Today's Sponsor
 California Wine Club
Free Shipping on Your First Case Order!

In This Issue
 Hospice du Rhône The name sounds mighty French, but in fact this outstanding wine-enthusiast event takes place deep in the heart of California.
 La Ferme de Gicon 2004 Côtes du Rhône ($7.99) One of the first arrivals of the '04 vintage, this budget-price Rhône offers snappy, fruity enjoyment.
 California Wine Club Free Shipping on Your First Case Order!
 This week on Our WineLovers Community mulls over how much wine, beer and liquor you'll need to serve a big party.
Last Week's Wine Advisor Index The Wine Advisor archives.
Administrivia Change E-mail address, frequency, format or unsubscribe.

 Learn about our RSS Feed

Hospice du Rhône

Hospice du Rhone "Hospice du Rhône" ... the name sounds mighty French, right down to the little circonflex rooftop over the "ô" in "Rhône."

In fact, this outstanding wine-enthusiast event with the French-accented name takes place deep in the heart of California, though it's admirably international in approach. Set for its 14th annual outing on May 11-13, 2006, in Paso Robles on the Central Coast, HdR showcases an international array of wines and wine producers making wines from Syrah (Shiraz), Grenache, Mourvedre, Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne and all the other classic red and white varieties of France's Rhône Valley. Billed as the largest celebration of Rhône-style wines in the world, HdR fully lives up to its 2006 slogan, "So Many Rhônes, So Little Time ..."

Registration for the three-day event's 2006 outing opens today on the HdR Website,, Paso Robles wine maker Mat Garretson, proprietor of Garretson Wine Co. and organizer of the first Hospice du Rhone, announced today.

"Start your engines! The 2006 Hospice du Rhone website is now open for registration," Garretson wrote in a post on our WineLovers Community. "By all accounts this will be the best HdR yet ... everything's been improved upon, and we're expecting the largest turnout of overseas producers to date ... especially from France. If you've an interest in attending, I'd strongly suggest checking out soon."

I concur. If the idea of a long spring weekend on the Central Coast, socializing with wine lovers, tasting wines from scores of Rhône and Rhône-style producers, meeting the wine makers and attending an array of eductional and entertaining seminars appeals to you, you'll want to mark your calendar now, get registered, and start making plans to head for Paso Robles in May.

The weekend package, which incluces continental breakfast and lunch on Friday and Saturday, two seminars and extensive tastings each day and a live auction and farewell gala on Saturday, is $795 a person, not including accommodations. To go direct to the registration page, click

As noted, the Hospice du Rhône home page is

To read Garretson's announcement on our online forum, including a "rough draft" summary of the HdR seminars, click

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on today's topic (or any other wine-related subject), you'll find a round-table online discussion in our interactive WineLovers Community, where you're always welcome to join in the conversations about wine.

If you prefer to comment privately, feel free to send me E-mail at I'll respond personally to the extent that time and volume permit.

Here's a simply formatted copy of today's Wine Advisor, designed to be printed out for your scrapbook or file or downloaded to your PDA or other wireless device.

Now, sticking with the Rhône theme, today's tasting features a tasty and approachable budget-range wine from the Cotes-du-Rhône, also the first of the 2004 vintage that I've seen locally. After a year of alternately ranting and raving about the very odd and variably appealing wines from the super-hot summer of 2003 in Europe, I'm looking forward to exploring the wines of 2004, which was generally a much more "normal" year on the Continent. Watch for more '04 notes coming soon.

Ferme de Gicon La Ferme de Gicon 2004 Côtes du Rhône ($7.99)

This is a dark reddish-purple wine with a bright garnet edge, showing the bluish-purple colors that are often characteristic of a young red wine. Aromas are fresh and bright, ripe raspberries and spice. Juicy and tart, red-fruit flavors follow the nose; fresh and almost grapey with a dash of fragrant pepper. Mouth-watering acidity becomes more apparent in the finish. Fruit-forward, but plenty of acidity to provide good structure in a simple but appealing wine. U.S. importer: Cellar Door Selections LLC, Columbia, Md. (Jan. 7, 2006)

FOOD MATCH: The wine's simple fruit and snappy acidity made it a surprisingly good match with a roast bone-in pork loin, which seemed to bring out the wine's grapey fruitiness.

VALUE: A fine value at this low-end price.

WHEN TO DRINK: There's no point in aging this simple, approachable table wine. Enjoy it this year, while its youthful fruit is juicy and fresh.

"Côtes du Rhône" = "Coat doo Rone"

Find Ferme la Gicon wines on

California Wine Club
California Wine Club: Free Shipping On Your First Case Order!

Some of California's best wines will never be found in local stores. That's because limited-production, "mom & pop" wines seldom make it outside their tasting rooms. Since 1990 The California Wine Club has been introducing wine enthusiasts to the best of these artisan winemakers.

Try it for yourself with a half, full or mixed case of wines and they'll pay the shipping. Save up to $35 when you order by Friday, Jan. 10, 2006.

To receive free shipping on your first case order, simply call 1-800-777-4443 or visit their online Wine Store at

A great wine adventure starts with great taste and great value ... experience it at The California Wine Club.

Free shipping offer limited to one case only, order must be received by Friday Jan. 13, 2006. No other discounts apply.

Call 1-800-777-4443 or visit

This week on

Hot topics in our WineLovers' Community
There's lots of interesting talk about wine, food and other good things in our WineLovers Community interactive forums. Drop by today!

How much wine for a big party?
Planning an event for a lot of guests? Our wine community talks about formulas and rules of thumb for deciding how much wine (and beer and liquor) you'll need to serve them responsibly without running short.

Last Week's Wine Advisor Index

The Wine Advisor's daily edition is usually distributed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (and, for those who subscribe, the FoodLetter on Thursdays). Here's the index to last week's columns:

 What hath Sideways wrought? (Jan. 6, 2006)

 Que Syrah, Sirah (Jan. 4, 2006)

 My top wine values of 2005 (Jan. 2, 2006)

 Complete 30 Second Wine Advisor archive:

 Wine Advisor FoodLetter: Vegetarian lasagna (Jan. 5, 2006)

 Wine Advisor Foodletter archive:

 30 Second Wine Advisor, daily or weekly (free)
 Wine Advisor FoodLetter, Thursdays (free)
 Wine Advisor Premium Edition, alternate Tuesdays ($24/year)

For all past editions, click here


For information, E-mail


To subscribe or unsubscribe from The 30 Second Wine Advisor, change your E-mail address, or for any other administrative matters, please use the individualized hotlink found at the end of your E-mail edition. If this is not practical, contact me by E-mail at, including the exact E-mail address that you used when you subscribed, so I can find your record.

We do not use our E-mail list for any other purpose and will never give or sell your name or E-mail address to anyone. I welcome feedback, suggestions, and ideas for future columns. To contact me, please send E-mail to

All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.

Monday, Jan. 9, 2006
Copyright 2005 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

Subscribe to the 30 Second Wine Advisor

Wine Advisor archives