Wanna get inside the head of one of THE most powerful people in the entire wine world? Start watchin’ already – because that’s exactly what we do with Gina Gallo in today’s episode of 1WD TV.
[ Editors note: For those not totally up on the current events in the love lives of the wine world’s richest-and-most-famous, part of the vid might get a bit confusing; Gina is married to Jean-Charles Boisset, scion to the largest negociant business in Burgundy and a man best described as a charming whirling dervish and with whom Gina has recently sired twin baby girls. Incidentally, JCB makes me look like I’m standing still, which those who know me will understand isn’t all that easy to do! ]
I caught up with Gina at the 2012 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend’s Taste of Sonoma event, and we talk about what it takes to get motivated to work when you’re so rich that you could have somebody killed and buried at the bottom of the Russian River and not have anyone ever know a thing about it.
If you’re interested in what that wine we were drinking in the video was like, by the way, read on…
During my stint at the SWCW event (at which I was a media guest), I tasted through three of the Gallo Signature series recent releases that have Gina all fired up about winemaking. Interestingly, Gina told me that one of the main struggles in her experience has been trying to convince the wine world that a combination of high quality, affordable prices and the Gallo name on the label all aren’t mutually exclusive, which seems an oddly counter-intuitive problem to have when you’ve literally got a household name when it comes to wine; but such is the state of the wine biz and the perils of producing shedloads of wine across just about every conceivable price and quality point.
While the 2009 Napa Cabernet that Gina mentions in the video (one that Gina told me off-camera happens to have a splash of Sonoma fruit in it, by the way) is a solid effort, in my view it’s not nearly as inspired as the other two wines in the series that carry Gina’s name on the label:
2010 Gallo Signature Series Chardonnay (Russian River Valley)
Gina is justifiably proud of this effort, if I may be so bold as to pass that sort of decisive critical judgment (and this is my blog, after all, so I may). This Chard walks a nicely-paved, recently-scrubbed and well-manicured center-line path between mouth-pleasing richness on one side, and and food-friendly raciness on the other. To your left, yellow and green apples, lemon pith, and wet rock; to your right, ripe peaches, cream and crème brûlée. Hard to argue with that price point, considering how much crowd-pleasing quality you’re getting in 750ml of this.
2010 Gallo Signature Series Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands)
This is sourced from one of the vineyard properties that Gina raves about in our interview vid. Meaty, savory and quite spicy, there’s a lot going on in this Pinot. Sweet baking spices, jammy red plums, and dark cherry fruit will please the hedonists out there who will be into smelling this for several minutes I think, but the minerality, brighter red berry fruits and pithiness once it hits your mouth makes this wine pretty Sommelier-friendly. Overall, it’s the balance that will win over those of us who enjoy the middle ground when it comes to these sorts of things, and it’s clear that Gina’s blood, sweat and tears went into maintaining the right balancing act between the elements here. Too bad you can’t guarantee that all the dinner guests who might be into this wine will behave so well together after drinking too much of it…