March 24, 2008 - Jack

Rhone Rangers 2008 Tasting
March 16, 2008 - San Francisco

This 11th Annual tasting of Rhone varietals from California producers was open to the trade on the morning I tasted. It was both sparsely attended and missing some of the best producers. Where was Pax or Alban? (Although they are not members of Rhone Rangers.) I came away thinking that syrah was on the decline in popularlity. I also sensed that the period of too many big, alcoholic syrahs is over.

Copain's wines stood out as the best of the day. I tasted Alcina Cellars' wines for the first time and was quite impressed. I also found Renaissance, Clos Saron and Tablas Creek wines to be quite good. Villa Creek tasted good but I don't think I want to drink a bottle of any of them. Alas, there were hundreds of wines I did not get the chance to taste.

(# of Bottles Desired = number Jack would like in his cellar; a score of 3 or better is a wine worth purchasing.)

# of Btls Desired
Wine 
Brief Notes
2-3+
2006 A Donkey and Goat “The Recluse” Syrah,  $37  
2-3
2006 A Donkey and Goat “Three Thirteen” Red Blend, $37  
2+
2007 A Donkey and Goat “Isabel’s Cuvee” Grenache Rose, $18  
2-4?
2005 Alcina Cellars Syrah, Bennett Valley, Connell Vineyard, $44  
3?
2005 Alcina Cellars Syrah, Carneros, Las Madres Vineyard, $44 If you love black olives, this is the wine for you.
2-4?
2005 Alcina Cellars Petite Sirah, North Coast The Sorceress $48  
2+
2006 Cedarville Estate Viognier, $20  
3+
2006 Cedarville Estate Grenache, $25 Great value - a $45 wine!
2-3?
2005 Cedarville Estate Syrah, $25  
2-3+
2005 Cedarville Estate Petite Sirah, $25  
2+
2007 Clos Saron Tickled Pink Rosé  
2-3
2007 Clos Saron “Carte Blanche” White Blend, $24  
3?
2004 Clos Saron “Heart of Stone” Syrah, $35 Slight RS*?
3+
2003 Clos Saron “Holy Moly” Red Blend, $35 Slight RS?
3?
2004 Clos Saron “Cuvee Mysterieuse” Red Blend, $35 Slight RS?
2-3
2007 Saisons des Vins (Copain) Le Printemps Rosé Very pleasing.
3-5
2005 Copain “James Berry” Syrah, $60  
3
2006 Copain “Harrison Clarke” Syrah, $40  
2-3+
2006 Copain “James Berry” Roussanne, $35  
3-4+
2005 Copain “Thompson” Syrah, $40  
3+
2005 Copain Les Copains James Berry Vineyard  
3
2006 Copain Syrah Brosseau  
2+
2005 Fife Vineyards “L’Attitude 39” Red Blend, $19  
2-3+
2003 Fife Vineyards “3 & 4 Max Cuvee” Red Blend, $40  
3?
2001 Fife Vineyards Max Vineyard Syrah, $35  
2-3?
2001 Fife Vineyards Max Cuvee Red Blend, $40  
3?
2006 J.C. Cellars Preston Vineyard Marsanne, $32  
3?
2005 L'Aventure Cote a Cote Red Blend, $85  
2-3+
2003 Longboard Russian River Valley Syrah, $28  
4?
2004 Longboard Russian River Valley Syrah, $28 Showing well today.
3+
2005 Longboard Dakine Vineyard Syrah, $48  
2-3+?
2004 Longboard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, $28  
3?
2004 Martinelli Terra Felice Vineyard Syrah, $45  
2-3+
2005 Martinelli Terra Felice Vineyard Syrah, $45  
2-3
2003 Meyer Family Mendocino Syrah, $30  
2-3
2005 Michel-Schlumberger Estate Syrah, $32  
2-3+
2006 Miner Family Stagecoach Vineyard Syrah, $48  
3+
2006 Outpost Howell Mountain Grenache, $40  
3?
2005 Outpost Howell Moutain “The Other” Petite Sirah, $50  
3+
2006 Peay La Bruma Estate Syrah, $45  
3
2006 Peay Les Titans Estate Syrah, $45  
2-3
2005 Peay La Bruma Estate Syrah, $45  
2-3
2005 Peay Les Titans Estate Syrah, $45  
2-3+?
2005 Prospect 772 “The Brat” Red Blend, $36  
2-3+?
2005 Prospect 772 “The Brawler” Syrah, $36  
2-3+?
2006 Redcar “Speakeasy” Syrah, $55  
3+
2004 Renaissance Syrah Blend, $35 Complex.
3+
2004 Renaissance Roussanne, $35  
2-3+
2007 Renaissance Viognier, $30 Light, nice.
2-3
2004 Renaissance “Mediterranean” Red Blend, $30  
2-3+?
2001 Renaissance “Granite Crown” Red Blend, $40  
3?
2002 Renaissance Syrah  
3-4
2000 Renaissance Proprietary Red  
2-3+
2005 Ridge Lytton West Syrah, $36  
2-3
2006 Ridge Buchignani Ranch Carignane  
2-3
2004 Ridge Lytton Estate Grenache, $24  
3
2006 Ridge Lytton Estate Red Blend Barrel Sample  
2-3
2006 Steele “Writer’s Block” Grenache, $12  
2-3+?
2004 Steele “Stymie” Lake County Syrah, $40  
2-3
2004 Steele Parmalee Hill Syrah  
3?
2006 Tablas Creek Roussanne, $27  
3?
2006 Tablas Creek Grenache Blanc, $27  
2-3
2006 Tablas Creek “Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc” White Blend, $40  
2-3+?
2005 Tablas Creek Mourvedre, $35  
3
2005 Tablas Creek Syrah, $35  
3+
2005 Tablas Creek “Esprit de Beaucastel” Red Blend, $45  
2-3+
2006 Villa Creek “Garnacha” Denner Vineyard Grenache, $35  
2-3+?
2006 Villa Creek “Willow Creek Cuvee” Red Blend, $35  
3+
2006 Villa Creek “Palenque” Red Blend, $40  
3?
2005 Villa Creek High Road, James Berry Vineyard Red Blend, $55  
3-4?
2005 Villa Creek “Avenger” Red Blend, $35  
2-3
2006 Vinum Cellars Vista Verde Vineyard Viognier, $25  
2-3
2007 Vinum Cellars “PETS” Petite Sirah, $14 Great value.
2-3+
2005 Vinum Cellars “Red Dirt Red” Red Blend, $30  
* RS = Residual sugar



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