Boutique Gay-Owned Napa Winery Releases Two Winners!
Gentleman Farmer 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon, Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, Napa, CA ($105)
Gentleman Farmer 2019 Red Wine, Napa, CA ($67)
by Andrew Chalk
Vintner Joe Wolosz, along with his husband and partner Jeff Durham, farm three respected vineyards in Napa Valley’s Oak Knoll sub-AVA to produce distinctive, pleasurable wines.
Red Hen Vineyard provides cabernet sauvignon, Boyd Vineyard, merlot, and Muir-Hanna Vineyard, Chardonnay. The latter famously provided the fruit for the 1973 Chateau Montelena that won the 1976 Judgment of Paris against France’s finest white Burgundies.
Starting in 1999 in a St. Helena garage the two Hotel & Restaurant management graduates produced 80 cases of wine. They don’t declare how the name Gentleman Farmer was chosen for the winery but material on the web site suggests it was a satiric reference to a lifestyle that Wolosz aspired to. Their love of wine kept them going and they gradually expanded to a still microscopic 1000 cases in 2019. They, and winemaker Jérôme Chéry, a graduate of the prestigious Université de Bourgogne in Dijon, France are still fully hands-on.
I was fortunate to get the chance to taste the above two selections from their current offerings.
Is their blend of Bordeaux varieties that varies each year depending on the weather during the growing season. This vintage is 92% merlot and 8% cabernet sauvignon.
It has an open, fruit-driven nose of red currant and red cherry. Cola notes. Those fruits carry over to the palate where there is also an herbes de provence character, medium fine-grained tannins, and a long pleasing finish.
Mirrors many of the facets of the Red Wine but weaponises them into an altogether more powerful expression. The savory notes get first-class status along with the fruit, and the redcurrant stands out magnificent. The dustiness others noted in the nose of the Red Wine is indelible in the cabernet sauvignon. Those forest floor herbal notes are more persistent too. Most of all, students of Napa wine should try to taste this as an exemplar of balance. Even at its current youthful age it is delightful to just sip in front of one of those recent movies where they didn’t prevent the director from going a half hour too long. With this wine it will be time well spent.
Recommended. Order directly from the winery.