The Results Are In – Rhone Mini-Tasting

The March Rhone Wine Mini-Tasting was held at eight sites (members’ homes) across the county, with 125 people enjoying 10 Rhone-style wines paired with dishes prepared by the attendees. The wines were served in five blind flights of two wines each and the attendees judged each wine and voted for their favorites.

The featured wines started with two Rhone white blends – Carol Shelton’s Coquille Blanc and a French Rhone white blend. The Coquille Blanc came in 3rd overall and was the favorite wine at one site, second favorite at another and third favorite at three more sites. It is unusual for a white wine to be so well-liked since many of our members prefer red wines.

The next four flights were all reds, with three from California, three from the Rhone Valley in France, one from Australia, and one from Spain. The California wines did quite well overall, with one from Paso Robles being the overall favorite by a large margin (placing first at six of the eight sites, second at one, and fourth at the final site). The second place wine overall was in the top four selections at six of the eight sites. The three top wines also happened to be three of the least expensive (and one of the most expensive came in eighth, in spite of its 95 point rating by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate).

The four favorite wines across the seven host sites:

1st Place
2020 McPrice Myers
Rhone Red Blend
High on the Hog
Paso Robles, CA
The 2020 High on the Hog has a deep ruby color and scents of tar, iron,
underbrush and cured meats with a core of red cherries and potpourri. The
medium-bodied palate is soft, supple
and alluring with a long, floral finish.
This is delicious and very easy to drink!
Best after 2023.
Blend: 48% Grenache, 26% Petite Sirah,
7% Syrah, 7% Zinfandel, 5% Mourvèdre,
5% Malbec and 2% Lagrein
Accolades: 93 RP (Wine Advocate)

2019 Christo
Marietta Cellars
Rhone Red Blend
North Coast, CA
A blend of Syrah,
Grenache, Petite Sirah
and Viognier, the 2019 Christo has a
deep ruby-purple color and alluring
scents of blueberry jam and cassis with
accents of loamy earth, violet, coffee
beans and iron. The full-bodied palate
is powerful yet silky with seamless
acidity and gobs of pure violet perfume
on the long, layered finish. It’s easy to
drink now but offers a decade or more
of cellaring potential.
Accolades: 96 RP (Wine Advocate)

2021 Carol Shelton
Rhone Wine Blend
Coquille Blanc
Paso Robles, CA
Enticing nose of spicy pears and
white peaches, almond paste/
marzipan, a touch of honeysuckle
perfume. Multi-dimensional
(many layers),
a hard-to-describe range of
aromatics, intriguing, almost
mysterious. In the mouth, it
is crisply dry yet creamy and
round and full-bodied with nice almond
paste on crisp-yet-juicy pear fruit.
Blend: 30% Grenache Blanc, 30%
Roussanne, 30% Viognier, 10%

4th Place
2021 John Duval
Plexus Red
Barossa, South Australia
A classic Barossa blend crafted
from John Duval’s old vine Shiraz,
Grenache and Mourvèdre. Shiraz
provides rich, dark fruits and mid-palate
weight, whilst Grenache delivers
a bright flavor spectrum of red fruits
and spiced notes. Old vine Mourvèdre
is integral to the blend, ensuring
a good firm backbone
of savory tannin and a
long finish.
Blend: 45% Shiraz,
32% Grenache, 23%
Accolades: 96 RP (Wine