Narrow Gate Vineyards

Published November 1, 2013

It’s always refreshing to meet interesting winemakers who are bravely doing what is best for the planet and their vines without sacrificing flavor. Narrow Gate Vineyards pulls you in with high quality and deliciously rich wines but their story is the reason you stay and return. Their biodynamic farming and attentive nurturing of the land yields vibrant and luscious grapes. Their natural wines need little if any additives to blossom into an impressive representation of each grape’s potential.

Their bright crisp Chardonnay is full of lemon curd, orange blossom, and a tiny bit of apricot. Its big body and long finish make it great for a rich chicken in creamy caper or Dijon sauce while the bright crisp acidity make it just as good a pairing for a slightly spicy curry chicken salad, goat cheese arugula fig and avocado sandwich, or Mexican cole slaw with lime, cilantro, and jalapeno dressing. Wow, that sounds like a tasty picnic!

But move on to their next whitey, which will take your picnic to another level.  It starts off with the crisp acidity of pineapple and the thick rich body of banana but the length of it just keeps going and going. It made me crave pork or chicken lettuce cups with pine nuts or cashews and lots of salty hoisin sauce. Play with the pineapple by pairing with a Thai beef salad using lime, cilantro, and spiced peanuts or a chicken mango salad with chipotle dressing to give it a smoky kick.

But back to the wine. Their Grenache must have many layers on its own because, when blended with Mourvedre and Syrah, it was bursting with dark fruit of blueberry and plum yet a slight acidity you’d get from pomegranate and the long mouthwatering flavors of spiced cocoa or rich dark chocolate.

Our fave of the entire day was a Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah blend because it proved what happens when dark cherry and crisp raspberry concentrate to keep you tasting it long after it’s down the hatch. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again; the backbone of cab needs the luscious fruit in Syrah yet the big ripe juices in Syrah need the structure and body of cab. Well done!

What stole the show was a dark chocolate port style wine that is a dessert all its own. Who needs to fill up on dessert when you can drink it!?

More appellation adventures from my month in this region.


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