"I have always believed that great wines start in the vineyard. As a grape farmer, my job is to coax the vines to produce grapes with exceptional varietal flavor, yielding high-quality, complex wines with a sense of place. I'm excited to tell my own story as a grape farmer for the first time."
Tom Gore - grape grower, winemaker
Wine is so glamorous and sensual that it is easy to forget that this celebrated libation has humble origins. Taking nourishment from the soil and the sun, grapes can grow in a variety of conditions but it takes the farmer, the intuitive and knowledgeable grape grower, to coax and nurture wine grapes to their greatest potential. Tom Gore, of Sonoma County, is such a farmer.
Working among the vineyards and tending vines with his father since he was seven years old, Tom Gore has spent his 20+ year career growing grapes and managing vineyards for some of California's most prestigious wineries. But now, like a supremely talented back-up singer that is ready to take center stage, Tom Gore is producing his own wine, under his own name. Bravo!
Tom isn't just throwing around the word farmer like some hobby-of-the-week-hipster: he's the real deal. In addition to growing grapes professionally, he and his wife Erin maintain a 1.5 acre family micro-farm where they grow fruits & veggies and olive oil. But what about those wines? I recently sampled the three selections currently available from the Tom Gore Vineyards portfolio and I was very impressed. Full of finesse but not fussy, Tom lets the grapes shine.
California Chardonnay is ubiquitous but they are not all created equal. One of the few white grapes that really benefits from spending some time in oak, some California winemakers went overboard and the market was flooded with super buttery and overly oaky Chardonnay. Tom Gore gets the balance right - his 2013 Chardonnay is fruit forward with juicy flavors of tropical fruit, apple balanced by a hint of toasted almond and a vivacious acidity. Tom Gore Chardonnay 2013 is a fabulous wine and only $15!
Cabernet Sauvignon is another California classic and Tom Gore coaxes some really gorgeous flavors from his grapes. A deep luscious red, this medium-bodied velvety sip is absolutely juicy but well-structured with flavors of blackberry and plum that are balanced by more earthy hints of coffee and dark chocolate. At $15, you can easily pamper yourself with the sensational Tom Gore Cabernet Sauvignon 2012.
If you're looking for a really special California red, Tom Gore Field Blend Alexander Valley 2012 ($40) is a worthy contender. An adventurous blend of Petit Verdot, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tempranillo, the Field Blend could have easily gone astray but the wine is bold and harmonious. As the flavors developed in the glass, I tasted blackberry, cassis, earth, leather, and a hint of spice.
Tom Gore wines are available nationwide, click here for more details.