Robledo Family Winery
2004 Los Braceros
California: Sonoma County
What we say
If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes better than that, as is the case with today’s wine from Robledo Family Winery.
SUPER SONOMA TUESDAY ALERT!
Some of the best wines in the world are made right here in Sonoma County. Every Tuesday, The Wine Spies proudly feature one great Sonoma County winery.
Mission Codename: Generations of greatness
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Sleuth an exceptional Sonoma County red blend that reveals the character
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Robledo Family Winery
Wine Subject: 2004 Los Braceros
Winemaker: Reynaldo Robledo
The men and women of Mexico who left their homeland during World War II to work the vineyards of Sonoma and Napa Valley are universally credited as laying the foundation for California’s burgeoning wine industry. Today, The Wine Spies send Agent Red to investigate a multi-generational winemaking family that makes wines that spring from their spirit of stewardship, honor and humility. Read Agent Red’s mission report below for more details.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep garnet with a slight haze at its core, a tight surface that becomes instantly still after swirling, with wide-space andslow-moving legs
Smell – An initial hit of deep red fruit, oaky vanilla with hints of pepper, followed by subtle smoked meats, plum and mild spice
Feel – Massively round and slightly cool on first sip, then the wine reveals its medium but balanced tannins
Taste – Big, savory and roundly layered flavors of dark fruit, smoked cherry, subtle black pepper, light oak and softest cinnamon
Finish – Long and lingering with soft tannins that dry the tongue and pucker the cheeks, then flavors seem to bounce back for a moment and then taper off
Conclusion – This is a very complex and very interesting red blend from a producer of deep heritage and great talents. On first opening, the wine shows a little rough around the edges. Trust me, however, on decanting for a few hours, this wine really opens up. It remains a big wine throughout, but it does soften up to reveal its true intentions. It deeply rich and subtly layered wine with many flavors and aromas that will keep you talking about it as you enjoy sip after sip. Drink now of cellar for 2 to 3 years for an even softer experience.
Today I go undercover as a reporter, covering Latino-owned wineries in Sonoma County. My real mission is to discover all I can about Robledo Family Winery – and the rich heritage that lead to their wine-making prowess.
I get to the winery early, in advance of our scheduled appointment, and visit the Robledo tasting room. Its early in the day and the tasting room has just opened. The vacant bar at the far end is beautiful, hand-carved Michoacan and as I sidle up I am greeted by a young man that appears from a back room. He introduces himself as the tasting room manager and son of family patriarch, Reynaldo. No name is given.
I introduce myself as reporter, Ace DurifF, and he eyes me suspiciously. “Duriff,” He says. “Isn’t that another name for Petite Sirah?”
I play it cool and simply shrug my shoulders.
I explain that I am here to meet Vanessa Robledo, his sister and winery President. He tells me that he is aware of our meeting and assures me that Vanessa will be on time. While we wait, he regales me with family history and pours me a taste of the family’s 2004 Los Braceros, a red blend featuring Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. I am instantly enamored with the wine and I sip and listen.
After a few minutes Vanessa arrives and we exchange brief pleasantries. Vanessa takes note of the wine in my glass and explains, “This wine is made entirely from grapes grown in the Sonoma Valley, an area that greatly benefited from the historical Bracero Program, which was a program that was enacted by the Federal Government during World War II. The program enabled thousands of Latino laborers to work in California agriculture while the local labor force fought the war.”
Without this program, it seems, wine in the region would not be what it is today.
“My great grandfather, Luis Robledo arrived in California as part of the Braceros program,” explains Vanessa. “The hard work that his generation of Braceros put into the vines and grapes of this area made possible the consolidation of the entire wine industry in Napa and Sonoma. The character and spirit of these Mexican agricultural workers has since prevailed in California contributing to its wealth and greatness.”
Vanessa went on to explain that father Reynaldo Robledo came to the United States in 1968 to work in California vineyards. He spent three decades working in vineyards until he eventually was managing hundreds of acres for some of the most prestigious wineries in California. Robledo slowly acquired land and planted his own vineyards, formed his own vineyard management company and finally opened his own family winery. The Robledo Family Winery features the first tasting room and winery established by a Mexican Migrant Vineyard worker in all of North America.
After some additional spirited conversation about the family and about their balanced approach to winemaking, Vanessa looks at her watch and, finally, excuses herself. She is off to more meetings and bids me a warm hasta luego.
I leave the winery, loaded up with bottles of Los Braceros – and feeling enriched for having met this warm, talented and history-steeped winemaking family.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Robledo Family vineayrds and tasting room vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
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Robledo Family Winery
Robledo Family Winery is the first winery established by a Mexican Immigrant Vineyard Worker in the county. Reynaldo & Maria Robledo, founders and owners share their American Dream with their nine children. Wine is produced from their estate vineyard in Sonoma, Napa & Lake County. They celebrate their authentic Mexican culture and embrace their deeply rooted viticulture experience in every drop of wine they produce.
2004 Los Braceros, Sonoma Valley – Red Blend (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, & Syrah)
Los Braceros is produced in memory of our Mexican history in America. During WWII in the 1940’s many men were sent over seas to fight the war leaving the US with not enough labor force to sustain the agricultural lands. The US government invited Mexican men and women to work the agricultural land in America. There were labor camps established through out the country where the Mexicans lived. These men and women were known as “Los Braceros”. This is how the Robledo’s first arrived in America and began working in the vineyards.
Our Favorite Pairing
Beef Empanadas by Maria Robledo, Executive Chef & Winery Owner-Paired with 2004 Los Braceros
For 6 empanadas
4 cups of masa
Salt to taste
Beef filling for empanada
1lb steak filet chopped in cubes
½ onion chopped
2 tomatoes diced
½ fresh jalapeno pepper chopped
11/2 cups of Mozzarella cheese
¼ cup of Cotija cheese
Mexican sour cream
½ lettuce shredded
5 tender small nopales (remove thorns before dicing) Boil for 20 minutes wash, drain, and allow to cool before blending tomato, onion, cilantro, and salt.
2 diced tomato
½ red onion
½ bunch of cilantro
Salt to taste
Place 4 cups of masa in a mixing bowl and add water as you knead the mixture with one hand as you hold the bowl with the other. By the texture of the mixture you will be able to tell when the dough is prepared for the tortilla.
Place frying pan over medium heat. Once pan is heated up place chopped beef in the pan for 20-25 minutes uncovered. Allow for beef to cook in its own juices. Once cooked add onion, tomato, cheeses, and jalapeno pepper.
Place olive oil in a frying pan on high-medium heat. Allow to heat up. Fill tortilla with beef mixture after flattening the dough with a tortilla maker or by hand. Place empanada in the frying pan allowing it to brown on both sides. Once cook drain from excess oil.
Place empanada on serving plate and top with sour cream, cheese, lettuce, and Nopal salad. Enjoy with a glass or two of 2004 Robledo-Los Braceros, Red Blend (Cabernet, Syrah, and Merlot).