Visiting Robert Sinskey Vineyards
Posted by Gabe on September 27, 2009
There’s a specific trip to Napa, years ago, that really stands out in my mind. The reason I recall this particular one so fondly is that I visited several Wineries that have become favorites, for the first time. A couple of them in fact were recommended to me by the same person. One of those places was Robert Sinskey Vineyards. It struck a chord with me and I’ve returned to taste often. But I’d never toured their facility. In getting ready for my most recent trip I was speaking to a friend who I was going to taste with and she also mentioned wanting to visit Sinskey. It seemed the time to tour at Robert Sinskey had arrived.
So last Sunday I arrived at Robert Sinskey with a couple of friends and we took the Cave Raider Tour. This tour takes place weekdays at 1:00 PM and 11:00 AM on Weekends. We were greeted warmly and poured a taste of wine as we waited a couple of moments for the rest of our tour. It turned out we toured and tasted alongside two winemakers from Jacob’s Creek in Australia. The 5 of us and our well informed guide made our way through the garden outside the winery. Robert Sinskey Vineyards is Organic and Biodynamic. Part of the commitment to that way of farming is a garden outside their door which is used by the onsite chefs to craft morsels for events at the Winery.
After the garden we walked by the production area and then made our way to the caves. I couldn’t possibly begin to count the number of caves I’ve seen when touring wine regions. But there is something about them that remains fascinating, invigorating and incredibly exciting to me. Part of it might be the fact that I know I’m many feet below the earth, and the recognition of the work that went into creating these underground wonders. Another is the stacks of barrels full of wine all around. While I may not think of it with every cave I visit, subconsciously I recognize that I’m surrounded by the wine I’ll probably taste next time I visit, or pick up at my local shop down the road sometime.
When we emerged from the cave we tasted a flight of wines on the patio at their outside bar. After a couple of whites, of which Abraxas was my favorite, we moved to Pinot Noir. This classic grape is the workhorse at Robert Sinskey. They make both cuvee’s and single vineyard designate versions. The Vandal Vineyard Pinot we tasted was a standout for me amongst the couple we sampled. Each of the wines was paired with little morsels prepared by the kitchen. I’ve always been particularly fond of their Cabernet Franc and was quite happy when our host Caine, pulled one out for us to taste. This is also made from their Vandal Vineyard. Another treat was a 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon. While this wine is quite delicious now it still showed plenty of fruit and seems to have quite a number of years of positive evolution ahead of it. In total we tasted about half a dozen wines.
In addition to delicious wines and in this case tasty bites to match them I’m very fond of the atmosphere at Robert Sinskey Vineyards. More than just welcoming it’s warm, hospitable and very comfortable with a combination of rustic charm and modern accommodations. Their Organic and Biodynamic approach is also one I appreciate. Throughout the tour we learned a lot about their methods of winemaking and commitment to Organics. That said much of what we learned was driven by questions from those of us on the tour. Our host provided a perfect amount of information himself and gave us plenty of room to inquire about what we wanted to know.
The Cave Raider tour is one I can heartily recommend. It’s by appointment and the cost is $30 per person. That’s partially refundable with a purchase. However in addition to this Sinskey offers a Culinary Tour and Bento Box Tasting. Each of these has designated times they are available for appointments. Of course if you simply want to taste Robert Sinskey Vineyards is open daily from 10:00 Am to 4:30 Pm. They’re located at 6320 Silverado Trail. This continues to be a stop I look forward to time after time. Give them a try; it may become one of your favorites too.