This is a very pleasantly juicy, reasonably-priced meritage. Cherries overly blackcurrant flavors, while dark chocolate, tobacco, and eucalyptus appear on the mid-palate. Tannins and acids are well balanced, and moderate, and the finish has a pleasant mintiness behind the mixed red and black fruits. Drink with duck.
Grape growers and winemakers in Paso started trying out a few different wine styles, including Rhône and Bordeaux. This meant, basically, syrah-based wines and cabernet-based wines. Then some mavericks came in and mixed the two, creating cabernet-syrah blends. Traditionalists cringed, but people started trying the wines and found they were pretty darn good.
“In a world of recognizable Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Syrah ends up being a consumer’s third choice,” says Steffanie Anglim. Still a tough sell for wholesalers and restaurants, Syrah tends to sell well in the tasting room, a common observation among wineries. As a former wine bartender, this fact makes sense to me.
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.
Last month, I had the pleasure of attending the 13th annual Rhône Rangers Grand Tasting in San Francisco, featuring over 500 wines from more than 100 wineries. Rhône Rangers has grown from the original 13 producers to include 200 wineries from California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Michigan, and Virginia. In order to join, a winery must produce at least one Rhône-style wine, comprising a minimum of 75% of one or more of the 22 Rhône grape varieties approved in the Cotes-du-Rhône. Probably the best known of these are syrah, grenache, mourvèdre, and the white threesome of viognier, roussanne, and marsanne.