Tom Gable - Contributing Wine Editor for San Diego Magazine
Tom Gable has been writing about and tasting wine for more than 30 years. As an expert in wine, Tom believes that "wine needs company - good food and great people" and because his mantra matched ours, we thought bringing his expert opinion to our readers was a great idea. We were honored when Tom agreed to provide us his thoughts and commentary on his favorite wine experiences and bottles. The interview epitimizes what we are trying to bring to our Got Tannins? readers. We hope you enjoy his story as much as we did!
What was your first memory of wine?
Occasional wine with Sunday dinners when we were kids.
What was the first wine that you considered to be good wine?
Gallo Hearty Burgundy in college ($1.55 a gallon); Mateus Rose when courting my future bride; 1966 La Mission Haut Brion after I learned something.
Do you think it's the taste of a good wine or the experience while drinking the wine that makes it good? Why?
All of the above. Start with a dozen wines in a blind tasting as one way of picking a good one (to your particular palate) and then match wine with good food and great company. Sharing wine with others is the greatest pleasure.
But don’t think it’s just the taste. A major part of our appreciation is in the nose. I can remember tasting a barrel sample of the 1985 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cask 23 in early 1986 at the winery long before it went into barrel aging and bottling. The nose exploded with fruit – an amazing concentration of Cabernet plus a few nuances from the terroir. It was packed with Cabernet character on the palate, hidden behind the tannins. But the nose got me. Two or three years later it received top scores from many critics. Also, if you do a blind tasting with Cabernet or Pinot Noir or Chardonnay from different countries and regions, be guided by the nose (aroma of the fruit, bouquet from the terroir, barrels, style of the winery, etc.). Very fun.
How big is your cellar?
About 1,000 bottles.
What is your favorite vineyard or brand?
For consistency, I’d recommend several from different parts of the world, while avoiding the ultra-expensive cult wines. California: Caymus, Beringer, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Hanzell, Phelps Insignia, Mondavi Reserve Cabernet. Bordeaux: Lynch Bages, Cos d’Estournel, Pichon Lalande, Pichon Baron, L’Angelus, Palmer, Clerc Milon, Carraudes de Lafite, La Mission Haut Brion, Mouton.
Do you have a favorite bottle?
1975 La Mission Haut Brion, 1985 Stag’s Leap Cask 23, 1982 Mouton.
What wine are you saving for a special day?
1970 Dow Oporto, 1985 Heitz Cellars Martha’s Vineyard Magnum, 1989 Mouton Magnum.
Where do you buy the majority of your wine?
Different retailers: San Diego Wine Company in San Diego; the Wine Club in Santa Ana; K&L in San Francisco.
Have you ever had an organic wine? Did you like it?
Just the Bonterra. Good value.
What is the most you've ever spent on a bottle of wine?
$200. I’ve been fortunate to get into futures.
What was your favorite wine experience (or one of your top experiences)?
Too many to count. The best usually involve a so-called gourmet group of five couples that we have enjoyed supping and sipping with for more than 25 years. We get together every quarter to try cuisine from a different region, with wines to match. Each couple is charged with bringing one of the courses and appropriate wine. The mixing and matching is spectacular and ranges from a $12 bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with a clam appetizer up to a $100 Napa Cabernet with the beef Richelieu (if you haven’t done this, please do).
What one wine do you recommend for our readers to try?
Try one new wine a week to go with food, take notes on what you like and don’t, and continue the quest.
What is an up-and-coming wine (or winery) you think is a good value right now?
Malbec from Argentina, Cabernet from Chile, Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.
Did we miss anything?
Wine needs company – good food and great people. Don’t get hung up in wine-worshiping or buying labels. As noted above, continue the quest.
About Tom Gable
Tom Gable, a native Californian, has been writing about wine for more than 30 years. He began during his tenure as business editor of the San Diego Evening Tribune in the 1970s. He was syndicated through Copley News Service and also contributed frequently to travel, wine and inflight publications before moving into a full-time career in public relations. He continues to cover wine as contributing wine editor for San Diego Magazine and also writes about wine, food and travel for magazines and newspapers.
Tom has judged at major wine competitions and traveled extensively in the winemaking areas of the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and New Zealand. He is a member of the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin and the Commanderie de Bordeaux.
Tom is CEO of Gable PR, San Diego, one of the west's leading public relations and marketing communications agencies. He is the author of The PR Client Service Manual, now in its fourth edition and the No. 1 book sold through the Public Relations Society of America on PR program planning, implementation and managing for results.
A graduate of San Diego State University, he served in Vietnam with the U.S. Army and as a war correspondent with Pacific Stars & Stripes. Prior to starting his first firm, The Gable Group, in 1976, he was business editor of the San Diego Evening Tribune and a correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and other business, travel and regional magazines. He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting and holds many awards for writing and public relations.
Tom and his wife, Laura, live in Del Mar, California, and have three grown children.