2010 Carmel Valley Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc •Estate Bottled
California: Carmel Valley
What We Say
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Mission Codename: Cowboy Blanc
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Galante Vineyards in California’s beautiful Carmel Valley and secure an allocation of their newly released and winery exclusive Sauvignon Blanc.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Galante Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2010 Carmel Valley Sauvignon Blanc
Winemaker: Greg Vita
Backgrounder: Our Operatives know that we are huge fans of Galante wines. We have featured a handful of Galante wines in the past, and today marks the return of their Sauvignon Blanc, a crisp and refreshing wine that gets better every year. Sauvignon Blanc originally hails from the Loire Valley in France, but has found new homes in other parts of France (Bordeaux, where it is blended with Sauternes); New Zealand, and specifically the Marlborough region as well as California. It is generally dry and crisp with flavors of apples, pears and tropical fruit and tends to have bright acidity that lends itself well to pairing with spicy foods.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Perfect clarity, with light straw yellow hues. Viewed from the top, the wine shows perfectly concentrated color, from the core to the edge of the glass.After swirling the wine, tall, skinny tears make roll quickly down the glass.
Smell – Bright and tropical, this wine has a very full nose that is rich with pineapple, guava and coconut husk. After a moment, honeysuckle and green apple mingle with subtle yellow cherry, lemongrass, green apple, lime and green melon.
Feel – Bright and very clean, the wine has an initially soft feel that quickly transmutes to slightly dry, as the wine eases its way into a medium-bodied fullness. The wine has a very bright acidity that seems to race all around your mouth, before settling in with a great steel mineral feel.
Taste – Very robust at first, with big citrus, pineapple and tart Granny Smith apple in the lead. As these flavors tail off, secondary flavors of acacia flower, green melon, lime and a hint of caramel appear, rounding out the big flavor experience.
Finish – Medium long, with lingering bright citrus, pineapple and white flower petals that yield to soft steel and a touch of caramel at the very end.
Conclusion – The 2010 Galante Vineyards Carmel Valley Sauvignon Blanc is a bright, fresh and delicious wine that is easy-drinking, but never boring. With a big nose, this is a wine that is a delight to inhale for a long while before ever taking a sip. The first sip is filled with bright, crisp flavors. The dynamic acidity seems to drive these flavors all around the palate, leading to a steely, mineral laden finish. Perfect for the coming warm weather, this is a wine that is equally at home with a fine meal as it is enjoyed on the back patio with your favorite spicy barbecue. Jack Galante (aka “Agent Cowboy”) has become a good friend to The Wine Spies over the years and we are proud to bring you a couple of his best wines, each year. Cheers!
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Galante Vineyards 2005 Blackjack Pasture Cabernet Sauvignon
WINE EDUCATION: I drank heavily in college!
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: My family and I have been growing wine grapes for 27 years and I built the winery in 1994.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Grow the finest grapes possible and let the fruit express itself in the wine.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging!
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: The 1994 vintage – we had three wines, Sauvignon Blanc, Red Rose Hill Cabernet Sauvignon and Blackjack Pasture Cabernet Sauvignon
AGENT RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
WINEMAKER: The 2010 Sauvignon Blanc was harvested from two different elevations here at Galante Estate Vineyards. One is at 800 feet and the other is at 1800.They are the same clone but the upper vineyard tends to ripen first. Both have low PH, long hang time and lots of fruit due to the cool nights we experience in our beautiful appellation. The wine was fermented in Stainless tanks and then moved to new French oak puncheons for two and a half months. Puncheons hold 500 liters of wine as opposed to a traditional oak barrel which holds 225 liters. Since the puncheons hold over twice the amount of wine there is less contact with the oak which creates a softer, more elegant and less “toasty” wine.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
WINEMAKER: I like shrimp on the wood fire grill sprinkled with a little fresh lemon zest with the 2010 Sauvignon Blanc. Delicious!
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Carmel Valley so special?
WINEMAKER: Carmel Valley is so incredibly unique. You just don’t find wines from other areas of California that have our characteristics. The most unique thing about our region is the climate. The very cool nights during the growing season allow us to hang our fruit up to three weeks longer than most areas. This develops more complexity and fruit characters. We are only about 12 miles from Carmel and 10 miles from Big Sur although it seems like we are much farther away due to the terrain. As such we enjoy the best aspects of a marine climate, cool nights and hot, dry days, without the fog of the surrounding valley. Where our Blackjack Cabernet is grown it is not uncommon to have a daily temperature of 50 to 60 degrees during the growing season. This leads to a very long hang time as we normally do not harvest our grapes until into November. Our vineyards are on south facing slopes with an east-west attitude for maximum solar influence and our well drained soils and ample rainfall allow for dry farming or at least very minimal irrigation. Small yields also add to the complexity of the fruit.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
WINEMAKER: We are getting ready to bottle our 2009 reds and enjoying watching the small buds develop on the vines. We are also expanding our storage facility on the property.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
For your enjoyment, what follows is our original mission to Galante Vineyards:
note: be sure to read the following in your best cowboy voice
Howdy Pardners! Agent Red here, reportin’ back from the range.
