Villa Milagro’s wines, in addition to being organic, are all European-style wines. The Gambinos have eschewed the American hybrid varietals that you find so often in the Northeast, and have planted 11 acres of Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. They have no plans to expand their holdings or production, preferring to focus on artisanal wines that they sell exclusively through the winery.
Villa Milagro produces five wines: one white, one blush and three reds, and in keeping with Audrey’s California heritage, all of the wines have Spanish names. They are currently serving the last of their 2006 vintage, with the 2007 vintage scheduled for release around Thanksgiving of this year.
While we very much enjoyed our visit to the winery and our time with Audrey Gambino, both Maree and I were underwhelmed by the wines. They all show promise, but in general we found them on the light side. As both the vines and the winery matures, I would anticipate the wines becoming more complex as well.
The tasting kicked off with Villa Milagro’s sole white, a Chardonnay…
Dos Luz 2006 This is a very smooth Chardonnay. In fact, one of the hallmark characteristics of all the Villa Milagro wines is their smoothness, which I believe contributed to our disappointment with the wines we tasted. The wines were almost too smooth, lacking the acid that would give them balance and depth. Aged for two years in stainless steel tanks, the Dos Luz is a light-bodied Chardonnay with a very soft, subtle nose and light notes of citrus on the palate. I would have liked to find a bit of a “kick” on the end, and without it, the wine felt a bit flat.
Roja Dulce 2006 Roja Dulce, which means “sweet red,” blends Cabernet Franc with other, sweeter grapes to produce a fruity, slightly sweet Cabernet Franc. The nose is pleasantly fruity, with interesting notes of strawberry. Dry, with just a touch of sweetness, the Roja has a slight tartness and touch of acid at the end which gives the wine some character. This was my favorite of the four Villa Milagro wines.
Sombra 2006 A medium-bodied Shiraz blend, the Sombra, like all the reds, is oak-aged for 24 months. There are light notes of cherry in both the nose and the mouth, and the oak is stronger here than in either the Roja Dulce or the Suave, contributing smokey notes, particularly in the mouth. I found myself writing “young” in my notes, and I suspect this wine will do better if cellared for a few years and then allowed to breathe before serving.
Suave 2006 The last wine is a Cabernet Sauvignon blend. Suave, which is Spanish for smooth, is a medium-bodied red with both berry and chocolate in the nose. In the mouth, cherry is the predominant note with a light toastiness from the oak. The finish is light and slightly tart, and like the Sombra, I anticipate this wine will improve with additional aging.
We stayed a bit longer to chat with Audrey before saying a fond farewell to Commander Cody and heading north to continue the adventure…