Refreshing Pinot Grigio for the Summer Months

Today’s Story: Gargiulo Vineyards

Gargiulo is a relatively small, family-owned winery in Oakville, Napa Valley that produces about 3,400 to 4,000 cases of wine each year from two vineyards. Owners Jeff and Valerie Gargiulo bought their first vineyard, Money Road Ranch, in 1992 to fulfill their winemaking dream, adding to the property seven years later by purchasing the 575 OVX property. Founded as a Cabernet Sauvignon estate, Gargiulo produces three different Cabs and a Sangiovese, though they also have Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, and Merlot planted for blending in their G Major 7 Cab. Gargiulo produces small amounts of Chardonnay from Frank Wood Ranch, a rosé of Sangiovese, and a Pinot Grigio as well.

The Gargiulo family and their winemaker, Kristof Anderson, follow a more hands-off approach to winemaking, who in their words say is “gentle and patient.” When it comes time to harvest the grapes, they do so by hand at dawn, hand sort the grapes three times, and use gravity flow methods for winemaking. This arguably preserves the natural fragrances and flavors of the wines by removing pumps and machinery, and is a reason I believe Gargiulo wines are consistently elegant yet structured to go the distance.

I previously wrote about Gargiulo when I reviewed the 2015 Aprile, 2017 Frank Wood Ranch Chardonnay, 2009 Money Road Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2012 Money Road Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon.

Today’s Wine: 2020 Money Road Ranch Pinot Grigio

100% Pinot Grigio; 12.5% ABV

The 2020 Money Road Ranch Pinot Grigio is pale yellow in color with mild greenish hues near the rim of the glass. The aromas are of medium intensity, with the nose showcasing notes of white peach, lemon zest, fresh cantaloupe, white wildflower, lemongrass, and wet stone. Meanwhile the flavors are also of medium intensity and the palate displays notes of green apple, lime zest, pear, nectarine, grapefruit, honeysuckle, and gravel. This refreshing dry white is light- to medium-bodied with vibrant and mouthwatering high acidity, medium alcohol, and a long finish. Very good representation of the variety, and one that isn’t too common in the Napa Valley.

Price: $40. This is very pricey for a Pinot Grigio, however the quality is impeccable and this is a great representation of the variety. Coupled with the wine’s great balance, small production, and purity I would buy this again. Very refreshing and enjoyable on a hot day.

Revisiting an Old Friend

Today’s Story: Gargiulo Vineyards

Gargiulo is a small, family-owned winery in Oakville, Napa Valley that produces about 3,400 cases of wine each year from two vineyards. Owners Jeff and Valerie Gargiulo bought their first vineyard, Money Road Ranch, in 1992 to fulfill their winemaking dream, adding to the property in 1997 by purchasing the 575 OVX property. Founded as a Cabernet Sauvignon estate, Gargiulo produces three different Cabs and a Sangiovese, though they also have Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, and Merlot planted for blending in their G Major 7 Cab. Gargiulo produces small amounts of Chardonnay from Frank Wood Ranch and a rosé of Sangiovese as well.

I recently reviewed Gargiulo’s 2009 Money Road Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon in Gotta Get That Money (Road), so I thought it would be interesting to check in on the 2012 vintage while it is still fresh in my mind. Earlier, I reviewed Gargiulo’s 2015 Aprile Sangiovese in Italy’s Favorite Grape…from California?.

Today’s Wine: 2012 Money Road Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon

100% Cabernet Sauvignon; 14.6% ABV

The 2012 Money Road Ranch Cab is deep ruby/purple in color and almost entirely opaque. Once this opens up, the wine showcases aromas of blackberry jam, crème de cassis, wild blueberry, spiced plum, redcurrant, green herbs, tobacco, fresh leather, black volcanic soil, slate, and toasted oak. On the palate, I get notes of black cherry, juicy plum, boysenberry, licorice, cedar, damp rocky earth, ground black peppercorn, black tea, cardamom, and a hint of vanilla. This wine is medium- to full-bodied with moderate acidity, remarkably integrated and velvety medium (-) tannins, and a medium (+) length finish that adds notes of iron and smoke. Though you can certainly draw the parallels between the 2009 and 2012 vintages in terms of style and expression, the 2012 is certainly more elegant and velvety in its mouthfeel where I felt the 2009 was a bit more jammy and syrupy. 1,236 cases produced.

Price: $80 direct from the winery upon release. This is a very solid vintage for the Money Road Ranch bottling and, alongside the 2007 and 2013 vintages, one of my favorites that I’ve tried. Pair this with filet mignon, pepper-crusted ahi tuna, or lamb.