Tom Gore Vineyards
Tom Gore Vineyards
Tom Gore is a genial guy with 65 acres of vines and a big love of music — he can talk until the cows come home about the favorite rock concerts that he has been to.His day job is manager of Sonoma and Mendocino vineyards for Constellation Brands, where he oversees 1,450 acres of grapes destined for the company’s multiple brands, including Robert Mondavi, Clos du Bois, Franciscan Estates, and Ravenswood. He is regularly quoted in wine country newspapers on such important matters as harvest prospects and is himself a second-generation grape farmer.
A line of wines with his own name on them is his latest project. He invited me to dinner recently on a trip to Dallas, and tasted me on his new Tom Gore Vineyards wines, made by longtime Sonoma County winemaker Maureen Martin. They represent a carefully selected palette of the most popular grape varieties.
Sauvignon Blanc 2015 ($14) avoids the racy acidity prevalent in some expressions of this grape. The vegetal notes are subdued, too. More forward are the soft citrus notes, reminiscent of Meyer lemon, and a weightiness in the mouth that suggests the presence of a little sémillon (though there is in fact none).
Chardonnay 2014 ($15) will warm the hearts of lovers of California-style chardonnay. It has big tropical fruit in the nose and soft, post-malolactic lushness in the mouth, all pampered with French oak.
Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 ($15) clearly has more expensive Napa cabernet sauvignons in its sights as it weighs in with oodles of dark berry fruit and French oak and vanilla notes.
Alexander Valley Field Blend ($40), Gore’s flagship wine, has the advantage of a little more age to allow its flavors to resolve, its oak (new French for 20 months) to integrate, and its tannins to soften. Naturally, its greater pedigree and complexity also brings a higher price.
These wines are all very reasonably priced for their quality level, though. The field blend scored 92 points out of 100 at the International Sommelier Challenge. The sauvignon blanc, meanwhile, earned 89 points and was named Editor’s Choice in Wine Enthusiast magazine. I expect these wines to be popular regular choices. They all invite food pairing and the field blend will age for a few years.