Get Your Rhone on in Lodi Wine Country

The Rhone Rangers recently hosted their annual Celebration of American Rhone Wines Grand Tasting in San Francisco.  The Rhone Rangers is America’s leading non-profit, educational organization dedicated to promoting American Rhone varietal wines. 

Rhone varietal wines are made from 22 specific grapes varieties that thrive in the Mediterranean climate of the Rhone Valley in Southern France.   The most well-known of the Rhone grape varieties include Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache Noir, Viognier, and Roussanne.

Rhone grape varieties are born to be blended with the thought being that, as Aristotle said, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” In other words, you can often make a better wine by blending grapes because each grape variety contributes its own character to the blend.

Rhone red wines tend to be dominated by Syrah and Grenache Noir, while Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier usually comprise most of the white Rhone wines. 

For example, a classic Rhone red blend would include Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre grape varieties (a.k.a. “GSM”). 

Of course, there are exceptions, and many Rhone grape varieties are well suited to being bottled as a single varietal wine.  Typical examples include single varietal bottlings of Syrah, Grenache Noir, Grenache Blanc, and Viognier.

The Lodi Wine region also has a classic Mediterranean climate with warm days and cool evenings that enable the region to produce high quality fruit for its Rhone varietal wines.

There were three Lodi wineries pouring at the latest Rhone Ranger Grand Tasting in San Francisco last month – Acquiesce Winery, Fields Family Wines, and Michael-David Winery

Ready to get you Rhone on in Lodi?  Here are ten to try:

2016 Acquiesce Belle Blanc – A delicious blend of Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Viognier with a lively tropical fruit and pear character and a great mouthfeel.
2016 Acquiesce Viognier – An appealing 100% Viognier with a white peach, tangerine, honey and floral character.
2016 Acquiesce Grenache Rosé – Recently award 90 point and Editor’s Choice by Wine Enthusiast this enticing Rosé of Grenache has a strawberry, watermelon, and citrus character.  It’s summer in a glass!
2015 Fields Family Wines Cinsault, Bechthold Vineyard – An elegant wine with a raspberry, floral and sweet spice character and an alluring minerality.  Sourced from the fabled Bechthold Vineyard.
2014 Fields Family Wines Vin du Sol – A beautifully complex and aromatic blend of Syrah, Grenache & Mourvèdre with a savory black fruit, white pepper and baking spice character.
2014 Fields Family Wine Estate Syrah – A balanced and distinctive wine with a cool climate, blackberry, raspberry, smoked meat character
2015 Michael David Petite Sirah – A rich, fruit forward wine with a blueberry, dark chocolate and plum character.  Try pairing this wine with a grilled steak instead of Cabernet Sauvignon.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised how well it pair with steak!
2014 Michael David Carignan – Carignan is a grape frequently added to Zinfandel for acidity, a bit of tannins, and for its red fruit profile.  This wine has a very appealing black cherry, pomegranate, cranberry, spice and dried herb character. 
2014 Michael David Freakshow Red Blend – A blend of Syrah, Petite Sirah with a splash of Souza, this wine has a that is has a fruit forward blackberry jam, toffee, and dark chocolate character that is lip-smacking delicious!

Rhone style wines offer a delightful combination of quality and affordability. It’s easy to appreciate their bright fruit, freshness and approachable character.  But what makes wines crafted from Rhone grape varieties so appealing is their affinity for food. And these wines from Lodi offer great examples of the quality and diversity of Rhone wines being crafted in Lodi. The next time you visit Lodi, get your Rhone on!

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