Twenty years ago, John Alban started Hospice du Rhône as an event to promote viognier wines. Over the past two decades it has come to be a global Rhône gala. So, it seemed rather fitting, on this 20th anniversary of HdR, to take a look at just how this variety, almost universally proclaimed as not age worthy, changes over time.
In my day job I am a consultant. I obviously have heard all of the jokes and disdain that may accompany this title, but if there is one thing that we consultants know how to do, it is to offer some advice on problems about which we probably have very little to add, experientially speaking. We can also always whip up a 'white paper' to solve a loosely defined problem, often out of thin air. So while it may be unsolicited, I have no trouble offering a solution to the conundrum currently facing California Syrah.
The region of Roussillon falls clearly within the borders of France. It is also regularly amalgamated with its neighboring region, in the denomination of Languedoc-Roussillon. However, the area really has a story that is entirely its own. The windswept, hot, dry slopes that rise out of the crystal blue Mediterranean Sea harbor a culture that has more in common with Spain's Catalonia than with the rest of France. The soils and climate are more reminiscent of Priorat, which lies just south of the Pyrenees Mountains from Roussillon, rather than the rest of the Languedoc.
For three days every May, winemakers and wine enthusiasts gather in Paso Robles, California, for the largest international celebration of Rhône wines in the world. Now in its nineteenth year, the Hospice du Rhône's seminars, exhibits, and large- scale wine tastings attract throngs of eager attendees.
Revel in the international world of Rhône variety wines at the 18th annual Hospice du Rhône celebration April 29 through May 1, 2010 in Paso Robles, California USA. This three-day event boasts Rhône wine producers and wine enthusiasts from across the globe who have gathered all in the name of Rhône. Come expand your knowledge of the Rhône wine varieties at this one-of-a-kind experience with Rhône focused seminars, meals and tastings all while rubbing elbows with the winemakers whose passion spurs the energy created at this spirited affair.