Mar 26, 2017

Paso Robles Rhone Rangers 2017

We recently had the pleasure of again joining the 45+ members of the Paso Robles Chapter of the Rhone Rangers for a day in Paso Robles Wine Country with some of America’s leading producers of Rhone varietals. We always enjoy these events and trying not only old favorites but new producers as well. We were to explore what makes Paso Robles so ideal for these grape vines and wines. Due to a previous commitment we could not attend the days "Rhone Essentials" Seminar (went last year and were very impressed, do not miss) where this year the attendees got to taste a top example of each of the primary categories of Paso Robles Rhone wines and also heard from winemakers and principals who have chosen to be Rhone Rangers in Paso Robles, and who are helping to forge the area's reputation as California's "Rhone Zone".
The seminar panel was moderated by Elaine Brown, American Specialist for, contributing writer with Wine & Spirits Magazine and columnist at Wine Business Monthly.

The wineries and speakers representing the major categories were:
Viognier: Ranchero Cellars 2015 Viognier (Amy Butler, Proprietor)
Roussanne: Tablas Creek Vineyard 2014 Roussanne (Jason Haas, Partner)
White Rhone Blend: J. Lohr 2015 Gesture 'RVG' (Kristen Barnhisel, Winemaker)
Dry Rose: Shale Oak 2015 Grenache/Syrah Rose (Curtis Haskall, Winemaker)
Grenache: Niner Wine Estates 2014 Grenache (Patrick Muran, Winemaker)
Mourvedre: Vines on the Marycrest 2013 Mourvedre (Victor Abascal, Proprietor)
Red Rhone Blend: Brecon Estate 2014 '42' (Damian Grindley, Proprietor, Winemaker)
Syrah: Kukkula 2014 'Noir' (Kevin Jussila, Proprietor)
Petite Sirah: Tooth & Nail 2014 'The Stand' (Jeremy Leffert, Winemaker)
After this those that attended enjoyed the Vintners' lunch  where each table was joined by a Rhone Rangers principal or winemaker for a gourmet banquet lunch prepared by Chef Jeffery Scott. Throughout lunch, members' Rhone wines were passed freely around the tables, while attendees enjoy an extended opportunity to interact with the producers.
We arrived at Broken Earth Winery, on Highway 46 just east of Paso Robles, to enjoy the Grand Tasting & Silent Auction and to taste nearly 150 wines from the complete membership of the Paso Robles Rhone Rangers, including top single Rhone varietals and the best in Rhone blends. During the Grand Tasting we placed a few bids on lots donated by Rhone Rangers member wineries and help support the Rhone Rangers scholarship fund (no winning this year)! 

Tercero from the
Santa Barbara Chapter
There was an added bonus this year as a few producers from the Santa Barbara Chapter were invited and added some wonderful wines. 

Being the professional drinkers, tasters that we are, we developed a plan to get in a good cross section of wines, knowing that all 150 would be a tall order even for us. The plan was derailed a bit as we found a few producers that caught our attention. 

For a full list of Paso Robles Rhone Rangers member wineries, click here. We tasted some lovely wines and won't bore you with the typical list of wines, producers and tasting notes but instead mention a few that got our attention as standouts in a high quality field.

From a producer standpoint the following list (in no particular order) were impressive across the line of wines they were pouring,

Vina Robles also poured our favorite wine of the day. Their 2014 Terra Bella Syrah. A well balanced wine that is a great example of what a great Syrah can be.

Tickets for the seminar and lunch were $90, and seminar/lunch attendees receive free entry into the Grand Tasting. Tickets for the Grand Tasting were merely $35, an absolute steal!

If you love wine, and Rhone wines in particular, make sure to mark your caledar and dont miss next years event. We will see you there...

Happy Wine Adventures,


  1. We always seem to miss this event. Have now marked our calendars and will be on the lookout to make sure we get tickets for 2018.

  2. The executive chef here was a genuinely nice person and never made us feel like we were just "business" for him. He was extremely competent and organized. Because of the natural beauty of the Seattle venues, we were able to get away with very minimal decorations.


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