Wednesday, May 16, 2012

You're Family at Gadino Cellars (VA)

I discovered this wine at the Taste Camp East 2012 grand tasting at Boxwood. As I made my way around the table, I came upon these wines and also met a new friend.

Gadino Cellars leads off their own story with the Italian word, “Piacere!” – We are pleased to meet you. When you sample Gadino, you become part of the family. Bill Gadino and Aleta Saccuta Gadino, who share a similar Italian family background, made their first amateur vintage in 1983. Following their immigrant grandfathers' footprints, they made a "hearty" backyard Zinfandel. Following a move to the East Coast in 1984, Bill arranged for grapes to be shipped from California. This “Gadino Vino,” crafted in the cellar of their home, continued to improve each vintage year.

Several years later, the emerging Virginia wine market caught their attention with the ever-improving quality of a handful of new wineries. In 1989, harboring a dream of someday operating our own commercial winery, they purchased fifteen acres of land in Rappahannock County, Virginia. They began planting vines.

They built a home in 2002 on their Rappahannock County property. Ground was broken for Gadino Cellars in April 2004. The cellar was carved out of the hillside to maintain a more constant temperature for wine production. With only days to spare before their 2004 harvest, the construction of the cellar was completed.

By choice, Gadino Cellars produces under 1500 cases of wine per year. They are focused on making quality wine. At Gadino, it's a family endevour: daughter, Stephanie is Assistant Winemaker & Tasting Room Manager and and Derek, their son-in-law is Operations Manager.

Now, as I went to taste this wine, I was bumping shoulders with a tall gentleman and his lovely wife. Aftr a cheery glass of Gadino Cellars Pinot Grigio, I got to talking with him, he was Kurt Jensen, and his bride was Carol Jensen. Kurt and Carol love visiting wineries, and Kurt is an avid blogger, who publishes the website

Here are my thoughts on the wines:

2011 Pinot Grigio - A very classic example of a Pinot Grigio. The nose is big and floral and tropical, with a hint of vamilla to it. And the flavor was outstanding, with nice apples and melons up front followed by a puckery bright citrus ending. A fantastic Pinot Grigio.

2010 Antiche Viti Riserva Cabernet Franc - This was a bold, beautiful Cabernet Franc. Dark stewed fruits of blackberry, raspberry and cherry up front. There was not too much acid and not too big on tannin. This was a big dark fruit fruit bomb with overtones of mocha and spice. Maybe a hint of cedar and a good dose of vanilla. Very, very nice.

2009 Petit Verdot - I'm a sucker here. I love Petite Verdot, and this was a nice one. Big, big dark fruit here. Hints of blackberry, dark cherry, dark raspberry, and a touch of cassis. The wine is big up front, but the flavor lingers with just enough tannin, and beeeautiful overtones of vanilla, cocoa, and other exotic spices. And the fruit just lingers on. A big, beautiful dry red. Delicious!

After this tasting Kurt and Carol and I shatted uite often as we walked through the Taste Camp East 2012 events together, even sharing down time collapsing in the hotel lobby, and sharing some laughs o the evening of the final grand tasting. But it all started wwith a glass of Gadino!

Great job, Bill and Aleta, Stephanie and Derek!

You can read some of Kurt's Posts About Virginia wine at: