Gina Gallo keeps up string of great tastes

Gallo Signature Series Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands 2010, $35

Gallo’s Signature Series by third-generation winemaker Gina Gallo celebrates the family’s long journey since 1933. There are three wines — a Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay (yesterday’s blog) ¬†and this Pinot Noir — all off the very best family-owned sites for these varietals. The Pinot is from Monterey’s Santa Lucia Highlands overlooking the Salinas Valley, which has a top reputation for cooler-climate Burgundian varieties like Pinot Noir. This baby is smooth and rich; it explodes with boysenberry, cherry, cola, dark plum and chocolate aromas. On the palate, tannins are like velvet, flavors are sweet, and acidity and spice give structure. It’s a meaty Pinot, so rich and dense it’s like food. All the grapes are off the Gallo family’s Olson Ranch Vineyard.

Gallo Signature Series Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2008, $40

The hefty bottle and serious label with Gina Gallo’s name and signature on the front should tip you off this wine has passion fueling it. This dark, complex beauty rumbles with cherries, cocoa powder, black currants, cola and spices. In the mouth, the tannins are smooth, the flavors woven with spicy oak. It has weight in the mouth — it’s almost chewy like an undercooked chocolate brownie. The grapes are off Gallo’s William Hill Estate Vineyard in the southern part of Napa Valley. The Signature Series by third-generation winemaker Gina Gallo celebrates the legacy of Ernest and Julio Gallo.