Tuesday, November 3, 2009

German winemakers in the World: Robert Stemmler (USA)

Picture: Robert Stemmler

Robert Stemmler, a native from Germany, is a key figure in helping American Pinot Noir become what it is today: A world class wine, well established in the wine market. Robert Stemmler was an early and passionate producer of outstanding California Pinot Noir. He arrived in Napa Valley in 1961 after making wine for nearly a decade in Germany. He worked first at the Charles Krug Winery with the Mondavi brothers, then became winemaker at Simi in Sonoma County.

In 1976, he founded his own winery in Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley. In 1982, having found a cool-climate Russian River Valley fruit source, he released his first Pinot Noir to great critical acclaim.

Robert traveled tirelessly promoting his Pinot Noir at tastings dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay producers, and he steadily developed his own following. In 1989, Robert retired from full-time winemaking after 35 years. His friends, the German Racke family purchased his label, maintaining it as a wine club and tasting room brand within their Buena Vista winery.

When Buena Vista sold to Allied Domecq in 2001, the Racke family kept one jewel of a vineyard they called The Donum Estate, where Anne Racke launched an “ultimate Pinot Noir” project to create wines of exquisite quality. With the addition of Ferguson Block and Nugent as estate vineyards, Robert Stemmler became Donum’s sister brand.

Today, Robert Stemmler wines are available at fine restaurants and retail shops in key markets throughout the United States. Robert Stemmler wines are made exclusively with estate-grown grapes from The Donum Estate and Ferguson Block in Carneros and the Nugent Vineyard in the Russian River Valley of California’s famed Sonoma County.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you are writing about Stemmler. By coincidence, I tasted Stemmmler's 2006 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Estate yesterday afternoon. I thought it was a terrific Pinot Noir. It showed ripe and concentrated cherry fruit, a light touch of oak, and excellent balance. It is certainly among the better California Pinots I have tasted this year and is affordable.