THE 2013 growing season in California was another winner for grape growers including Tom Gore, who not only manages vineyards at some of the state’s most prestigious wineries but has a label of his own. His new 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon shows how much quality a wine farmer — that’s how he bills himself — can stuff in a $12 bottle (that’s the sale price) at Kroger. The tagline on the front label reads: “Farmer: Tom Gore.” Another sign of quality is the fine print on the back label: “Produced and bottled by Tom Gore Vineyards,” which indicates 75 percent or more of the wine in the bottle is made by the winery — from crushing to bottling, which is not case if the label reads “cellared and bottled by” or “vinted and bottled by.”
Gore is a graduate of California Polytechnic State University, a favorite for wine and viticulture studies, and he spent eight years managing vineyards throughout Napa and Sonoma before joining Constellation Brands, a noted producer and marketer of fine wines. At Constellation, he has cared for the Franciscan, Mt. Veeder and Simi vineyards. Currently, he is Constellation’s director of vineyards for Sonoma and Mendocino counties. He is making his own Tom Gore Vineyards brand in Sonoma’s Alexander Valley — three wines: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and a red field blend — all of which are in nationwide distribution, including at Metro Detroit Kroger stores.
His Web site has a handy wine finder you can use to locate the wines in your area.
Tom Gore Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon California 2013, $14-$15: This is a terrific Cab for the price, obviously made from good fruit off good vineyards. Aromas of currant, cherry, leather and tobacco are followed by flavors of dark berries and chocolate infused with spicy, smoky oak and braced with acidity. Its lovely supple tannins are pleasant in the mouth. It’s 90 percent Cabernet Sauvignon filled out with Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Petite Sirah. It’s aged 16 months in French and American oak.
Tom Gore Vineyards Chardonnay California 2014, $12-$13: A nice quaffer with lovely citrus tones, just a smidge of oak and fresh acidity. Aromas of Empire apple, Bartlett pear and citrus are followed by crisp, refreshing flavors braced with acidity and a texture enhanced by oak.
You can reach Sandra Silfven at firstname.lastname@example.org.