Rombauer Vineyards, Napa, CA
I love the philosophy of the Rombauer’s- “The Joy of Wine” as wine is an essential part of any meal. My Dad, Ed, has been cooking some of my meals for me, and I love the home made roasted chicken and carrots and sweet potatoes! The perfect complement to a dish like this is Rombauer Chardonnay. Let’s take a look at the history of Rombauer. Koerner Rombauer’s great aunt was the famous cookbook author, Irma Rombauer, who wrote “The Joy of Cooking”, one of our country’s favorite cookbooks since 1936. Wine was always a part of the family meal in the Rheingau region of Germany, where his family has their roots. So when Koerner and his wife bought land along the Silverado Trail in Napa back in the early 1970’s, it was natural for them to become interested in their neighbors winemaking. They settled along a hill top on 40 acres near Saint Helena with their horses, dogs and children. Koerner had been a pilot, first for the Air National Guard in the 1950’s, and then commercially. However, it was just a few years of living in the heart of Napa when he and his wife, Joan, became partners with Conn Creek Winery. Here, Koerner learned about wine from the cellar on up. By 1981, they had sold their interest in Conn Creek, and began construction on their own winery on land adjacent to their home. Rombauer Chardonnay sells out annually and is one of the most renowned from the Carneros region. The style is consistent from vintage to vintage, made from 100% Chardonnay, aged in French oak barrels. The wine has tropical fruit flavors, melon and vanilla. I give it 3 bones!
The Rombauer Zinfandel is a big, juicy red, that also made this winery famous. The fruit comes from three vineyard sites within Napa Valley, it is luscious with wild berry flavors, and finishes with soft tannins and black raspberry fruit. There is just a small amount of Petite Sirah in the mix, about 6%, that softens and rounds out the wine. I give it 2 bones!
Rombauer is one of only a few wineries in the world to have some of the most cutting edge winemaking equipment. A few years ago Koerner invested in an Optic Sorter, which pretty much does what the name says- the machine is programmed to pick out, with an “electronic eye”, grapes that come through on a conveyor belt, according to the size and quality wanted. The grapes wanted according to the program will continue on the belt and into the winemaking process, the grapes that are “sorted” as not being worthy are dropped into a basin and used as fertilizer. The machine costs upwards of a million dollars, and is one of the most technologically advanced in the business. One more reason why only the best grapes are used in Rombauer wines.
On the horizon for this winery is a focus on their Cabernet Sauvignon, and production of a new Sauvignon Blanc. Since the vineyards are located on some of the most prestigious real estate in the world for Cabernet, production is being upped as new plantings have become ripe. Look for some great wines out of this family owned operation for many years to come.