Rosé is NOT just SWEET PINK wine! Here’s why….

When I first got into the wine industry a few decades ago, rosé was anything but cool. White Zinfandel from California made the public think that all rosé was sweet, and unfortunately, imports such as Royal Lancers from Portugal and wines such as Sutter Home White Zin confirmed this notion.

Today, however, rosé is the second fastest growing segment of the wine market – the United States is the second largest rosé consuming country in the world, following France of course! It accounts for nearly 10% of all wine made worldwide. You’ll find rosé at high-end restaurants and corner grocery stores alike.

The dry rosés from Provence did more to change people’s perception of pink wine than anything else. Domaine Tempier’s Bandol rosé started to have a huge cult following in the 90’s and other producers from this area were able to ride its coat tails.

There are a few ways to make rosé. One is to “bleed” some of the juice from red wine during the maceration process. This is called “saignée.” It also serves the purpose of concentrating phenolics in the red. Instead of just discarding the left over wine, some wineries bottle it as rosé. Lightly pressing red grapes to extract just enough color to give the wine a pink hue is another method. This is how “vin gris” is made. Of course mixing red and white wine together is another way.

Most rosé made in the United States is still sweet and that might account for why imported rosé sales are growing while domestic rosé sales have gone down. However, there has been a proliferation of dry rosé made in California and many of these wines are every bit as good as the pink wines other countries have to offer.

In fact, California rosé is as diverse as the state. So long as a producer has access to red grapes, rosé can be made.MCEVOY uses Pinot Noir, andLORENZA creates a Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre blend that is similar to the rosé from Provence. White grapes can also be added to the blend. Some producers prefer lighter, lower alcohol versions while others go for a fuller and often fruitier style. A few rosés have a touch of noticeable residual sugar yet many are bone dry. As rosé is usually considered a warm weather wine, most people want it to be crisp and refreshing more than anything else.


We’re having a “Rose and Summer White “tasting Saturday August 27, We will feature five rosés and 1 “special white” from different parts of the state and composed of a variety of grapes, this selection really captures the variety and quality of rosé California has to offer. If you’re in the area be sure to stop by from 1-5 P.M.


For those who cannot attend the tasting I have a “six pack” special – 10% OFF THIS WEEK ONLY!






Plus a non-rose to fill out the “summer-selection” tasting six pack!


Please use code TASTINGAUG27 at checkout to receive the 10% discount.

Sceaming Eagle Winemaker’s Hot New Cabernet Gem


Marciano Estate revitalizes a proud winegrowing history that dates back to the mid-19th century. The property upon which their vineyards are planted was part of the Bourn family estate, a country residence for one of San Francisco’s most successful and influential families during the time of California’s Gold Rush. When the Bourns purchased the St. Helena property in 1872, the estate – which the family called Madroño included over 100 acres of vineyards, orchards and grazing pastures, two cottages and a home. Though the Bourns replaced the original house with a much larger home, complete with Victorian towers and decorative stone work, this new home burned down in 1888. A second home – one that utilized the original stone walls along with a few oak doors — was completed in 1903-1904, and still stands on the property today.

The Bourn family had a keen interest in Napa Valley’s burgeoning wine industry, particularly Sarah Bourn, the family matriarch. After her husband, William I died, she devoted herself to learning everything she could about grape growing. In the meantime, her son, William Bourn II, recognized the need for additional winery capacity in Napa Valley. He and his partner, E. Everett Wise, built Greystone Cellars in 1888/89, one of Napa Valley’s grandest structures and today the home of the Culinary Institute of America’s west coast campus. Though the onset of phylloxera dampened William II’s enthusiasm for the wine industry and triggered the sale of Greystone in 1894, the Bourn family continued to maintain their residence at Madroño, adding to their Napa Valley vineyard holdings and selling grapes to wineries throughout the valley.

The Marciano family purchased the estate in 2006 and has completely brought it up the 21st Century standards. They also hired a top winemaker (Andy Erickson) and vineyard manager (David Abreu) and the end-result is amazing grapes and stunning wines!

