in our current issue
Wine Appellations
The Grace of Gainey

Owning and operating the largest farming facility in the Santa Ynez Valley, Gainey Ranch has been home to Arabian horses, beef cattle and hundreds of acres of fruits, flowers and vegetables.

It was in the early 1980s that the Gaineys decided to plant grapes, and for the first 11 years, planted vines on their “Home Ranch,” the ideal warmth and soil types for Bordeaux varietals.

Searching for just the right property to grow Burgundian grapes, Gainey concentrated his efforts in the western portion of the Valley in the Santa Rita Hills, the much-acclaimed marine-influenced, cooler region. Gainey’s Evan’s Ranch offers up charming Chardonnays and poignant Pinot Noirs.

“We bring in enough Pinot Noir to make 1500-2000 12-bottle cases,” explains Gainey. The fact we end up with only 350 in this program asserts the fact that this is a very selective process.”

Indeed, the high natural acidity from Gainey’s newest release (and with a new label), the 2003 Limited Selection Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills is soft and luscious, a blend of “about a half dozen clones.” The fruit is right out front, and the gorgeous carmine color grabs your eyes while the red and black fruit and earthy complexity holds your attention for quite a while longer. (SRP $45)

PHOTO “VINEYARD”: Shades of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir: A view of Gainey’s Evan’s Ranch in the Santa Rita Hills

 

SIDEBAR

Twin Piqued

Gainey’s Two Sauvignon Blancs are Intriguing

Both grown from the “Home Ranch” in the Santa Ynez Valley’s warmer climate, Gainey offers two Sauvignon Blanc labels. The first, a blend of 24% Semillon, the 2003 Gainey Santa Ynez Valley Sauvignon Blanc has a surprisingly high acid structure (one would expect the Semillon to round it out and perhaps lend a waxy character). Clean and crisp, there is a delightful flinty quality to this tank fermented white, with very little oak.

From the same property, Gainey’s other 2003 Sauvignon Blanc has a lot less Semillon added, and therefore, offers up a bit more weight. Half tank fermented and half in neutral four-year-old barrels, the grapes are sourced from the best blocks on the property, distinguished by sensual floral aromatics. The honeysuckle, peach blossom and gooseberry notes are memorable.

INSERT Sauvignon Blanc bottle images