Pale copper color; cherry, cranberry, ruby grapefruit, rose petals on the nose; cherry, strawberry, cranberry, red watermelon, ruby grapefruit on the palate.
Dry; no tannin; excellent acidity (3.32 pH). Blend of 51% cabernet sauvignon, 43% cabernet franc, 4% petit verdot, and 2% merlot. Clean, precise, refreshing. No oak—slowly fermented and aged in stainless steel at low temperatures. The Gamble goal is finesse and elegance over power and boldness. Get the best red Napa grapes and then blend as the vintage dictates. The Gambles say each vintage they create a “symphony” of the best vineyards. This continues that record of dedication to delicate refinement. 13.4% 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 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.”
The 1916 operation focused on cattle ranching as much as farming. Launcelot Gamble—the founding father—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.”
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. In 2003, Jim Close joined the Gamble team as winemaker; he has made every bottle of Gamble Family Vineyards since 2005. Gamble expanded to 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.
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 that 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 argument.
Gamble Family Vineyards Rosé, Napa Valley 2019 is delicate, elegant effort. Crisp and clean, extremely easy drinker. Floats on your palate. Restrained expression of Napa red fruits. Refined. Decorous, dignified. Works well as aperitif—will do nothing to embarrass you. People not really into wine can enjoy this, while more experienced wine drinkers will appreciate its etherial qualities. Pair with chicken dishes; feta, spinach, mint and quinoa tartelettes; roasted veggie skewers; charcuterie boards; soft cheeses. $20-25