Massiglia 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate
Retail 130.00 – GGWC 124.99
Use code MASSIGLIA at checkout

The 2012 Massiglia is a blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, all sourced form the Marciano Estate. The aromatics are captivatingly complex—cassis, ripe raspberries, fresh-cut truffles, salted caramel, and wet gravel. The burnished, rounded texture of the wine is immediately appealing; but with such structure, the wine will continue to age for many years.

Parker 94+ Points: “The proprietary red wine, the Massiglia, tends to be a blend of about two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon, 29-30% Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot. These wines see slightly less new oak than the Cabernets (about 61-71%, depending on the vintage). The star is the Proprietary Red Blend Massiglia, which has a dense purple color and a wonderful nose of creosote, black truffle, blueberry and blackberry fruit. It is full-bodied and opulent, but also has good, sweet tannin, grip and a delineated, vibrant mouthfeel.”

Click here or on the links above to order!


2016 Harvest Report – Part Two

Dear Friends,


As promised, two pre-harvest reports for you.  Last time we shared some info about DuMOL, Linked, and Inherit the Sheep.  Today, our focus is on Spottswoode and Hudson.  Two “big” boys and girls in the Valley.  Both these vineyards would have “First Growth” and “Grand Cru” status if they were located in France.

As we are approaching the 2016 harvest, I want to give you a heads-up and share my experiences while visiting the Napa and Sonoma Valleys this last week.

After 5 years of major drought in California, we finally had a somewhat normal winter rainfall even though we had expected much more after the touted “El Nino” was announced.  Unfortunately, the flooding and massive deluges never materialized yet we took all the rain we could get.  I’d say the reservoirs are looking good, but we still will have to conserve as this could (again) be another drought year.  Since March we have not seen a drop of rain!

Last year the drought did a number on the yields of every vineyard in the state–many are down 30-50%, and some even more–which means we all will have less wine.  But the quality is exceptional!  I barrel-sampled with 10+ wineries and the 2015 will be another one for the books!

I visited with a few folks in the valley – Hudson (Carneros), Linked (Knight’s Valley), Spottswoode (St. Helena), Inherit The Sheep (Coombsville, Napa) DuMOL (Russian River Valley) and came away with the following to report to you.   Today PART 2 of the report – Hudson and Spottswoode.



Lee Hudson owner, John Kongsgaard winemaker

Happy clusters of Hudson Chardonnay

The big news I got from Lee was that he is building a winery on the site of his great vineyard, and groundbreaking is scheduled for mid-August!

Due to a temperature drop, Lee is planning to start picking August 22, which is about a week later compared to last year.  Lee told me that the vintage is looking beautiful with the stars all in alignment.  It’s looking early with very healthy canopies and a good average to average plus size crop. “We are very excited, rocking with anticipation,” Lee told me.

The Hudson Ranch is 200 acres and production is in small amounts. 95% of the fruit is sold to 32 other wineries, like Kongsgaard, Kistler, DuMol, etc.   The principal varietals grown on the ranch are Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Grenache, yielding on the average 2.5 – 3 tons per acre.  Lee also grows small amounts of Viognier, Alberino, Arneis, Aliatico, Greco Di Tufo, Friulano, Ribollo Gialla. Verdejo and Vermintino. These are represented in areas as small as 1 to .3 of an acre each.

The vineyard is situated on a sloping, rolling area at 300 to 400 feet elevation in the Carernos region.  If this vineyard were located in France, it would have “Grand-Cru” status!

I have been a big fan of Lee and his “Hudson Ranch” for years and am excited about what the vineyard has to offer for years to come.  Make sure to check out the HUDSON 2013 CHARDONNAY CARNEROS


Also a few other wines worth checking out produced from this estate:







The Spottswoode Estate Cabernet Vineyard

Spottswoode is one of the venerable Napa Valley wineries dating back to 1882 when George Shonewald planted 17 acres on the 31-acre property. In 1906 he sold the property to Joseph Bliss, who renames it “Stonehurst” but sells it 2 years later to Dr. George Allen who renames it “Lyndenhurst” for the four Linden trees that grace the garden.  In 1910 he sells it to Mrs. Albert Spotts who swiftly renames it “Spottswoode” in honor of her late husband.   In 1916 she plants various varietals hoping that the manufacturing of alcohol would not be banned (Prohibition).

