El Dorado County, California
$32 (Wine Club Reorder Price $28)
Sarah and Chris Pittenger launched Gros Ventre Cellars soon after their 2008 marriage. But it really started in the place that they met – near the Gros Ventre River in Jackson Hole. A long-distance friendship was born when their paths crossed at a party; Chris was working in bottle shops and snowboarding while Sarah was visiting during an advertising trip out from San Francisco. This friendship survived Chris’ switch from the dining room to winery, and his moves from Jackson Hold to Napa to Australia to Healdsburg to New Zealand and back again.
When the time came to name the brand, Sarah was hugely pregnant with their son John Henry. They were considering the name Gros Ventre because of where they originally met and when they learned that “gros ventre” is french for “big belly” they were sold and the brand was born. They currently produce about 2,000 cases of wine, including vineyard-designated Pinot Noir from the West Sonoma Coast and Anderson Valley, and several wines from the El Dorado region.
The 2019 El Dorado High Country White is into its 4th vintage and is seeing Arneis taking the driver’s seat with Grenache Blanc riding shotgun. It is composed of 26% Arneis, 22% Grenache Blanc, 20% Fiano, 15% Picpoul Blanc, 10% Sauvignon Blanc, and 7% Vermentino. Subtle chamomile and lavender aromas lead to hints of lime, flint, salty ocean breeze, and a whiff of cotton candy. Light-to-medium bodied and very refreshing, more lime joins pears and apples on the mid palate. The finish is long, layered, and tamed by bright acidity that first livens then washes away…only to return again. 263 cases produced.
With the hints of lime and fresh pear, this wine is the perfect match for a heavy garlic seafood spaghetti and light summer salads. The bright acidity can live up to the garlic in the dish and compliment the palate over and over again.
Jennie Kaplan Woodson – March 2021