Rosenblum Cellars is the Grand Dame of the Oakland Urban Wine Trail. With an amazing position on the bay at Jack London Square, it provided an amazing setting for our sunset wine tasting.
Our inaugural visit to the Oakland Urban Wine Trail started at Cerruti Cellars, continued onto Jeff Cohn Cellars. With the sun heading for the horizon, we decided to visit Rosenblum Cellars to enjoy one last tasting and drink in the coming of twilight. As we approached the tasting room, bustling with happy wine tasters enjoying the patio, we knew that we had made a good decision.
We entered the tasting room to find it as abuzz as the patio. Cafe tables were scattered around, and a wooden bar lined the glass wall facing the bay. After looking around a bit, we chose a nice spot at the glass to enjoy the view and met our wine guide Tom. Tom gave us a quick orientation to the tasting room gave us a few minutes to settle in.
Tom let us know that had our choice of tasting a “Reserve” flight or a “Premier” flight. The Reserve flight had four wines, and the Premier flight added two more wines. Given the hour, and the two previous tastings, we chose the Reserve flight. While we were discussing our options with Tom, we learned that the Rosemblum winery had recently been purchased by Treasury Wine Estates, an Australian wine conglomerate. Some research later showed that Treasury also owns such familiar labels as Beaulieu Vineyards, Beringer, Stags’ Leap, and Sterling Vineyards.
In a few minutes, Tom returned with our tasting. We were happily surprised to see the amazing way that the wines were presented:
This presentation, with each wine in its own miniature carafe, was perfect for our relaxed, “what do your think about this wine?” style of tasting. Tom checked in frequently, so we had plenty of time with him to discuss the wine and the winery, but everything proceeded at our own pace.
We started with their 2012 Cullinane Zinfandel from Sonoma Valley. This was an intriguing start to our flight, with toasted marshmallow on the nose and super smooth fruit on the tongue, ending with very controlled pepper. Almost a feeling of honey. We thought that this was the perfect Zin for a dinner party, with enough personality for Zin lovers but enough restraint to the spice for those new to Zins.
We moved on to the 2009 Harris Kratka Zinfandel, made from the very sames grapes that Rock Wall Wine Company uses for their Zin of the same name. This version was a study in layers, with smoke, cherry, earth and rosemary taking turns dancing on the tongue.
The 2011 Fran’s Reserve Syrah, from the Rockpile vineyard, had nice notes of butterscotch and minerals, with lots of dried fruit and cocoa and a crisp acid finish. Our final taste was their 2013 Cowboy Petite Sirah. We spent some time debating whether the nose was cumin or curry, but agreed that this was our favorite wine of the day!
It seemed more than appropriate that our favorite taste of the day was also our last. We purchased a few bottles of wine, thanked Tom for his attention and insights, and set off to the Jack London Square parking lot that held our car. Our first venture into the Oakland scene was amazing!
About the Author: John grills a mean steak and is always in the market for another wine fridge. Believes that if a winery has more than 10 employees, it's probably too big. Buys wine faster than he drinks it, but who cares?