Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Wine from the Wild West

You have to love any winery that has a wine called “Kick Ass” Cabernet and the advice of “always drink upstream from the herd” on one of its brochures. Galante Vineyards is that winery and it has an interesting history and some dynamite wines.
Both the winery and the large tasting room, located in downtown Carmel, have a distinctly western motif.
Plus, the vineyard itself, a 700 acre property near Cachuagua, is a real ranch that was purchased in 1969 by the parents of current owner Jack Galante, great grandson of J.F. Devendorf, the founder of the town of Carmel.   The ranch started with cattle.  In 1983, Jack’s father planted the first vines and also long stem roses.  At one point, they were the largest seller of long stem roses in California.
        We enjoyed the wines and the descriptions of the wines.  Take the “Kick Ass” Cabernet description: “This untamed wine has the familiar smell of open range cooking and camp coffee.”  That should expand our wine vocabulary.  Or how about this one for their “Cowpoke” Pinot: “This rambunctious wine has that welcoming scent of a campfire and the dusty feel of a trail ride.”  As you can tell, we’re into the smile factor at wineries. 
Their flagship wine, the 2005 “Blackjack Pasture” Cabernet Sauvignon, was one of our favorites.  It was earthy and elegant at the same time.  LC, normally not a Cabernet Sauvignon fan, loved it.   Food and Beverage World did too, and gave it a rating of 90 points.  And MK really liked the 2006 Estate Pinot Noir, another earthy wine, with a grassy herbal nose and taste. 
And for a white, we both liked their 2009 Estate Sauvignon Blanc.  Voted one of the 100 Best Wines in the U.S. by Michael Bauer and rated a 92 by Wine Enthusiast magazine, it was crisp and light.
Jack Galante’s philosophy of creating wine is: “Grow the finest grapes and let the fruit express itself in the wines.”  We think he’s done just that.
For more information, check out the Galante Vineyards website at www.galantevineyards.com. Or as the tasting room manager’s business card says, “take it for a ride at our tasting room in Carmel-by-the-Sea” between Ocean and 7th (831 624-3800). 

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