Roots Run Deep Winery
1 Kirkland Ranch Road
American Canyon, Calif. 94503
Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily
Tasting Fees: $25 for flight of five wines; $35 for flight of five plus cheese board; $50 for reserve flight. (Tasting fee waived with purchase of two bottles)
Wines Offered: 2015 Chardonnay, 2015 Pinot Noir, 2015 Merlot, 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014 Hypothesis Cabernet Sauvignon; Higher Education Cabernet Sauvignon’s
Reservations: Recommended, but not necessary
Did You Know? Roots Run Deep was the first commercial winery to produce and release wine processed 100 percent using the Flash Détante process. A pre-fermentation process also known as “instant relaxation,” Flash Détante quickly cools and heats fruit to produce color and tannin.
At the end of a long, tree-lined driveway on Kirkland Ranch Road in Napa Valley, Roots Run Deep Winery is an oasis. Set amongst more than 300 acres of the property’s own Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards, as well as the original owners cattle that graze in the distance, the tasting room and lush grounds share a rural and refined ambiance.
In the early 1990s, Mark Albrecht, owner and chief executive officer of Roots Run Deep Winery, began an extensive career in the wine industry. Managing a wine shop in Washington D.C., he was bit by the wine bug, he says. He moved to California in 1994, becoming Cost Plus World Market’s first regional wine manager. He eventually became the national wine buyer for the company and found a passion in brand creation and development.
When Albrecht began his own wine venture in the early 2000s, he sold his house in the Oakland hills, and found friends and family to invest. In 2005, his first vintage was produced—Educated Guess Cabernet Sauvignon. He chose the name, Roots Run Deep, as an homage to his long history in the wine business. The wine label, a chemistry formula of one of the many processes of winemaking, showcases the art and science that go in to the many ways of expressing a vineyard. And from a consumer’s standpoint, the possibilities, too, are endless. “That’s exactly what they’re doing when choosing a wine—they have an infinite number of possibilities,” explains Albrecht.
We begin with the 2015 Educated Guess Chardonnay from Sangiacomo vineyards in Carneros. The cooler climate allows the grapes to retain natural acidity and fruit. This wine is made with 100 percent Chardonnay. Textured and creamy, the wine fermented in both barrel and stainless steel tanks, gives it a buttery-oaky, yet tropical and fruity wine, which won the gold in the 2018 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. “Quality overrides everything for us,” says Albrecht.
Next, we taste the 2015 Educated Guess Pinot Noir, which delivers a well-balanced blend of cherry cola, spice and oak. The sharpness and acidity would pair perfectly with a fatty duck or any rich flavored meat. The Pinot is exquisite, and is sold out. Not hard to believe. “We sell out of most our wines in 10 months,” says Albrecht. “It takes about two months to get them back in stock.”
We move on to the 2015 Educated Guess Merlot, from grapes grown on property. This weighty, textured Merlot is more complex and high quality than typical Merlots from days past. Winning Best of Class in the 2018 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, this is a fan-favorite, and a go-to wine for staff and visitors. “We’re committed to Merlot,” Albrecht says. “I decided to make a stand-alone Merlot—to get people back to enjoying it.”
Winemaker Macario Montoya, who’ll be celebrating his one-year anniversary with the winery in June, shares how the appellation and terroir allow the wines to speak for themselves. “Our job is to let the flavors and uniqueness of each appellation come through on its own,” he says. Montoya was with Piña Cellars for 10 years and also makes wine for Campesino Cellars, a selection of wines of the Rhone varietal. The wines at Roots Run Deep are all gluten free and vegan, and their Hypothesis Cabernet Sauvignon done via Flash Détante, has been tested and shown to have higher amounts of antioxidants than other red wines.
Our final wine in the Educated Guess group is the 2015 Educated Guess Cabernet Sauvignon. Another Best of Class winner, this is their flagship wine in its 11th year in production, and their number-one wine. “Given the drought, I’m happy with the outcome,” he says. The grapes suffered during last years’ drought, and from a growing standpoint, he says the vines weren’t as happy. This Cab is fruity and rich, with a delicate offering of tannins and earthiness to make a bold and balanced blend of flavors.
For guests who prefer to further educate their palates at Roots Run Deep, the Higher Education selection of four wines—The Scholar, The Graduate, The Valedictorian and The Ph.D., are complex and robust Cabernets from Howell Mountain. The dark color, and gravel aroma are distinct of the expressive mountain terrain and fruit. These are A-plus wines.
As we finish up our tasting, a quick and heavy hailstorm erupts outside the tasting room, giving proof to the ever-changing climate and diverse elements of the Napa Valley. “Well—this is going to affect the 2018 vintage,” Albrecht jokingly states. Whether it’s a hot and sunny day, raining or hailing, there’s no bad time to enjoy the wines at Roots Run Deep Winery. Visit their winery to see, and taste, for yourself.
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