Pale gold color; white peach, pineapple, white flowers on the nose; grapefruit, lemongrass, lime, Meyer lemon, mango, pear, honey hint on the palate.
Dry; nice acidity throughout. Pure sauv blanc play—no sémillion. Smooth with pleasurable oiliness in the mouth. Distinctly a Napa sauv blanc—much rounder and effortlessly approachable than New Zealand efforts. Made with specific clones. Sauvignon Musque (22%), Clone 530 (27%), Preston Clone (22%) and Clone 316 (22%), all from Gamble Vineyard in Yountville, Napa Valley. Finished in 17% new French oak barrels for less than six months, 25% in stainless steel on lees for less than six months.
Engagingly complex with lengthy interplay of complementary flavors. More depth and intriguing layers than you expect from a sauv blanc even at this elevated price point, and more labyrinthian elements of flavor and pleasing surprises than my notes from my review of the 2018 vintage of this. Medium body. 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 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.”
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 PowerPoint presentation.
Gamble Family Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Gamble Vineyard, Yountville, Napa Valley 2020 shows impressive depth and complexity paired with delightful mouthfeel and tasty, ripe fruit. This is consistently excellent Napa sauv blanc, but this scores a notch higher than the 2018 in my tasting notes. No matter the vintage, you won’t go wrong giving this easy drinking, food-friendly wine a try. Pair with shellfish; salmon sashimi; lighter foods; vegetarian fare; goat cheese; exotic cuisine—sauv blanc can pair with almost any lighter food, including spicy offerings. $32-35