It’s always dangerous when someone contacts you out of the blue and asks you to review their wine. It’s great if you love it, but what if you don’t? Is it better to say nothing, or to give them your opinion? Always a quandary…
Recently, I was sent some wines by Gallegos, a new winery created by a family that has been growing grapes in Napa since 1950. Interesting to be in on this, as I am headquartered on the East Coast and the Gallegos wines are now available only at the winery and at a few locations in Napa.
First impression? To me, it seems like the winery is at a fork in the road. They could either go with a New World fruity style, or they could retrench on the fruit and go classic Old World. The 2012 Sauvignon Blanc and the 2011 Pinot Noir I tasted were neither one nor the other.
I’m not a farmer, but the wines seem clean, like they were made with good fruit – as advertised. According to the information I read, some of the fruit is from Gallegos-farmed land, and some is sourced from the Gallegos’ winery clients: the pinot noir, for example came from the Santa Lucia Highlands. (I wonder why they decided to do this instead of using their own fruit?)
Specifically, the Sauvignon Blanc is more minerally than classically herbal, with big fruit underlying the flavors, almost tropical. A slight chalkiness in the lightly citric finish suggests northern chardonnay more than sauvignon blanc to me. The Pinot Noir is full of big, dark red fruit on the aroma and palate, with addition of some smokiness too.
There’s plenty of fruit expression here, but what is lacking is definition. Both wines would benefit from a decision about their underlying styles. It will be interesting to see what direction Gallegos takes in their future vintages.