Battle of Rhone Whites

Paso Robles and the Adelaida AVA – Home to fantastic Rhone wines

Which Rhone white wines are better, those of California or those of France?

We, the Vintage Wine Tasters, have spent the past two weeks tasting several white Rhone wines. Perhaps as many as 20 different wines. We found several outstanding Rhone white wines from the Paso Robles area and the Rhone Valley of France. These wines are beautiful, exotic, aromatic, stony, and much more. March signals the start of outdoor life. These lovely white wines will surely please the palate as Spring commences. Many of us have had two doses of the COVID vaccine. We feel liberated and are celebrating that things will soon be better.  It is a time to feast on excellent wine and food.

Recommended California White Rhone Wines

Many California wineries have taken to the white Rhone grapes. The most famous are Tablas Creek in the Paso Robles wine country and Bonny Doon in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Paso Robles, mainly due to the influence of its climate and limestone soil, is the leading producer of Rhone wines in California. If you visit Paso wine country, you will discover many lovely wineries producing Rhone reds and whites.

  • 2018 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Blanc – This is an outstanding value at $19.99 at KL Wines. A blend of five Rhone wines. Stony, aromatic, and enticing! Joe – 90 Points
  • 2019 Boony Doon Le Cigare Blanc – Fresh peach, apricot, full mouthfeel, stoney, mild acidity, fragrant. A serious glass of a white mellow wine. 46% Grenache Blanc and 20% Clairette Blanc, plus somewhat odd 34% Vermentimo. Joe – 89 Points – $18.99 at KL Wines
  • 2017 Tenshen White – A fresh and complex blend of three Rhone varieties, plus some Chardonnay.  The wine provides a full mouthfeel while still providing a light touch of freshness. $11.99 at Costco, $19.99 elsewhere. Mike – 91Points

Recommended French Rhone

The Rhone Valley of France provides so many delicious wines, both red and white. There are many outstanding wines that are under the $20 mark and are quite worthy. Even with the current Tariff situation, there are many Best-Buy Rhone white wines available. Here are our recommendations.

  • Cote du Rhone E. Guigal White – any vintage of this wine will do. This is one of the great values in white wines. It is a mellow blend of Rhone white grapes that is perfect for sipping in the late afternoon. Lots of Viognier in the blend.
  • 2019 Clos des Lumières – a refreshing and complex blend. We previously reviewed the 2018. It is a delightful wine, perfect for springtime dining. Weimax Wines – $12
  • 2020 Huegues de Beauvignal Picpoul – This wine delivers a pure Picpoul grape character with a lovely nose and flavor. Joe F says,“It reminds me of a good Alsace Riesling. I think it is a versatile white that I have on the table for our special dinners.” Total Wines for $11.99
  • 2018 Dom Presidente Cairanne Blanc Prestige – A Rhone blend with grapefruit – Ray – 88 Points at Total Wine. $17.06 at the Sixpack price.

In our previous article, “Battle of Barberas,” the Vintage Wine Tasters preferred the California Barbera wines over the Italian Barberas. In this case, it is a toss up. We like both the California and French Rhone white wines equally. Any way you frame it, these Rhone whites are very delicious and a “must” to have on hand.

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