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Posted - 04/05/2011 12:35pm
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Rhone Varietals at Grapes to Glass with Chris Sawyer

grapes_to_glass_grenache_1.jpg Grapes to Glass

Rhone Varietals

with Chris Sawyer


We tasted through a variety of Rhone wines, from a Southern Rhone style blended white to an absolutely Monster Huge Red. Met some cool new people like Mike Rivera from North American Chem Dry, whats up Mike!

Anaba Coriol White - 2009 Sonoma valley. Located at the “4 corners” hwy 116 and Arnold Drive. 49% It’s a blend of: Roussanne, 27% Viognier, 15% Grenache Blanc, and 9% Marsanne.   Great with scallops. Richness in the mouth. Oak but just enough not too much...

  After the tasting in the Carneros bistro tearing it up!

...Rhone whites can be cloying but not this one. Its elegant. One of Chris’s favorite white blends similar to Southern Rhone style white.

What does each varietal contribute:

Viognier = Substance. Apricot and peach

Marsanne & Roussanne = Structure

Grenache blanc= Acidity

Gregory Graham. - 2006 Grenache Crimson Hill Vineyards Lake County – Gregory Graham is the winemaker and a Rombauer Alum.

Grenahce is the in wine, very hot & hip currently. Wow!  Red fruit on the nose, wild strawberry  taste, great mouthfeel, perky, acidity great finish, smoothness in the mid palette.  " For see more blends of and more Grenache in the future". The winery is located in Lake County. Chris had an “out of body experience” tasting a Gregory Graham Viognier a long time ago at a restaurant in Mendocino" If anything might be compared to Pinot Noir it would be Grenache. It can be a lighter bodied wine. A common blending combination in France is Grenache, Syrah and Mouvèdre aka GSM. Spicy, peppery finish, elegant.

Spann. 2007 Mouvedre – a blend of 77% Mouvèdre & 23% syrah. Two different vineyard sources, Parmelee Hill Syrah from Sonoma Valley & Mouvèdre from Lake County.  212 cases. 14.2% alchohol. Mouvedre is a common Syrah blend and its known for its high anit-oxidant properties helping to preserve wines. Mouvedre is a hearty grape that originaly came from Spain. Contra costa good area for mo. Cline owns tons of prop in area. Nose: mineral earthy cranberry. Medium body. Great food. Fish. hillside not visitable. Trinity grade. Tasting in Kenwood. 3 Spann on list.


Enkidu – Humbaba,  a blend of Syrah 65% Petite Sirah 35%. Eucalyptus note or bay leaf base. Defintely decant, its BIG, and there is a noticeable change over time open. Bigger darker blackberry flavors and color. Very big very spicy fills entire mouth. HUGE!!! Definite decanter!!! $28-32 on chris wine list for the past five years. Drink with hearty food such as lamb stew. “Its different, its a monster”.

Side note: Petite Sirah is a hybrid. Created by a French Botanist, François Durif, at the University of Montpellier. It was in a Peloursin vineyard near the university that he discovered the unique vine that he named for himself in 1880. As a conclusion of DNA fingerprinting at the University of California, Davis in 1997, Syrah was identified as the source of the pollen that originally crossed with Peloursin flowers. It is known for heartyness. After phyloxera destroyed many vineyards Petite Sirah was considered the new hearty grape resistant to the disease. It became blending grape primarily especially in with Zin. Adds color & body.


Sans Leige – 2007 En Gedi. This is the big boy version of Grenache. Big alchohol 15.9% From Santa Ynez Mountain area of Santa Maria Valley, a great area for these varietals. Well balanced didn't feel like high alchohol. Nose Bacon fat, meaty, peppery, dried fruit, old world style. Taste: spicy, dark chocolate. Great with: venison, mole or something gamey.

Today's wine: all very diff with some similarity - Rhone.

Cool side notes:

- Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a Southern Rhone AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée – like our AVA’s) – predominantly Grenache.

- Ballard Canyon. Will be a appellation someday. Fantastic growing region.

- Paso Robles. Another great Syrah growing region in the US.

- Tablas Creek. Great Syrah

- Rhone Rangers an events at Fort Mason. Go!


After the class some of us stayed behind and enjoyed:

- M. Chapoutier 2008  Bila-Haut, a red blend. Ample acidity, I loved it.

- Preston Red. A blend of Counoise, Grenache Syrah & Mourvedre. Simply delicious!


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