Oct
15
2018

A Cali-Rhone Sensation

 

I was excited to hear that Prophetess is one of the top wines Robert Parker has ever tasted, and I have to wholeheartedly agree! Curt Schalchlin has been crafting some of the most amazingly, well-priced, widely-praised Rhone blends for over a decade. His wines have made him (and me) many friends.  The Prophetess bottling, Curt’ smallest bottling (200 cases only), sells out within weeks of its release, and with this 94 Point rating it will probably even go faster!  So don’t procrastinate!

Sans Liege XIV/XV Prophetess, Santa Barbara
GGWC 49.99
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Winery Notes: “The weathered door is cracked as you approach. She always knows you are coming, but you never understand how. The foyer smells of boysenberry cobbler, clove oil, smoked meats and plum preserves. She’s sitting on the velvety couch sipping anise liquor, waiting. You sit and the old stones are cast on the table. As they land, her knowing eyes let you know that the reading is the same. The memory of picking elderberries by the alpine mountain spring comes rushing back and you smile.”

Robert Parker: “A blend of the 2014 and 2015 vintages, the NV Prophetess was my favorite of these red releases, opening in the glass with notes of cassis, blackberry, smoke, asphalt and grilled meat, framed by a subtle touch of oak. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, savory and rich, with juicy acids and a somewhat rustic finish, but terrific character and complexity. This iteration, labelled XIV/XV, is a blend of 73% Syrah and 27% Mourvèdre.”

Click here or on the links above to order!

Oct
5
2018

Two Knock-Out Cabernets by Mike Smith 2.0

 

Scarlett Wines is a family operation owned by the McGah family, who are most notably known for co-founding the Oakland Raiders. Representing over four generations of wine growers, the family’s personal touch can be felt from the soil to the glass. The winery previously operated under the name McGah Family Cellars and rebranded in 2015 in honor of its flagship wine, Scarlett, which is named after the founder’s daughter.

Scarlett 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Rutherford Napa Valley
GGWC 69.99
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The wine’s aroma is AMAZING! The color STUNNING! The flavors MINDBOGGLING! The wine is loaded with black stone fruit and chocolate aromas. On the palate the wine gushes with more chocolate, black currant, jam and some delicate Rutherford dust. The wine is full in body, yet elegant and refined! Gorgeous from start to finish Only 200 cases of this gem were produced, so better jump on this now! Massively scaled for a Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon.  Great effort from Mike Smith!

Scarlett 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Estate Rutherford Napa Valley
GGWC 129.99
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A total knock-out, stunner Cab.  The wine is loaded with dark, black stone fruit, offering up hints of licorice, a touch of smoke a good whiff of spice. Offering an extraordinary equilibrium between acidity, alcohol, tannin and wood, stunning purity, a finish that goes on for close to a minute, and a dazzling palate presence from what appears to be an incredible terroir make this an amazing effort in Cabernet Sauvignon Very well balanced with the right acid/fruit ratios.  This is a wine for the ages.  VERY LIMITED

Also check out:
SCARLETT 2016 SAUVIGNON BLANC, RUTHERFORD NAPA VALLEY
SCARLETT 2015 PETIT VERDOT ESTATE RUTHERFORD NAPA VALLEY
SCARLETT 2016 ZINFANDEL “ESTATE” RUTHERFORD

Click here or on the links above to order!

Oct
4
2018

The Best Quality to Value Ratio California Pinot Noir

 

Byron Kosuge has been making wine for over 3 decades now.  He honed his skills at various great wineries in California and France.  While working in Carneros he befriended two guys who ran a vineyard management company.  When they planted a small vineyard next to their work shop, Byron came up with the name “The Shop” and the rest (15 years later) is history.  Byron has created a good following for his brand, and so have many of my customers. But his Chardonnay making goes back 30 years and has been his big passion, although he did not add this to his portfolio till 2008.  The 2015 is truly amazing and a great wine for your Buck!

B Kosuge 2015 Pinot Noir The Shop, Carneros
Retail 38.00 – GGWC 34.99
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The wine emerges from the glass with dark red stone fruit a hint of spice, nuttiness and licorice. This is lush and  fleshy, Pinot Noir that is loaded with class and pedigree. The wine is medium to full in body and flavor and finishes long and strong!

