I guess it may appear that I spend my entire life at my local wine shop The Fine Wine Source in Livonia, but that is really not the case. What happens is that there are times when I have the good fortune to taste many wines and I may only write about one or two wines for each article, since I try to publish every other day. If, I showed up there, too often, they might bar me, from the premises. One of the last wines that I had during one of the tastings there, was Roberts + Rogers Zinfandel Napa Valley 2014. This was an advance tasting for me, for their first event wine tasting for almost two years, when Roger Louer returns to the shop to offer tastings and to talk about the wines. I have had the good fortune to have enjoyed an earlier tasting of the wines as well, and to have cellared some, and I think they may still be down there.
To give a brief summary of this winery that is based in St. Helena, so that I won’t have to mention as much background information in the next couple of articles about the wine. 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.
Which all brings me back to the Roberts + Rogers Zinfandel, Napa Valley 2014. The Fine Wine Source only had a couple of bottles left of this vintage, so they were offering it to some of their regulars, that were making appointments for the tastings, as this wine would particular wine would not be part of the upcoming tasting. Roger Louer would be best described as a Gentleman Farmer and not a Napa Valley celebrity, as he is a quiet understated man. This may be the last Zinfandel, that was produced in Napa Valley, as they now offer a Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel from Sonoma County. This 2014 Zinfandel was aged for eighteen months in French Oak. Over the years, I have mentioned that I was never a Zinfandel fan, because of the old “Dago Red” that I drank as a child, but I have slowly changed my position. This was probably the finest Zinfandel wine that I have had. Definitely not a California “jam-bomb” or a brooding Primitivo. This was elegant and almost ethereal, with whispers of fruit, floral notes and a delightful long chewy finish. It made me look forward to the big event.