I spent a solid five minutes chipping the wax off the neck of Gamble’s Paramount — a process which should be enough to cue you in to the fact that this is one of Gamble’s most prized bottlings. Paramount is a blend of 32% cabernet sauvignon, 32% cabernet franc, 30% merlot, and 6% petit verdot. A little detail:
Owner and farmer Tom Gamble owns approximately 175 acres of prime estate vineyards from several of Napa Valley’s most respected AVAs – Oakville, Yountville, Mt. Veeder, and Rutherford. His mission is to carry on the heritage of quality farming that his ancestors sowed when they came to Napa as farmers and ranchers in 1916. This 2016 Paramount is greater than the sum of its parts, with Cabernet Sauvignon from the rolling expanse of Oakville, Merlot grown on the terraces of Mt. Veeder, Cabernet Franc from a low yielding St Helena vineyard site and Petit Verdot from the slopes of Mt. St Helena.
It’s certainly an opulent wine with an austerity designed to get it through another decade of cellar time. The nose runs to the savory — licorice, toasted spices, leather, and a restrained, dried fruit component. The palate opens things up a bit. With moderated acidity, the tannins are tempered and more fruit peeks through, but the finish never quite opens up to reveal the wine’s well-tempered glories. Sit on this one for a few more years.
B+ / $90 / gamblefamilyvineyards.com