With two Raconteurs just finishing off a couple of Classified Growth wines at the Fine Wine Source, one would think that the private tasting was over. I mean it is pretty hard to surpass some lauded wines of the Medoc and we were both just enjoying the moment. Even the owner came over to chat about some of the wines, and kibbitzing about wines is the perfect way to spend an hour or two, especially with good friends. I was surprised to look at our printed sheet that we were going to the New World after Saint-Julien we were going to St. Helena.
St. Helena s subregion of Napa Valley that received its AVA in 1995, is historic for its red wines, mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, but also some excellent Merlot. The town and the district are named after Mount Saint Helena and there are nine-thousand acres of densely packed vineyards including Berringer (one of the oldest continuously operating California winery) and Charles Krug (who is often credited as the “father of Napa Valley.” It is one of the warmest appellations in Napa and it has also produced some excellent Zinfandel and some very interesting Sauvignon Blanc. Longtime friends Roger Louer and Robert Young decided in 1999 to create a “first-class” Cabernet Sauvignon wine brand with fruit from Howell Mountain from a vineyard jointly developed by the two men. The first vintage was in 2004, and released in 2007 was for three-hundred cases. The original and still current winemaker Barry Gnekow described the first vintage as “this wine is so big it will be coming into its own in about thirty years, but is drinkable now.” In 2009, Roger Louer produced the Louer Family Reserve Cabernet from his personal estate and sourced from the areas of his thirty-four-acre estate. It was released for the first vintage under the Roberts + Rogers Winery label in 2012.
We had the chance to try back-to-back Roberts+ Rogers Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Louer Family Vineyard St. Helena 2015 and 2016. Then even though it was not one of the listed wines for the tasting, we then also did the 2017 Vintage. While these wines are considered to be bargain priced for pure Cabernet Sauvignon wines from St. Helena, they really held their own, even after following the Medoc wines. While there is a dearth of actual production notes, just by following the trend from the first wine’s history, I would venture to say that there is at least twelve months if not more aging in oak. The 2016 and 2017 were big, just like one would expect from a Napa Cab, hitting all the right notes. It was the 2015, which had the toughest position as it followed the wines of the Medoc that totally captured the two Raconteur’s attention, not to mention the shopkeeper who decided to have a little indulgence of it himself. This black cherry laden wine was not only big, it commanded attention, but it also was so mellow with layers of complexity that I had stars drawn next to this wine, as I knew that I wasn’t going to let it slip away. My associate in crime, also had the same realization and if I didn’t try the 2015, the other two wines would have caught my attention, but in reality, they came in second neck and neck.