Background on Gossamer Cellars
Gary Grant and his wife Sue continue their mission to make as many wine varietals as possible. In today’s quest for deep knowledge on a specific topic or discipline, Gary is striving to go “wide” as opposed to “deep”. This is not to state in any manner that his quality or robust wines have suffered. Just the opposite. Gary meticulously strives to get the best grapes for new varietals often waiting years to find them. Once he has them, he seeks out wise counsel, both local friends and UC Davis, where he had enrolled for his winemaking skills.
In the tasting room in the quaint village of Murphys in the Sierra Foothills, he is keeping a list of the wine varietals he has produced and soliciting customers as to what they would like to see him produce. You can see the varietals he has checked off on the wall called De Long Wine Grape Varietal Table. As of this writing, Gossamer is offering Torrontes, Nebbiolo, Teroldego, Negroamaro, Alicante, etc., just to name of few. His passion to bring forth different grapes to beautiful wines, has set Gossamer apart from the street lined with tasting rooms. Their total production is less than eight hundred cases over all the varietals.
What is The Tannat Grape Varietal?
Tannat is thick-skinned grape (blue to black in color) which produces a deep colored big, bold and tannic wines. Interestingly, Tannat has some of the highest levels of polyphenols (antioxidants) of all red wines save for Sagrantino. This is a little known fact for wine drinkers. It is now known as the national grape in Uruguay. Only 2% of the world production is in the United States. Tannat’s natural home is found near the Pyrenees in southwest France in the Basque region. The Lodi and Sierra Foothill regions are producing some of the best Tannat wines due to similar weather and soil conditions. The state of Virginia is also a key area for Tannat. In the past, Tannat needed years of bottle time to “soften up” but with the advances in viticulture and techniques in winemaking, Tannat is easier to consume earlier. Key flavors of classical Tannat are dark red and black fruits, chocolate, coffee and smoke along with acidity and strong tannins. The key trait of Tannat is its very high tannin levels. Thus historically, it has long been known as a blending wine.
Gossamer Cellars 2018 Tannat
Gary’s Tannat has the notable features of very dark red and maroon coloring with a medium viscosity in the glass. On the nose, you are met with a rustic sense of the wine that includes dust, plum and black cherry. Not a very aromatic wine, but this is just the beginning. Once in the palate, you are greeted with the black cherry, ripe blackberries, oak, cedar, leather and black tea. The finish is long and satisfying with an appreciated “old world” sense of being. This is not a sipping wine with the astringent tannins, but one meant for foods that are high in fat to knock down the tannins like sausage, duck and fatty beef.
The Food Pairing
Last evening, a Bucatini pasta was served. The sauce was a combination of sausage, beef and tomato simmered all day on the stove. It was topped off with Parmesan cheese and served with broccoli and garlic French bread. Having the “fatty content of sausage and beef” in the sauce was spot on for this food pairing as the Tannat tannins were held in check with the fat.
Gary and Sue have once again embarked on their road less traveled with a successful and new addition in their portfolio of unique wines.