As the wildfires in Napa Valley claim wineries, wreak havoc on the harvest and cellar losses mount, we turn our thoughts to the dedicated women and men who grow, create and facilitate America’s most beloved wine industry. This region of the world is no stranger to fires, pests and earthquakes, which makes the enduring spirit, the optimistic determination and the resilience of the Napa Valley so inspiring. To celebrate their fortitude and support the rebuilding of our beloved Napa, we invoke the essence that inspired this week’s feature: The Mill Keeper Cabernet Sauvignon by Gamble Family Vineyards.
The Mill Keeper Napa Valley Cabernet is inspired by Napa’s first pioneers. The Mill Keeper honors the determined men and women who produced the first bread and made the first wine for those that followed them to Napa.
George Calvert Yount, the first Euro- American Napa settler wandered westward across the continent after the War of 1812 and in exchange for services rendered, received a Napa land grant of approximately 11,000 acres from the Mexican governor, Gen. Mariano Vallejo of Alta, CA in 1834. Yount granted his mill keeper a small parcel of land bound by Napa River and Conn Creek, upon which the owners of Gamble Family vineyards now reside. Though no remains of Yount’s original mill exist today, his memory has honored many folds, including a Napa Valley town in his name (Yountville). In the years to follow, Yount gifted his granddaughters and their husbands land and later established the village of Rutherford. Their vineyards produced the first quality grapes in the area and paved the road to build the renowned Inglenook Winery.
In 1841, Dr. Edwin Bale, an Englishman and chief military surgeon to General Vallejo, also received a grant of land between what is now St. Helena and Calistoga. An untimely death left his widow (and General Vallejo’s niece) Maria Soberanes to become the new mill keeper. She successfully operated the mill and became the wealthiest person in the region. Decades later, Charles Krug married Bale’s daughter, Carolina, whose 540 acre dowry became the site of Charles Krug winery in 1861, producing the first sophisticated Napa Valley wines. Nowadays, Bale’s restored 36-foot-tall mill is a state park managed by Napa County and is just one of two active water powered mills west of the Mississippi River.
In 1916, Launcelot Gamble purchased a parcel of land in what is known today as the Oakville AVA, just off of Route 29. Nestled in the heart of Cabernet Country and among some of the Napa Valley’s most recognizable wineries and vineyards (ie. Opus One, Screaming Eagle, Beckstoffer To Kolon to name a few), the Gambles sold their fruit to their famous neighbors. However in the early 2000s, Tom Gamble, the current owner and third generation farmer, focused his agricultural sights on tending vineyards on the family plot and decided to take a stab at making wines, with the help of his winemaker, Jim Close, from the fruits (pun intended) of his labors. The first vintage of Gamble Family Vineyard wines was from the 2005 growing season. In 2012, the final piece of the wine dream was completed when they built an open-air winery on the Oakville property.
Gamble Family Vineyards are certified sustainable, certified Napa Green and Certified Fish Friendly.
Concentrated aromas of black raspberries, toasted almond and espresso beans with hints of nutmeg and clove spice. On the palate, enjoy the dark fruit of blackberries, brambleberries and juicy plumb with woven-in notes of dried cranberry and molasses. Bursting with flavor and balanced with big and rounded tannins, enjoy this bold and full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon now or age for the next 5-8 years.
Only 997 cases produced.
Raise a glass and support Napa during this difficult time!