Winemaker notes: The 2015 Shop, like the 2014, is pretty ripe and open. The 2015 is pretty, sweet and alluring and have been from the beginning. And although 2015 was an early, warm vintage, the wines are fresh and fairly modest in alcohol. The Shop is always one of the biggest and fleshiest of my offerings and the 2015 is no different; a bit of tannin on the finish gives it a pleasing lift and persistence. The combination of spice and fruit signals that the wine is from Carneros.

Click here or on the links above to order!

Oct
3
2018

20% OFF Napa Cabernet Gem & FREE SHIPPING TOO!

 

Ilaria 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
- SPECIAL PRICING -
20% OFF & FREE SHIPPING on FULL CASE

(NOW $56.00 per bottle INSTEAD OF $70.00)
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The 2015 Ilaria Cabernet Sauvignon possesses gorgeous aromas of black current liqueur, blackberries and huckleberry compote and is complemented by notes of scorched volcanic earth, roasted herbs and charcoal. This wine coats the palate with seductive viscosity. The velvety tannins dance on the palate and contribute to the enduring finish.  The wine is a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon 12% Cabernet Franc 6% Merlot

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points: ” Checking in as a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc and the rest Merlot, from a mix of Atlas Peak, Howell Mountain and St. Helena, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley from Anna Monticelli is a rich, full-bodied, opulent 2015 that shows the sexy, ripe, sweet character of the vintage beautifully. Cassis, tobacco leaf, graphite, and hints of minerality all emerge from this beauty and it’s balanced, pure, and long. Drink it over the coming 15+ years.”

Robert Parker 92+ Points: “Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon (a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc and 6% Merlot coming mainly from the Atlas Peak foothills with some Howell Mountain and St. Helena fruit) gives up notes of crème de cassis, dried herbs and black soil with hints of cardamom and rare beef. Full-bodied and packed with plenty of expressive black fruits and herbal accents, it has nice, ripe, approachable tannins and a spicy finish.”

Click here or on the links above to order!

Oct
2
2018

A rare $50s Napa Gem (100 cases produced)

 

Scarlett Wines is a family operation owned by the McGah family, who are most notably known for co-founding the Oakland Raiders. Representing over four generations of wine growers, the family’s personal touch can be felt from the soil to the glass. The winery previously operated under the name McGah Family Cellars and rebranded in 2015 in honor of its flagship wine, Scarlett, which is named after the founder’s daughter.

Scarlett 2015 Petit Verdot, Napa Valley
GGWC 52.99
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Winemaker Notes: “Dark violet in color followed by an intense set of aromas consisting of dark heady fruit, cedar and sandalwood spice. The mid-palate consists of firm but perfectly integrated acidity along with a ripe, rich and highly concentrated Rutherford fruit. A beautiful streak of anise runs through the middle leading to a long and highlighted finish.Consistent with the nature of this varietal, the tannins are forefront, but a have a measure of finesse and polish allowing this wine to be enjoyed in its youth.”

Also check out:
SCARLETT 2016 CABERNET SAUVIGNON “ESTATE” RUTHERFORD, NAPA VALLEY
SCARLETT 2016 CABERNET SAUVIGNON “RESERVE ESTATE” RUTHERFORD, NAPA VALLEY
SCARLETT 2016 SAUVIGNON BLANC, RUTHERFORD NAPA VALLEY
SCARLETT 2016 ZINFANDEL “ESTATE” RUTHERFORD

Click here or on the links above to order!

Oct
1
2018

THOMAS RIVERS BROWN’S SUPERB CHARDONNAY & PINOT NOIR

 


Senses is the story of three childhood friends who reunited after many years to make small-batch Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.  One of them Max Thieriot (actor – Bates Motel, SealTeam and others) he is also a descedent of M.H De Young (The “The Young Museum in San Francisco and founder of the SF Chronicle).  His other two partners are Chris Strieter (Thomas Rivers Brown’s assistant and day-to-day at the winery) and Myles Lawrence Briggs (a writer).  Together they created Senses (SENS3S).  The wines are made by ace=winemaker Mr. 100 Point – Thomas Rivers Brown!

Senses 2016 “B.A. Thieriot” Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast
GGWC 79.99
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Impressively balanced and beautifully aromatic, the 2016 B.A. Thieriot features the classic minerality and quince palate that is a signature of the vineyard. On the palate, this wine is gorgeous and intriguing with hints of citrus and stone fruit. The powerful fruit is rounded out by a moderate acidity and a lingering finish.

