Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cellarmistress Visits Broman Cellars!!!

One of the things I love the most about wine blogging is meeting all the special people that make this hobby I have so intriguing and fulfilling! Back in 2009, I posted a story about Broman Cellars. I had met Lisa Broman Augustine on Facebook and we happened to be having dinner at the same winery during the 2009 North American Wine Bloggers Conference in Napa. On my latest trip to Napa, Lisa invited me to visit the Broman Cellars property and do a private tasting in her parents' home near Howell Mountain.

I was a little skittish about driving up Deer Park Road as I come from the flat land of Iowa with absolutely no mountain driving experience. I thought I'd be riding up with her but instead she was (thankfully) a little sneaky and made me follow her up. So I have to thank her for helping me get over my fear of mountain driving--for now!

The picturesque 11.5 acre Broman property is located just below Howell Mountain and the first thing I saw on the property was an old white tower that Lisa said would some day be their tasting room. Cool! (Awhile back, I had read on Facebook that they had to shut down part of the Silverado Trail in order to move their tasting room. I had no idea what that meant until I saw the tower!) The Broman family was very accomodating and it felt really special visiting them. Lisa introduced me her mom, Deborah Russell Broman, a real estate agent and journalist in St. Helena. Deborah is very active in the community and was cooking up treats for an Oscar night benefit being held at a local movie theatre that evening. The house smelled wonderful and we sat in the dining room and held a formal tasting with Lisa's step dad, winemaker Bob Broman.

Bob's story is an interesting one. He has a very long, illustrious history in the business--with stints at Louis Martini, Concannon, Stags Leap and St. Supery. Sitting across the table from him and listening to him speak of his winemaking and the wines, I was just in awe. We sampled wine, laughed and joked and had a wonderful time. He entertained me with stories and photos of his first trip to China. These are the experiences I treasure the most. They really make what I do worthwhile! All of Bob's hard work has paid off and he now produces about 1400 cases of three wines: Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.

We sat and slowly sampled all three wines, paired with cheeses that Lisa personally selected for the tasting from the Oxbow Cheese Merchant in Napa. The 2009 Broman Cellars Sauvignon Blanc is hands down one of my favorite Sauvignon Blancs ever! Unbelievably flavorful and juicy, this wine is hard to beat! The grapes were sourced from the Beckstoffer Melrose Vineyard in Rutherford. With its fruit-forward style, this wine will be the perfect accompaniment for Summer and I personally cannot wait to be popping open one of these on a patio sometime soon! I'm drooling as I think about it! It's hard to beat this value for $17 a bottle!
397 cases produced.

The 2005 Broman Cellars Syrah was next. You've heard it all before. I'm Syrah-challenged, I rarely keep Syrah in the house and in general, Syrah in Napa Valley is a tough sell. I'm here to say that I seriously have not stopped thinking about this Syrah since I got back from Napa. I liken it to a new love getting under my skin. It is unbelievable! Sourced from vineyards in the Oak Knoll district (known for Syrah) this wine is huge, fiery, smoky and bold! It knocked me off my feet! (Not literally but you understand the point.) Deborah was cooking up some bacon and Bob brought some over to the table to have with the Syrah. Bacon and Syrah--the ultimate powerhouse couple! You must try this amazing wine! $24. 229 cases produced.

Next up was the 2005 Broman Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon. When it comes to Napa Valley, Cabernet is king. And there are so many Napa Cabs and styles out there! Bob's Cabernet is exquisite! Sourced from prime Napa Valley vineyards: Beckstoffer Dr. Crane in St. Helena and Beckstoffer Georges III in Rutherford and aged in French oak for 30 months!!! Bold dark berries with a little leathery dust and the finish never ends. Simply a wonderful buy for $48! 626 cases produced.

Broman Cellars wines are available in limited distribution and directly from their website at These wines are a great find and such a deal! I want to thank Lisa for being such a great friend and introducing me to Bob and Deborah. Thank you to Bob and Deborah for graciously hosting me in your home and allowing me to get a feel for what its really like to be a small family producer in Napa Valley. You are all so wonderful! I hope to visit again sometime!

"You Saw It Here First"...This post was created solely for "Cellarmistress' Cellar Talk" by Grace Hoffman. Grace is an Italian-born, American-bred wine blogger/educator with an all-consuming passion for wine and all it encompasses.

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