Good Morning Gentle Readers,
Last week TWC reviewed Frei Brothers Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve. I'd already fallen into the role of useless brother-in-law, a frighteningly easy transition I might add. Hence, sampling a few wines in the balmy desert evening seemed a perfect way to finish off a day spent soaking up the dry Tucson sun on a pink, blow-up pool floatie (Shaddup) and wondering where the cocktail waitress had scampered off to. Sadly, William could not join in the good times because he had to WORK.
I'd heard some good things about the Frei Brothers and was anxious to try it, particularly since it happened to be on sale. My expectations were high and I was disapointed. I didn't dislike the wine just found it more expensive than it ought to have been.
In response to my tepid review I got a note from Gallo's Michael Heintz the other day who offered some additional perspective.....
Thank you for your posting on Frei Brothers Reserve
Cabernet. I was sorry to see that you didn’t find the wine worth
the price. Hopefully you’ll give some of the other varietals and try,
and enjoy them.
I wanted to let you know that we still make Gallo branded
wines from Sonoma, and they definitely did not flop. We still produce the
Sonoma Reserve tier, which is broadly available. The higher end wines (single
vineyard designates and Estate wines) are made in very limited quantities and
are not available everywhere. We also make a winemaker’s signature
tier, which is not distributed at retail, but is available through the tasting
room in Healdsburg. This tier pushes the envelope a little further and is
made in extremely limited quantities.
And as far as Frei Brothers goes, this is not a substitute for Gallo branded wines. We produce this brand as a tribute to the Gallo family’s 70+ year relationship with the Frei family, from whom the Gallos purchased several vineyards and the winery facility in Dry Creek Valley in 1978. We launched the brand in 2001, several years after the launch of Gallo’s Sonoma wines.
As I mentioned to Mr Heintz, the Gallo premium wines that I referred to were available in the early
to mid 1980's and I had understood that these were a different
undertaking than the upscale wines that came later. I was fortunate
enough to find a case or so of them languishing on the bottom shelf of
an old liquor store that no longer had a clientèle nterested
in more than jug wine and Bud. These cabs were phenomenal and,
unfortunately, I drank them all. :-)
TWC will try the Frei Brothers cab again.....I usually do that because sometimes you get an off bottle or an off night and everyone deserves a second chance.