93 Insider Points
Sempre Vive delivers a pure Chardonnay, true to its heritage of delicious, wholesome wine.
Oaky and yellow pear rises from the glass. The palate shows fuji apple and melon with a creamy texture and and oak backbone. Medium bodied with balanced acidity, and a soft, mid-length finish. Perfect for a mellow Saturday night.
93 Points - JZ March '18
Napa Valley, California
$0 SHIPPING Selection (6+/btls)
Born from a Stag’s Leap vineyard with a fanciful—or better, fairytale--history, this Napa Chard is a real deal “reserve” white, commensurable with Burgundy’s best. These Chardonnay grapes are raised with the utmost care and with no expense spared.
Plenty of marveling, too, should go to winemaker Alison Green Doran, one of the country’s first superstar oenologists. Doran broke through the vinous glass ceiling back in the 1970s thanks in part to her innate talent for the art and thanks too, to her teacher, the world-renowned André Tchelistcheff.
A fantasia of aromas including buttery brioche and essence of citrus usher in a palate of balanced flavors at first super creamy and rich, but then a refreshing jolt of crisp apple and bright acidity, along with a nuance of toasty oak offers a delightful counter to the initial unctuousness. Terrific by itself or with seafood and poultry dishes, this newly released wonder also claims an “extraordinary” vintage among its many, many charms.
Four reasons we love it:
- This Reserve Chardonnay is from a 96-point Wine Advocate vintage that offered ideal conditions for Chardonnay throughout the North Coast.
- “Sempre Vive” translates from Latin to “always alive” in a nod to Romeo Vineyards’ philosophy: “When the grapes are picked and crushed and made into wine, they do not die, for wine is a living product.”
- Proprietors Frank and Gena Romeo bought this pastoral property as a vacation spot, only dimly aware of its potential for producing world-class wines. Aside from their dedication to the vine, the Romeos are staunch environmentalists and absolutely devoted to preserving their little corner of Calistoga.
- Alison Green Doran is one of America’s first women winemakers. Doran broke through the vinous glass ceiling way back in the 1970s thanks to her considerable talent and her tutelage under world-renowned André Tchelistcheff.
The vineyard is in a climate sweet spot: cool enough in the mornings and not too warm in the evenings. The resulting Chardonnay shows refreshing apricot, nice notes of golden apple, spice and pear, all with a savory finish.
From Romeo Vineyards & Cellars...
Our 37-year-old vines lie south of nine acres of reservoir sandwiched between two forested knolls, leading to the geographical conditions that create hot days and cool nights and an extremely long hang time in our Calistoga vineyard. This allows our grapes to develop full flavors, deep color, and intense complexity. Our thick gnarled old vines produce from their hearts.
As we were in the process of purchasing our property in Calistoga, a Blue Heron was shot and killed by poachers. It was a male Blue Heron, and his mate returned to our pond late every afternoon in search of her mate. Blue Heron mate for life and she searched for 2.5 years to find a new young male to replace her brutally killed former life mate. We named our newly acquired vineyard Blue Heron after the deceased original Blue Heron male killed by poachers of our pond. We no longer have to worry about poachers and our Blue Heron pair have continued to nest yearly on our knoll. They argue a bit with the Egret which also nests here as well. Red Hawks also use our fully forested native knoll to bed. Red Kit Foxes and a Cougar have also called our piece of rural heaven home as well as Deer and Jack Rabbits. Our pond is naturalized and supports Large Mouth Bass and fresh water Perch as well as native turtles, Crayfish and Leopard Frogs along with Bull Frogs. We also have an Abundance and variety of Dragon and Damsel Flies of unusual coloring from blue, orange and tan and leopard spotted of all these colors.
Our oldest block of 16.5 acres was planted in 1971.
The clone was unknown and so good that we have had it cleaned up and had Mother vines made at UC Davis and they are in the FPMS Block. Duarte's Nursery is also keeping the majority of our Mother vines for us to make bench grafts in order to be able to replace our old vines as they may need replacing some day. We named the clone after our son, Albie Romeo who named our label. Nine Acres of unplanted flat land we planted and have had three years of grapes from these vines. We planted these with three acres of Cabernet Sauvignon clone #337, three of Cabernet Sauvignon #7 and three acres of Petit Verdot. They were dry farmed with only overhead frost protection. Our vines look like little old men, bent and gnarled. We have hot days in Calistoga, but cool nights, made cooler by nine acres of reservoir water North West of us that cools the night further and faster. Sometimes the temperature may drop 30 to 40 degrees once the sun goes down and there is a breeze blowing from the North or Northwest. Often we have early morning fog, even in the summer, but it usually burns off by 9:30 or 10 am. The earlier it dissipates, the hotter the day we can expect. Our grapes have an extremely flavorful bouquet because of a high skin to pulp and solid ratio to juice, our fruit gives extreme color, depth, and complexity, with full-bodied mouthfeel. Sempre Vive means Always Alive and refers to our grapes. When the grapes are picked and crushed and made into wine they do not die, for wine is a living product as is cheese.
Pairs well with Roasted chicken, spring flower salad, baby radish, lemon thyme essence.