Saturday, June 14, 2008

All We Are Saying Is Give White Rhones a Chance: WBW #46 Roundup

It was great fun to be the host for the 46th edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday, Lenndevours popular (and still growing) online tasting event. We had 43 bloggers from around the world participate this month, and they tasted a wide range of wines from all over the world, too. The overall reaction was overwhelmingly positive. Most tasted viogniers or blends of several Rhone white varieties, and Marsanne and Roussanne were well-represented as well. A few brave souls gravitated towards the more rarified varieties of picpoul, grenache blanc, and ugni blanc. Though there were a few unhappy tasters out there, the vast majority felt that their wines were tasty, good value, and perfect for summer drinking.

I've made two different visual images to give you an overview of who tasted wine and wrote about it for WBW #46, and what those tasters discovered about Rhone whites. The first is a simple map, with map-points for locations and a scrollable list of contributors at the bottom. You can click on any blog/blogger's name and find out which point belongs to them, or click on any map-point and it will give you the name of the blogger associated with it. Please use the scroll buttons in the upper left corner to navigate across the globe.

The second is a wine review format I developed and experimented with a while back called the TagCloud Review. This will give you an overall sense of what our field of tasters experienced when they drank their wine. The larger and bolder type is associated with the most frequent adjectives our 43 tasters associated with the look, smell, and taste of the wine. As you will see, the tasting notes were remarkably consistent, and many tasters emphasized the apple, mineral, and floral aspects of the wine they sampled. Our tasters also noted the prevalence of citrus notes (including lemon, lime and grapefruit). With 42 tasters and almost twice that number of wines, it would be a long and daunting business to give a mini-review of each tasting note, so I hope that the following "TagCloud Review" will help convince you to give Rhones a chance.

created at

What follows is a rundown of all the tasters and their entries. Please click on any of the highlighted blue links to read their full, informative posts.

First, kudos to those brave souls who tasted Rhone whites from two different regions. Sometimes the "old world" wines were more "new world" in style than many of the tasters expected, and vice versa. They include:

Bloviatrix, who tasted a 2006 Roger Perrin Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc from France and a 2006 Black Chook Viognier-Marsanne-Roussanne blend from Australia.

ExcelWines, who compared the 2006 Venta d'Aubert Viognier from Aragon and the Clay Station Viognier from the US.

Fork and Bottle, where Jack and Joanne tasted their way through a 2001 Eric Texier Condrieu Janrode from France and a 2004 Porter Creek Timberline Ranch Viognier from the United States.

Joe's Wine Blog, who tasted a 2006 Chateau des Charmes St. David's Bench Viognier from Canada, and a 2004 Chateau La Nerthe Chauteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc from France.

McDuff's Food and Wine Trail, where David tasted the 2006 Domaine Louis Cheze Ro-Ree Marsanne-Roussanne blend and the 2004 Edmunds St. John "Tablas Creek Vineyards" Roussanne from the United States.

My Wine Information, who tasted a 2005 Yering Station Marsanne-Viognier-Roussanne blend from Australia, and a 2003 Paul Jaboulet Aines Mule Blanche Crozes-Hermitage blend of Marsanne and Roussanne.

The Vinquire Blog
, who tasted their way through 6 Rhone whites including 3 from France (a 2006 La Vieille Ferme white blend, a 2007 Chateau l'Ermitage white blend, and a 2005 Sainte Croix Viognier) and 3 from the US (a 2006 McManis Viognier, a 2006 Gregory Graham Viognier, and a 2006 Cline Marsanne-Roussanne blend).

And the Wine Peeps, who had a 2005 Cougar Crest Viognier from the US and a 2005 E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone Blanc from France.

Special Mention also goes to our first time Wine Blogging Wednesday participants:

The Corkscrew Slummers, who had a Peltier Station Viognier.

2 Days Per Bottle, who drank a 2004 Garretson "Limoi Cior" Roussanne over two days and catalogued how the wine changed.

Pour Favor, who scored a 2006 Chateau Saint-Cosme white blend from the Cotes du Rhone.

Wine Blogging Wednesday #46 also had several "group participation" projects of various sorts:

First, we had the two tasters at Smells Like Grape who gave us their different takes on two French white Rhone blends: the 2006 Parallele 45 and he 2005 E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone blend.

Second, we had the father-daughter team of Erika and Adam Strum, who tasted the 2006 Truchard Roussanne from the Carneros appellation, and shared their reactions on Erika's Strumerika blog.

Third, we had live blogging from the London living room of Londonelicious, where seven French white Rhone wines were put to the test--you have to read the whole post to find which bottles were emptied first.

And fourth, we had the Young Winos of LA who creatively "recycled" some bottles acquired under cover of darkness following the Rhone Rangers tasting, including a rose, some reds, and two whites: the 2007 Minassian Young "White Rhinoceros" blend and the 2006 Ethan "Paradise Road" Viognier. It is good to know that they saved at least a few Rhone varieties from being added to a landfill.

We had two tasters with near misses: the Wine Negress, who tasted a 2006 J. L. Chave Mon Coeur, a red Rhone wine, alas; and Good Grape, who tried to drink an Argentinian Viognier, but gave up the attempt and drew a cartoon instead!

