Medium gold color; pineapple, passion fruit, almond, flowers on the nose; white grapefruit, Meyer lemon, green apple, lime, lemongrass, pear, honeysuckle, minerality on the palate.
Dry; fresh and lively even after three years. This is sauv blanc that could drink well for a decade. Delightful lilt of Meyer lemon gives illusion of sweetness surrounded by the bite of lime and green apple. buoyed by excellent acidity. Made with specific clones. Two from Loire region: Sauvignon Musque Cline (39%) and Clone 530 (18%). Two from Bordeaux: Preston Clone (27%) and Clone 316 (16%). Fermented in 20% new French oak. Cellared 75% in barrel on the lees for six months, 25% in stainless steel on the lees for six months. 13.1% ABV
Light-medium body. Tangy with delightsome and precise layers of flavors leading to lingering, refreshing finish. California/Napa sauv blanc, not a New Zealand tongue slicer, this is softer and creamier—at least in the context of a sauv blanc.
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 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.”
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.
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 argument.
Gamble Family Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Gamble Vineyard, Yountville, Napa Valley 2018 is an easy goin’, easy drinkin’ sauv blanc with charming flavors and felicific mouthfeel. Plays well with food and can be enjoyed by itself served cold on deck, dock, poolside, patio, porch. Pair with salmon sashimi; shellfish; lighter foods; vegetarian fare; exotic cuisine—sauv blanc can pair with almost any lighter food, including spicy offerings. Not so well with rich red grilled meats, but even then… $26-28