Wine: Cabernet Cowboy
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Meet a Cabernet cowboy named Jack. He rides the range in Monterrey County, on the 700-acre Galante family cattle ranch and vineyard in Carmel Valley, admiring the rows of vines that produce his estate grown Galante Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon and other premium varietals.
Jack Galante comes from a long line of historical Carmel residents, including his great grandfather J. F. Devendorf who founded the town of Carmel and later built the historic Highlands Inn. Since the beginning, when the Galante ranch was planted with grapes in 1983 to the development of the winery in 1994, Galante Vineyards has been rounding-up awards and accolades nationwide for their top-notch reds, to become recognized as one of the premier cabernet producers in Monterey County.
As a native Texan, I was immediately drawn to Jack and his partner Dawn, for their down-to-earth, cowboy style all blue jeans, boots and big smiles. But beyond the Texas charm are bold wines that speak for themselves, revealing hints of the heat of Carmel Valley with layers of fruit and earth.
Jack believes quality fruit is the secret to great wines. Our philosophy is to grow the finest grapes possible and let them speak for themselves through the wine. He points out that the extreme temperatures of the upper Carmel Valley (Cachagua) result in a long growing season with extraordinary hang time, producing cabernet sauvignon grapes that ripen slowly for intense, rich wines.
Seek out a bottle of the 1998 Galante Red Rose Hill Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyard is aptly named, rising above a field of crimson roses, among the thousands of rose bushes growing on the ranch today. The wine itself is bold and rich in color, with a burst of dark berry and cherry fruits and medium tannins for a single-vineyard Cab that drinks well now, and should improve with age through 2008. Or sample the 1999 Rancho Galante, a vineyard blend of nice fruit, soft tannin that is easy drinking and pairs well with chicken, pork or beef.
As we head off into the sunset, Jack leaves us with a Galante Vineyards cowboy philosophy to remember, “Never follow good wine with water…unless you’re out of good wine.”
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