I had the privilege of tasting two wines from Roberts + Rogers Winery from St. Helena when I was at my local wine shop The Fine Wine Source in Livonia, Michigan. In 1999, longtime friends Roger Louer and Robert Young commenced efforts to establish a first-class Cabernet Sauvignon wine brand, sourcing the grapes from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California. Located to the east of St. Helena, at an elevation ranging from 1400 to 2200 feet, Howell Mountain is considered one of the most prestigious wine growing regions in the world. Roberts and Rogers sources its grapes for this wonderful wine from the Howell Mountain sub appellation area and for the present vintages from a vineyard jointly developed by Roberts and Rogers in 2000.
The first wine that I tried was the Roberts + Rogers Louer Family Cabernet Sauvignon 2014. In 2009, Roger Louer produced Louer Family Reserve Cabernet from his personal estate in St. Helena for a select group of friends. The wine was sourced from the best barrels of the thirty-four-acre estate and has sold out before it was produced for the past three years. Roberts + Rogers released the 2012 vintage under the R+R label for the first time. This wine is pure Cabernet Sauvignon and it was fermented and barrel aged in new French Oak. I found this wine to have a bit of a tight nose, but that could have been from the Coravin System, but a great long finish of dark fruit and spice; I could drink it now or let it cellar for ten to twenty years.
The second wine that I tried was Roberts + Rogers Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2013. Howell Mountain AVA was the first sub-region recognized for this honor in 1984. There is no Howell Mountain peak, the region is actually named after the small Howell Mountain Township located up the slope from St. Helena. Howell Mountain is probably one of the most honored and respected mountain side wine growing area there is. This is another Cabernet Sauvignon that is pure, with no blended varietals and fermented and aged in new French Oak for twenty-four months. Where I found the Louer Family Vineyard to have a tight nose, this wine had a full and open nose, the wine was bigger and I guess “jammier” as this seems to be what the current wine crop of wine writers and critics are demanding, but the tannins were already quite balanced for a young wine, and the finish was much longer on this wine compared to the Louer Family Vineyard. I think an easy twenty years in the cellar for this wine would be awesome, but most of it will be consumed earlier and because it was so balanced, I think it could be done without any detriment for those that can’t wait.