When you have two of the best people in industry at the helm, you can only expect the best of the best. Philippe Melka (winemaker) and Jim Barbour (vineyard manager extraordinaire) have turned the old Long Vineyards (remember this great vineyard site from some years ago?) into a top notch Cabernet producer. Gandona (humble man in Portuguese) is rooted in tradition and a passion for transforming land into something extraordinary. It’s born from an estate that rests upon a sloping hillside high above the beauty of Napa Valley and Lake Hennessey – its vineyards, carved from the steep terrain and planted in four blocks, each possess their own distinct personality.
The site of Gandona Estate had its beginnings (just) a few years earlier, when in 1862 Daniel K. Dille homesteaded the property, located just downhill from Pritchard’s future home. California had just experienced the silver rush and Napa County had recently been formed. Here, Dille worked as a laborer and maintained the land. The property sold several times throughout the years until the Bob Long family purchased it in 1966 and planted the site’s ﬁrst vineyard. In 1977, they entered the wine business in earnest and founded a small winery called Long Vineyards. Sandi Belcher (Arns) produced great Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a late harvest Johannesburg Riesling from the estate.
Gandona 2012 “Encosta” Cabernet Sauvignon
Retail 98.00 – GGWC 94.99
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Encosta (“slope”) Cabernet Sauvignon originates from the steeply terraced hillsides of Gandona Estate and its terra cotta-colored, volcanic soil. The 2012 vintage is a wine celebrating the very soul of hillside fruit capturing the essence of the vine’s interaction with earth and sun. It opens with aromas of bright red cherry and cranberry with underlying notes of cassis and tobacco. On the palate, the wine shows a juicy, full mouth feel reminiscent of fresh black and ripe cherries. Rounding out the mid-palate are finely grained, sweet mountain tannins that reveal a beautiful marriage between them and well integrated oak. The lingering finish is laced with nuances of rich cocoa powder and supported by a strong acid backbone demonstrating a wine worthy of aging.
Robert Parker 94-96 Points: “The finest wine to date appears to be the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Pritchard Hill, a sensational example of Pritchard Hill Cabernet. Its opaque purple color is followed by notes of pen ink, camphor, charcoal, blackberries and black currants. Dense, rich and built like a skyscraper with a terrific mouthfeel and purity as well as a full-bodied, moderately tannic, exuberant and convincing finish, it should age effortlessly for 20-30 years”