Gallica Suzuri Shake Ridge Ranch Red 2011
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Winemaker Rosemary Cakebread has earned her reputation for excellence quietly. With more than thirty vintages in Napa Valley, she is known for making distinct wines notable for restraint and elegance, with remarkable consistency across vintages. With a degree in Viticulture and Enology from the University of California Davis, she was introduced to Cabernet Sauvignon at the historic Inglenook Winery. A career composed of varied winemaking experiences, including sixteen years at Spottswoode Estate Vineyard and Winery, a harvest in Bordeaux, and earlier work in the world of sparkling wine round out her winemaking resume. Rosemary makes Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, and Syrah under the Gallica label. Located on two gravelly acres in St. Helena, California, Gallica organically farms Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah, farmed in collaboration with Mike Wolf.
Originally a source of oenological sustenance for gold-seeking miners of the mid-1800s, the Sierra Foothills was the first region in California to produce wines from European grape varieties. Located between Sacramento and the Nevada border, this area’s immigrant settlers chose to forgo growing the then-ubiquitous Mission grape and instead brought with them superior vines from the Old World to plant alongside mining camps.
Zinfandel has been the most important variety of this region since its inception, taking on a spicy character with brambly fruit and firm structure. Amador and El Dorado counties, benefiting from the presence of volcanic and granite soils, are home to the best examples. Bold, robust Rhône Blends and Barbera are also important regional specialties.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.