Rubissow Wines was originally called Rubissow-Sargent and was founded by two physicists who met at UC Berkeley. George Rubissow managed their Napa Vineyards and Tony Sargent lived in Berkeley which is where the wine was made until 2003. Their 18 acres of vineyards are the southern most vineyards in the Mt. Veeder appellation and are located within a birds eye view of the Hess Collection Winery. Most of the other vineyards in this appellation face east on this north south spine of mountains, however their large upper vineyard faces south.
Viticulturally this is an interesting location; while their lower vineyard faces toward Napa Valley and is more protected the upper vineyard faces towards a totally different geographical area – the large Bay. As a result, this upper vineyard receives more maritime influences (fog and wind) than the lower vineyard despite being only minutes apart by walking! This is a slightly cooler growing climate than much of the Mt. Veeder area and as a result the wines have very nice natural acidity.
In early 2008 ownership transferred to Rubissow’s two children who by this time already had successful careers in their respective industries. Rubissow is now run by the brother sister team, Peter and Ariel and their first vintage under the Rubissow label was 2004. The vineyards are located about a mile off of Redwood Road, west of the town of Napa. The last mile is on a gravel road with the final push through the actual vineyards.
The 130+ year old Italian farmhouse served as a hunting lodge for some time. From the porch, there are memorable views overlooking their vineyards and the rolling hills along with glimpses of the Napa Valley far below. Winemaking starts in the vineyards and Rubissow’s vines look very healthy and are meticulously farmed. You will also walk within the vineyards for an up close look and explanation about the vines. Weather and stamina permitting, be sure to walk up to the top of their vineyards where you will have great views of the Bay, Mt. Tamalpais and also Mt. Diablo in the distance.
Their winemaker Timothy Milos (winemaker since their inaugural vintage) has an impressive resume of working at some of Napa’s top wineries including Opus One, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and Cliff Lede. Rubissow’s style of wines are Bordeaux in nature using hillside grown fruit; they are not huge overly fruit driven tannic wines, but rather smooth, well balanced, rich and elegant. As of press time they focus their efforts on three primary wines.
The 2003 Trompettes is a very aromatic wine which has a smooth velvety mouth feel with natural mouth watering acidity. The flavors are extremely well integrated, seamless in their presentation on the palate. The 2004 Merlot is a juicy wine with aromas of blackberry and black currant and as the wine opens the bouquet reveals more chocolate and mocha undertones. The fruit carries onto the palate with additional hints of oak, vanilla and spices towards the finish.
The 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend like the other two wines and contains 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot and 13% Cabernet Franc. It was unfined and unfiltered for maximum color and flavor. The nose is delicate with beautiful earthy aromas; parts of the nose are like opening a cedar box. The mouth feel is smooth and refined yet rich in fruit, including blackberry and black cherry. Looking for a finish that never seems to end? This wine has got it! Want more Cabernet?
Rubissow has an extremely limited production 100% Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve wine (under 100 cases!). Their logo has an interesting story. It was designed on a napkin in a cafe in France while the original owners were describing their Mt. Veeder property and how the vineyards drape over the hillsides. The body in the label represents the appellation, the knees signify the two summits of Mt. Veeder, the lines are the vineyard rows and the trumpets represent the two founders. For more information, visit: www.rubissowwines.com
NOTE: this review has been identified as needing a major update.
Intro Video by VineyardVlog: