The color is a high-gloss, deep, ruby-tinged purple, nearly opaque at its core. Dense and intense aromas escape the glass, and elicit an immediate Pavlovian response with suggestions of ripe plums and blueberries. But oh, there is so much more: a blast of wild fennel, a dash of vanilla, a touch of violet! The aromas find substance with a sip, resplendent on the luxurious, high thread count texture woven by dense, ripe tannins. Impressive structure underpins the flavors, inviting culinary suitors and hinting of the possibilities of a long-term relationship, at least until the end of dinner. Shockingly delicious. Impossible to stop at one glass.
Three classic Bordeaux varieties: Merlot,
Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon
Robert Sinskey Vineyards
With a humble beginning of just 15 acres of vineyard land in the early eighties, RSV’s has grown to just under 200 acres of prime vineyard in five Carneros locations and a small 4.8 acre estate vineyard next to the winery in the Stags Leap District. The wines are 100% estate-produced. Rob Sinskey, Winemaker Jeff Virnig, and Vineyard Manager Kirk Grace, have created unique methods to grow and produce Pinot Noirs that are silky, elegant, and complex. They also make two California Bordeaux style proprietary reds (the RSV Vineyard Reserve from the Carneros and the RSV Stags Leap District Claret) that have a sense of place and exhibit incredible tactile qualities. The vineyards are farmed and the wines are made 100% organically. RSV also produces limited quantities of Merlot, that explodes with bright fruit character, a non-malolactic Chardonnay that is full flavored with natural, mouth-watering acidity, a whole cluster pressed Pinot Blanc that is free of oak influence, a delicate salmon-colored Vin Gris of Pinot Noir and a few other goodies… just for the fun of it.
View all Robert Sinskey Vineyards Wines
It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Within the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just grated an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.