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by Fred McMillin
Slam the Rhone Rangers?
New York Times writes...
The Rest of the Story
By 1990 a group of Golden State Syrah boosters were dubbed the Rhone Rangers. My classes have tasted a lot of the Rhone Rangers' "endless stream" of California reds. They've found the upper end of that stream to contain some mighty appealing bottles. Here are the best with the highest rated listed last. That is, the further you read, the better the wine.
Our Delightful Dozen of Rhone-Style Reds
And Numero Uno...
a) A number of the entries were blends containing other Rhone varietals such as Grenache, Carignane, etc. However, the star in France's Rhone Valley is the Syrah, and it is in California, too—for 10 of our 12 bottles contained mostly Syrah.
b) The two best buys were the Shooting Star and the Chateau Julien Syrahs.
c) Syrah doesn't seem to be as picky about its microclimate as does, say, Pinot Noir. No area dominated our delightful dozen. Sonoma County was the leader, with four entries making the list.
d) These wines are not inexpensive. The median price of the dozen is $23.
e) In the Rhone Valley, vintner Max Chapoutier told me the first step in Syrah's travels to California occurred many centuries ago when the vine was brought to the Rhone by returning Crusader Sir Gaspard de Sterimberg, whom we will dub the FIRST Rhone Ranger.
This page created April 2004
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