A new winery from a winemaker with an extensive reputations earned at previous wineries. Cozy tasting room right in the middle of Murphys. A penchant for wines made from lesser-known varietals. Sometimes, it all seems too good to be true! Without question, it was time to visit Gossamer Cellars and find out for ourselves.
Following our first tasting at the new Mineral Wines tasting room, we moved approximately ten feet to the left and entered the tasting room of Gossamer Cellars. The two tasting rooms shared a wall! We met the owner/winemaker Gary Grant and learned that he had been open almost exactly ONE WEEK! That said, he proudly displayed his tasting menu, chock full of interesting varietals spanning a wide range.
The tasting room was cozy, with a nice wood bar and a festive chalkboard covered with notes on their wine offerings, club membership and special deals. We were particularly interested in the “good luck frog clicker” that was mentioned as a wine club membership premium. Given that the Calaveras County Fair was in full swing, complete with jumping frogs, this seemed quite timely.
Most new wineries open with three or four wines in their repertoire. Gossamer Cellars opened with eight. With the wide range of varietals and techniques employed, there must be something in the menu for every taster’s palate. If not, consider finding a microbrewery for the afternoon.
We started our tasting with their 2014 Riesling. With all the aromas of a flower bouquet plus some hints of peach, this had great fruit and a light, crisp finish. This is one of the new style Rieslings, and one that will win a lot of fans. We then tasted their 2014 Grenache Blanc, a great new white wine that is getting attention from a number of innovative winemakers. Fun and fruity, we enjoyed the citrus flavors and balanced acid finish. The 2014 Verdelho had nice lemon and butter notes, with a pleasant minerality. We next tasted a 2013 Tempranillo Rosé, a glass full of candied apple.
A favorite among our group was their 2012 Nebbiolo. We loved the plum, spice and clove notes, with clean layers of fruit. A perfect wine for Thanksgiving! A bottle of this lovely wine was put aside to bring home. Next up was their 2012 Teroldego. Made from a somewhat obscure grape from Italy, we enjoyed the aromas of green pepper and cabbage (in a nice way) and the sweet/tart finish. Our penultimate taste was a 2012 Trincadeira. Another uncommon grape, the Trincadeira or Tinta Amarela grape is more commonly used to make Port. In this case, Gary produced it without fortification, resulting in a fascinating wine that reminded us of almost-ripe blackberries. Our final taste was their 2013 Negroamaro. The Negroamaro is a grape grown almost exclusively in Southern Italy, and in very small quantities near Murphys. We enjoyed the grassy nose and the rich red plum flavors, with just the right amount of acid on the finish. A great partner for some aggressive cheese.
Tasting complete, we chatted with Gary a bit more and offered our congratulations on his new venture. We paid for our wine, for him to hold until our return at the end of the day, and set off toward our next tasting. Gossamer Cellars is certainly off to a great start!
About the Author: John grills a mean steak and is always in the market for another wine fridge. Believes that if a winery has more than 10 employees, it's probably too big. Buys wine faster than he drinks it, but who cares?
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