Our remaining tasters and their wines, organized by region, were:


EatingLeeds, 2007 Familia Zuccardi, S. Julia Viognier, Mendoza

Vinomadic, 2001 Conalbi-Grenberg Ugni Blanc, Mendoza


WinoSapien, 2007 Tahblik Marsanne, Central Victoria

1 Tim. 5:23, 2006 Cave St. Pierre Preference, Cotes du Rhone

1 Wine Dude, 2006 Domaine Louse Cheze Ro-Ree, St. Joseph

Anything Wine, 2006 Ferraton Samorens, Cotes du Rhone

At First Glass, 2006 Caves des Papes Blanc, Cotes du Rhone

Cheap Wine Ratings
, 2006 Le Jade Picpoul, Cotes de Languedoc
2006 Hugues Beaulieu Picpoul, Cotes de Languedoc

Cooking Chat, 2006 Verget du Sud Marsanne/Roussanne, Pays de Vacluse

Corkdork, 2006 Guilem Durand Domaine La Bastide Roussanne,

Drinks Are On Me, 2005 E. Guigal Blanc, Cotes du Rhone

Food and Wine Blog, 2003 Tardieu-Laurent Vieilles Vignes, Chateauneuf-du-Pape

The Wine Case, 1999 Chateau Grillet Viognier
Jean-Luc Colombo Les Gravieres, Croze-Hermitage
2005 La Redonne, Cotes du Rhone

Wine Lover's Journal, 2005 Domaine Philippe Plantevin, Cotes du Rhone

South Africa:

Spittoon, 2007 Origin Fair Trade Viognier, West Cape

United States:
1 Wine Per Week, 2006 Twisted Oak Viognier, Calaveras County

Behind the Vines, 2007 Rosenblum "Kathy's Cuvee" Viognier
2006 Rosenblum Fess Parker Vineyard Roussanne, Santa Barbara
2006 Rosenblum Preston Vineyards Marsanne, Dry Creek Valley

Domaine547, 2005 Qupe Bien Nacido Roussanne, Santa Maria Valley

, 2007 Martha Clara Vineyards Viognier, North Fork LI

My Wine Education, 2006 Becker Viognier, Texas

Passionate Foodie, 2006 Curran Grenache Blanc, Santa Ynez

Through the Walla Walla Grape Vine, 2007 Sweet Valley Wines Viognier, Columbia Valley

Wannabe Wino
, 2006 Hannah Nicole Viognier, Contra Costa County

Wine Biz Radio, 2006 Red Car Boxcar White, California

Wine for Newbies
, 2005 Twisted Oak %@#$!, Calaveras County

If I somehow missed your post, please let me know so I can rectify the situation by leaving a comment below. Thanks to everyone who participated this month, since I know it is a busy time of year. When I know the theme and host for next month's event, I'll be sure to pass that news on to you.


Andrew said...

Interesting that mine was the only South African wine tasted and I'm surprised that no South African bloggers take part...

I love the map and tag round-up; so much more interesting/interactive than a simple list of participants. The way forward perhaps for future such round-ups.

Gabriella Opaz said...

Although we couldn't participate in this month's WBW, I wanted to congratulate you on a really well organized and creative way of rounding up all the entries. And I agree with Andrew, that visual descriptions, at least for me, are so much more interesting than reading a straight list of participants ;-)

Edward said...

Dr Debs,

Well done on such a prompt and organized write up.
I like the idea of maps and where everyone is located (though I'm from the West coast of Australia), additionally the tag cloud is very clever and a welcome addition.

Richard Auffrey said...

Excellent and unique Round-Up. It certainly presents a more informative summary of the tasters and their wines.

The Corkdork said...

A new benchmark in creativity for WBW hosts! Thanks a ton, Deb. I especially like the tag cloud which gives an overall picture of the White Rhône scene.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a great topic and roundup, Dr. Debs!

moderator said...

Great round up! I love the way this is broken down - for a newbie, it makes it very easy to check out the other submissions. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dr! Can't wait to check out the various entries. I almost mentioned the Ethan too - made by Bob Lindquist's son (of Qupé). But I'm afraid my conventional mode of acquisition wouldn't have been as entertaining as that of the YWLA's.

MonkuWino said...

Wow, Dr. Debs you did a great job summarizing everything! I really like both the map and the tag cloud - a really nice roundup. Thanks!

enobytes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
enobytes said...

You're setting the standards high by incorporating the tag cloud and blogger map! I think all future WBW posts should include this information! Wonderful roundup.

Nancy said...

I agree, a great round up and you are setting the standards high. Did some techie help with the map and tag cloud, or were you just born knowing how to do that?

Anonymous said...

I really like the tag cloud and google maps implementations - really great way to present that data. --Philip

Dr. Debs said...

Thanks to everyone for the generous, positive feedback. FYI the map and TagCloud are easy to generate, and I'm happy to tell anyone how to do it--just contact me offline or follow the links to and (I modified some of the latter's settings, which I can give you). There are some problems however--sometimes the map doesn't load and it makes it impossible to edit your post once it's up so be sure you like what you see. I wanted to go back and change WinoSapien's address and EatingLeeds' URL and discovered it was not an option. Perhaps some technology person (which I am not!) can figure out why this is so.

Anonymous said...

A great WBW topic and fantastic summary! If I ever do a WBW summary, I'll try to look at the google map bug/usability issue.

Anonymous said...

Great roundup. Sometimes tag clouds annoy me, but this is the perfect application of one. I love it! Well done.

Anonymous said...

Hi Debs,

I did a little analysis of where the wines (as well as the reviewers) came from that you might find interesting on the Tablas Creek blog. We're doing our part to keep broadening your options for white (and red) Rhones... by my count, there are at least 11 of the wines reviewed this month that are in part of in whole from cuttings of the clones we brought into the country.

Thanks for the thoughtful writeup!

Anonymous said...

Where can I find a schedule so I can participate next time around? I took a look around and can't seem to find anything....

Dr. Debs said...

Thanks for the analysis, Jason H. I picked up on the two "Tablas Creek" wines, but didn't see all the invisible cuttings in there. And Jason, I have no idea what's up with WBW. You need to contact one of the organizers through the website. I will let you know the July theme when/if it is announced, but things seem to be down at WBW headquarters for some reason.