Between 1919-1930 prohibition takes hold and Spottswoode falls into disrepair.  They survive by selling the grapes to the Christian Brothers (who make sacramental wine, suddenly very popular at that time!). They also grow produce, mushroom, and frogs for frogs’ legs, which were very popular in San Francisco restaurants during those years.  In 1930 she gifts it to her niece, who begins to sell fruit to the St. Helena Wine Cooperative.  

This lasts for several decades and in 1972 the estate is sold to the current owners the Novak Family, who still own and operate the winery.

Between 1973-75 the vineyard is replanted to Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc.  Jack Novak passed away at a very young age in 1977 and Mary Novak decides to make the best of everything, officially founding Spottswoode winery in 1982.  Tony Soter was the original winemaker till 1997.  Since then some great winemakers have passed through this amazing property (Pam Starr, Rosemary Cakebread and Jennifer Williams.  Today the wines are made by Aron Weinkauf)


Spottswoode assistant winemaker James Revie with a cluster of 2016 Cabernet.

After a great winter and early spring “El Nino” Spottswoode’s vineyard benefited from the generous amount of rain that fell on this gorgeous and venerable property.  Everything is looking amazing at this time, with harvest anticipated in late September to early October, about a week or so later compared to 2015.   The yields are looking very good, and the anticipation of great quality is there!  The RED varietals have just finished veraison. The quantity will be average to just above average – but they settle for high-quality and modest yields anytime!  Anticipated harvest time will be September 12th for the reds, while they will start picking the whites late August.

Check out these current releases from Spottswoode:








Arbe Garbe (pron. Arbay Garbay), literally “bad weeds”, is what they call the cover crops on the Friulian Colli Orientali (“eastern hills”). It’s the mid-nineties, same scenery; two philosophy students are paying for tuition by picking grapes in the Jermann vineyards. Long hours of hard work and dream-sharing, they find one too many ideas in common. Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Kerouac, whispering incessantly in the back of their minds, they lift their deep roots and go. He picks up his guitar and she takes nothing but a flower in her hair and love in her eyes, and they come to California.

Arbe Garbe 2015 Proprietary White Blend, Russian River Valley
Retail 43.00 – GGWC $39.99
Use shipping code ARBEGARBE during check out

Those days are long gone, but they still have deep roots and their dreams. Never ceasing to work hard and with passion, they have eventually reconnected to their native culture through the winemaking tradition. All that they have seen and felt and envisioned they expressed in every step of the process that brings this wine to life. They’ve always been enamored with the big Friulian white blends (45% Viognier, 30% Malvasia Bianca, 15% Gewurztraminer and 10% Pinot Blanc) and wanted to pay homage to their heroes and their dreamy creations. With the same hedonistic approach, they have created an ever-changing blend that embraces the melting pot they’re in and love, California, and the one they’ve left behind.

Click here or on the links above to order!


Paul Lato makes killer MilAnge Syrah!


MilAnge is my own label, so I am of course very partial to the wine. MilAnge is named after my two daughters, MIL(ayna) and ANGE(lina). My award winning winemaker Paul Lato sourced the fruit from two of Santa Barbara’s most famous vineyard sites. Unfortunately, only 2 barrels were produced, so it will go quick!

MilAnge 2014 Syrah, Santa Barbara
Retail 80.00 – GGWC 74.99
Use code MILANGE

OK to mix with MilAnge Cabernet

The 2014 MilAnge Syrah was exclusively crafted by ace winemaker Paul Lato.  This youngster oozes with stunning and bright fruit.  On the nose you’ll encounter red and black stone fruits with a whiff of bacon fat.  On the palate this lush wine is loaded with sweet black stone fruit, crushed flowers, cassis and cured meats.  Bold, yet elegant this wine is concentrated yet approachable with a rich and lush mouthfeel.  The wine ends with touch of white pepper silky finish.  Only 50 cases were produced.

Also be sure to check out the


Click here or on the links above to order!


