Thursday, February 28, 2013

Tasting with Gina Gallo


How lucky am I, I got to taste wine with Gina Gallo at the Boston Wine Expo.  I never would have imagined that little ol' me would have an opportunity to taste wines with someone like Gina. You just don't know where life leads you.  The Boston Wine Expo lead me to an informal  tasting with Gina of her Signature Series wine.  

I've admired Gina Gallo ever since she began put her face to the brand of Gallo Wines. I imagine it wasn't easy being the grand-daughter of the founder.  I've been there as the daughter of the "owner" and there are lots of obstacles to maneuver.  

I found Gina to be so down to earth!  The way she spoke about her family, her grandfather and father, her eyes were just dancing with admiration.  Her wines...........AMAZING!  Gina produces the Gallo Signature Series wines.  These are here babies (well,other babies besides her 18 month old twins at home)

In the short time I met with Gina I learned so much!  Not only about her wine, her family but when I mentioned my family's wine history in Tapolca, Hungry she told me how instrumental my family was in the wine trade of Europe, she knew of them and that her husband Jean-Charles could shed more light on it.( Now I just have meet with him next to dig further into my family history)  Wow!  I never imagined such a connection.

Now to the wine.   Amazing and so well crafted!  As Gina talks to me about the wine and the vineyards you can see the love and hard work that went into each bottle. Once again her eyes tell the story. 

We'll begin with the Gallo Signature Series 2010 Russian River Valley Chardonnay.  Soft, elegant and creamy.  The 96% of the grapes for this wine come from the family's Laguna Ranch vineyard in the Russian River Valley.  Just 12 miles from the ocean, the cool maritime climate along with the gravelly and sandy loam soil really influences the grapes and it shows. The other 4% come from Del Rio Vineyard. The wine is very well structured.  This Chardonnay shows a wonderful expression of the grapes, while spending 13 months in oak (combination of French and American), but never losing the flavors that are so important to a wine. Nice crisp apple with a soft creamy lemon mid palate and a hint of ginger fill your palate and warm your insides.  This wine retails for $30

I was blown away by the Signature Series 2010 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir.  I wanted to just stand there all day and inhale the beautiful dark berry fruit that was coming out of my glass. (That's what I was doing until Nicholas went to grab the Cab.)  Gina specifically choose the Olson Ranch's Pinot Noir due to the limestone that sits under the clay loam soil.  Very rare in California and similar to the terror of Burgundy. After the grapes were harvested they went through whole berry fermentation after being cold soaked for 5 days.  The wine then went under malolactic fermentation in barrel and was aged on its lees (dead yeast cells for all those who are wondering what the term means) for 8 months in a combination of new and old French barrels. This wine on the palate was sexy, fun and yet serious.  Flavors of boysenberry, strong blackberry mid palate with hints of black current, cassis and vanilla go down with a soft silky texture.  Absolutely beautiful!  This wine retails for $35

The Gallo Signature Series 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon was the last wine in the tasting.  This cab is 93% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Petit Verdot.  This cab was dark.  They grapes remained in contact with the skins for about 20 days, so that explains the dark rich color.  The wine went through malolactic fermentation and was aged in oak barrels for 25 months.  This is a serious wine but had a little fun to it.  This wine had many layers of dark fruit.  Blackberry and black currant with a hint of chocolate just past mid palate that fades into a surprise of spice.  A soft elegant mouth feel leaves a nice finish and a smile on your face. This wine retails for $40
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