Winery Notes: After the disastrous yields of 2015, most vineyards saw closer to average tonnage and the rains that followed the harvest were more than welcome to alleviate the drought. Favorable weather allowed for even ripening and full phenolic development without being pressured by extreme heat spikes, as with previous vintages.

Senses 2016 Pinot Noir “Day One” Hillcrest Vineyards
GGWC 69.99
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Winery Notes: The Hillcrest Vineyard: where Senses started from day one. We decided that moving forward this wine deserved a special designation. After much thought (and wine) it was clear. “Day One” was the perfect fit. Hillcrest is where the three of us rolled up our sleeves, hand farmed and harvested the entire vineyard and created our very first vintage of Senses Pinot Noir.

Robert Parker 94 Points: “Pale to medium ruby-purple colored, the 2016 Pinot Noir Day One has a very pretty nose of red roses and lavender over a core of crushed red cherries, raspberries and wild thyme with a waft of dusty soil. Medium-bodied with a very ripe, fine-grained frame and seamless freshness lifting the layered floral and red berry flavors, it finishes wonderfully fragrant.” 

Also check out the limited production
SENSES 2016 “CHARLES HEINTZ” CHARDONNAY, SONOMA COAST

Click here or on the links above to order!

Sep
30
2018

Zinfandel – The fascinating history of ‘California’s grape’

Zinfandel – The fascinating history of ‘California’s grape’

By Allison Levine
Napa Valley Register


Croatian winemaking history began around 2200 B.C.; California’s winemaking history started in 1779. All of our vitis vinifera grapes in California came from somewhere else. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are from Burgundy, Cabernet Sauvignon from Bordeaux, Tempranillo and Albariño from Spain, Barbera and Nebbiolo from Piemonte. But when it came to Zinfandel, for years we thought Zinfandel was “our” grape.

Zinfandel did not have a European connection like the other grapes mentioned above. There were no grapes in Europe named Zinfandel. In the 1970s, Primitivo, from Southern Italy, was thought to be Zinfandel. But, a couple decades later when they finally had the tools to do a DNA test on grapes, it was found that while Zinfandel and Primitivo were genetically identical, Zinfandel did not come from Primitivo. In fact, Primitivo, it was found, was probably introduced to Italy 200 to 300 years ago. But, where did Zinfandel/Primitivo come from?

This is where the story gets interesting. We know the origin of Zinfandel because of the hard work of Dr. Meredith, a grapevine geneticist. Today she makes Lagier Meredith wines on Mount Veeder, but for 22 years, she was a professor in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at the UC Davis.

During her tenure, she did ground-breaking research on the parentage of grape varieties. Using DNA typing, she and her team identified the lineage of Cabernet Sauvignon (Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc), Chardonnay (Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc) and Syrah (Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche). And, of course, she determined the origins of Zinfandel.

“Learning how grapes are related gives us information for deduction and enables us to dispel many myths,” Meredith explained when I had the privilege to meet her on a recent trip to Napa where she shared the story of Zinfandel.

“Zinfandel was thought of as the California grape, but that implied that it had no history,” Meredith said. “It was obviously a European grape but not from France, Italy, Germany, Spain or Portugal. It was from farther east in Europe.”

She also noted that because of the large leaves of Zinfandel, it had to be from Southern European, because Northern Europe grapes have smaller leaves. From Puglia, Italy, where Primitivo is from, they looked across the Adriatic to the Dalmatian coast of Croatia.

Meredith wanted to apply the DNA tools she had to find the home of Zinfandel. But, she did not know anyone in Croatia. She reached out to winemaker and Croatian vintner Mike Grgich for help.

Grgich introduced Meredith to Plavi Mali, the predominant red grape grown on the Dalmatian Coast. Meredith’s research found that Plavic Mali and Zinfandel are similar but are not the same.

Then, serendipity stepped in. Out of the blue, in the fall of 1997, Ivan Pejic, a plant geneticist from the University of Zagreb in Croatia sent Meredith an email asking for her help. He and his colleague Edi Maletic were asking for her DNA tools to understand indigenous grapes of Croatia. They began to work together. In 2000 they discovered that Plavic Mali is the direct offspring of Zinfandel and Dobričić, an ancient variety from the Adriatic island of Šolta.

Further research led them to a vineyard northwest of Split where they found, in one vineyard, nine vines out of 9,000 vines of Crljenak Kaštelanski, also locally known as Kratosija and Pribidrag. The grape was almost extinct and only a handful of vines were left in the entire country.

