Now That the Glasses Are Washed…
Romancing the Rhones & Shootout Overview

by barbara on August 3, 2012

Complete Results of the Rhone Shootout and Romancing the Rhones here


Some Personal Notes and Observations:

Those of you who have been following me for a long time, know that I have always been ALL ABOUT PINOT.

It was Laura Ness and some of the other longtime Shootout judges that suggested more than once that we do a Rhone Shootout. I finally agreed. We put out the word and the wines came in daily with deliveries from GSO, UPS, Fedex, and DHL. 267 wines from a myriad of producers. The wines were catalogued and sorted.

Truth be told, more…

In this, the 1st year of the Rhone Shootout, the Affairs of the Vine professional judging panel tasted 267 Rhone wines, most from California and Oregon but some from Washington, Michigan and Australia. We found outstanding examples of New World Rhone wines from wineries that we know and we’re delighted by many of the wines submitted from producers new to us. The overall quality of the wines was incredible. In fact, we awarded more gold medals on a percentage basis than we have ever awarded in any previous Shootout.

The Rhone Shootout was a comprehensive and focused tasting of New World Rhones. The judging panel, an incredibly diverse panel of 52 wine professionals, tasted 267 wines over a three-month period. Just 32 wines were tasted by the experts per day, allowing the judges to be completely immersed, focused and fair to the wines. Palate fatigue is not a factor in our tastings. The wines are tasted completely blind without reference to appellation, vintage or price. Each wine submitted to the Rhone Shootout was tasted a minimum of twice. The top rated wines were then tasted by our panel of experts at the Rhone Shootout Finals on June 23, 2012. Again, each judge was responsible for tasting, scoring, and analyzing only 32 wines.

Detailed notes accompany the scores of each judge. Gender counts…scores and comments are recorded separately and posted on the Affairs of the Vine website.

The Rhone Shootout judges’ decisions were then put to the test during the Rhone Shootout Challenge at Romancing the Rhones on July 14, 2012 in San Francisco. A large unbiased group of wine lovers tasted, analyzed and voted for their favorites at The Rhone Challenge of 41 of the top wines at Romancing the Rhones on July 14, 2012 in San Francisco.

At the Romancing the Rhones, over 350 adventurous Rhone lovers, experienced and evaluated the luscious wines in a blind tasting. The 41 wines represented some of the best wines from this year’s Rhone Shootout. (There should have been 42 wines but one wine did not reach our warehouse in time to be included in the blind tasting.)

In a distinctly different format and atmosphere from other wine-tasting events, the attendees blind tasted the wines and pitted their palates against the expert judging panel. The wines were divided into 2 groups of wines. (The Blue Group and The Green Group). The wines were wrapped individually and identified by a random color. The male and female votes were tallied separately.

After tasting the wines blind, the Wine Lovers at Romancing the Rhones were given 5 chips (gold for the women and blue for the men) to cast their votes for their favorite wines. They could vote for as many as 5 wines or as few as one, indicating their passion for each wine by the number of chips they dropped in the “ballot box.”

William Allen announced the winners of the Rhone Shootout Challenge at Romancing the Rhones on July 14th.

Romancing the Rhone Shootout Challenge Results:

Men at Romancing the Rhones:

Male Wine Lovers: First Place
Aqua Marine ~ Derby Estates 2007 FIFTEEN 10 Red Blend, Paso Robles ($28)

Male Wine Lovers: Second Place
Brick ~ Hug Cellars 2009 El Pape Red Blend, Central Coast ($30)

Male Wine Lovers: Third Place
Light Blue ~ Exuberance by Canihan 2007 Canihan Family Estate Syrah, Sonoma Valley ($49)

Women at Romancing the Rhones:

Female Wine Lovers: First Place

Aqua Marine ~ Derby Estates 2007 FIFTEEN 10 Red Blend, Paso Robles ($28)

Female Wine Lovers: Second Place

Beige ~ Poetic Cellars 2009 Estate Muse Vineyard Mourvedre, Livermore ($29)

Female Wine Lovers: Third Place

Bronze ~ RoxyAnn 2009 Viognier, Rogue River Valley, Oregon ($20)

Shootout Panel Results:

Male Judges: First Place

Yellow ~ Calcareous 2010 White Blend, Paso Robles, ($28)

Male Judges: Second Place

Light Blue ~ Exuberance by Canihan 2007 Canihan Family Estate Syrah, Sonoma Valley ($49)

Male Judges: Third Place

Black ~ 6th Sense 2010 Syrah, Lodi, ($16)

Female Judges: First Place

Periwinkle ~ Dierberg Vineyards 2008 Syrah, Santa Ynez Valley, ($36)

Female Judges: Second Place

Gunmetal ~ Tallulah 2009 Como Marsanne, Napa Valley, ($28)

Women Judges: Third Place

Lilac ~ Field Stone Winery 2011 Heritage Block Field Stone Estate Vineyard Rose of Petite Sirah, Alexander Valley, ($20)

The Rhone lovers spoke out loud and clear at Romancing the Rhones. In an unusual and rare instance men and women agreed,. They both selected, by an overwhelming margin, the Derby Wine Estates 2007 FIFTEEN 10 Red blend ($28) from Paso Robles as their number one choice.

The women also selected winemaker Katy Lovell’s Poetic Cellars 2009 Muse Vineyards Mourvedre ($29), from her Livermore estate vineyard, as their # 2 favorite.

Results of Best of Show at Romancing the Rhones
Attendees were also asked to cast their chips for their favorite white, red and rose tasted at the winery tables.

Best White(s): A tie between Two Shepherds 2011 Grenache Blanc, Santa Ynez Valley ($24) and Mangels Vineyards 2010 Viognier
Suisun Valley ($15)

Best Rose: Anaba Wines 2011 Pink Annadel Estate Grenache Rose, Sonoma Valley ($22)

Best Red: Nottingham Cellars 2010 Awakening GSM Blend Red Blend, Livermore Valley ($36)

The Wine Lovers agreed with the judging panel…the wines tasted were fantastic!


Passionate about Pinot= Love at First Sip An Affair to Remember Will Provide Fond Memories

Complete scores and comments by gender here

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