By Rick Riozza

All right—for many of you wine enthusiasts who avidly read this column, those who live and die with Rombauer can take a break from your weekly hour of digesting my wine words of art.  Because we’re writing about Rombauer Wine—and you Rom’ enthusiasts know everything already.

Believe me, I’ve been to many private Rombauer wine tastings and the lofty crowd at these functions is simply mesmerized by the offered portfolio of Rombauer wine—as they go on and on about the quality, the personality, and the way of life with this wine in their lives and with this wine in their wine bins (or fridge).

Unfortunately for the Rombauer crowd, who in the past would never equate their wine with the likes of a California “Gallo” wine—well this is what we wrote last year:


“Did someone mention Rombauer? What fun did I have, being somewhat of a spoiler at a private dinner tasting that featured some delicious Rombauer wines. Fittingly for the occasion, we were all dressed up and feeling on top of the world! Then I opened my mouth—yes, to sample a fabulous array of wine, and then I spilled the beans.

The previous morning, I had read the news—oh boy! From the Napa Valley Reporter: “E. & J. Gallo’s Luxury Wine Group announced today that it has reached an agreement with the Rombauer family to purchase Rombauer Vineyards, producer of critically acclaimed wines from Napa Valley, Sonoma County, the Sierra Foothills, and the Santa Lucia Highlands.”

“The news hit the dinner party host and guests like a brick. Of course, there was vehement denial, accusations, murmurs, and a lot of mean faces. No news here: Rombauer enthusiasts and aficionados are a dedicated and loyal bunch. The idea of even drinking a “Gallo” wine, shudders them.

But after a few glasses of wonderful wine and some needed wine counseling, our dinner group finally came around to accepting their fate of having to, indeed, enjoy a “Gallo” wine. They understood well that “business is business” after all, and sooner or later the “Gallo Generale Immobiliare” (my words) will figuratively envelope the wine world.” And so it goes.

Getting back down to earth.  For those of you who’ve no doubt heard and seen the wine on the shelves and in the advertisements—but have yet taken the plunge to pay premium prices for the wine, we think this week’s column may be for you.

The most popular of the Rombauer line-up is, of course, their Chardonnay.  Over and over again on the internet and in print, we hear that the Chardonnays from Rombauer Vineyards are among the finest white wines from Carneros in the Napa Valley winegrowing region. The Rombauer family has been making fantastic California Chardonnay wine since 1982, and these bottles are reputed for their intense fruit flavors and rich buttery mouthfeel. For the American palate, this wine is heaven.

The Rombauer Chard is a powerhouse in itself:  It’s always on someones mind—and that includes moi! And as you loyal readers know, I’m not a big Chardonnay guy.  But I previously received a sample bottle of the Rombauer Chardonnay to review for this article, so the Chard was on my mind.

However, a couple of weeks ago, I was treated to the Passion 4 Pinot Palm Springs Pinot Noir tasting over at the Westin Resort.  The event organizer, Dave Freschetti, of course had all of the big heavy hitters in the Pinot Noir game pouring their best stuff and then some.

Upon entering the Pinot event, I saw the Rombauer tasting booth and I immediately went up to it and spoke to the lovely pourers about the Rom’Chardonnay—as I said, I that Chard was on my mind.  They looked at me like I was from outer space.  “We’re not pouring any Chardonnay, this is a Pinot Noir tasting—we’re pouring the Rombauer Pinot Noir from the Santa Lucia Highlands!”  I felt like a doops—I mean, I had just got there, but I’m sure they thought I had been drinking Tequila all day prior.  Waddya gonna do!!

The latest vintage out on the shelves right now is the 2022 Rombauer Vineyards Carneros Chardonnay ($42). So let’s hear from the winemaker themselves: “Ripe peach, citrus fruits, spice, and pie crust aromas all mingle and lift from the glass. The citrus, supported by notes of apricot, continues on the palate which is concentrated with a rich, creamy middle palate, and strong supporting acidity. The finish is long and marked with hints of vanilla. This wine will continue to build richness as it ages in the bottle.”

Any Chardonnay lover would jump on those aroma & flavor notes:  Are you one of them, or, is there a distance between you and Chardonnay wine in general.  We have to say that if you ever wish to give a Chardonnay a chance, it’s worth it to taste this wine at least once in your life.  Then you can decide if you’re in or your out!

Here is an independent critical comment: “Rombauer Chardonnay 2022 is an exquisite wine that showcases a beautiful balance between rich, concentrated fruit flavors and refreshing acidity. The wine has a luxurious nose of ripe yellow peach, meyer lemon, chamomile, and hints of clove and vanilla, which seamlessly transition onto the palate. “The flavors continue to blend together, supported by a creamy, round mouthfeel that offers a lush, concentrated back palate lifted by both sweet fruit flavors and balanced acidity. The wine has a lingering finish that will leave you wanting another sip, making it an ideal choice for special occasions.

“The fruit for this wine comes from select growers, including the Sangiacomo family, who have farmed the land for three generations. The grapes are carefully selected, gently whole-cluster pressed while still cool, and racked to barrel for primary and malolactic fermentations. The lees are stirred every two weeks to give the wine rich flavors and a creamy texture.”  Cheers!