email: [email protected]
Beyond Sideways, the Santa Ynez Valley “Rhone Rangers”. While many people are aware from the movie Sideways that Santa Barbara County is famous for its pinot noir, when you visit this area and travel inland from the Sta. Rita Hills AVA you will not only find much warmer weather but you will also find many wineries devoted to the grape varietals that originated in Rhone, France thousands of years ago.
Rhone Varietals. The principal Rhone varietals grown in the Santa Ynez Valley AVA are the white grapes Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne and the red grapes Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre. Wine makers who have embraced these Rhone varietals are often referred to as “The Rhone Rangers” as they make efforts to promote these generally full-bodied, high alcohol, rich wines throughout the world. It is surprising however that Rhone allowed the United States to receive their treasured vines since it is widely believed that the dreaded phylloxera grape insect that decimated grape vines throughout Europe originated from vine cuttings brought from the U.S. to Rhone in the late 1800s. Fortunately, France was able to look beyond this little transgression (understatement of the year) and we now have thousands of acres of Rhone grapes planted throughout the U.S.
Hospice du Rhone: A Great Central Coast Wine Event. The Central Coast is becoming so well known for the excellence of its Rhone varietals that it hosts the world renowned Hospice du Rhone wine event each April in the Paso Robles region. A weekend full of wine seminars and tastings devoted entirely to Rhone varietals, you can’t afford to miss this event if you consider yourself a Rhone Ranger. So uncork a bottle of Santa Ynez Rhone wine tonight and Cheers!
Central Coast Wineries in the Rhone Rangers. Doris’ note. Click here for a list of Rhone Ranger Central Coast wineries, including tour and tasting information.