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1995 Gallo Estate Cabernet, North Sonoma

A well-known rooster…

I always had, and still will have after that on bottle the image of a Gallo wine being an industrial supermarket wine.
It is so common to see this brand on the shelves everywhere, and many bring these wines to parties or gatherings, sometimes even me. The success of Gallo is based on the steady quality of industrially produced wine which evokes in each one of us the trust we can have in a brandname.
But this one bottle of Estate Cabernet we had was none of the supermarket stuff. This was one of Gallos’ premium wines and it was the first time I had one of those. So how does Gallo label it so that we see it’s not the regular stuff? Pretty hard task, but the marketing team found a solution and it nearly looks ironical (at least I had to smile big time)-everything on the label is written both in French and English, even the alcohol content indication. So premium… even the French buy it huh !?! On the other hand I was quite impressed when I pulled out a damn long high quality cork… Now I stopped smiling, this cork raised expectations and it was time to get serious.

But we weren’t disappointed. Wow, the colour was amazing, black ink with some slight purple hues. The nose was quite intense and developed over time. It started with berries, such as blueberries but had more and more a tendency towards prunes with a hint of cinnamon. It also had a Cabernet-typical slight Paprika edge. Very satisfying nose.
On the palate tannins were very finely grained, but still were adstringent at the beginning. They softened up quite quickly though with a little aeration. The fruit was again very nice with prunes and berries, and a small mint like freshness in the finish, which developed into a huge and complex eucalyptus note. Very beautiful length also.

Well well, this Cabernet shows great winemaking talent in the end. The most convincing Californian Cabernet I had actually (I didn’t have many though). It was already 13 years old and had aged perfectly. I even thought it could still improve for some years. If only this stuff could be in each Gallo bottle. 92-93+

… in case Europeans can’t read American numbers ;)

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Categories: USA
  1. Rebecca (guest) Said,

    Took you long enough to write about it :)

  2. alexis2 Said,

    It’s because I just got sober of it ;=)

  3. Panos Kakaviatos Said,

    Alex, thanks for this. Yes, pre-conceived notions are dangerous! I also recall enjoying their Estate Cabernet, it was a late 1990s vintage or at least an early 2000s, at a Paris tasting.

  4. Blindtaster Said,

    Thanks for your comment Panos.Yes, that was a small lesson learned. But I have to admit I still don’t go very often for Californian wines. I guess I need the right recommendations since I’m a bit affraid to end up with a pure fruit bomb if I pick on my own.

  5. Panos Kakaviatos Said,

    True enough about the recommendations help! I am hardly a California wine expert but do like Ridge generally as a more “traditional” style. And will certainly seek out more California tastings, especially of older vintages, just to get a better handle.

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