Gamble Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2017

Deep ruby color; black cherry, blackcurrant, raspberry, pencil lead on the nose; black cherry, blueberry, plum, blackberry, nutmeg, brown sugar, oak toast on the palate.

Gamble Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2017

Dry; reserved tannins for a Napa cab; moderate acidity (3.79 pH). Full body. Smooth, velvety in the mouth. Elegant effort. Blend of 89% cabernet sauvignon, 8% petit verdot, 2% malbec, 1% merlot. Grapes were harvested over 24 days in 12 different passes at vineyards in Oakville, Yountville, Mt. Veeder, and Rutherford AVAs. Cooperage was 20 months in 43% French, Hungarian, and American oak. 14.3% ABV

Third-generation farmer Tom Gamble founded the winery. Gamble Family Vineyards farms around 175 acres of prime blocks in several of Napa Valley’s most honored AVAs—Oakville, Yountville, Mr. Veeder, and Rutherford. The winery is hidden away in a nook off of Highway 29 in Oakville. The website notes: “Tom Gamble’s mission is to carry on the heritage of quality farming that his ancestors sowed when they came to Napa as farmers and ranchers in 1916.”

Remains of Launcelot Gamble’s cattle herd still on Gamble property

The 1916 operation focused on cattle ranching as much as farming. Remains of Launcelot Gamble’s cattle herd still on Gamble property[/caption] Launcelot Gamble—the founding patriarch—obtained land in Oakville in 1955. The acquisition later became the Family Home Vineyard and began the family’s adventure in the wine business, although they produced no wine. Launcelot’s two sons, Launce and George (Tom’s father) began taking over operations.

The website notes: “In the early 1970s, the family entered into a long-term lease with Beringer Vineyards, which planted the land surrounding Family Home to grapes. Having already turned his focus to grape growing with the purchase of several vineyard sites in the 1980s and 1990s, Tom took over the task of farming Family Home, which was originally planted by his mother and stepfather in 1997.”

Tom Gamble

In 1981, at age 20, Tom purchased his first vineyard with aid of some partners. The Gambles were now into the wine business rather than grape farming business. Gamble expanded into land in Oakville in 2008 and began building today’s winery there in 2012. Designed by Tom’s brother-in-law, Morgan Conolly, the winery opened in 2013.

Gamble winemaker Jim Close

Jim Close joined the Gamble team as winemaker in 2003. Close began his career in the southern Languedoc region of France and has made every bottle of Gamble Family Vineyards since 2005. With roots deeper than a century, the Gambles respect the land. Winery and vineyards are certified Napa Green and certified Fish Friendly Farming. Tom advocates sustainable farming because he believes it delivers the best return on his investment in the land. He also thinks it makes for better wine, and this effort is a nice bullet point in that PowerPoint presentation.

Gamble Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2017 is plush, easily approachable, fruit-forward. Hefty and rich but with subtle tannins and balancing acidity. This showcases the softer more restrained side of Napa cab. Pair with beef grilled, pan fried and pan seared, roasted, broiled; lamb; veal; barbecue beef and chicken; venison. Cheese—creamy and bloomy cheese; bleu cheese, humbolt fog, brie, camembert, sharp cheddar, ricotta, gorgonzola, gouda, cheddar—harder, aged cheeses. $60-65

Gamble Family Vineyards website

Gamble Family winery
Gamble winemaking team
Gamble Family vineyard
Gamble Family vines