My Rhône White discoveries

At The Wine Rack

with Christopher Reckord

Thursday, May 11, 2017

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I am always on the lookout for wines that I think will complement our Jamaican food and should be more readily available in our market. It might have been happenstance that within the span of five days I tasted two great wines, both new to me, that fit the bill.Uncorked Chef's Dinner Series

One such discovery took place at a recent Uncorked Chef's Dinner series, where Chef Damion Stewart prepared a sumptuous five-course wine dinner. On arrival, guests enjoyed the refreshing Ruffino Sparkling Rosé which is essentially Prosecco blended with a bit of Pinot Noir — a very approachable sparkling that we could drink all day. The first course was listed as a “Decadent Seafood Borscht”; it so happens that I sat with two chefs who debated that not detecting the beet (borscht is a classic Russian beet soup; many versions exist, however), made it more like a gazpacho. Either way, it was delicious and paired well with the Chateau Sancerre Rouge. The slightest mention of the word 'sancerre' conjures up for many, white wine; however, this Loire wine region does make red wine, albeit a limited amount. This expressive, complex aromatic offering is made from 100% Pinot Noir.

Cline Roussanne Marsanne 2016

The second course of the chef's dinner was served with a Cline Roussanne Marsanne. Marsanne and Roussanne are two of the most popular white grape varietals from the Rhone region in France that are regularly blended together. The other popular white varietal from Rhône is Viognier. Fred Cline founded Cline Cellars in 1982. The Cline Brothers, Fred and Matt, are Zinfandel and Rhone varietal specialists. Their holdings include some of the oldest and rarest vines in California, hence the reason for the many “Rhône style” wines that they make.

I found the 2016 Cline Roussanne Marsanne to be full-bodied, luscious, refreshing and very pleasant, with explosive citrus fruit up front. Cline Cellars, said, “This blend has notes of honey, orange and pineapple with a wonderful mineral character. We did not expose the wine to oak aging; allowing the wine to remain fresh and lively.” An accidental switch saw us getting the pan-seared scallops instead of the poached fresh salmon fillet (my absolute favourite dish of the evening) served second; luckily the William Fevre Chablis paired well with the salmon dish, also. The spicy, herbaceous Boom Boom Syrah from Washington state ably accompanied the Olive Duxille duck breast. Guests enjoyed chocolate mousse and vanilla macaron served with Cockburn's Special Reserve Port for dessert.

National Harbor Wine & Food Festival — another Rhône discovery

Two days after the Uncorked Chef's Dinner I had to be in Maryland / Washington, DC for a few events. From my hotel room I saw from a distance many huge white tents being set up for an event; investigations revealed that this was the annual National Harbor Wine and Food Festival. What luck! Seven minutes later I was in the midst of hundreds of wines being offered for tasting. With the short time that I had, I moved through the event quickly, ignoring the many wines available in Jamaica, tasting only the ones new to me. I lingered a bit longer at the Hope Family Wine table and found myself going back for a refreshing balanced, full, complex wine simply called Treana Blanc; one glance at the back label revealed that this central coast wine was made with 45% Viognier, 45% Marsanne and 10% Roussanne ­— another Rhône discovery.

It's time to investigate Rhône white wines !


Christopher Reckord - Information Technology Entrepreneur & Wine Enthusiast. Send your questions and comments to You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram @chrisreckord and on Twitter: @Reckord




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