2009 “Ace High” Malbec
California: Carmel Valley
What We Say
RARE WINE ALERT:
Today’ wine is a fantastic, approachable, affordable Malbec, made from fantastic Carmel Valley fruit. At today’s special price it it is difficult to skip this delicious wine.
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Mission Codename: Galet’s Dream
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Galante Vineyards and acquire an allocation of their very exclusive “Ace High” Estate Malbec, a wine that is extraordinarily popular with the winery’s wine club members.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Galante Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2009 Ace High Malbec – Carmel Valley
Winemaker: Greg Vita
Backgrounder: For nearly five years, The Wine Spies have had the great honor to bring you the exceptional wines from Jack Galante’s namesake Galante Vineyards. With each successive vintage, we have experienced the continuous improvement and and growing quality of Jack’s wines. Today, we are very pleased to be you Jack’s very limited-production, Ace High Malbec. This wine is available in very limited quantity, with the majority of the wine allocated to Galante’s luck wine club members.
One of the six classic 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. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Ruby red with a slight burgundy caste, in the right light. Color is slightly darker at the core and it lightens toward the edge. Spin the wine and marvel at the the seemingly endless cascade of wave after wave of skinny legs that descend from high up on the glass wall.
Smell – Sweet and spicy aromas jump from the glass, led by sweet red plum, cinnamon, clove and spiced cherry candy. These are closely followed by fresh soil, dark minerals, dark chocolate and violet petals.
Feel – Cool and light, initially. At the edges of the palate, the wine is soft and round. At the mid-palate, the wine settles in, adding a dry and grippy feeling the spreads a mineral-rich dryness to the corners of the mouth. Supple tannins and a bright acidity give the wine a complex feel that adds to its intriguing character.
Taste – Spicy, earthy, sweet black cherry is way out in front. This initial flavor is soon joined by dark plum, bramble, blackberry and sweet oak. As the wine opens, it also reveals hard leather and fresh soil.
Finish – Sweet and tart and softly spicy, this wine has a lovely, medium-long finish that is complimented by an earthy minerality at the tail end.
Conclusion – It is seemingly rare for us to feature a Malbec here, so when we do, you can be assured that we love it. Today’s example is a very approachable, delicious and nicely complex wine that delivers great flavors and an enticing, complex feel. The lush aromatics had our tasting panel spennding a long time just _inhaling) the wine before ever taking that first flavor-filled sip. If you are seeking a delicious wine that is just a bit out of the ordinary – without being completely obtuse, then we encourage you to sample this great wine. Pair as you would a Cabernet or a Merlot. We recommend a nice thick steak!
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:
This 100% Malbec has a lovely bouquet of boysenberry and violet with a flavor profile of spicy plum and blackberry. If you enjoyed the Double M I am sure the Ace High will go down great. It is a rich, juicy wine with modest yet elegant tannins which will hold up well to a nice piece of BBQ meat.
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.