Rombauer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2016

Deep purple color; cherry, red fruit, cassis, bread on the nose; raspberry, black cherry, plum, blueberry, leather on the palate.

Rombauer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2016

Dry; good, bright acidity; round supple tannins. Ripe, rich fruit; 87% cabernet sauvignon, 8% petit verdot, 5% cabernet franc. Integrated oak; 16 months in French oak, 80% new. Full-bodied; simple, soft, polished texture; 14.5% 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, including Braniff International 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.

Joan and Koerner Rombauer

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. Over the next 12 years she rose to position as 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 others.

Rombauer wines won accolades in the following years. 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 2002, Joan passed away 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.

In 2008, Richie Allen joined the Rombauer team. He rose through the ranks and is the 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 away at age 83.

Rombauer winemakers

Rombauer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2016 is round, smooth, rich, delicious. The tannins are surprisingly silky and tame for a Napa cab, creating a generous, vivacious easy drinker. Pair with grilled steaks; osso buco with risotto Milanese. The Rombauer website links up to many pairing recipes from the Joy of Cooking® cookbook and website. $55-65

Rombauer website

Rombauer barrel aging
Rombauer fermentation tanks
Rombauer cabernet sauvignon grapes
Koerner Rombauer