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Wine of the week: Rombauer Sauvignon blanc is a BottleRock knockout

Rombauer Vineyards is in the lineup for BottleRock’s three-day festival, with the festivities beginning Friday.

Many of the revelers will no doubt ask for a pour of our wine-of-the-week winner - the Rombauer 2016 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc at $24.

What makes this a standout is its tart flavors coupled with passion fruit. It’s definitely a sauvignon blanc with a range - lime, grass, grapefruit and nectarine. It has bright acidity, and a zesty finish. The Rombauer is a BottleRock knockout.

“Rombauer has been at BottleRock since its first year (2013), said winemaker Richie Allen.

“For us, it’s a great way to introduce our wines to new consumers, as well as to connect with the ones who already know and love us. The mix of incredible music, celebrity chefs and great wines attracts a fun and diverse crowd.”

Rombauer set aside 70 cases in 2013 for the three-day event, and this year that figure increased to some 115 cases. More than 120,000 people are expected to go to the festival, a sold-out crowd.

“I think it’s great that even as BottleRock has grown in stature and scale each year, wine has stayed front and center,” Allen said.

“It’s a unique festival in that way, and it showcases what’s so special about Napa Valley.”

Allen said his New Zealand know-how gives him an edge.

“Early in my career, I made a good amount of sauvignon blanc in Marlborough,” he said. “I learned certain winemaking techniques in New Zealand that aren’t commonly used with sauvignon blanc in the U.S. That gives me some advantage.”

Allen said he was destined to make wine.

“I took a year off university to travel and rock climb around the world,” he said. “I ended up in California, and one fateful day, I went wine tasting in Amador County with friends.

“I’d had wine before, but there was something about tasting through a flight of wines and comparing them that set off an insatiable curiosity. I was hooked.”

Allen went back to Australia to get his winemaking degree, then spent seven years living out of suitcases working harvest after harvest.

He visited as many wine regions and tasted as many wines as he could to increase his knowledge.

The winemaker knows he chose the right path.

“I like getting up in the morning and going to work,” Allen said.

“I don’t know many people who feel that way routinely. I take that to mean I’m doing exactly what I was meant to do in life.”

Peg Melnik

Wine, The Press Democrat

Northern California is cradled in vines; it’s Wine County at its best in America. My job is to help you make the most of this intriguing, agrarian patch of civilization by inviting you to partake in the wine culture – the events, the bottlings and the fun. This is a space to explore wine, what you care about or don’t know about yet.

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