A Wine Enthusiast’s Look at Spencer-Roloson – California Grape Transplants From Spain and France

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For many people, wine tastes all the more distinctive when knowing the culture and history of the vineyards where a wine originated. When sharing a certain vintage with guests, especially when hosting a wine tasting party, it’s nice to have a story of the winemaker to share as your pour the wine. This article examines Spencer-Roloson winemakers, California transplants from Spain and France, providing information you can share at your next wine tasting or wine club meeting.

California With A Focus On Spain And France

Spencer-Roloson began in 1998 with a solid focus relating to their tastes and their vineyard locations in Napa and Lake Counties, California. With an interest in the sweep of territory that comes from Rioja in central Spain and around into the Rhone in France, this winery places itself on that continuum. As they drill down with these varietals to establish an unmistakable house style and become a favorite of wine club associations and critics, Spencer-Roloson finds their efforts rewarding.

French And Spanish Grapes

Partners in a family owned vineyard on the lower slopes of Howell Mountain in Napa County‘s Conn Valley until recently, Spencer-Roloson now focuses on farming their 160-acre Madder Lake estate in Lake County, located above Napa directly north of Mount St. Helena in the craggy Mayacamas mountain range. With a high elevation of 1,400 feet on the valley floor and by Clear Lake, the largest body of fresh water in California, Lake County revolves around farming. French Syrah and Viognier and Spanish Tempranillo and the grapes the two countries grow in common (Grenache, Grenache Blanc, Mourvedre, and Carignane) seem to prosper in Lake County.

Spain has developed a market for its native grapes in California that is inspiring many California winemakers, critics, and wine club associations. In addition, Australian winemakers have discovered these grapes. Grenache is a Spanish grape variety, although grown all over the South of France. Grenache Blanc, Mourvedre, and Tempranillo continue in popularity, partly due to the success of Spencer-Roloson wines.

California Wines

Spencer-Roloson also makes some California Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. The winery doesn’t plan to compete with the big Napa Cabernet Sauvignon producers at $ 150 a bottle. They focus on making a California Cabernet Sauvignon with a Spanish feel as they blend the Cabernet grapes with Tempranillo and Grenache. Their idiosyncratic wines have gained a huge following with wine club associations, critics, and consumers alike.

Spencer-Roloson believes the warming climate will popularize the French and Spanish grape varieties, which will carry wine, especially California wine into the next century. While Napa and small pockets may continue with Cabernet, Spencer-Roloson predicts winemakers will begin planting Syrah instead of Cabernet as they select different grape varieties as an alternative to staying with what has traditionally grown in a certain area. Regardless of climate change and a shift in the grapes planted, Spencer-Roloson adds a vibrant newness to the California wine landscape applauded by wine club associations, publications, and enthusiasts around the world.

Kent Campbell is an author for the popular wine of the month club, Celebrations Wine Club. Celebrations Wine Club is one of the few wine clubs offering the wines of California and Italy.

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