During a recent mission to infiltrate the notorious Galante Gang_, I was known simply as ’_*Red*’.
Why me? Well, match up my love for great red wines with the time I spent playing Cowboys and Indians as a child – and it was only natural that Central Command should chose me for this mission.
It had been rumored that Galante produced some of the best Cabernets in the state so I was sent to investigate. I arrived at the Galante Ranch where I was greeted by Cowboy Winemaker, Jack Galante. I told Jack right off that I was new in town and wanted to join his Gang. He looked somewhat skeptical when he noticed my shiny penny loafers, but after he sized me up, he invited me in for a tasting. (Note to self: Pay better attention to my disguises!)
Jack poured me a glass of his Cabernet Sauvignon (shouldn’t he serve it in a tin cup?). What struck me first was this wine didn’t have the overpowering aromas of chili pepper usually found in the Cabs of the Monterey region. Rather, I found sandalwood, oak, cherry, currant and rose. This is an aromatic wine that’s not afraid to boast about its character.
After some very skillful cowboy style sniffing and yelling “YEE-HAW!”, I went in for a taste. I was impressed. This is a very bright and flavorful wine that has a big mouth feel, with medium tannins and big tastes of cherry and berry.
I think that Jack was impressed with my cowboy manner. At least I think that’s why he was looking at me in that way. And, no, that’s not a Brokeback reference. Jack is all man.
This wine certainly gets my personal recommendation and I’m pretty sure that we’ll feature other Galante wines here in the future. Pair it with free range gourmet like pan-seared baked beans, cactus fritters or even a fine tumbleweed stew.
For a real Cowboy Cabernet that can be served with real cuisine, you should pick up a bottle or two. This is a wine that is ready to drink now, but could peak in just a few years.
For a real pairing, we recommend a delicious Montana Legend steak
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Glante Vineyards, including the Blackjack Pasture, can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Cowboy Philosophy: “You can’t keep a bull ‘cause you love
About This Wine:
Our very limited Sauvignon Blanc is tank fermented and aged for two and a half months in French oak puncheons to add additional body and a slight hint of oak. On the pallet the wine explodes with a wonderful steely, grapefruit flavor and ripe stone fruits. Bright acids and an explosive fragrance round out this refreshing wine.
About Our Winery:
At Galante Vineyards our philosophy is simple: grow the finest grapes possible and let the fruit express itself in the wine. Since all of our grapes are estate grown, each bottle of wine we produce embodies the characteristics of our unique region, exhibiting the natural flavors that are born from the land.
The Galante Family has a long history in the Monterey area. Owner Jack Galante’s great grandfather, J.F. Devendorf, was the founder of the town of Carmel. He later built the Pine Inn and the prestigious Highlands Inn. In 1969, Jack’s parents purchased a 700-acre cattle ranch in rustic Carmel Valley. While still maintaining a working cattle ranch, the Galantes, in 1983, began growing premium grapes on their property, specializing in Cabernet Sauvignon. In 1994, Jack Galante decided to build a winery and use some of his grapes to produce ultra-premium estate bottled wines. Today Galante is recognized as one of the premier Cabernet Sauvignon producers in Monterey County and all of California.
About Our Wine:
We produce very limited quantities of Estate Bottled 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from two single vineyards, Red Rose Hill and Blackjack Pasture. Our philosophy is to grow the finest grapes possible and let them speak for themselves through the wine. Several factors influence the quality of the grapes grown at our vineyards. Due to the extreme daily temperature variations in Cachagua (upper Carmel Valley), the growing season is very long with harvest normally occurring in mid October. This long “hang time” causes the grapes to ripen slowly, intensifying their rich berry flavors. We also thin the crop to an average of two tons per acre providing a low yield of very high quality grapes. We do not use pesticides or herbicides in the vineyards and only irrigate when needed. These methods, and others, combine to produce the highest quality grapes (see Vintner).Estate Wines, Galante Vineyards, California Wines
Our wine label is very special to us and reflects our roots and our efforts at Galante Vineyards. The image of the label is a photograph of real leather, hand-tooled by a California saddle maker with conchos in each corner designed by a local silversmith. The artwork for Red Rose Hill and Blackjack Pasture was created by world-renowned artist, G.H. Rothe. Our vineyard names are also meaningful; Blackjack Pasture is adjacent to the field where a favorite roping horse, Blackjack, spent the last of her 36 years. Red Rose Hill rises above a field of crimson rose bushes (just a small portion of our thousands of rose bushes), and Rancho Galante celebrates our beginnings as a cattle ranch, known as “Rancho Galante”. Even our back labels incorporate our cowboy image by including a special “Cowboy Philosophy” hand picked by owner Jack Galante.
Brix at Harvest: 23.8
Total Acid: 0.75
Harvest Date: 10/15/10
Production: 590 Cases