Tom Gore Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Dark, deep mahogany-wine color; blackberry, black cherry, some black currant on the nose; blackberry, tart cherry, black currant, spice on the palate.

Very easy drinking with well-behaved tannin, plenty of balancing acidity, smooth body that flirts with soft. Juicy, plenty of pleasant fruit tastes on the initial attack, begins to fade in the mid-palate and into a early finish, but the firm acidity and spice are nice element through to the end. Nothing to complain about; good dose of deliciousness (especially early); will especially entertain those cowed by monster California cabs. Happily does not go overboard with oak.

Tom Gore Vineyards is owned by Constellation Brands, the world’s largest wine producer. In this iteration, Constellation gives a Sonoma farmer his chance to build a niche as a farmer-based wine selling at a proper price, a fascinating marketing ploy that presents the wine as created by a golly-gee California farmer—which Tom Gore is, second generation in Sonoma—who works with one of the world’s pinnacle alcohol brands.

Constellation’s origin story opens in the Finger Lakes region—Canandaigua—of northwestern New York State in 1945. Through internal expansion and brand acquisitions, they became the world’s largest wine producer. In many cases, Constellation built its worldwide brand by allowing individual wineries to continue to do what they do—to do what made them attractive to Constellation in the first place. Not every company embraces this seemingly blindingly obvious strategy, so give Constellation credit.

Constellation now owns more than 100 brands in wine, beer, and spirits, including Robert Mondavi, Clos du Bois, Franciscan Estates, Ravenswood, Manischewitz, Arbor Mist and many more. Constellation’s beer brands include Corona, Modelo Especial and more. Spirit brands include Black Velvet Canadian Whiskey, Svedka Vodka and more. Farmer Tom Gore is playing in the really big booze leagues, and good for him. There surely is a place for his backstory in the wine world, and this California cab will please a wide audience.

Tom Gore Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 drinks like a California cab at least a shelf or two above its delightful price. Smooth, will pleasure many palates, especially those who enjoy an easy drinking, tame-tannin, sensibly oaked, pleasantly fruity cab. $13-15

Tom Gore Vineyards website

Other photos: Tom Gore at work in his vineyard; iconic image of Tom Gore and his vineyard