What We Say 1996 Red Rose Hill Cabernet Sauvignon
LIBRARY RAID ALERT:
We raided Galente’s secret cache! Today we are proud to be the only wine seller to bring you the final remaining bottles of Galante’s stupendous 1996 Red Rose Hill Cabernet Sauvignon. Quantity is very limited, so act fast.
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Mission Codename: Lucky Thirteen
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Galante Vineyards in California’s beautiful Carmel Valley, raid their secret archives, procure an ample allotment their 1996 Red Rose Hill Cab for our Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Galante Vineyards
Wine Subject: 1996 Red Rose Hill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Greg Vita
Backgrounder: Our loyal Operatives know that we are huge fans of Galante wines. Whenever we can get our hands on their limited-production wines, we jump at the chance to feature them here. Today, we are proud to bring you a small quantity of Jack Galante’s exceptional 1996 Red Rose Hill Cabernet Sauvignon. This bright young wine is delicious and ready to enjoy now. Just be certain to buy a few bottles to lay down, and you’ll be rewarded! Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below to learn more about this superior Cabernet Sauvignon
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark and foreboding, this wine shows a rich garnet hue, with a slightly opaque and inky heart. This wine has a softly bouncy surface that, when swirled, settles quickly, leaving behind uneven columns of skinny tears that move slowly down the edges of the glass
Smell – Red plum leads the nose to dusky and ripe red fruits of raspberry, dark cherry and smoky strawberry. These are held aloft by dried blood-red rose petals, herbaceous earth and soft brown spice
Feel – Soft, smooth and very wet it first. After about 30 seconds, long after the wine is swallowed, the feel transforms in your mouth, gradually drying all around the palate, as soft tannins make a gradual and subtle appearance
Taste – Deliciously and dusky, with flavors that move from sweet to tart, with smoky mixed red berries, plum, dried violets and soft spices
Finish – Evolving, as described above. Both feel and flavors change over long intervals, revealing qualities not present on initial sip. This effect is long-lasting and very intriguing
Conclusion – Today’s stellar Cabernet Sauvignon from our good friend, Jack Galante, is a rare treat. If you are a fan of Jack’s wines, or if you enjoy aged Cabernet Sauvignon, you will revel in today’s thirteen year old Red Rose Hill Cab. This wine has been preciously preserved in Galante’s own Top Secret wine cave in the Carmel Valley, keeping it at the perfect temperature and humidity for careful aging. I love the flavors and textures of this wine, particularly when coupled with the unique ways in which the wine evolves in your mouth. With flavors that emerge and a feel that transforms, this wine is a delight to carefuly savor, as new characteristics are revealed – long after the wine is sipped.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Greg Vita
DATE OF BIRTH: 6/56
PLACE OF BIRTH: California
WINE EDUCATION: UC Davis
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Winemaker/General Manager Spring Mountain Vineyards (1980-1994); made wine custom crush for numerous wineries including Frog’s Leap, Dunn, Tongi, Spottswoode, etc. I have been making wine with Jack at Galante Vineyards since they opened.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Grow the finest grapes possible and let the fruit express itself in the wine.
SIGNATURE VARIETAL: Cabernet Sauvignon
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: 2001 Galante Vineyards “Blackjack Pasture” Cabernet Sauvignon
WINEMAKER QUOTE: “Always drink upstream from the herd!”
AGENT RED: Greetings, Greg. We are thrilled to be showing your 1996 Red Rose Hill today. Thanks so much for letting us raid your secret stash, and for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
GREG VITA: Thanks, Red. It is a pleasure to be working with you again today!
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
WINEMAKER: My grandfather from Italy used to make wine in his cellar in Mt. Shasta and I used to love the smell of the grapes as I helped crush them in the cellar.
RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?
WINEMAKER: UC Davis
RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
GREG: Grow the finest grapes possible and let the fruit express itself in the wine.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
GREG: John Williams from Frog’s Leap.
RED: How long have you been making wine?
GREG: 30 years, but I’ve been drinking even longer!
RED: Tell me, what makes the Carmel Valley so special?
GREG: Without doubt it is the climate. In our Carmel Valley Appellation we have very cool nights and hot, dry days. This creates a long hang time for the grapes as we don’t normally harvest until well into October and even early November. The resulting wines have exceptionally good flavors and balance as the grapes have been allowed to mature naturally for a long time on the vine. Our wines exhibit unique and distinctive characteristics from our region.
RED: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?
GREG: Go work harvest somewhere and see how it feels. If you love it then it just may be a career you would want to pursue.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
GREG: Harvest 2009! We also have several custom crush clients which keeps us busy.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today
GREG: I recently opened a bottle of the 1996 Red Rose Hill and immediately found the wine extremely youthful. The color is bright and clear and the nose has a wonderful cedar wood and vanilla character to it. The flavors are reminiscent of bright red cherry and the wine still has solid tannins which show off its great structure. It is drinking at or near its peak. A truly remarkable wine from a very good vintage in Carmel Valley.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
GREG: A good slow roasted leg of lamb.
RED: Please share one thing about yourself that few people know
GREG: I love fly fishing at my hideaway in the middle of the Frank Church Wilderness in Idaho.
RED: What is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?
GREG: “Rancho Galante” Cabernet Sauvignon, but our Red Rose Hill is also an amazing wine.
RED: How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?
GREG: Drink what you enjoy and explore wines from different areas.
RED: If you could choose any one wine to drink (regardless of price or availability), what would it be?
GREG: Chateau Haut Brion’s white wine (it is very reminiscent of our Sauvignon Blanc at Galante)
RED: What is the one question that I should have asked you, and what is your answer to that question?
GREG: How did I end up in Carmel Valley? The answer is that our family has owned a cattle ranch on the coast south of Carmel since 1912 and I live on the ranch. I have been making wine with Jack at Galante Vineyards since the early 1980’s.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and about your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
GREG: Thank you, Red. Now it’s back to the vineyards for me!
And, here, for your entertainment, is our original mission report, in which Agent Red first learns of Galante wines:
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.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Red Rose Hill vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
“Never follow good winee with water… unless you’re out of good wine.” – COWBOY PHILOSOPHY
About This Wine:
Enhanced by acres of roses and fields of grazing cattle, Galante Vineyards is located in the rustic hills of Carmel Valley. In this region of dramatic day to night temperature changes, our grapes ripen slowly, intensifying their rich berry flavors. To preserve the integrity of the grapes, we neither fine nor filter our wine.
RED ROSE HILL rises above a field of crimson rose bushes. The wine from this vineyard explodes with cherry and berry flavors and its modest tannins provide character and longevity.
Our unique label is a photograph of leather, hand-tooled by a California saddle maker.
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.
Varietals: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Aged: French Oak (50% new) for 16 months
Production: 1200 cases