2009 'Double M' Malbec/Merlot Red Wine
Red Blend •Estate Bottled
California: Carmel Valley
What We Say
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Mission Codename: Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Return to Galante Vineyards in California’s beautiful Carmel Valley and secure an allocation of their newly released and winery exclusive Double M – Malbec/Merlot blend.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Galante Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2009 Double M – Malbec/Merlot Blend
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 introduction of their Double M, a tasty blend of 50% Malbec and 50% Merlot from the picturesque Carmel Valley, just inland of the coast in Monterey County. Malbec and Merlot are both one of the six component varietals that go into a true French Bordeaux wine. Malbec (named for the Hungarian peasant who first brought the grape to France) is a thin-skinned grape that requires more time to mature than its Bordeaux brethren, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In America, where very little Malbec is grown, the wine is often used as a minority component of Meritage blends. While Argentina is, perhaps, best-known for producing exceptional examples of the varietal, increasingly, California wineries are becoming more skilled in extracting a unique, and delicious, expression of the grape. Then, any true fan of red wine knows that, worldwide, Merlot is a serious and well-respected wine varietal. It is the most widely grown grape in the Bordeaux region of France and, in America, Merlot soared to popularity in the 1990s. And for good reason; Merlot, when done correctly, can be incredible, as is the case with today’s serious offering from Galante Vineyards.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – A beautifully bright and intense ruby red robe with great clarity. Along the edges the color remains deep and when swirled this wine leaves randomly spaced clusters of slow fat legs on the side of the glass.
Smell – Bold and rich, this deeply aromatic wine leads you in with its aromas of dark ripe berries. Spiced and vanilla oak notes and black tea blend with a touch of anise, violet flowers, mocha and soft earthly and green herbal notes.
Feel – Soft, plush and expansive, this wines round tannins expand over the palate before the grip slowly but firmly kick in with finely textured minerality, vibrant acidity and a touch of spice.
Taste – Ripe and bright jammy berries including black raspberry, blueberry and blackberry are immediately followed by a distinct mineral note that is both tasted and felt. Toasted oak with hints of vanilla blend with earthy undertones follow. A touch of spice and tartness lingers under the fruit and dries the palate into the finish.
Finish – Long and textured with mineral and spice sensations lingering as the ripe fruit fades. The finely grained tannins lingers on the palate with hints of vanilla oak.
Conclusion – The 2009 Galante Vineyards Double M is delicious, fun and easily approachable blend of two of the usually second billing Bordeaux grapes. Showing a ripe and fragrant nose. One the palate the Merlot and Malbec perfectly balance each other with great texture and smooth roundness. Great fruit, vanilla toast and other subtle flavors on the palate with minerality lingers into the finish. A great summer food wine to enjoy with a juicy cowboy steak or burger. Enjoy it now or cellar for up to five years and watch the flavors and aromas meld and develop.
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.
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 Galante Vineyards vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Cowboy Philosophy: “Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.”
About This Wine:
We branded this stock with our Double M – a 50/50 blend of Malbec and Merlot. With aromas of blueberry and black tea, and bright flavors of raspberry and fresh vanilla, this crisp, bright wine will linger on your palette and be marked in your memory. Moderate tannins help create this very cellar worthy 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: 23.9
Total Acid: 0.72
Harvest Date: 10/1-10/12
Aged: French Oak