Robert Sinskey Vineyards – communicating a personal truth

View from Robert Sinskey Vineyards in Stag's Leap district looking west

Long before pinot noir was popular, long before organic and green was ‘hot’, and way before pairing food and wine became a good way to sell wine, Robert Sinskey was doing all of these things. The wines that they produce and the way they make them, are based first on deeply held beliefs rather than on trends and, as a result, they have created a strong and steady customer following.

The pinot noir vines that Robert Sinskey’s father planted in Carneros in the 1980’s was inspired by his love for red Burgundies, even though they weren’t commercially popular at the time. The Alsatian varietal white wines that they produce, the Pinot Blanc, the Pinot Gris and Abraxas blend, were created because of Maria Helm Sinskey’s experience living and working in Alsace as a chef in a Michelin 3-star restaurant and believing that these wines pair so well with many diverse cuisines. Her food and wine creds as former chef at the popular SF Plumpjack Café, past recipient of “best new chef” by Food & Wine magazine, author of two cookbooks and current monthly contributor to Bon Appetit magazine are not lost on their loyal fan base.  Robert Sinskey Vineyards has been farming organically for nearly twenty years now, being certified organic for about ten and in recent years have converted over to biodynamic, without all the hype.

Pinot noir from the cool Carneros district now constitutes over half of their vineyards and include a Carneros Pinot Noir as well as terroir-driven single vineyard wines. In a recent tasting, I found their wines to be clearly in the fresh and medium-bodied style of Burgundy, perfect with food. The 2007 Capa Vineyard Carneros Pinot Noir is more in the Cote de Nuits style with black cherry and floral aromas, concentrated dark plum fruit, balanced acidity and fine length. The 2007 Vandal Vineyard Carneros Pinot Noir on the other hand, is more Cote de Beaune, with a purity of red berry aromas, cranberry and raspberry fruit, elegant acidity, fine tannins and long finish.

Because they produce the styles of wine that they themselves love to drink everyday with meals, they are able to communicate their message with clarity on one of the best websites I have seen in a while.

Rob Sinskey will be the guest vintner at Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant at the Ferry Building this Wednesday February 10th between 4:30 and 7:30 pm. Wines poured will include the 2008 Pinot Blanc, the 2007 Vandal and 2007 Three Amigos Carneros Pinot Noirs as well as 2005 Bordeaux blends.

Robert Sinskey Vineyards. 6320 Silverado Trail, Napa, Ca 94558. 707.944.9090 or 800.869.2030. Tasting bar open 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, details on the culinary tour and bento box tasting on the website.