Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Three under $30 from Rhone Rangers

By Jessica Yadegaran
Tuesday, March 18th, 2008 at 11:19 am in Uncategorized.

Busy day, but wanted to briefly share some impressions from Rhone Rangers. The parking sucked but the sun was shining and the food rocked. I’m still dreaming about Girl & the Fig’s duck cassoulet. Of course, the wines showed well, too. I’ll be writing more in the months to come, but here are some standouts:

Bell Wine Cellars: 2006 Canterbury Vineyards Syrah. A soft, round and peppery Syrah with controlled alcohol (14.2%) and an even more moderate price. Shows what food-friendly Syrah the Sierra Foothills are capable of producing. Does not taste young and tight. I was shocked when I saw the vintage. Buy it. Store it or drink it.

Price: $22. Who’s got it: Jackson’s, Lafayette.

Cass Wines: 2005 Grenache. An impressive Paso Robles expression of this often low-acid grape, think of it as a hefty Pinot Noir with only 15 percent Mourvedre added for backbone. I loved this wine, which has a tinge of South African sensibility (that’s where the winemaker hails from)

Price: $28. Buy it online at

Treana Winery: 2006 Mer Soleil Viognier-Marsanne. Fruit from this Monterey vineyard helps to churn out a succulent, balanced and flavorful wine with excellent minerality, aromas of jasmine and flavors of pear and honey. Where’s the Chinese take-out when you need it?

Price: $25. Buy it online at

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  • Chip Ferguson

    Jessica – Thank you for your tips on which wineries you recommended “to hit” at Rhone Rangers for Syrah and Petite Sirah. I stopped by Bella, Curtis and Foppiano and there were certainly no dissapointments. All very, very good.

    I also would put in a good word for Rocca. The Yountville ’03 was amazing and their ’04 scored 94 pts. by James Laube (I liked the ’03 even more)

    Adelaida Cellars Chelle Mountain Reserve was worth a second stop by too. Very smooth.

    Jeff was pouring a little Rockpile J.C. Cellars Syrah if you asked for it and that was terrific too.

    Miner Family Syrah, Justin, and Hug rounded out the “Hit Parade” for me.

    Very nice event – not too crowded once you parked (as you mentioned) and got in.

    And yes – the Girl and the Fig’s Cassoulet was the best food there. Just like last year ! There were also some good sauces, Fois Gras (not for everyone), Sausage, Meatballs, etc.

    All in all a very nice event !

    Cheers !


  • http://ibabuzz/corkheads Jessica

    Agreed. The Rockpile was great. Did you try Jeff’s Syrah that he made for A Girl & Fig’s anniversary. They were pouring from their personal stash. It was great.