Much has been written about the Hospice du Rhône and its significance towards the promotion and education of the Rhône Valley and Rhône styled wines. The main objective of this fantastic event, as quoted from the HdR website is to:
” ..represent and embody the spirit of Rhône varieties and those who produce the wines made of these unique winegrapes.
Each year, Hospice du Rhône produces an exceptional three-day wine event, in Paso Robles, California USA ,that is globally regarded as the single most essential and enjoyable gathering of international Rhône wine producers and enthusiasts.
During the wine event, attendees expand their knowledge of the twenty-two Rhône varieties, while rubbing elbows with the winemakers whose passion spurs the inspiration and energy that sets the tone for every seminar, meal and tasting at the spirited affair.” -HdR 2010
The event encompasses two full and jam packed days of tastings, winemaking and viticultural seminars as well as panel discussions. There is also a considerable amount of food and (Rhône style) wine to be consumed. Duh.
As I have mentioned in earlier posts, the Rhone Valley definitely made a significant showing this year, with producers from Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage, Cornas, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Vacqueyras and the Côtes du Rhône.
However, producers from just about any and every wine growing region suitable for the cultivation of Rhône varietals were represented this year. This is largely what makes the HdR so much fun. It’s like getting a round trip Rhône ticket (for a lot less $$).
Of course, one the the true originals, Bonny Doon Vineyard was representing that day. If you have not tried these wines as of late, you should. I count them as some of the best Rhône styled wines that North America has to offer. Punto. In fact, last year on my annual visit to the Rhône Valley, I brought bottles of the Chateauneuf-du-Pape inspired Le Cigar Volant and the late harvested Roussanne Le Vol des Anges for my french vigneron friends to enjoy. Both wines make me so proud to say that they (and I) come from California!
I tasted through quite a few (dozen) of the wines presented during the 2nd day Grand Tasting at the HdR. Overall, the wines that move me the most, or as the french would say my “coup de coeur” were these two South African blended syrah beauties from Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards. Dark, brooding, mineral, savory..but yet with a (violet) light at the end of the tunnel, fine tannins and good, bright acidity. Both wines were fantastic, and a real revelation for me.
HdR even hosted a winery from my home state of Arizona. More specifically, Dos Cabezas is located in Sonoita (southern Arizona). This a family owned winery all the way, with Todd and Kelly Bostock producing a range of Rhone and spanish styled wines from this truly off the beaten path wine growing region. Talk about true frontiers men/women. I would love to drop by and pay them a visit some day soon..
As I write up this post, I am sipping on a glass of the 2009 Dos Cabezas “Meskeoli”. This white blend of viognier, riesling, roussanne, picpoul and muscat is brisk and dry, yet with enough body to handle a roasted chicken for a sunday picnic, or perhaps pork chops with salsa verde. Kelly Bostock is also a teacher, and her young students often address her (Ms. Kelly) with the phonetic “Meskeoli”!
Next up: A lot on the Lot!!