July 10, 2011


Today, July 10, 2011 is my father’s (Phil Croft, Sr.) 60th Birthday.  I owe almost all of my knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of wine (lots of free bottles of fine wine to help cultivate that pallat) to my father.  So, Happy Birthday Dad! Keep that wine coming…It’s also the 10th anniversary of my father’s 50th Birthday (60 –  10 = 50, damn I am good at math!)  As mentioned in a previous post where we discussed a 2006 BV Cabernet, my father’s 50th B’day party was where James and I both discovered each others appreciation of wine.

Which leads us to last summer, where James and Sara invited Amy and I to Napa Valley for one of the most wonderful vacations we have ever experienced; specifically that of our first day trip to Rombauer Winery.  Sara and James have gone into great detail about our adventure at Rombauer and the wines we enjoyed there.  They even went as far as to review one of the finer bottles of wine we have all tried from their winery, but not the best.

Flash back even further to weeks and months before our trip to Napa.  Again as Sara and James had detailed, our genesis for the trip to Napa stemmed from James’s friendship with the Sr. Wine Maker at Rombauer (I forget his name) and his gracious offer to have us stay at the Rombauer guest house fo free!!!!!!!  

Because of this, James insisted that we try some of their wine before arriving to Rombauer so that we at least had a little understanding of their capabilities for produce such good wines.  James’s suggestion was to try the Carneros Chardonnay.  I baulked at the idea, becuase, hey I don’t like white wine, I don’t drink white wine, so I wasn’t going to pay $35 to try it ahead of time.  Sure we’d try it when we got out there, but we were certainly not going to try it ahead of time.

Flash forward back to Napa, first winery, first bottle, first glass, first sip was that of the 2007 Rombauer Carneros Chardonnay.  I was HOOKED!!!!  That was it.  Aboslutely loved it.  I had never had a wine with such flavor.  This flavor turned out to be Malolactic fermentation, which gave it its full, buttery flavor, which at the time, I described as a white wine with a Werther’s Original in it.

For our lesson of this week, here is a definition of malolactic fermentation I found on the web, that I feel is a good representation of what we tasted and smelled…

Malolactic fermentation (or sometimes malolactic conversion or MLF) is a process in winemaking where tart-tasting malic acid, naturally present in grape must, is converted to softer-tasting lactic acid. Malolactic fermentation tends to create a rounder, fuller mouthfeel. It has been said that malic acid tastes of green apples. By contrast, lactic acid is richer and more buttery tasting. Grapes produced in cool regions tend to be high in acidity much of which comes from the contribution of malic acid.

Since our trip to Napa Valley, that Chardonnay from Rombauer has become a staple in our household.  I have probably bought that more than any other single bottle of wine.  Don’t get me wrong, I am still partial to California reds, but I will always drink the Rombauer Chardonnay’s or at least until they stop adding Werther’s Originals to each barrel of wine.

Which leads us to our review this week.  If you were betting, I am sure you would think that the review for this week would be that of the Rombauer Chardonnay.  Unlike me when I gamble, you would lose!However, we aren’t going far. 

Since, James and Sara did a Cabernet from Rombauer just a few weeks ago we wanted to save the Rombauer Chard for another review; none the less, we stayed close and went with another Chardonnay, just down the road.  We asked our local guy from Western to recommend something comparable…this is it’s story:

Consumer:Amy and Phil and yes the Croft family again – Happy Birthday again, Dad!

 Name: La Follette, from the Sangiacomo Family Vineyard

Region: Sonoma Coast, California

Grape Varietal: Chardonnay

Vintage: 2009

Price: $33.99

Alcohol content: 12.9%

Food pairing: Homemade Smoked Salmon & Rainbow Trout – smoked for two hours at 250 F in a combination of charcoal and hickory chips.  Smoked fish was served on toasted bread with minced caper cream cheese.  We did enjoy a couple of full body reds with yet another piece of red meat – beef tenderloin (do you see a trend there?)

This was fantastic...you can't see it, but I am patting myself on the back.

Color & Appearance:golden, light honey color

Nose/Aroma: Mild citrus aroma with hint of alcohol

Mouth/Flavors: That distinct butterly full body flavoring

Rating: (scale of 1 to 10) 8

Impressions: Greatly enjoyed the wine and was very comparable to the Rombauer Chard.  I think it may be outstanding in a couple fo more years.  I have been told that Malolactic Acid is not good in wine.  I disagree!

 Food Pairings: The smoked fish went well with the wine, a number of other milder fishs such as flounder or grouper would also go well, as would an appetizer like baked brie with honey.



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2 responses to “July 10, 2011

  1. great review! that smoked salmon & trout looks amazing!…what wing of your parents’ house did you enjoy this on?
    and happy b’day, mr. croft!
    p.s.-my mom came in town to visit this weekend and brought a bag of werther’s original and I thought of you and the chard!

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