Sempre Vive - Romeo Cellars2003 Cabernet Sauvignon - 'Albie Romeo Old Vine Clone', Estate
While the oldest part of the Blue Heron Vineyard south of Calistoga was planted 34 years ago and the folks at Romeo Vineyards have been making wine for 10 years, you might not have heard of their Sempre Vive wines. It’s best that you do.
That’s because the wine comes with quite a pedigree: Alison Green Doran is the winemaker and Jim Barbour is the vineyard manager. The wine, however, can stand on its own. For instance, the 2003 Sempre Vive Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is big and young with beautiful fruit with some tar and minerality in the finish. The tannins are gritty and are in it for the long haul. So, hold onto it for a couple of years before drinking so that it settles down, and then enjoy it over the ensuing eight years or so.
The vineyard, owned by Eugenia and Frank Romeo, is comprised of 16 ½ dry-farmed acres, nine of which were planted four years ago. There are three acres of Cabernet.
Green Doran, who used to be the winemaker at Firestone in Los Olivos for almost 20 years in the ‘80s and ‘90s, is a protégé of André Tchelistcheff, the late patriarch of the California wine industry. Barbour is simply one of the Napa Valley’s star vineyardists.
The 2003 Cabernet spent 22 months in French oak, half of which was new. The stated alcohol is 14.8 percent, and there were less than 500 cases produced.
Reviewed June 13, 2007 by Alan Goldfarb.
Winery: Sempre Vive - Romeo Cellars
Alan Goldfarb has been writing about and reviewing wine for 17 years. His reviews have been published in the St. Helena Star, San Jose Mercury, San Francisco Examiner, Decanter, and Wine Enthusiast, among others. Not once has he used a point system, star system, or an iconic symbol to quantify a wine. What counts in Mr. Goldfarb’s criteria when judging a wine is: how it tastes in the glass; is it well-constructed; its food compatibility; and presence of redeeming regional attributes.