When Vincent Galluccio took over Gristina Vineyards in 2000, it would have been easy to eliminate the Gristina name completely. But, with an eye towards tradition Jerry Gristina had built upon founding the vineyard in 1984 and reverence for the past, many Galluccio-produced wines still bear the Gristina name and label. For the most part, these are the winery's everyday wines — some tasty, some not.
The most interesting wines in the portfolio are labeled Galluccio, with two further labeled Cru George Allaire — named for Mr. Galluccio's father in law.
Despite fermentation in French oak and 14 months of barrel aging, Galluccio Family Wineries' 2003 Cru George Allaire Chardonnay ($20) remains fresh and food friendly. The taster's nose is greeted with ripe pear aromas accented by lemons, just a little sweet spice and a minty-floral end note. The palate isn't as complex as the nose, but it's no less pleasing. Medium bodied, crisp apple and pear flavors are heightened by fresh, citrusy acidity. The balance is nice here.
And, as the wine warms in the glass, pineapple aromas and flavors step to the forefront — a delicious reminder that one shouldn't over-chill white wine.
It's pretty amazing how many barrel-fermented chards I've had lately that I've actually enjoyed. It would appear that more local winemakers are learning how to use oak judiciously. Cheers to them.