2006 Blackjack Pasture Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Carmel Valley
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s wine is truly extraordinary! We’ve had the great fortune to showcase this, Jack Galante’s flagship Cabernet, for the last few years – but today’s vintage represents his best so far. If you love delicious, distinctive, terroir-driven Cabernet Sauvignon, this is one wine you won’t want to miss.
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Mission Codename: Double Down
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Operative favorite, Galante Vineyards, and secure Cowboy Jack Galante’s newest Blackjack Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, his stunning 2005. Wrangle a some for our range-riding Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Galante Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2006 Blackjack Pasture Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Greg Vita
Backgrounder: Each year, The Wine Spies eagerly anticipate Jack Galante’s latest Blackjack Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Grown in select blocks of his estate vineyard on his Carmel Valley ranch, the Blackjack is always our favorite of his wonderful Cabernets. This 2006 vintage is the finest yet. This bold wine is expressive, delicious and intriguing. Read Agent Red’s tasting analysis and mission report , below.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deeply dark garnet hues, with even coloration from the heart of the wine, right out to the ruby edges of the glass. When swirled, tall, skinny, wine-colored legs start high on the glass and then streak quickly downward.
Smell – Cherry and cigar box rush up to greet your nose. These sit atop blackberry, leather, dried meats, braised Mission fig, black cherry, dark raspberry and dark chocolate.
Feel – Cool and light on the initial attack. Then, the wine becomes softly dry and grippy as plush tannins take hold. Soft minerals and a balanced acidity add a softly chewy complexity on the palate.
Taste – Sweet red cherry and cranberry juice burst forth onto the palate. As these fade, they are replaced by blackberry, young strawberry, cigar box and dried red flower petals. As the wine opens up, it also revels leather, tobacco leaf, soft black pepper and a hint of mocha.
Finish – Very long and elegant, lead by juicy red cherry and cranberry that yield to darker and more earthen flavors.
Conclusion – This latest vintage of Jack Galante’s flagship 2006 Blackjack Pasture Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is a stunner! Juicier and with more red fruit than in previous vintages, today’s wine is a delicious treat. This wine isn’t all bright fruit, though. It does a beautiful job of balancing its fruit against darker elements of tobacco, mocha, leather, dried meats and spice. Each sip I took of this wine was accompanied by the word, “Wow”. I am simply crazy about Jack’s latest Backjack, which shows nearly perfect balance – on the nose and on the palate. If you’ve never had the pleasure to sample a Galante wine, we warn you, this one will turn you into an instant devotee of all of Jack’s fantastic wines. We’ve known Jack for a long time, and we have been featuring his wines for the last five years. In all that time, we have only been impressed. Enjoy this wine now, but be sure to hold some for the next several years. This powerful wine will continue to improve for the next several years.
AGENT RED: As always, Jack, thank you so much for allowing us to showcase your wines for these last four-plus years. It has been a pleasure and an honor to get to know you and to have enjoyed your wines.
JACK: Thank you, Agent Red. We love that your Operatives love our wines so much! Tell me, though, when will I finally get my own Agent name?
RED: You have one, already! It’s [REDACTED], but be careful who you reveal this to… Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
JACK: The Blackjack Pasture is our signature Cabernet. It is a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in 100% new French oak barrels. This wine comes from a specific vineyard block on our property in Carmel Valley. Our Blackjack is known for its chewy tannins and bold chocolate and black currant flavors. Although this wine drinks wonderfully now, it is extremely age worthy and would easily do well in your cellar for the next 5 to 10 years.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
JACK: Hands down, a big, thick cowboy cut rib eye steak.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Carmel Valley so special?
JACK: Our small appellation is known for its cool nights and warm dry days. Although we are close to the coast – only 10 miles as the hawk flies – we are not subject to the well known Monterey fogs. We are in our own little mountain valley that is influenced by the coastal coolness but sheltered from the fog so our Bordeaux varietals do extremely well.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
JACK: Racking wine and pruning the vines.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. The Wine Spies remain loyal fans.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of Galante 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 vintage produced a bold yet elegant wine with the chewy yet bright tannins. Big, lush dark chocolate and toffee characteristics compliment this wine and delightful flavors of black cherry and cassis round out the palette. Aged in 100% new French Oak.
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.