I recently attended an event where the key note speaker told the crowd it takes five seconds to make an impression; after that initial impression it takes eight subsequent encounters to change the initial impression. For some this news is negative, for others it is positive. Really it all depends on how the first impression is perceived. But what if you spent years dedicated to one impression and that impression was very favorable. Over time you decided you wanted to diversify that impression, hoping to keep it positive and real while expanding the scope of the impression. Is this possible? In the case of Rombauer it has not only been possible but they have mastered it!
As I am sure you are well aware, Rombauer Vineyards is known for its world-class award winning Chardonnay. However, since the wineries first release in 1984 they have been crafting a variety of red wines as well. Having grown up in Escondido, California Koerner and Joan Rombauer were exposed at early ages to the world of wine. Furthermore, Koerner was raised with an appreciation of food and the power of pairing the right foods and wines. (His aunt, Irma Rombauer authored the international best-selling cook book The Joy of Cooking) After becoming a pilot, Koerner moved his family to Dallas and flew all over the world learning more about the world’s great wine regions and wine. However, he and Joan missed their laid back small town feel of California so they moved their family to Napa Valley. Over time Koerner and Joan’s wine appreciation transformed into passion and Rombauer Vineyards began in 1980. Today, thirty five years later, the winery remains owned and operated by first and second generation members of the Rombauer family.
The Rombauer family is passionate about producing the best wine possible. And, they are passionate about great food and wine pairings. However, their passion does not end there. They are also passionate about being stewards of both the land and the community to share in the responsibility to protect the land and environment for future generations. As part of this holistic endeavor 70% of the energy they use is solar power, their green waste is composted and used in the vineyards as fertilizer, they are industry leading in water use efficiency, and they provide nesting boxes in their vineyards for barn owls that prey on vineyard pests. Finally, 7 of Rombauer’s vineyards are Certified Napa Green/Fish Friendly Farming to assist in the ongoing effort to protect endangered Coho Salmon and Steelhead Trout.
I am thrilled to know about Rombauer’s commitment to stewardship and care for our environment. That means a lot to me in making my wine purchasing decisions. I am even more thrilled to know Rombauer loves food and wine pairings as much as I do! So let’s taste these four outstanding wine samples Rombauer so generously shared with me.
A lot of people make excuses for wine, say ‘Well, this will be good in 10 years.’ … I decided, ‘Why not make it taste good right off the bat?’ — Koerner Rombauer, on the genesis of the Rombauer Vineyards house style
2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: This wine was crafted of 87.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot, 3.5% Cabernet Franc and 2% Merlot. It poured a deep ruby into the glass; fruit forward aromas of cherries, blackberries, plums, red and black rapsberries and currants were accompanied by spice notes, fresh sweet tobacco leaves, cassis, toasted cedar, dark chocolate and vanilla; full of flavor with excellent structure; rich and round with lively acidity and amenable tannins, long lively finish that leaves the mouth begging for another sip; really nice wine. 14.5% alcohol, 17 months in 70% new French oak. Pair this wine with Steak au Poivre; SRP $55
2012 Diamond Selection Cabernet Sauvignon: This wine was crafted of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot. This wine poured a sultry deep purple into the glass; juicy notes of blackberries, blueberries, black raspberries and plums were met with soft floral notes, spice, licorice, a touch of black tea, and vanilla. It was smooth and silky on the palate with a touch of pronounced tannins that were well balanced with lively acidity and a rich, complex, lingering finish. Dazzling wine. 14.8% alcohol, 18 months in 100% new French oak. Pair this wine with Meagan’s Roasted Glazed Beets; SRP $80
2012 Stice Lane Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena appellation: This wine was crafted of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. It poured ruby with violet hues; vibrant red fruit notes of cherries, strawberries, plums and raspberries are met with dried rose petals, white pepper, spice notes, savory herbal notes; lush and velvet smooth on the palate, this complex wine continues to develop from first sip to last; rich and round with beautifully balanced acidity and integrated, juicy tannins, with a long pleasing finish leaving the mouth begging for another luscious sip! Fantastic wine! 14.8% alcohol, 18 months in 100% new French oakPair this wine with Grilled Marinated Lamb Chops with Risi e Bisi SRP $90
2012 Atlas Peak Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Atlas Peak appellation: This wine was crafted of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon; It poured a deep ruby with scarlet hues; black fruit notes of cherries, blackberries, plums, currants and raspberries were met with spice notes, white pepper, herbaceous notes of fresh mint, dark chocolate and toasted cedar; rich, layered and complex on the palate, young but round acidity with lively tannins that were juicy and balanced with a long, lush finish. I enjoyed every sip! 14.8% alcohol, 18 months in 100% new French oak. Pair this wine with Braised Short Ribs with Mushrooms, Red Wine and Crispy Shallots or the meal I prepared which was Mario Batali’s Beer Braised Short Ribs, one of my favorite recipes! SRP $90
These wines were brilliantly crafted by Rombauer’s Director of Viticulture and Winemaking Richie Allen, an Australian who grew up with an appreciation of wine near one of Australia’s most famous wine regions, yet found his passion for wine as a teen in California! Richie returned to Australia to study at the University of Adelaide, he then learned the practicality of wine making in Australia and New Zealand before returning to California in 2004 where he worked tirelessly for years at Rombauer, beginning with harvest assistant to working his way up through the years from enologist to assistant wine maker to head wine maker before being named as Director of Viticulture and Winemaking in 2013.
Having never tried Rombauer’s red wines before I must say I am super impressed! In addition to the wines shared above they also craft Zinfandels, a Merlot, a Bordeaux blend and dessert wines. I highly encourage you to visit Rombauer Vineyards web site to learn more about them, view their entire portfolio and order some wine for yourself! These are super high quality Napa Valley wines that are truly drinking very well now and will only get better with proper cellaring.
My Song Selection: These were seriously rockin wines! However, they were also sophisticated, elegant and totally fun to drink. I want to pair them with a musician who is a timeless rocker but is also elegant and totally fun! Turn it up and enjoy!
Get your own bottles of Rombauer Vineyards wines and let me know what song you pair with them. Cheers!