Review from Wine Buyer, Ian Blackburn
#OAKY #BUTTERY #MEGA #YES
Rombauer Chardonnay is one of the benchmark wines in the Napa Valley, renowned for their signature Oaky, Buttery cult following. Gregory Graham was the winemaker there for 10-years and now makes wine for himself. Gregory uses one of the better single sites "Sangiacomo" to do so ... This wine carries a little more swagger and a little less price and I'm proud to present it to anyone looking for ROMBAUER ... no disrespect to Rombauer - they are great at what they do... but this wine is just too good not to favor. #ROMBAUERKILLER - about $10 less per bottle - better juice from "a" better source.... and a much better price.
Overview of the Wine
While working as winemaker at Rombauer Vineyard in Napa Valley, Greg envisioned producing wines under his own label. He began to do so in 1992, using fruit he purchased in Napa, Carneros and Knights Valley. In September 2000 Greg seized the opportunity to grow his own wine grapes and thus increase the quality of his wines. He and his wife Marianne purchased a 13-acre Zinfandel vineyard in the Red Hills Appellation of Lake County.
With its clean air and ideal climate and soils, Lake County proved to be the best choice for producing high quality wine grapes. The area’s warm days and cool nights, as well as freedom from fog in the summer allows the grapes to receive sun all day. Soils in the Red Hills appellation are red, rocky, and well-drained – ideal characteristics for the wine grapes Greg wanted to grow. Noticing too that there were only a few wineries in Lake County at the time, Greg and Marianne saw an opportunity to make a mark in an increasingly expanding wine region.
The Grahams live in their home upon a hill overlooking the span of vineyards, the estate winery and tasting room. Following the purchase of the property near Lower Lake, Greg replanted seven acres of the Zinfandel to pursue his dream of producing Syrah and Grenache, two varietals the Grahams had enjoyed during their honeymoon in Gigondas, France. First production from the vines occurred in 2004, and in February of the same year, the Grahams expanded operations by purchasing the adjacent property including a 13-acre Cabernet vineyard.
Gregory Graham’s winery sitting at the base of the vineyard-covered hills was constructed in 2006. The on-site facility (solar-powered since 2011) with its proximity to the vines allows the winemaker to harvest his grapes at the perfect time and engage in the winemaking immediately. As the grower and winemaker, Greg believes that grape selection, well-timed harvest, and careful production are critical to making great wine.
The fruit comes from the Sangiacomo Family Vineyards just south of the town of Sonoma in the Carneros area, which provides ideal soils and climate. The Sangiacomo's have been sustainably farming for three generations, providing quality grapes for numerous wineries since the late 1960s.
Farming Practices: Sustainable
Grape / Blend
Carneros AVA (Sonoma side), California
Begins with fruit aromas of peach and pear that are enhanced with hints of toasted oak, thyme, and caramel. The wine is very full-bodied, with flavors of ripe peach and tropical fruits, with a rich, thick finish. The oak is very well integrated, adding light toast to the aroma and accentuating the wine's richness with flavors of creamy vanilla and toffee. This Chardonnay can be enjoyed on its own or with anything that calls for rich, full-bodied vin blanc.
Product size: 750ml