2004 Blackjack Pasture Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon •Blackjack Pasture
California: Carmel Valley
What We Say
If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes greater than great, as is the case with today’s wine from Galante Vineyards.
Superior Wine Alert!
All of the wines we feature here are great, but sometimes we wrangle up a really stand-out wine. Today’s wine is superb, superior, stupendous and stellar
Mission Codename: The Galante Gang
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Ride the range, in search of an outstanding 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, and rope some for our Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Galante Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2004 Blackjack Pasture Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Greg Vita
Backgrounder: 2004 was purported to be the best vintage on recent record for California Cabernet Sauvignon. When Agent Red was directed to rustle up a handful of the best examples of ‘04 Cali Cab, he headed first to Galante Vineyards in picturesque Carmel Valley (in Monterey County) where Galante’s Blackjack Cabernet Sauvignon was winning the hearts and palates of wine drinkers worldwide. Read his tasting analysis and mission report to find out how he fared.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep ruby hues with great clarity and depth of color, right to the edges. When swirled, the surface settles quickly and the wines fat legs move slowly down the glass. Wait a while and you will see something you may never have seen before; the legs become streams of non-connected dots. Unique!
Smell – Rich and fruit-filled layers with black berry, black cherry, black currant and plum, with chocolate, leather, pine tar, green wood and rose petals
Feel – Thin and light on the mid-pallet, the wine initially races across the tongue and then medium tannins grab the entire palate and coat the whole mouth
Taste – Ripe sweetness at the tip of the tongue, introducing layered flavors of cherry juice, plum, sweet cranberry and cocoa, with supple leather and, soft oak and earth
Finish – Smooth, sweet and slightly dry, with flavors that last forever
Conclusion – This is a big and delicious Cab, but its no brute. With dynamic mix of both soft and subtle flavors, this wine exudes character, richness, balance, deep aromatics and giant flavors. For the best experience with this wine, I recommend decanting for at least 4 hours. I opened a bottle and then put the cork back in for 24 hours (with no added gasses) before sampling again. When I did taste the wine again it was far more pleasing, with softer aromatics and flavors.
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 Galante Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
This vintage produced a bold yet elegant wine with the characteristic chewy tannins of this specific vineyard. Big, lush dark chocolate and toffee characteristics compliment this wine and delightful flavors of black cherry and cassis round out the palette. The 2004 Blackjack follows in the tradition of previous Blackjacks, being a wine of exemplary quality and age ability. 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.
Wine Spies Wine Specifications
Appelation: Carmel Velley. Monterey, California
Vareital: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Vineyard: 100% Estate
Barrel Selection: Oak, 18 months
Total Acidity: .63 g/ 100ml
Harvest Date: 09/08/04
Bottling Date: 05/30/06
Matures Until: 2010 (but ready to enjoy now!)