After my visit to Bonny Doon’s Davenport tasting room where I got to chat one-on-one with owner and winemaker Randall Grahm — which was both fun and educational — I couldn’t help but go home with, what I thought, was the most outstanding wine of the 12 I tasted that day: 2011 Le Cigare Blanc.
I’ve been learning a lot about Rhones lately. Specifically New World Rhones from the West Coast here in the US. For me, that means there are a lot of good quality, local wines available. But I can’t help but feel one can only appreciate what the New World has to offer by studying from those who have been doing it the longest.
Where do our modern-day “Rhone Rangers,” like Bonny Doon and their ilk get their influence? How are Old World techniques implemented today? For that we must turn to Old World wines straight from the Motherland, France.
I am but one little woman in the whole wine world and don’t have fancy French labels at my fingertips. Luckily there are producers like Guigal Estate who import affordable French wines for regular folks and wannabe wine snobs like myself.
Rhone Rangers, a non-profit organization, is dedicated to promoting American Rhone-style wines, supporting the winemakers who choose to put a New World spin on Old World wine, and — of course — educating the public about the unique and versatile wines produced from all of this research and labour. During the 2016 Rhone Rangers Seminar and Grande Tasting in San Francisco, I had the privilege to learn directly from local, West Coast winemakers who work to move beyond common “Syrah-stereotypes.”