Gamble Family Vineyards 2017 Sauvignon Blanc

93 Points, Michael Rockich, AppellationsTen

The Sauvignon Blanc grape possesses an especially robust varietal character.  This gives rise to a point.  When speaking of certain locales or vineyards, we celebrate the concept of terroir.  Rightfully so, as each is unique in its own way.  Likewise, we should also recognize and rejoice in the individual grape varietals.  Each grape type is a gift of nature, the result of evolution’s long, slow process.  Occasionally, bang!  A new varietal comes into being.  Such was the case when Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc got together in the eighteenth century, thankfully producing Cabernet Sauvignon.  Likewise, a rare French varietal, Savagnin, parented Sauvignon Blanc during or before the fifteenth century.  The second parent is not known.  Great variety exists among the grape types, each with unique characteristics, permitting an extensive variety of wines to be cultivated and fermented (winegrown).  Fans, even cults have arisen around various grapes.  Let’s revel in the plethora of alluring grape varietals we are blessed with!

When the style of Sauvignon Blanc in California changed from one of briskness with dry grass character and high acidity to one of apparent sweetness and lush fruit, the shift in style didn’t always produce models of balance, especially the equilibrium of sweet, sour, and bitter.  The result often was a wine with tropical attributes and occasionally the apparent sweetness was cloying.  High acid, quite refreshing wines are an attribute welcome in the market’s portfolio of wines, not to mention their excellent pairing ability with food.

The hallmark of Gamble’s 2017 Sauvignon is great overall balance and proportion accompanied by a smooth rich palate.  Delivers traces of lime and Meyer lemon while lemon curd comes to mind due to the ripe sweet fruit and creamy texture.  New layers continue opening unveiling added complexities as the wine breathes.  The very well incorporated acidity keeps everything in check for a superb sense of balance.  This is a real benchmark for a contemporary Sauvignon Blanc, exuding high quality and all the while showcasing grace and elegance.  Gamble’s wine hits the mark for proportioned, sophisticated, modern style!  This 2017 could act as a guidepost for the contemporary Sauv-Blanc varietal.

The Gamble Family has been in Napa County quite a while, first beginning with Launcelot Gamble’s efforts in cattle ranching and farming various crops in Napa County in 1916, and later acquiring land in Oakville in1955.  In 1981, at age 20, third generation farmer Tom Gamble, along with partners, purchased his first vineyard thus initiating Gamble Family Vineyards.  By 2013 construction of the Gamble winery commenced including a 12-acre Estate vineyard, in the Yountville Appellation situated on silted, flood plain soils.  The vineyard was certified organic in 2008.  Tom picked his bud wood by massale selection, a traditional practice of obtaining cuttings from other highly regarded vineyards.  Gamble Family’s wines include Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petite Sirah, and a red blend, along with the Sauvignon Blanc, all from Napa Valley.  About $30.

A sample for review.

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