Get the Dirt about St. Romedius Wines from winemaker Robert Pintacsi

28 Mar

StRomediusRobert1. What was your first vintage year? 2015, but our first bottling we labeled a non-vintage

2. How many cases do you make per vintage? 300

3. Do you have a Tasting Room? Not at this time.

4. What wine made you want to become a winemaker/start your own winery? There isn’t a single wine for me. It was really the exposure to wine when I was a child visiting family in Hungary and Italy that gave me a desire to make a career out of wine.

5. What varietals do you work with? Which varietal/wine is your favorite to make?
We currently make a red field blend with Petit Sirah, Syrah, and Zinfandel. I love deep, dark, spicy, and fruity varieties. We also make a dry white blend from Muscat Canelli and Grenache blanc.

6. What vineyards do you source from? Why? We currently source our red fruit from a boutique vineyard in Lafayette, CA (Lamorinda AVA) on the southern edges of Briones regional park. Currently there are little to no commercial wines being produced from this AVA. The vineyard is impeccably managed and sits in a perfect location within a small canyon. We’re really excited to be making such a high-quality wine from this region.

For our white blend our Muscat Canelli comes from an organically farmed vineyard in Contra Costa County, Knightsen specifically. The Grenache Blanc is also organically farmed and is grown at 2400 ft above sea level just outside of the town of Placerville. In addition, the farming of the Grenache blanc is also certified Fish Friendly, meaning that the vineyard runoff is controlled to not harm any local fish habitats.

7. What type of oak treatment do you use? Why?
Our wines vary in the type and amount of oak wee use. The 2016 Red Wine (our current release) is 100% Hungarian oak with 30% new oak. Our white blend was fermented and aged in all neutral French oak.

8. What do you love about your winemaking region? What makes it different special? We love the variety of topography, geology, and climate that we have here in California. It’s incredible to live in a place where you can be in the cool coastal fog and then an hour or two later be baking in the hot sun in the Sierras.

The vineyard from where we source our red blend is especially unique in that it is located in Lafayette. This area is geologically and climactically different then the surrounding areas. Its steep canyons offer protection from wind as well as the cold bay air while staying cooler than the areas farther East. The soils are thin and drain well, helping control the growth of the vines.

StRomediusBottles9. What’s the story behind your winery name / label? St. Romedius began his life as a son of a nobleman in Austria in the 4th century. He spent most of his time hanging out, alone, meditating in caves. After his parents died and he gave away all of his possessions, he embarked on a trip across the alps to visit a friend from his childhood, the Bishop of Trento, in Northern Italy. Along the way his horse was attacked and torn apart by a bear. Instead of killing the bear St. Romedius threw a saddle on it’s back and rode him the rest of the way to Trento.

This story, aside from being pretty bad ass, is a symbol of our approach to winemaking. By “taming” these grapes through the act of sustainable viticulture and thoughtful winemaking, we take something that at first might be a bit too rough and wild, and guide it into being an approachable, elegant expression of a small patch of mother earth.

10. What’s the one thing you wish someone had told you about the wine business before you started your own winery?
I wish I was told how much time compliance issues would take up. The hours spent filling out forms and waiting to hear from government agencies are hours I will never get back.

11. Most importantly, what’s so great about being small? What can you do as a small winemaker, that wouldn’t be possible for larger wineries? After working for larger wineries for many years I really enjoy the slower pace of a small production wine. I can focus on each step of the winemaking process in more detail and take a little more time to make decisions. I also get to now take part in marketing and sales which I’ve always wanted to do.

12. How do you view the future in the wine industry for small-lot winemakers?
Small-lot winemakers have a bright future. Wine enthusiasts will always want the variety and stories behind small-lot wines.

13. If you had to choose another wine region to work in what would it be?
I’d love to make wine in Hungary one day, the country where my family is from. I’ve always been drawn to the region around Lake Balaton and of course Tokaj.

For more information about St. Romedius Wines, please visit their website or follow them on FACEBOOK.

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