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Bob Sinskey was an ophthalmologist practicing in Santa Monica when I was an ophthalmology resident at UCLA back in the early 1970s. We operated together several times. He went on to indulge his passion for wine by first owning Acacia and then starting his own eponymous winery which is now located in Napa Valley. From a humble beginning of 15 acres of vineyard land, Robert Sinskey Vineyards has grown to just under 200 acres of prime vineyard land in five Napa Carneros locations and a small 4.8-acre estate vineyard adjacent the winery in the Stags Leap District of the Napa Valley. All the vineyards are certified organic and are farmed biodynamically. His son, Rob, initially took over the winery management and winemaking duties, but a full-time winemaker, Jeff Virnig, has been in charge since 1991. Jeff has a degree in agriculture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and has championed the Los Carneros region of Napa Valley.
Stylistically, the Pinot Noirs are relatively low in alcohol, elegant, with minimal oak encumbrance. They are definitely not of the Caliesque mold of high extraction, ripe fruit, and generous alcohol. Pinot Noir has been produced since 1986.
The Pinot Noir lineup: Los Carneros Pinot Noir, Three Amigos Vineyard Los Carneros, Vandal Vineyard Los Carneros, Capa Vineyard Los Carneros, and a Reserve labeled Four Vineyards Los Carneros.
The winery's rosé is particularly notable. It has a clean, crisp, refreshingly dry palate with floral and strawberry notes. Sourced from OSR, 3 Amigos and Scintilla Sonoma vineyards, it is 100% certified organically grown and biodynamically farmed. The wine is so popular that it is typically bottled in January and sold out by June.
The tasting room at 6320 Silverado Trail in Napa is open daily from 10:00 to 4:00. The wines are also sold online. Visit the informative website's Vineyard Kitchen which includes seasonal menus and recipes from Maria Helm Sinskey.
2012 Robert Sinskey Vineyards Los Carneros Vin Gris of Pinot Noir
13.1% alc, $28 (allocated). Whole cluster pressed. · Light orange color and clear in the glass. Aromas of strawberries, oranges and melon. Many flavors emerge over time in the glass including strawberry, cherry, blood orange, peach, and herbal tea. A highly pleasurable rosé that has its own unique vibe and plenty of pizzazz. Very good. Reviewed June 4, 2013 ARTICLE »
2010 Robert Sinskey Vineyards Los Carneros Vin Gris of Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., $26. Tall Riesling style bottle. · Medium salmon color in the glass. Very aromatic with scents of orange zest, melon, strawberry and summer bouquet. Moderate in weight with appealing flavors of blood oranges, cherries and red berries. A crisp and clean wine that will work beautifully on the summer table. One of California’s best producers of Rosé. Source: website and limited retail. Reviewed July 1, 2011 ARTICLE »
2009 Robert Sinskey Three Amigos Vineyard Carneros Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $38. Planted over 29 years ago with heirloom selections and French clones. · Appealing perfume of ripe, dark red berries, fading a bit over time in the glass, revealing a whiff of heat. Intense and full-bodied on the palate with notes of earth and mushroom, and possessing impressive finishing power. A little sweet, finishing with a bit of warmth. Good. Reviewed August 23, 2012 ARTICLE »
2009 Robert Sinskey Vineyards Los Carneros Napa Valley Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., 6,900 cases, $38. Made from organic grapes. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Well perfumed with aromas of fresh black cherries and black raspberries. Earth-kissed flavors of black cherries, dark raspberries and spice with balanced tannins and good supporting acidity. Finishes with reasonable cherry-driven aromatic intensity. This wine has some artisan qualities that one doesn’t expect from such a large production. Good. Reviewed June 4, 2013 ARTICLE »
2007 Robert Sinskey Vineyards Los Carneros Vin Gris of Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., $20. Whole cluster pressed. Tall Alsatian-style bottle. · Pale apricot color. Effusive nose of wild berries, peaches, and exotic tropical fruits. Lovely stone fruit flavors with a hint of papaya, strawberry and herbs. Almost drifts to Muscat taste profile. Very smooth with a persistent finish. Reviewed May 26, 2008 ARTICLE »
2007 Robert Sinskey Vineyards Los Carneros Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., 5,325 cases. $38. · Lovely perfume of black cherries, violets, pine pitch and graham. Soft and silky in the mouth with bright red plum, cranberry, red currant and black cherry flavors with side notes of cola and brioche. The fruit is caressed by fine grain tannins and zingy acidity that perks up the tangerine-laced and slightly tart finish. Very good. Reviewed August 24, 2010 ARTICLE »
2007 Robert Sinskey Vineyards Four Vineyards Los Carneros Napa Valley Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., $56. Chosen from as many as 30 different lots of Pinot Noir from RSV’s four Pinot Noir vineyards. · Moderately dark ruby in the glass. Very shy initially, opening slowly with coaxing over time in the glass revealing alluring aromas of dark red cherries and berries and underbrush. Follows the same theme as the other Pinot Noirs in the lineup with delicious bright dark red and black fruits, some hints of gourmet red, hard cherry candy and sandalwood, and a zippy finish showing hi-tone citrus peel aromas. Modestly intense and rich, displaying well-integrated tannins, a gentle nature, and the most generous, powerful and persistent finish in the RSV lineup. A seductive wine that is hard to say no to. Reviewed August 24, 2010 ARTICLE »
2007 Robert Sinskey Vineyards Three Amigos Vineyard Los Carneros Napa Valley Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., pH 3.48, $56. This vineyard was planted to heirloom (heritage) selections beginning in 1982. Aged 9 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark ruby color in the glass. Very shy nose initially revealing demure scents of dark red fruits, dried oak and smoke. More showy on the palate with juicy and earth-kissed red cherries and berries. Ripe tannins provide some backbone and the bright acidity lifts the fruity finish. Very good (+). Reviewed August 24, 2010 ARTICLE »
2007 Robert Sinskey Vineyards Vandal Vineyard Los Carneros Napa Valley Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., $56. A selection of five lots from the Vandal Vineyard which is located on a ridge of land in lower Carneros that joins the shoulder of Mt. Veeder. · Moderately dark ruby color in the glass. Very shy aromas of dark red and black fruits with a hint of toast and crackers. More expressive in the mouth with bright flavors of earthy darker fruits and hints of cherry skin and orange peel on the finish. Firmly structured but smooth and sensual. Will benefit from additional cellaring. Very good. Reviewed August 24, 2010 ARTICLE »
2006 Robert Sinskey Vin Gris de Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., $19. Rosé has become quite popular and highly touted in the recent wine press. I think it is a superb aperitif in the summer as well as an excellent barbecue wine. Served chilled, it is refreshing and uplifting while higher alcohol Pinot Noir wines, in contrast, often taste alcoholic and overbearing in the summer heat. I felt the Sinskey wine was the best Pinot Noir-based rosé that I tasted this year (I have tried over 30 from California alone). · The wine is whole cluster pressed. It is presented in a nice Alsatian-styled bottle. Light persimmon in color. Very charming nose of strawberry, watermelon, and rhubarb. The strawberry and citrus flavors are complimented by refreshing acidity. Reviewed July 30, 2007 ARTICLE »
2006 Robert Sinskey Vineyards Los Carneros Napa Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., 369 barrels, $30.50. · Closed up tighter than a drum. Pepper-dosed dark red fruits which are very restrained and mild grainy tannins that need to be shed. A wine of decent potential that is not showing its best at this young stage. Really peppery! Reviewed August 4, 2008 ARTICLE »