Monday, November 30, 2009

McGrail Vineyards - fine Cabernet in Livermore Valley

McGrail Vineyards are well known for their estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Jim and Ginger McGrail purchased their ranch on Greenville Road in the 1990’s. Jim was a retired Alameda County deputy sheriff and had become a lawyer. They purchased the land because they wanted the country lifestyle. He was neither a grape grower nor a winemaker in the beginning. Steven Kent, a well known local winemaker, was purchasing his Cabernet fruit from a vineyard across the street from the McGrail land. When that vineyard, was sold, the contract Steven had with the original owner was voided. He needed additional Cabernet fruit and talked to Jim to see if he would plant Cabernet vines on his property. After all, it was directly across the street from Steven’s original vineyard and had the same soil structure. Jim agreed and suddenly became a winegrower. He planted his first vines in 1999.

By 2004 his grapes were in great demand by several winemakers as the premium Cabernet Sauvignon in Livermore Valley. Steven Kent formed a new partnership and required fewer of Jim’s grapes. So what do you do in that case? Phil Wente convinced him to start making his own wine which is what Jim and Ginger did in 2004. Thus the 2005 vintage you are tasting is one of their first. At first he was making his wines at the Wood Family Vineyards nearby with the help of Rhonda Wood and later at Wente.
By 2006 they had convince their daughter Heather to join the team to handle the sales and marketing. In 2008 they opened their new tasting room overlooking Livermore Valley at 5600 Greenville Road on the east side of Livermore.

The McGrail Vineyards 2005 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is a real treat. This is an example of the best Cab from Livermore Valley. Swirl this wine, and smell the aromas coming from this wine. You will detect dark cherries, toasty oak, ripe cassis and a hint of chocolate. In the mouth, you will taste a silky bold wine. The tannins are balanced and firm. It has a long finish leaving the berry taste on your tongue. This is drinkable now or over the next 4-5 years. The warm weather of 2005 produced a high brix (percentage of sugars) at harvest and an alcohol level of 15.1%. It pairs well with an aged sharp cheddar cheese. The firm tannins of the wine hold up well to this cheese.

They host many special events here including concerts and weddings. On Saturday, November 28th they will host an Art Show with Scott Cleek Studios and Patio Music by Boraccho Brothers.

See more about Livermore Valley Wines

For more info: McGrail Vineyards

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