99 Point winemaker’s 5 barrel Cabernet Gem


Luc Morlet has yet another accolade to his name, the new Linked 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon.  Only 118 cases of this great wine were produced. Just around the bend from Peter Michael’s stomping grounds, this new wine is poised to become a reference point for Knights Valley. Dense, mouth‐coating flavors of dark fruits, chocolate and cassis with a decadent wood flourish to the finish. If someone could have told you about something like Peter Michael Les Pavots while you could still get it, youʹd thank them, right?  Luc uses the fruit from this vineyard for his (97 point Parker rated) “Moret Mon Chevalier.”  For those not familiar with Luc Morlet, he also makes the wines for Peter Michael, Vineyard 7 & 8, Cabaud, and of course his own Morlet label.

Linked 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate, Knight’s Valley
Retail 130.00 – GGWC 124.99
FREE SHIPPING on 4 or more
Use the discount code “LINKED″ during checkout

Keeping true to the vineyard, this wine is made with 100% Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.  It is a powerful wine that showcases the balance of power and elegance. A first glance at the deep, dark ruby color fringed with mahogany suggests a wine of great character and complexity. The nose is redolent of intense, concentrated red and black fruit with hints of chocolate and tobacco, finely‐framed by delicate oak. Each sip reveals a new flavor dimension; black currant, blueberry, dark Bing cherry and plum mingle with tobacco, leather, cocoa, black pepper, and touches of spice. Supple tannins dance around balanced acidity to give a silken finish that goes on and on.

Click here or on the links above to order!


2016 Harvest Report – Part 1

Dear Friends,


As we are approaching the 2016 harvest, I want to give you a heads-up and share my experiences while visiting the Napa and Sonoma Valleys this week.  This week the focus is on DuMOL, Linked and Inherit The Sheep.

After 5 years of major drought in California, we finally had a somewhat normal winter rainfall even though we had expected much more after the touted “El Nino” was announced.  Unfortunately, the flooding and massive deluges never materialized yet we took all the rain we could get.  I’d say the reservoirs are looking good, but we still will have to conserve as this could (again) be another drought year.  Since March we have not seen a drop of rain!

Last year the drought did a number on the yields of every vineyard in the state–many are down 30-50%, and some even more–which means we all will have less wine.  But the quality is exceptional!  I barrel-sampled with 10+ wineries and the 2015 will be another one for the books!

I visited with a few folks in the valley – Hudson (Carneros), Linked (Knight’s Valley), Spottswoode (St. Helena), Inherit The Sheep (Coombsville, Napa) DuMOL (Russian River Valley) and came away with the following to report to you.   Today PART 1 of the report – DuMOL, Linked and Inherit The Sheep.


Linked Vineyards (Jessica Link owner.  Luc Morlet Winemaker)


The Linked Estate overlooking the Napa Valley at Sunset

The Linked vineyard is located in the Knight’s Valley (just Northeast of Calistoga) overlooking both Napa and Sonoma counties.  Planted in 2000, the vineyard is located at an elevation of 1200 feet with 16-acre vineyard planted to Bordeaux varietals, and yielding an average of 2 tons per acre.  Only 1 acre is earmarked for the “Linked” Cabernet production, the other 15 go mostly to Luc Morlet (for his Morlet label) and a few other wineries.  As there is no winery on the side, the wines are made by Luc Morlet at his state-of-the-art “Morlet” winery.


The vineyard is managed by Jessica’s husband Drew Johnson, who has 30+ years’ experience in the valley.  Jessica told me that Mother Nature’s way lets us know that harvest is on the way.  The 2016 Cabernet is undergoing veraison, a stage in the grape growing cycle that causes green berries to turn purple and transitions the vines from grape growth, to grape ripening.  Jessica told me that they are about 30-40% through verasion.  She estimates to be harvesting this beautiful crop around October 15th, which is typical for this vineyard and vineyards located on hillsides or mountains, which are usually slower ripening.


