Rombauer Vineyards Wine Dinner in Raleigh - Printable Version

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- wondersofwine - 06-09-2011

Bloomsbury Bistro was the setting for this wine dinner. The original date was June 7th but it sold out quickly and the restaurant and wine marketer added a second dinner on June 8th. The founder of the Napa Valley vineyard, Koerner Rombauer, is the great-nephew of Irma Rombauer, author of "Joy of Cooking." (This was a standard cookbook in my mother's kitchen and was one of the first two cookbooks I ever owned--the other being Peg Bracken's humrous "I Hate to Cook Book".) We had two passed-around "bites" with non-vintage J VINEYARDS AND WINERY CUVEE 20 SPARKLING WINE. This is from Sonoma, CA and the blend is 55% Chardonnay, 43% Pinot Noir, and 2% Pinot Meunier from cool-climate vineyard sites in the Russian River Valley. Acidic, refreshing, diffused lemon flavor, nicely crisp. I liked this and the chef said it was a great price point. I later ordered a bottle at $21 to be picked up in a week or two.

We then had Tandoori spiced Pamlico shrimp over a saffron rice cake with shellfish broth. This was one of my favorite dishes of the evening. It was paired with 2009 ROMBAUER CHARDONNAY. 14.1% alcohol by volume. I have heard about Rombauer Chardonnay but have never had it before. Apparently it has quite a following among women and is on many, many restaurant wine lists. The nose was very buttery. On the palate the butteriness is balanced with tropical fruit nuances and some acidity. Quite viscous in the glass. The wine spends ten months in French and American oak. My end of the table found it too buttery but I can see where it would be attractive for those who prefer this style of Chardonnay. It did have some acidity to prevent flabbiness.

The second course was Merlot-braised rabbit with wild mushrooms, stone-ground grits, and an herbal jus. It was paired with 2006 ROMBAUER MERLOT at 14.4% abv. Deep purple-red color, opaque. Fruity, mellow, almost tasted sweet with blackberry notes. Sees new oak. Most at my table preferred the Cabernet Sauvignon to the Merlot.

The 2007 ROMBAUER CABERNET SAUVIGNON NAPA VALLEY was labeled 14.1% abv. It was deeply colored and nearly opaque with viscosity. The grapes are from Spice Land (one word?) Vineyard which is also the source of BV Tapestry. Now this was liked by everyone at my end of the table. I was expected a harsh, tannic wine which would need another six years or more to integrate, but this was very mellow. I had the impression of red currants or cherries rather than cassis. Medium body. Paired beautifully with the grilled American Kobe beef chuck tender over ratatouille and a tapenade of Nicoise olive and roasted red peppers. I ordered two bottles of the Cabernet Sauvignon which was available for $42 a bottle. The marketer said the Cabernet Sauvignon could age for ten years but is ready to drink now. Koerner Rombauer's goal is to make wines that people can drink on release and not have to lay down for a decade before they are ready.

We had still another meat course with slow-roasted wild boar shoulder from Texas, an Australia bleu cheese and walnut topping, and black truffle-spiked sweet potatoes with green beans and wild blackberry jus. This was paired with 2009 ROMBAUER ZINFANDEL. The Zin came in at 15.9% abv and while the presenter described it as "jammy," others at the dinner described it as "sweet" and I suspected overripe grapes. Rombauer does a basket press on the grapes for extraction with whole clusters delivered to the winery by refrigerated trucks. Some pepper and spice in the nose and on the palate. Not my type of Zin. Three others at the table asked for another pour of the Cabernet Sauvignon to have with the boar meat. This was perhaps my favorite meat course of the three but I was getting full and didn't eat all of the boar meat on my plate.

I found a renewed appetite for the dessert--strawberry shortcake with vanilla bean Chantilly, lemon curd, and a scoop of mint ice cream with Creme de Menthe poured over it. The dessert wine was 2009 EBERLE MUSCAT CANELLI from Paso Robles area. A couple at my table found this too sweet (one is primarily a red wine drinker although he likes some Rieslings.) I liked it and as the chef said, it pairs quite well with strawberries.

Fun evening.

- hotwine - 06-09-2011

It does indeed sound like a fun evening! But y'all needed to consume more of that hog.... we've got at least two million of 'em running loose in this state, per the fish & game guys (some people say more like three million!) The damage they do to pastures, golf courses and suburban landscapes is incredible!

- Drew - 06-10-2011