Tom Gore Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, California 2016

Pale straw color; citrus, lime, hint of grass on the nose; lime, green melon, lemon, grapefruit, white peach on the palate.

Tom Gore Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, California 2016

Dry; light body, good acidity, fresh and balanced. Lacks minerality you get from New Zealand SB, but its relaxed, easy-drinking California style will please many palates. Fermented in 100% stainless steel, so the fruit is clean and precise. Mostly Central Coast and North Cost sauv blanc, but there is some French colombard in the mix.

Tom Gore Vineyards is owned by Constellation Brands, the world’s largest wine producer. With its Tom Gore brand, Constellation gives Gore his chance to build a niche as a farmer-based winemaker selling at a market-bullseye price. It is a clever marketing ploy that presents the wine as created by a golly-gee California farmer—which Tom Gore certainly is, second generation in Sonoma—who works with one of the world’s pinnacle alcohol brands.

Gore leads the farming effort, encouraged by his wife, Erin. She, too, has farming background, but her roots are in Wisconsin dairy farm. Erin told an interviewer: “When I met Tommy and found out that he grows wine grapes, I thought, ‘That’s much more fun than milk.’” Erin, however is no farm hick; she holds a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and sells adhesives world-wide, including those used for wine labels. Rounding out the team, veteran Constellation Brands consultant Maureen Martin is the winemaker. She knows what she is doing, too.

Tom and Erin Gore

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 made the winery attractive to Constellation in the first place, although Constellation does work to ramp up production and play to mass consumer tastes—as this sauv blanc clearly does.

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 sauv blanc fashioned after the harvest by Maureen Martin will please a wide audience.

Tom Gore Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, California 2016 is a solid, stolid pour. While it may lack excitement, it is definitely is a thirst-quencher that will not offend anyone. Excellent pour for your friends who are nervous around fuller-flavored wines. Pair with appetizers, seafood, crisp apples, creamy cheese; because of its lightness, won’t do well with heavy flavors. Will work nicely as an apéritif. $12-15

Tom Gore Vineyards website

Winemaker Maureen Martin
Tom Gore at work in his vineyard
Iconic image of Tom Gore and his vineyard
Tom Gore in his vineyard