Building the Perfect Cab

Impenetrable staining purple ruby with a black & white edge. Burnt rubber or bramble-fire give a smokey toast to the spice. Cassis and careful portions of mint roll along in a smooth egg-white medium of elegance and depth but there’s a bite to it letting you know it is seriously well-stuffed.

So… I can probably count on one hand the number of wines from Napa I have had produced by Gallo. Everything else I have enjoyed–and there have been MANY–were Sonoma. Even the Ernest & Julio Signature is Sonoma (Monte Rosso no doubt). Back in the late-80’s we started in on the Sonoma Select?–I can still see the label but forget the exact name. There was an extremely serviceable Cab and Merlot. Not sure I ventured much further into the line. Then of course the Frei Ranch Zinfandels along and other Zins around DCV and RRV. Frei Ranch is across the street from Olivet Lane right at Dehlinger, no? But I especially remember that E&J Signature coming out and being something astronomical like $69 or something!!! Holy crap that was expensive!

Then this black label Gallo Signature NAPA with “Gina” prominently displayed has pops up on my radar. So it kinda scratches back into old times. Hey, you can laugh at Gallo all you want, but it merely shows simple ignorance. Don’t kid yourself: anyone who makes THAT much wine a year knows a thing or two about wine-making. And when all that knowledge gets condensed into a ‘Signature’ label, pay attention.

This thing is not what I would call “brightly fruited”. Even now, the nose is headed into far more sultry territory–well shy of raisin-y, but it is a rich mass of ripe, dry fruit. In the mouth, an instant chalky bite accompanies the equally serious bite of the fruit. An intense smoothing of oak can not hide the burn. This thing’s 15-oh or I’m a monkey’s uncle. Beautiful fruit, really; gripping acidity; a nice complement of petrichor and mineral working alongside even subtler levels of earth and barnyard. Tannins prod you progressively–William Hill has always been pretty lush to me, and 2012 is even lusher: but a splash of Monte Rosso PV doesn’t hurt. Decanted heavy, the flabbiness is exemplified and the AL burn goes nowhere.

Pretty textbook for Napa Cab these days. Or Paso. Even Washington. This wine will make a LOT of people happy. It is a well-made wine. I am confident no expense was spared in producing this profile.

2012 GALLO Signature Series Cabernet Sauvignon/PV 99/1 William Hill/Monte Rosso 87/13 Napa Valley 14.9

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