Linked Cabernet going through veraison

Jessica just released the LINKED 2012 CABERNET SAUVIGNON “ESTATE” KNIGHT’S VALLEYwhich is probably the best wine since their first release – 2007!  With one of the best winemakers of the Napa Valley on their team, Linked is poised to great success.  The vineyard is only getting better as the vines are gradually maturing.


While the Linked Vineyards name clearly has ties to the family name (Link), it means much more. It represents all the links that created the wine; the unique site, the family, the winemaker and all the friends who pitch in and support them. Jessica and Drew hand number each bottle, and record who acquires each one. So, you will always have a link to Linked Vineyards, and they to you.  Thus the multiple “rings” on the label.


LINKED SPECIAL, BUY 4 = FREE SHIPPING  ~ Use the discount code “LINKED″ during checkout


DuMOL Winery (Kerry Murphy, Owner – Andy Smith, Winemaker)

The DuMol Estate at Sunset

This will be the 21st harvest for DuMOL, and Andy Smith anticipates it will be a JACKPOT (21….) of a vintage.  So far everything is looking amazingly good at both the estate and other vineyards DuMOL works with.  General Manager and Partner Tom Pillsbury told me that the crop size is normal and there was no shatter.   Since none of the DuMOL vineyards experienced any heat spikes during the current growing season, they are very happy with how everything is progressing in the right direction so far.  Andy Smith anticipates to start harvest around Labor Day, which is about a week or two later compared to last year, but in no way late!  The past couple of vintages have been much earlier compared to normal. He said that this El Nino year might have brought some normalcy back to the harvest cycle.


I also barrel-sampled the single vineyards which will be out late 2016 as well as the 2015 vintage (a very small vintage) which will be released in 2017.  All the wines were A+

The Heintz Vineyard, one of DuMol’s sources, looking very happy this year!

As for the current vintage, the 2014 Russian River Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah are now in stock.   I would say in the 20 years working with DuMOL, the 2014 vintage might be the best if not the top 3 of all the vintages I have worked with.  I fondly recall hiring Mike Murphy, DuMOL’s owner Kerry Murphy’ son in 1995 and being the first retailer to feature their wines.  The first two vintages were crafted by Paul Hobbs who in 1998 turned the reigns over to Andy Smith.  Andy has been the captain of the DuMOL ship ever since and has steered the winery to amazing heights under his tenure-ship.

Check out these current releases from DuMOL:



FREE SHIPPING on SIX or more (can mix & match)  ~ Use discount code DUMOL14 upon checkout


Inherit the Sheep (Clay Gregory owner – Chris Carpenter winemaker)

While I don’t have a full pre-harvest report from our friends at Inherit the Sheep, I did want to share a picture of their Cabernet vineyard (going through veraison) with you.

The  INHERIT THE SHEEP 2013 CABERNET SAUVIGNON, ESTATE COOMBSVILLE NAPA VALLEYis current and is probably the best one to date.  Clay told me that the 2014 is any bit as good, 2015 very small (maybe 75 cases).  2016 is looking as good as one can expect and hope, courtesy of a good drenching this winter and early spring.  He predicts 2016 to be a spectacular one.  Harvest date TDB, but probably late September, I did not barrel sample the 2014 or 2015 as he does not make the wines on site.  I will be doing so later this fall. 


FREE SHIPPING on 6+ ~ Use code SHEEP upon check out.

As you can see, the 2016 harvest is shaping up to be a very nice one and I am eagerly looking forward to seeing what these excellent winemakers produce! Stay tuned however, as I will have PART TWO of the 2016 harvest report ready for you next week!Best,



MidWeek Wine Special!


The Rosella vineyard is on of the most sought after vineyard sources for great Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Nestled in the benchland of Monterey’s Santa Lucia Highlands, Rosella’s Vineyard was planted in 1996 by Gary Franscioni one of the appellation’s pioneering growers (from Garys’ fame – he also owns the Garys’ vineyard with Gary Pisoni),

Many great wineries such as Kosta Browne, Roar, Lucia, Carlisle, Siduri, and many others have been sourcing high-quality fruit from this vineyard.  So I was excited to hear that Saxon Brown started making wines from this much coveted vineyard as well!

