Pale straw-yellow with a touch of pale green color; honeydew melon, mango, cut grass on the nose; grapefruit, lime-lemon, mango, pineapple, apricot, honey, hint of butterscotch on the palate.
Dry; bright acidity; lively in the mouth. Medium body. Lime and grapefruit dominate initial attack and mid-palate. Acidity and lemongrass notes carry things on the finish. Grapes are 100% sauvignon blanc, half from Napa County and half from Sonoma County. Fermented and aged in 88% stainless steel, 9% French oak barrels, 3% concrete eggs. The oak adds pleasing texture, richness, and the hint of butterscotch; the concrete softens—tones down—the tartness. 14.2% ABV
Koerner Rombauer enjoyed a nearly 30-year career as a pilot. First with the California Air National Guard in 1956, then as a commercial pilot beginning in 1965. Although Koerner and Joan Ransome attended the same high school in Escondido, California, they did not begin dating until they meet after college. In 1959, they married.
Seeking a small-town, agricultural life, the Rombauers and their two children moved to Napa Valley in 1972. They first rented a property on Highway 29, then purchased a home atop a knoll on 40 acres in St. Helena in 1974. They got into the wine business as partners in the Conn Creek Winery in 1976, then sold their Conn Creek interest to start their own winery in 1980.
Wanting more knowledge and experience, Joan joined the sales team at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in 1981. She became national sales director. The inaugural wines for Rombauer Vineyards were bottled at Stag’s Leap in 1982. Later, the Rombauers built a winery larger than their needs to serve as their winery and as a custom-crush facility for up-and-coming elite wineries: Dominus, Duckhorn, Merryvale, Etude, Spottswoode, and other signal makers today. Recently, they introduced cutting-edge technology to ensure—guarantee, even—no Rombauer cork will have cork taint.
Rombauer wines won accolades almost from the beginning. Although their first emphasis was cabernet sauvignon, in 1995 their Carneros chardonnay ranked as No. 32 on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines list. They now are known as much for their chardonnays as their cabs. In January 2019, they purchased the former Renwood Winery, in part to increase their focus on zinfandel and other red wines. Sauvignon blanc joined the lineup in 2014.
In 2002, Joan passed from pancreatic cancer. The family established endowments to support University of California–San Francisco’s pancreatic research efforts and the Napa Valley Hospice & Adult Day Services. Richie Allen joined the Rombauer team in 2008. He rose through the ranks and is head winemaker today. In 2015, Rombauer Vineyards celebrated its 35th anniversary as a family-owned winery, operated by Koerner and his children, KR and Sheana. In 2016, Reagan Rombauer Blackwood became the third generation to join the team. In 2018, Koerner passed at age 83. Richie Allen is the vice president of viticulture and winemaking.
Rombauer Sauvignon Blanc, California 2020 deploys more body and creaminess than a benchmark New Zealand sauv blanc. No razor on the tongue. Rather, rounded with a plushness walking hand-in-hand with the acidic backbone. Clean, focused, stylish, easily likable accomplished through adroit use of stainless steel, oak, and cement vessels. Pair with shellfish—oysters are classic pairing; crab cakes; fresh water fish; lighter seafood; lighter meats; poultry; vegetarian fare; garden salad; goat cheese. Being sauv blanc, you can pair this with almost anything short of rich red meats and thick, sizzling, heavily marbled steaks—and even then… $24-25