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Wine Wednesday: Rhonely Hearts & Washington Wines

April 28, 2010

I’ve been tasting and writing about Washington wines a lot lately here on this blog as well as on Wine Predator because I’m preparing for the Wine Bloggers Conference in June and trying to land a spot on the WBC-or- Bust bus. For example,

Salmon & Washington Merlot? Really? Yes!

and

Santa Barbara Back Country Camping With Hogue Washington Wine

and

Chateau Ste Michelle 2008 Chardonnay & Roast Chicken–Yum!

But today I’m here to ask:

Do you have a Rhonely Heart? Do you love Rhone style wines and blends like me?  Especially the reds, my heart pounds for Rhone blend reds like my first crush, an AUS 2001 RBJ  theologicum  blend of grenache and mataro that turned me on.  I’ve never looked back.

I ran across one of these postcards in Los Olivos tasting a few weeks ago but it was my 6 year old son who saw this year’s Hospice du Rhone postcard at the Ventura Wine Company.

The postcard catches everyone’s eye with its play on The Lonely Hearts Club Band. My son the Beatles fan liked the postcard so much he wanted to buy it!

I explained the card was for Hospice du Rhone, a wine event April 29-May 1 at the Paso Robles Event Center in Central California.  He still wanted to go and stick his nose down into my glass of wine to try to smell what I smell. I told him he’d have to wait until he’s 21 and he has his own money for an $800 ticket–and to treat me!

I’m not sure what he thinks will be going on at Hospice du Rhone, but from the postcard it does look fun.  There’s even a bowling event so he especially wants me to go to Thursday night’s Rhône ‘n Bowl event sponsored by the Mutineer Magazine.

Even though they stopped selling general tickets on-0line Tuesday (I know, now she tells us!), you can still come out and meet the Rhone Rock Stars and go to tastings with over 130 Rhone wine producers from around the world. For those with a Rhonely Heart, you would certainly get your fill of fellow Rhonely friends, deluxe food paired with Rhone wines, more Rhone wine than you can fathom in one weekend of tastings. For those with a full pass, there are seminars too on a variety of topics including a Saturday morning session on Washington terroir with Charles Smith, Food & Wine Magazines 2009 American Wine Awards Winemaker of the Year. Robert Parker says of Walla Walla winemaker Smith, “When it comes to his wines, the otherwise wild and irrepressible Charles Smith is as serious as a heart attack. Charles Smith knows where to find the great grapes. In a region where blending is still the rule of thumb, he is the ultimate terroirist.”

Wow, wouldn’t attending that seminar on Washington terroir be a great way to prepare for the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla? And to be ready for my place on the WBC-Or-Bust bus should I be selected?

But of course $800 to attend Hospice du Rhone just IS NOT in my budget–even if I can drive there and camp out in the van. Afterall, I am attending the WBC on scholarship and there are others on the waiting list hoping more donations come in to fund their trip to the conference.

I imagine I can get into the main tasting on Friday afternoon as a member of the media, but what I really want to do is attend the seminars and write about them. Hmmn, I wonder if they’d like someone to live blog the seminars?

Here’s an overview of the Hospice du Rhone schedule which shows you why I’m drooling to go:

2010 Hospice du Rhône Weekend Package – $795 Includes

Friday, April 30, 2010

9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. – We’ve Come a Long Way Baby! The Past, Present and Future of South African Syrah
10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. – Côte Rôtie – The Next Generation
12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Rosé Lunch
3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. – Friday Rhône Rendezvous

Saturday, May 1, 2010
9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. – Washington State: The Perfect Haven for “The Ultimate Terroirist”
10:30 a.m. – 11:45 p.m. – An Incredible Cambie-nation
12:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Lunch and Live Auction
3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. – Grand Tasting
6:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. – Farewell BBQ

Click here to view the complete Seminar Series with descriptions, presenters and moderators
*View the complete Seminar Series with descriptions, presenters and moderators
*Event descriptions located in à la carte section
*Not included: Thursday Rhône ‘n Bowl ticket or a Sommelier Soirée
pass. Must purchase individually

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