Gamble Family Vineyards Paramount Red Wine, Napa Valley 2017

Deep ruby color; raspberry, cherry, strawberry, blackberry on the nose; raspberry, blackcurrant, tart cherry, blackberry, plum, strawberry, chocolate, oak, vanilla on the palate.

Gamble Family Vineyards Paramount Red Wine, Napa Valley 2017

Dry; silky tannins and solicitous acidity makes for an inviting, easy drinker for a significant Napa blend. Impressive finesse. Delightful parade of red and black fruits present with decorum. The darkest fruits, blackcurrant and blackberry present a coda on the nicely extended finish. Blend of 33% cabernet franc, 32% cabernet sauvignon, 29% merlot, 6% petit verdot. 14.1% ABV

Third-generation farmer Tom Gamble founded the winery. Gamble Family Vineyards farms some 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.”

Tom Gamble

The 1916 operation focused on cattle ranching as much as farming. Launcelot Gamble—the founding patriarch—obtained vineyard 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.”

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 the 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 Family winery

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 his wine clearly helps make that case.

Gamble Family vineyard

Jim Close joined the Gamble team as winemaker in 2003 and made every bottle of Gamble wines from 2005 to 2021. Today, the winemakers are Philippe Melka and Maayan Koschitzky.

Gamble Family Vineyards Paramount Red Wine, Napa Valley 2017 is rich, opulent melange of cab franc, cab, merlot, and a dash of petit verdot to lavish red-black wine deliciousness on your palate. Exceptionably smooth easy drinker, particularly for such a serious red wine. Expensive? Well, yes. Worth it? Well, yes. Pair with beef; lamb; wild game—venison, boar; barbecue, roasted chicken; pork—baby back ribs. Cheese—cheddar, manchego, parmigiano-reggiano, pecorino. $90-100

Gamble Family Vineyards website

Gamble winemaking team
Gamble Family vines
Remains of Launcelot Gamble’s cattle herd still on Gamble property