According to Teena Hildebrand, co-owner and winery chef for Narrow Gate Vineyards, the name Dunamis is Greek, sharing the root word for dynamite. It was the couple’s new found faith in Christianity that provoked them to take the leap from the fashion industry to the wine industry. Teena says they first read the word Dunamis in a Greek translation of the New Testament in reference to “God’s miraculous power.” “We needed a lot of ‘Dunamis’ to get our winery doors open back in 2004, as we didn’t come in heavily capitalized or with an inheritance,” says Teena. “We labored ourselves to plant and build.” A labor of love we can now all enjoy.
About the Wine: The Narrow Gate Dunamis is a GSM blend comprised of 57% Grenache, 29% Syrah, and 14% Mourvedre.
Frank Hildebrand, owner and winemaker of Narrow Gate, keeps each of the grape lots separate, crushing and fermenting each varietal within its designated lot, racking once — usually in January — to get the wine off the lees. Once those individual components are ready and blended, with only the Syrah touching new French oak (20%). Each varietal is held separately until March when Frank and his team begin the GSM blending process. The blended wine then stays in barrel for 18 months in neutral French Oak barrels.
Flavor Profile: Open the bottle and sniff just above it. Enjoy the scent of dirty purple fruit, fresh wood, damp earth. On the pour, the Narrow Gate GSM is a dusty shade of rouge, reminiscent of rusty pipe water — there’s a lot of brown in that purple. In the glass, the wine is more maroon in color, fading out to a yellowish tint around the perimeter. It’s quite reminiscent of a well-aged wine. Could this wine be an old soul in a young body?
Initial aromas are perfume-quality: peonies, violets, mint leaves, and cedar wood all combine together. Swirl, and the wine opens up to fresh dark fruits: marionberry, black plum — but still that perfume follows you, that woodsy-ness teases you.
On the palate, this GSM is full-bodied with an almost sour effect as the acidity hits right away. The tannins are strong, yet subtle, present, yet patient. Dominant flavors are of those fresh flowers with an undercurrent of under-ripe blackberries highlighting the tarty youth of the fruit. Let the wine linger, and find the brambly branches from which those berries hang. The finish is simultaneously short and long as the tannins coat the tongue while the acidity seems to leave a lingering heat.
Love this wine now as an almost “refreshing” red wine, but I’m curious how this wine will evolve in 5 to 8 years time.
Food Pairing: I paired the Narrow Gate 2012 Dunamis Estate GSM with a filet mignon, cherry-red wine sauce, and an herb-blend salad with roasted onion and truffled cheese. Since this is a lighter-styled GSM a hearty red meat is a great way to, literally, beef up the meal. My favorite feature of this pairing was the cherry-red wine sauce, as the sweetness of this reduction sauce counter-balanced the tartness in the wine and rounded-out the overall flavor profile.
Frank and Teena recommend gamier meats like roasted duck, braised rabbit, or roasted leg of lamb.
Fun fact: Teena is currently working a book chronicling her and her husband’s journey as they found faith, changed careers, and followed their true passion. It’ll be a combination memoir and cookbook (with wine pairings I’m sure).
More Info: I received the Narrow Gate 2012 Dunamis Estate GSM as a sample for review. (Cheers Frank and Teena!) For more information about Narrow Gate Vineyards and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Narrow Gate Vineyards website.
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