Eponymous Wine was founded by long time Napa winemaker Robert Pepi. Eponymous means “given as a name, or giving one’s name to something” and as Bob likes to say this name is “a play on words by one who is unable to use his family name on his own bottle of wine”. A little history is in order regarding this. Bob and his father ran Pepi winery for many years until they sold to Jackson Family Estates (Kendall Jackson) in 1994. The Pepi brand is now one of Jackson’s numerous holdings. Bob is a well-known consultant winemaker in the Napa area and has also consulted for a large Argentinean winery for many years. As a result every year Bob experiences two harvests. Not a bad gig at all for a winemaker! In fact we caught up with him one afternoon just before he was flying down to Argentina.
Ever since selling his original winery he always wanted to have his own label again and an opportunity to work with several of Napa’s higher end hillside vineyards presented itself. Bob released the first Eponymous wine in 2003. As of press time, he makes his wine at one of the most historical custom crush facilities in the valley and the grapes are sourced from two high end vineyards, one on the slopes of Mt. Veeder on the Sonoma County side of the Mayacamas mountain range and the other at the entrance to Soda Canyon. This wine despite its very much hillside location is in the “Sonoma Valley” appellation. Go figure! The Mt. Veeder vineyard has a history of producing stellar Cabernet Franc as it can be hard to find high end vineyards in the valley for this varietal. Bob recognized early on the potential for this vineyard and locked up the fruit in a longer term contract.
Currently Eponymous makes two wines, their red blend and a 100% varietal Cabernet Sauvignon. We tried several individual components from barrel that will be used for blending in the 2007 MacAllister Mt. Veeder Vineyard red Meritage including the Merlot, Cabernet Franc and the Cabernet Sauvignon. These wines while very young were already showing good balance and well roundedness. We then tried their current release, the 2004 vintage. It is always interesting to see how each component taken by itself does not have the power and richness found in the final wine. The 2004 version is a very elegant polished wine. It is smooth and the Cabernet Franc really helps bring the rich fruit flavors to the foreground and the finish is long with structured tannin management. Touches of chocolate and rhubarb round out the complex palate.
Their total production is about 1200 cases, however they are distributed in very select markets in about 25 states. With over 30 Napa harvests under his belt Bob is open to making additional wine depending on vineyard availability. As a top winemaker running your own small label, if an opportunity to source from high end terroir comes your way, you don’t let it pass you by! You can find this wine locally at Whole Foods in the town of Napa. Visit: www.eponymouswines.com
NOTE: this review has been identified as needing a major update.