One of the difficulties of finding and tasting the wines of very small producers is that a large percentage of them don’t have tasting rooms or visitor facilities. They rely on custom crush wineries to help them make their wine and I have to carefully monitor local pouring events to see if they are offering tastes… This was how I stumbled on yet another elusive producer from the Napa valley, Spencer Roloson Winery, at the latest Copia tasting…
I was first drawn to the Mondrian-style design on the bottles, but then by the actual varietals. No standard Chard or Cab here! Nope – unusual and intriguing grapes are the norm. It is a small operation; Sam Spencer is the winemaker and has a varied background having started in the wine industry in New Zealand. Sam is the technician in the project, crafting the wine from grapes grown in what can only be considered extremist vineyards (a Clear Lake Tempranillo?). Wendy Roloson is his partner and it is she who is responsible for the design of the bottles and the marketing of the brand. Swan Day is the third leg in the tripod and it was she whom I met and was able to learn about this impressive wine. There were three available for me to taste, but five wines are in their book and I will look forward to acquiring and tasting the rest!
2004 Viognier, Noble Vineyard, Knights Valley – Fabulously rich nose of yellow and white stone fruit; peach, apricot, and yellow plum with layers of exotic, spicy flowers. Expressive, complex flavors that mirror the bouquet with a clean, bright acidity that heightens with a slightly mineral finish. $30.00
2003 Tempranillo, Madder Lake Vineyard, Clear Lake – What can I say? I adore Tempranillo and there are so few California wineries producing one that I am hard-pressed to not be thrilled… I find many Spanish Tempranillos medium-bodied so discovering a California version that is hefty and full-bodied is doubly more exciting. Dark and plummy, the hefty nose shows also displays vanilla, chocolate, and dark exotic earthy tones. Smooth and velvety in the mouth, black fruits dominate and show a hint of tobacco and rustic earth. $30.00
2003 Syrah, La Herrandura Vineyard, Napa Valley – These vineyards are located in Conn Valley which is just over the hill from the Meadowood resort. Inky black in color, with spicy exotic liqueur aromas of blackberry, blueberry, and clove. It is illusive and powerful showing concentrated flavors of black fruit with whispers of mineral and a defined herbal finish. $38.00
Spencer Roloson Winery ~ 1207 Randolph Street ~ Napa ~ CA ~ 94559 ~ 707-257-5880
No public tasting facility.