The wine world was all a flutter about the state of domestic Syrah last year, due in part to a few thought-provoking articles. Jordan Mackay of San Francisco Magazine wrote a piece noting that although “[m]any industry insiders believe that syrah is the most interesting wine produced in California,” the economic downturn had hampered Syrah sales. New York Times wine columnist Eric Asimov identified a similar conundrum: domestic syrah sales were down, despite the fact that there were a number of excellent Syrah producers in the U.S. Among the wineries that Mackay and Asimov identified as crafting high quality Syrah were Arnot-Roberts, Bonny Doon Vineyards, Qupé and Wind Gap Wines — all of whom are part of a gang of Rhone-varietal enthusiast known as the Rhone Rangers.
And lucky for us, the Rhone Rangers ride into town later this month! From March 26-27, this group of wineries dedicated to spreading the gospel of U.S. Rhone varietal wines are hosting a slew of activities. The event line-up is pretty dag-nab impressive:
SEMINARS: The Rangers have corralled a distinguished group of panelists to lead discussions on: (a) Sustainable, Organic and Biodynamic American Rhones; (b) Mourvedre; and (c) Wild Wines (winemakers doing the unexpected). You can find a full list of seminars here.
WINEMAKER’S DINNER: The stars will be shining brightly on March 26. 15 top Rhone Ranger wineries (including Bonny Doon, Clos Saron, Quivira, Qupe, Ridge, and Tablas Creek) will pour current releases and some special library wines during a tasting and dinner (food provided by Sonoma’s girl & the fig). Only a limited number of tix available, and they must be purchased in advance.
GRAND TASTING: 100 Wineries – Over 500 wines. Think you can cover this much territory in a three-hour time slot? Well, give it your best shot, buckaroo — on Sunday from 2-5 pm, you’ll have free rein to taste as much as you’d like. Hi-yo, Silver — away!
Until the festival kicks off, you can keep on top of all-things-Rhone-Rangers by:
- TWITTER: Follow the Rangers’ twitter feed (@RhoneRangers) and the hashtag #RRSF.
- FACEBOOK: Like and follow Ranger updates through their Facebook page.
And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for (drum roll please….) — The Contest Giveaway!
In order to enter the random drawing for a pair of tickets to the Rhone Rangers Grand Tasting (a $90 value), you’ll have to answer three trivia question (Psst – some helpful links included here, too):
- The man, the legend, nay — The Dude — Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyards is also a well-regarded author. Name the title of his most recent book. (Have I mentioned that my next trip is to the Amazon?).
- In December 2010, Pax and Pam Mahle of Wind Gap Wines released Sonoma Coast Syrah from two rather uniquely named vineyards. Name one of them. (Man, the internets have all sorts of helpful information).
- Paso Robles Rhone Ranger Terry Hoage used to play professional football. Name one of the teams he played for. (Geez, maybe I mentioned this before).
Leave a comment on this post with your answers to these questions. We’ll be able to see your comments, but will not publish them until the contest has ended so people don’t copy answers. Please make sure to include contact information. All entries must be submitted by March 11 at 12:01AM.
NOTE: As a disclaimer, SF Wine Blog has been invited to attend the Grand Tasting, and (obviously) the event organizers have provided us with tickets to give away to our contest participants.