Vineyard and Region Information: The Gabilan Mountains are a sizable range of rugged granitic and calcareous limestone rich mountains that run down the East side of the Salinas Valley, in Monterey County. The Rhone varietals tend to be their most complex, interesting and revealing their true character potential and vineyard terrior when planted on steep, rocky hillsides. The Gabilans are home to two famous AVAs, Mount Harlan (Calera Wine Company) and Chalone (next to Pinnacles National Park), which have demonstrated there is indeed something special about these mountains. We sourced the Grenache and Syrah for this blend from two vineyards. The first is the 17 year old vines of the Coastview Vineyard, located six miles south of Calera's Mount Harlan AVA and perched at 2,200 ft on a mountain top. The second is the Brosseau Vineyard in the Chalone AVA which has substantial outcrops of calcareous shale in both the Syrah and Grenache blocks. The Mouvedre is from the 30+ year old Rodnick Farm Vineyard (formally Graff Family Vineyard - Dick Graff was the founder of the Chalone Wine Company and AVA). The region is hardly hospitable to any crop other than low yielding, character rich wine grapes. We believe this among the greatest places to grow Rhone varietals in California.
Vintage Notes: With the 2017 vintage, we are back to a Mourvedre dominant blend that was inspired by our love of the 2015 vintage. In 2015, Mother Nature dealt us a hand that compelled us to try a Mourvedre dominant blend (the Grenache crop was minuscule that year, but Mourvedre came through for us). Mourvedre tilts the wine more towards exotic black fruits and away from the bright red fruit and kirch notes of Grenache. It also makes the wine more approachable in its youth as Grenache seems to need to go through a prolonged evolution in bottle before it reaches it’s most happy place.
Wine Notes: 46% Mourvedre, 34% Grenache, 20% Syrah. Upon first opening, the fruit is there, but so tightly wound that the powerful crushed rock minerality of the Gabilan Mountains comes through clearly. Granite, calcareous shale, limestone all no doubt have some impact on this impression. With air the fruit begins to unwind and express itself with the wild berry black fruits, hints of black cherries, and a delicate savage note that Mourvedre is known for. On the palate, it is rich yet elegant, silky, yet dense with chewy tannins that persist and give the finish length. This wine is just starting to become approachable now as we prepare to release it, and we would expect it to continue evolving over the next few years, just as each vintage before it has. The 2015 vintage was also approachable early on, and then seemed to gain so much intensity and impact that it took another year of age to meld back together. Tasted on day 2, the nose takes on added depth and richness, while gaining length on the finish. Yumm!.
”The 2017 GSM Gabilan Mountains captures all the best of the wine. Ample, full-bodied and intense, with impeccable balance. It all comes together. Today, the flavors are primary I would cellar the 2017 for at least a few years, as it is very primary. Dark cherry, plum, mocha, licorice, blood orange red/purplish fruit, rose petals, mint, hard candy and a touch of whole cluster inflections from the 54% whole clusters add character to this, sumptuous, racy GSM.” Antonio Galloni, Vinous. 93 Points.
Matt Kettman, Wine Enthusiast. 91 Points.