Galante Vineyards was the first tasting room in Carmel. But then, Carmel only exists because the winery’s owner Jack Galante’s great grandfather, J.F. Devendorf, founded it. We recently visited the tasting room and discovered that there was more to like than just a long history!
The Galante Vineyards tasting room is tucked in the back of a garden just off a main street in Carmel. It has a distinctive point of view. There is a cowboy vibe that pervades the space in the best possible way. Cowboy hats, cowboy boots, even cowhide bar stools, you can almost hear the cattle drive approaching. Even the customers get into the spirit!
Although we were wearing neither cowboy boots nor ten gallon hats, we were warmly welcomed by wine guides Janet and Molly. We knew that owner/winemaker John Galante was married to Dawn, of Dawn’s Dream fame, and were looking forward to tasting the other half of the family wine dynasty. The tasting at Dawn’s Dream was great and we were expecting equally great things here!
We started with their 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, a fun wine that would be perfect for sipping in the hot tub, with notes of pineapple, mango, slate, and spice. The 2016 Pinot Noir led off our “take home” list. A smoky nose, silky mouth feel, dark plum and chocolate layers floating across the tongue. Wrapping up the package was a finish of restrained peppery zip. Pretty much a perfect Pinot!
The 2012 Double M was an enigmatic steak-side wine. A 50/50 blend of Malbec and Merlot, we enjoyed the aggressive leather and what Molly called “smunk” and Janet compared to “blue jeans and pearls.” A fun wine ready for some rib eye. Their 2014 Cabernet Sauvnignon was a delicious, classic Cab, with a surprisingly tannic finish. A few more years will benefit this great BBQ wine.
The 2013 Centenial Cabernet Sauvignon is named in honor of Great Grandfather Devendorf. This amazing Cab showed smooth fruit notes, led by some cherries, with restrained tannins on the finish. Very drinkable now, this tastes like it only improve with more time in cellar. Their 2013 Blackjack Pasture Cabernet Sauvignon was described as their flagship wine and one sip supported that claim. All the best parts of a Cab, with no sharp edges at all.
We closed our tasting flight with their 2012 Grand Champion, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Petite Sirah. A smooth and memorable way to finish our first, but not last, visit to Galante Vineyards. Time to find some dinner!
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?