Best local red Rhone-style wines for the holidays
Of all the wines we are recommending in this series, Rhone-style varieties are perhaps the best suited to holiday meals. They are often smoother and more well-balanced in character, which makes them well-suited to a big holiday meal or Christmas turkey dinner with all the fixings. Paso Robles winemakers have recently been producing some of the best Rhone-style wines outside of France. So with that bias, I had to extend the list a bit because there are so many good Rhone-style wines to recommend.
Top Paso Robles red Rhone-style wines
Almond Hill Vineyard 2010 Syrah – $28
This well balance fruit-forward syrah from Paso Robles’ westside exhibits flavors of black cherry and intense berries and finishes with some spice and black pepper aromas. It will pair well with smoked and seasoned cheese, red meats, wild game, salmon, vegetables and chocolate desserts.
Almond Hill – 2010 Petite Sirah – $28
This full-bodied red is deliciously jammy, with intense berry notes and a hint of vanilla. A perfect red to pair with a main meat dish. It’s a very well-balanced wine.
Asuncion Ridge Vineyards 2013 Salacious – $38
Don’t let the name fool you… This is a wine to love. It’s a luscious blend of grenache, syrah and mourvèdre. It recently won a silver medal at the San Francisco International Wine Competition. It will pair will with most every holiday meal.
Brecon 2014 Estate Grenache – $36
This is a blend of fruit from Paso Robles and Edna Valley. It has a deep purple hue, fresh raspberry aromas and flavors with a touch of acidity. It will pair well with a turkey dinner and all the fixings.
Clavo 2011 Petite Sirah “Dreamer” – $42
While technically grown in the Rhone region of France, petite sirah was included on the list of Rhone-style wines by the California Rhone Rangers. The inky color of this wine shows off what extended maceration can bring to the table. The wine tastes of black currants, ripe blackberries and blueberries, leading to soft open tannins and a round velvety texture, all wrapped up in brilliant acidity.
Four Lanterns 2014 Shadow – $48
This is a blend of 70-percent grenache and 30-percent syrah. The wine has a fruity, grape-ish nose that leads to bolder flavors of dark dry fruit. It will pair well with turkey and red meats for your holiday meal.
Four Lanterns 2014 Fire Light Syrah -$62
This syrah from the Willow Creek District AVA of Paso Robles is one of our pricier recommendations, but worth it. It’s a deep, ruddy syrah. It will pair wonderfully with turkey, pork, or red meat.
Hearthstone 2014 Syrah – $38
This bold syrah offers flavors of black pepper, blackberries and licorice. It’s powerful, intense and spicy. It will pair very well with a main course of red meat and roasted vegetables.
Kukkula 2013 Aatto – $40
Expect something different from this organic, dry-farm, unfiltered wine. If you are not familiar with unfiltered wines, you will first note the slightly cloudy appearance. This Rhone-style blend is 40-percent counoise, 36-mourvedre and 24-percent grenache. It’s a light enjoyable red that will pair well with turkey, ham and red meats.
Michael Gill Cellars 2013 Big Rock Syrah – $42
This bold red has medium black ruby color with fruity aromas of dried blueberries, cherries, and spice. It is medium to full-bodied in flavor with creamy vanilla, cedar, and pepper notes. It recently earned a silver medal at the Taster’s International Wine Competition.
Michael Gill Cellars 2013 Black Tie Alicante Bouchet – $45
Alicante Bouchet is a unique French grape made from crossing petit bouschet and grenache. This bold red has a dusty ruby color with fruity and earthy aromas of dried raisin and toasted embers. It has a firm tannic finish with moderate oak.
Nadeau 2014 RVR – $25
Robert Nadeau’s 2014 Rhone Varietal Red (RVR) is an elegant, even blend of counoise, syrah, grenache. It has aromas of dark fruit with delightful blackberry flavors with notes of spice, pepper and earthiness. It will pair well with lamb, ham, prime rib holiday meals.
Pomar Junction 2013 GSM “The Crossing” – $48
This is a classic Rhone-style blend of grenache, syrah and mourvèdre. It has a savory mouthfeel of red currants, with notes of cedar and finishes with supple tannins. It recently won a gold medal at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
Robert Hall 2014 Cuvee de Robles – $20
This is an excellent wine at a great price. The blend includes grenache, cinsaut, syrah and petite sirah. It’s a Rhone-style blend noted for its pepper and spice. It will pair well with lamb and grilled meats.
Shale Oak 2012 KU – $75
This is a red blend of 64-percent syrah, 24-percent zinfandel and 12-percent petite sirah. It’s one of our pricier recommendation, but I think its worth it, if you are looking for big bold flavors in a holiday wine.
2013 Tackitt Family Vineyards Petite Sirah, $40
This inky purple wine offers aromas and flavors of ripe plum, blackberries and a hint of pepper. Soft tannins and gently acidity create a great mouthfeel and excellent finish. It recently won a well-deserved gold medal at the San Diego Winemakers Challenge.
Paso Robles wine recommendations
- Best local sparkling wines for the holidays
- Best local rosé wines for the holidays
- Best local white wines for the holidays
- Best local Rhone-style white wines for the holidays
- Best local pinot noir wines for the holidays
- Best local zinfandel and Italian-style wines for the holiday
- Best local cabernet sauvignon and Bordeaux-style wines for the holidays
- Best local Rhone-style red wines for the holidays
- Best local dessert wines for the holidays
Publisher’s note: For the third year in a row we thought it would be a great idea to recommend local wines for upcoming holiday parties and dinners. Once again, I had no idea how much participation we would receive from our local wineries. Over the last few weeks we received more than 100 entries. I was originally planning a list of 10 or so of the best wines, but after tasting and tasting and tasting, there were just too many solid, well-made wines to recommend. So we decided to break up the list of top local wines into categories. The recommended wines are in alphabetical order.