The final day of Hospice du Rhone 2012 here in Paso Robles is always bittersweet…you’re sad it’s over soon but your liver is ecstatic with that fact!
This day started as the second day did, arriving at around 8 am to the Paso Robles Event Center to snag some breakfast and coffee while chatting with others as they file in about who remembers what from the night before. Always great conversation as you start piecing the prior night together…and wow, the under eye bags on the final day are telling of the late nights, after parties, and debauchery; but, what happens at HdR stays at HdR!
Hospice du Rhone Seminar 3
The first seminar on the final day was called “A Collective Quest: The History of Les Vins de Vienne” which was moderated by Jeb Dunnuck of The Rhone Report. The panelists consisted of Yves Cuilleron (Chavanay, France), Pierre Gaillard (Malleval, France), and Francois Villard (Saint-Michel-sur-Rhone, France).
Jeb did a fantastic job moderating and giving us background on the region, the wines, and the people so thanks to him; as for the three winemakers, not much to say other than they are amazing. It’s always interesting and impressive to listen to these folks tell their stories in our language, leaving their comfort zones in order to be part of this event. I believe it adds to the romance of the wines though, as we’re tasting through the four amazing whites and six tremendous reds, you really can taste the labor of love and passion that these guys live with.
2010 Les Laurelles- Cotes du Rhone (Viognier/ Marsanne/ Roussanne)
2010 Les Bialeres- Saint Peray (Marsanne/ Roussanne)
2010 Les Archeveques- Condrieu (Viognier)
2009 Taburnum- Condrieu, Vin de France (Viognier)
2010 Les Cranilles- Cotes du Rhone (Grenache/ Syrah/ Mourvedre)
2009 Les Pimpignoles- Gigondas (Grenache/ Syrah)
2009 Les Oteliees- Chateauneuf-du-Pape (Grenache/ Syrah/ Mourvedre)
2009 Les Archeveques- Saint Joseph (Syrah)
2009 Les Essartailles- Cote-Rotie (Syrah)
2009 Sotanum- Vin de France (Syrah)
Amazing line up of wines and again, always great listening to the artists explain their wines as you are tasting them.
Hospice du Rhone Seminar 4
The second seminar was titled “d’Arenberg: Research, Revelations and the Art of Being Different” and it was moderated by John Alban and the panelist was owner/ winemaker of d’Arenberg Chester Osborn. Chester’s place is located in McLaren Vale, South Australia and he was for sure in the top 5 “wine characters” at HdR this year.
It was quite enjoyable listening to Chester and John go back and forth, Chester really had the crowd engaged and laughing…can’t beat that. He had a great slideshow showing what his winery and vineyards looked like but even the slideshow was injected with humor. As we found out he also likes to travel with his props, which were all over the table in front of him, you definitely gather he is a visual guy…from the props, to the slideshow, to the humorous video about tourism being fixed by lowering the drinking age, to his colorful shirts, and long curly hair…what a guy!
I had the opportunity to chat with him later at the “Grand Tasting” and he is a very sweet dude, it was a seminar I won’t soon forget. The wines we had in his seminar were:
2010 The Money Spider (Roussanne)
2010 The Hermit Crab (Viognier/ Marsanne)
2009 The Twenty-Eight Road (Mourvedre)
2009 The Derelict Vineyard (Grenache)
2009 The Cadenzia (Grenache/ Shiraz/ Mourvedre)
2008 The Laughing Magpie (Shiraz/ Viognier)
2008 The Wild Pixie (Shiraz/ Roussanne)
2008 The Ironstone Pressings (Grenache/ Shiraz/ Mourvedre)
2008 The Dead Arm (Shiraz)
2009 The Eight Iron (Shiraz)
2009 The Blewitt Springs (Grenache)
2009 The Beautiful View (Grenache)
2010 The Noble Mud Pie (Viognier/ Roussanne)
Thanks to Chester for being funny, not taking himself too seriously, and reminding those of us that have common sense that WINE IS FUN so everybody settle down a bit.
After the second seminar it was time for the “Lunch and Live Auction”. This lunch was handled by Chef Rick Manson (whom Annie has known for a long time) of the Far Western Tavern in Guadalupe, CA…and whoa, another off the hook meal at HdR as you’ll see in the pictures!! The afternoon lunch is a great time to fill the belly, actually drink some wine instead of spitting, and chatting with other folks about the seminars. As with last year though, lunch gets kicked up a notch when the auction gets going, I’m not sure why but watching and listening to auctions is surprisingly entertaining.
There were so many amazing auction lots this year, from wine to food to a stay at Blackberry Farm in Tennessee…wow, lots of bid paddles being raised and mucho dinero being raised for HdR!!
From the auction you can go to the early entry into the “Grand Tasting”. The early aspect is for media and trade and offers us the chance to go through the tasting hall with less people. Once that hour is up the doors open to the masses and the room fills with people and noise, it typically becomes much harder to taste seriously at this point so we often start seeking people out and chatting with them and I will use that time to take photos, etc.
We went home before the Grand Tasting was over so we could freshen up and come back to the final HdR event for 2012 which they call the “Farewell BBQ”. I love this part…everyone is partying, all the seminars are done, and the debauchery flows! Dinner was provided by Chef Maegen Loring of The Neon Carrot in San Luis Obispo…again, big, hairy, awesomeness, smack-your-ass kudos to the HdR team for getting the quality of food in there that they do…heaven!
Other than the amazing food and you guessed it, more wine; they had Firestone Walker beer flowing as well as blackjack and craps that you could play for Rhone related prizes. This party wrapped up the weekend of sensory overload…but wait, did we go to an after party?
Why yes we did, our buddy Tyler with Nelle Winery, and some of his friends were throwing a party at Los Robles Café in Paso Robles and he invited us to that. Love the name of the party…Cotes du Rage: tacos, beer, and wine. There were no tables and chairs that I saw in the joint, which allowed for more people to hang out, and wow, the turnout was awesome. We chatted with Tyler for some time and ran in to so many other great friends…we love this town!
I really want to take a second to sincerely thank the people of Hospice du Rhone (from the HdR staff, the volunteers, the clean-up crews, the sommeliers, security, the food providers, those that donate for the auction, and anyone else I may be missing), you guys put on a great event and you keep the smiles on your faces through all the horrendous work.
- Hospice du Rhone, Day 2: Watch Out Now! (hootnannieblog.com)