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A Card Carrying Member of the Rhone Rangers

I’m not a member of the Rhone Rangers (a consumer “sidekick” in their parlance), at least not yet.  I am, however, loosening up my wallet to find more and more American Rhone varietal wines. 

In my mind, the hottest action in the California wine market is the Central Coast area and Paso Robles in particular.  This is no revelation, many people share this sentiment.  One of the interesting things you can find is quality at a range of price points, which isn’t necessarily true of Napa, Sonoma and elsewhere where neighbors hold the line on price (that is in the event that they’re not trying to one-up them).

Over this past weekend, I did a back-to-back tasting of two Central Coast blends comprised of Rhone varietals and was pleasantly surprised at the quality of both, exhibiting a ‘sense of place’ while also being fruit-forward with backbone and above all, delicious.

The ’02 Tablas Creek Cotes de Tablas at about $22 dollars is a remarkable value, relative to a Chateauneuf du Pape at $40 or above. The non-vintage Rabbit Ridge Allure de Robles exhibits less refinement and more of a California style, but that’s hardly a drawback when the wine can be picked up for $11 bucks or less and around $6 if you’re near a California Trader Joe’s.

Both are excellent wines, balanced, with nice acidity and certainly give one a reason to pause long enough to re-consider the prevailing notion that California is sliding down into an abyss of sameness with high-alcohol wines that are not food friendly. 

My reviews are below. 

‘02 Tablas Creek Cotes de Tablas

NV Rabbit Ridge Allure de Robles


Posted in, Good Grape Wine Reviews. Permalink | Comments (2) |


On 11/13, braingirl wrote:

Yes!  Jeff, I’m with you and have been drinking a lot of California Rhone style wines.  One of my favorites has been Vinum’s Red Dirt Red.

On 11/14, el jefe wrote:

Hello, Foothills! smile


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