-person or virtual wine tasting experience.
Brianne Cohen Wine Educator
Brianne Cohen is a certified sommelier, wine educator, consultant, and writer based out of Los Angeles.

Since March 2020, Brianne has educated and entertained over 5,000 people through her “Virtual Vino” online wine tastings.

Brianne holds the WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) Diploma certificate, one of the most coveted wine certifications in the world. When she’s not helping others Up Their Wine Game, she can be found judging at international wine competitions.

Brianne aims to make wine approachable and conversational, to surprise and delight with unexpected, distinctive wine finds, and to give people knowledge (and confidence) about wine in their everyday lives.

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Sample Policy

As a wine writer, I frequently accept samples for review on my  website and on my social media channels. Please contact me at brianne@briannecohen.com to discuss sending samples for review. I promise to always be honorable with the samples. I will evaluate all wines in good tasting settings and with no distractions.

All reviews are my opinions, and mine only. Because of the volume of samples I receive, I cannot promise that all samples received will be reviewed, but I will do my best.

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