Robledo Family Winery
Reynaldo Robledo founded Robledo Family Winery in 1997. The winery is located in the famous cool-climate Carneros appellation, which straddles the county line between Napa and Sonoma. Reynaldo also owns 350 acres in other prime locations, 45 acres in Napa, 85 acres in Lake County above Napa, and the rest in Sonoma. He specializes in Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Tempranillo from the Napa Vineyard, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Chardonnay from the Carneros sites in Sonoma, and Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio from Lake County.
In 2010, Reynaldo opened another winery on his property in Lake County. He continues to operate his vineyard management company, farming for other people and consulting. He devotes just 20 percent of his grape production to his own wineries, selling the rest to other notable producers like Gloria Ferer.
At 16 years old, he followed his grandfather and father from a mountain town in Michoacán, Mexico to the Napa Valley in California. Within months of his arrival, Reynaldo’s employer, legendary grower Frankie Barbera, put him in a supervisory position because he displayed keen observational abilities that allowed him to understand the plants that he was tending. He was also willing to work 16 hours a day. He learned from others as much as they were willing to teach him and ten years later had become vineyard manager for Sonoma-Cutrer properties in Sonoma, Napa, and Russian River Valley. With hard work, dedicated attention, vision, and intelligent decision-making, Renaldo Robledo continues to expand his ambitions. “I need to do my best,” he says quietly.
California Wines of the Month
Robledo 2010 Los Braceros, Sonoma Valley
Aged for 18 months in American oak barrels, the 2010 Los Braceros is 33.3% each of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. A bright red garnet color, the wine blends typical aromas and flavors of each grape variety and produces rich aromas and flavors that linger on the palate. Reynaldo named the wine Los Braceros, meaning “strong arms” in English, to honor others like himself, who participated in the migrant worker program that originally brought him to California 47 years ago. The wine is a beauty and honors the concept.
Robledo 2012 Pinot Grigio
This Lake County Pinot Grigio is medium bodied with apple and ripe pear. Lightly brushed with spice and a tangy varietal signature, it finishes with hints of citrus and a touch of mineral. Serve chilled
Robledo 2009 Seven Brothers Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Harvest from the vineyard in Napa Valley, this Seven Brothers Cabernet has a rich, deep burgundy color with aromas of ripe plum, blueberry and cedar. It is a full bodied wine, as you would expect from Napa fruit, with flavors of cassis, blackberry and sweet oak. The 19 months aging in French Oak gives it a creamy texture and finish. Serve at cool room temperature.
Robledo 2008 El Rey Cabernet Sauvignon, Lake County
The 2008 “El Rey” Cabernet Sauvignon is from the Red Hills region of Lake County, which sits at an 1800-foot elevation. This Cabernet is bright with ripe purple fruit and an elegant ruby color. It has flavors and aromas of currant, blackberries, licorice, cedar and spice. The wine is a beautiful medium bodied Cabernet Sauvignon with a silky and velvety finish and provides a nice contrast to the bigger Napa Valley Seven Brothers Cabernet.
Robledo 2010 Chardonnay, Los Carneros
The wine has vibrant aromas of vanilla and creme brulee and a lingering creamy finish with notes of toasted hazelnut and stone fruit. This delicious Chardonnay is elegant, luscious and nicely balanced and will compliment any seafood dish, chicken or creamy first course or entree. Serve chilled
County of the Month
Russians planted the first vineyards after establishing a colony at Fort Ross on the Pacific in 1812. Meanwhile Franciscan friars were building a series of garrisons and churches up the coast. The Mission in the Town of Sonoma was the northernmost to be built in 1824. While he built the Mission, Father Jose Altimira planted grapevines to provide sacramental wine for religious services and for the table. Sonoma County is large and boasts a huge diversity of vines and wine styles because micro climates, soils, and topography are infinite. Some of these micro climates are hospitable to grapes that require warmer temperatures, like Cabernet Sauvignon and associated Bordeaux varieties or Zinfandel and other Mediterranean grapes. The County also offers cooler areas where Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and additional white varieties thrive. Morning fog, afternoon breezes, and cool nights along with warm days prolong ripening to produce complex flavors. Sonoma County’s valleys, benchland, and mountains include 16 distinct American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) recognized by the Federal government. More will surely follow. The AVAs include Alexander Valley, Bennett Valley, Carneros, Chalk Hill, Dry Creek Valley, Fort Ross-Seaview, Green Valley, Knights Valley, Moon Mountain District, Northern Sonoma, Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak, Rockpile, Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma Mountain, and Sonoma Valley.
Menu of the Month
The Season for Soup
Assorted cheeses and olives, served with fresh-baked baguettes
Shellfish Stew with clams, muscles, scallops, prawns, squid, and rock fish in a spicy tomato broth, served with fresh-baked rustic bread
Mixed organic greens with finely sliced red onions and a lemon-olive oil dressing
Recipe of the Month
This is a surprisingly easy dish, very festive, and wonderfully warming on a winter’s night. You can prepare the broth hours before the dinner and then cook the fish before serving. Many recipes exist for this Mediterranean seafood stew. I adapted this one from The Silver Spoon, Phaidon Press. Happy New Year!
3/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 flat-leaf parsley sprig, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 1/2 cups red or white wine
11 ounces tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped
5 1/2 pounds mixed fish, such as prawns, squid, and rockfish,
cleaned and cut into chunks if necessary
1 pound mussels and clams, scrubbed
(Discard any with broken shells, or that do not shut immediately when sharply tapped, and any that remain closed after cooking.)
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add the onion, parsley, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes until the onion is golden. Add the wine and cook for 10 minutes more. Then add the tomatoes and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Add the firmer fish, pour in a little warm water, and cook on high heat for 10 minutes. Gradually add the more delicate fish, finishing with the mussels and clams. Serve in individual soup bowls. Serves 8.