The moment you walk into the Galante Vineyards tasting room in Carmel-by-the-Sea, it’s clear: you’re here to have fun. From the funky cowboy vibe to the tongue-in-cheek posters to the lively, fun tasting room host, it feels like you’ve just walked into a great party. And it’s the kind of party where everyone’s happy to see you, and they’re serving up terrific wine. Jack Galante, the owner, has roots that go deep in Carmel. His great grandfather was J.F. Devendorf, the founder of Carmel – the very J.F. Devendorf for whom Carmel-by-the-Sea’s central park was named. In the 1960s, the Galante family purchased a cattle ranch, and in 1983, they started growing wine grapes on the ranch. Tasting room host Ian Ransom can tell you all about the history of Galante. He can also tell you all about the history of Carmel, the coolest restaurants and smoothest bars in town, and every fun thing there is to do and see. Ransom can answer any question you have, and his joyful enthusiasm is infectious. Every aspect of the tasting room reflects the cowboy culture of a cattle ranch. Not only are many of their labels printed to look like leather — on some of the large-format bottles, they actually are leather. They’re not too precious about the cowboy heritage, however, as the leather chair shaped like a cowboy boot attests. And boy, these cowboys know how to make wine. Galante offers a broad range of reds (and one very tasty white), all of which are created with a focus on the fruit. And for those concerned about what happens to the fruit before it enters the bottle, breathe easy. Galante does not use pesticides or herbicides in their vineyards. “Our wines are very old-world-meets-new,” tasting room associate Ian Ransom said. That’s an apt description; the wines have the structure you’d expect from a European wine but with layered Californian flavors. The quality shines through in every wine from their moderately priced Kick Ass Cabernet to their flagship Grand Champion (only available for tasting on Saturdays). Galante takes the sometimes-intimidating world of wine tasting and makes it fun and accessible. It’s a deliciously drinkable stop on any exploration of Carmel-by-the-Sea’s hidden courtyards.
Galante Vineyards: The Wine Trail
Posted on: Tuesday, June 7, 2011 8:03 AM by Nicole Gustas