Saxon Brown 2013 “Rosella” Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands
Retail 58.99 – NOW 47.99
Use code SAXON at checkout

Only 200 cases of the 2013 Saxon Brown Rosella’s Chardonnay were produced!  This wine has a very intense aroma of tropical fruits (guava, peach, mango) and a hint of creamy nuttiness jumping out of the glass.  The wine is lush and full in body with a round, creamy texture of pure Chardonnay fruit flavors of apple blossom and orange marmalade.  A touch of underlying minerality leads into a long finish where you’ll encounter a touch of toasty vanilla.

Click here or on the links above to order!


Exquisite Under $50 Cabernet!


Corey Beck grew up in the Napa Valley in and around the vineyards his grandfather planted at Chateau Montelena.  He started his winemaking career under Scott McLeod at Rubicon (Francis Ford Copolla).  His own Cabernet Sauvignon is an amazing wine sourced from one of the most sought after vineyards in the Napa Valley nearby the Hourglass, 3 Palms and Switchback Ridge vineyards. This wine’s quality is much higher than its price tag!

C-Beck 2013  Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Retail 53.00- GGWC 49.99
Use code CBECK upon check out

The wine’s aromas jump out of the glass upon impact.  Gobs of black stone fruit with hints of sweet vanilla greet you on the gorgeous nose.  This full-bodied wine is big and bold, yet silky and luscious loaded with extremely well-balanced black stone fruits (black currant, dark plum and blackberry) and the right touch of acid that will allow this wine to age nicely.  The wine finishes long with soft and supple tannins.  Only 264 cases of this great wine were produced.

Click here or on the links above to order!




2014 is undeniably a magnificent vintage! The production levels were down from the previous vintage, so that might be a problem, especially when a winery like DuMOL is in high-demand. I would say that this might the best release ever from this winery. I hear from the owner Kerry Muprhy and winemaker Andy Smith that the various wine publications that tasted the wine gave it rave reviews!

DuMol 2014 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley
Retail 60.00 – GGWC 56.99
Use discount code DUMOL14 upon checkout

This might be one of the best Chardonnays DuMol has ever produced. The wine offers focused, piercing aromas of pear, lemon zest and cut grass with a flinty, chalky mineral edge. Crisp apple and lime juice on the palate broadens to ripe melon and white peach. Linear entry expands to layers of ripe stone fruits, almond and nutmeg. Electric acidity brings focus and balance to the persistent and intensely mouthwatering finish. Honey and lemon richness lingers. Serve at no cooler than 55 degrees to allow the wine’s full texture to sing! The 2014 was sourced from 5 amazing  vineyards – Dutton Ranch, DuMOL Estate, Lorenzo, Heintz &  Ritchie.

DuMol 2014 Syrah, Russian River Valley
Retail 64.00 – GGWC 59.99
Use discount code DUMOL14 upon checkout

The 2014 Syrah RRV is by far the best effort to date from Andy Smith. Sourced from three great vineyards (Greywackle, Gregori and Hoppe-Kelly). This wine offers soaring mutli-dimensional aromatic complexity that is really quite dramatic. Violet, dark cassis, graphite and espresso. Bright peppery component with hints of mint and red volcanic character. Simultaneously fragrant and red-fruited but with a brooding inner dark power. Focussed and granular tannins that are long but never edgy. Lingering complexity – espresso, dusty cocoa and mixed black fruits. Decant for an hour in its youth. You can easily age this wine for 10 to 15 years!

DuMol 2014 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
Retail 74.00 – GGWC 71.99
Use discount code DUMOL14 upon checkout

One of the best RRV Pinot Noir DuMOL has ever produced! This wine is brilliant in the glass. Lovely purity of Russian River Pinot Noir aromas: juicy black cherry, black raspberry, sassafras and rosehip. As it opens, cassis and smoke then savory fennel emerge. Full in body, this wine is layered with bright red fruits on the lush palate, then broad and chewy with real depth of flavor and deep resonant texture. Firms up with air to a lingering mouthwashing savory finish. This truly is a real gem by Andy Smith – Sourced from some stunning vineyards in the Valley.

Click here or on the links above to order!