Robledo Family Winery: Amercan Dream Come True

When the Robledo family sits down to dinner, you can bet there will be some good wine on the table.

You can sample for yourself on Saturday when the Robledo Family Winery opens its doors for a harvest festival that includes a blessing of the grapes and a homemade spread of Mexican food and mariachi music that harkens back to the family’s roots south of the border.

Robledo Family

Robledo Family

Reynaldo Robledo, the family patriarch, came to California in 1968 as a field worker who had never before touched a grape vine. Soon, he was working in the vineyards and, over the years, he built up an expertise in vineyard management that blossomed into a successful business.

Today, the family owns 14 vineyards in Sonoma, Napa and Lake counties totaling 200 acres of grapes. Most of the fruit goes to other wineries, but the family winery puts out a lineup of quality wines under its own label.

On a recent visit, Luis Robledo, the seventh of nine children, was pouring wines in the tasting room at the winery, down a bumpy road off Highway 116 in Sonoma. Tastings are by appointment only, but the winery is open daily.

My favorite Robledo red wine is the newly released 2007 petite sirah ($28) from Lake County. The dark red wine tasted of sweet plums with a peppery backbeat and well-integrated tannins. It’d go great with a carne asada taco or any grilled meat.

I also liked the 2005 “El Rey” cabernet sauvignon, another Lake County wine which had a nice spiciness, smooth tannins and a touch of eucalyptus.

And, the 2007 Robledo barbera, an Italian-style wine, turned out to be an unexpected delight, with a rich full nose and lip-smacking fruitiness. I also thought the 2006 merlot from the Carneros region was a nice round wine with plummy fruit and an aftertaste that lingered and almost demanded another sip.

Luis Robledo

Luis Robledo

On the white wine side of the house, I enjoyed the 2007 pinot blanc, another Lake County wine.

The best examples of pinot blanc come from the Alsace region of France, and you don’t see much of this full-flavored white wine made in California. The Robledo version is very good, with a tad more fruit than its European counterparts but still quite dry.

Looking Ahead: Fore!

If you miss the harvest festival at Robledo, the family will be pouring wines along with dozens of other regional wineries at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship Food and Wine Festival at Sonoma Golf Club Oct. 30-Nov. 1.

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