A taste for Rhones

Fourteen incredible Rhone and Rhone-style wines, sumptuous appetizers, and a chic Newport Beach country club setting.  “Keep The Promise,” a tasting to benefit The Wooden Floor, the Santa Ana dance studio that helps underprivileged youth complete high school and continue on to college, never disappoints. If you missed this year’s event on Oct. 6 be sure to check the website so you can mark your calendar for next year. I tasted the wines twice and my very favorites continue to be 2006 Guigal Condrieu La Doriane, Rhone, France, Wine Advocate: 96 points, $110; 2007 Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape,  Rhone France, Wine Advocate: 96 + points, $75; and 2007 Le Vieux Donjon Chateaufneuf du Pape, Rhone, France, Wine Advocate: 95+ points, $82.

If you can find these wines, you’ve got to try them. John Markley and his wife Janice, big supporters of The Wooden Floor, go on a hunt for very specials wines each year so don’t think you’ll be able to shop for all of them in your local wine boutique. I think the reds are more accessible, although I’m not sure how many ’07s, you’ll see, that was a special vintage. But I do see Donjon and Telegraphe in better wine shops like Wine Exchange and Hi-Time Wine Cellars. The white Rhones remain elusive. Please comment and let me know where to buy the Condrieu locally if know of a shop that has it.

In the meantime, if  you missed the event, or attended and it just made you crave Rhones even more, stop in at the Wine Lab in Newport Beach next week. On Oct. 13 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. they’ll be hosting a tasting of Tablas Creek—the only California wines featured in the “Keep the Promise” event. The winery’s general manager Jason Haas will be on hand and he is one of the most knowledgeable and articulate wine guys you’ll ever meet. Often written by Jason, their award-winning  blog is great, so check it out before you go and see you at the tasting.—Anne Valdespino 

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