They also found preserved grapevine leaves, called Tribidrag, in a museum in Split. From 1998-2001, they tried to get the DNA out of the dried Tribidrag but with no success. Ten years later, another group was able to get the DNA out of the dried leaves and prove the heritage of Zinfandel.

Tribidrag is the ancient name of Zinfandel. A historian traced the grape’s history back to the 1300s where he found that it was one of the most prominent grapes in the entire Adriatic. Tribidrag/Zinfandel is more than 800 years old and, according to Meredith, “it is a noble grape. We should treat it well.”

Today, Zinfandel is the third-leading wine grape variety in California, with more than 44,400 acres planted, according to The Wine Institute. It is grown in 45 of California’s 58 counties!

Check out these great Zinfandel suggestions:
BELLA 2015 ZINFANDEL “LILY HILL” DRY CREEK
CARLISLE 2016 2016 ZINFANDEL “DUPRATT VINEYARD” MENDOCINO RIDGE
CARLISLE 2016 ZINFANDEL “MONTAFI RANCH” RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY
MIKE & MOLLY 2015 “R.W. MOORE” ZINFANDEL, NAPA VALLEY
HENDRY 2015 ZINFANDEL “BLOCK 7 & 22” NAPA VALLEY
BACIGALUPI 2015 ZINFANDEL “ESTATE” RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY
BIALE 2016 ZINFANDEL “BLACK CHICKEN” NAPA VALLEY
GB CRANE 2016 DISCIPLES PROPRIETARY RED, NAPA VALLEY (94 POINTS)

Sep
29
2018

LAST CALL for SUPERB 5 barrel Napa Cab Franc

 


Trespass is a small 5 acre all estate property in northwestern St. Helena at the base of Spring Mountain. The wines are hand-crafted by Kirk Venge who has been making wine since he was a little child under the tutelage of his dad Nils Venge (the first 100 point winemaker in the US with his 1985 Groth Reserve Cabernet).  Kirk has wowed us with many great wines (Beau Vigne, Macauley, Honeycutt, Igneous, Venge, etc). Nils told me that at pre-school age Kirk knew he was going to be winemaker

Trespass 2015 Cabernet Franc “Estate” St. Helena, Napa Valley
GGWC 89.99
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Our friends at Trespass crafted yet another remarkable wine! Kirk Venge does not skip a beat with this latest release. It is beyond awesome. I would almost rate this is the best Cabernet Franc in the Napa Valley, but who am I to say. This wine has an amazing dense purple hue and a touch of anise and black currant on the nose. Extraction would make you think it is Syrah, yet this wine is amazingly elegant and offers up a storm of gorgeous, elegant black stone fruit alongside its full-bodied armor. Great balance, with the right amount of fruit and acid. The wine’s finishes with a long silkiness. 125 cases produced.

Click here or on the links above to order!

Sep
28
2018

100 Point Napa Cabernet

 

After the success with her own label, Helen Keplinger is out of control (in a very good way)! The latest releases of Carte Blanche Cabernet and Proprietary Red showcase Helen’s amazing talents.  Only a few hundred cases of this mindboggling wine was produced from this “next” Haut Brion of the Napa Valley!  After many high 90s, the wines received a 100 Point rating this time!

This family has been in the wine business for nearly a century, since his great grandfather, Clarence Dillon, acquired Chateau Haut-Brion in 1935 and the family company, Domaine. Clarence Dillon, subsequently purchased Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion in 1983. This was the inspiration to produce his own boutique label in Napa Valley.

Carte Blanche 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
GGWC 154.99
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OK to mix & match with Carte Blanche Prop Red

Jeb Dunnuck 100 Points: “Lastly, and pure perfection in the glass, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% varietal from two great sites: Missouri Hopper in Oakville and Las Posadas in Howell Mountain. Aged in 100% new French oak, it offers an incredible bouquet of crème de cassis, liquid rock, graphite, lead pencil shavings, and unsmoked tobacco, with searing minerality in the aromatics as well as on the palate. Offering full-bodied richness, terrific concentration, and building tannin, this backward, dense, yet perfectly balanced 2015 needs 4-5 years of cellaring and will impress for 2-3 decades. Bravo!”

Robert Parker 97 Points: “The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon is made predominately from Cabernet Sauvignon from Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper vineyard. It gives a very deep purple-black color and is redolent of crème de cassis, blueberry compote, Indian spices and crushed rocks with touches of black soil, cigar boxes and Provence herbs. The palate is built like a brick house with a solid frame of firm, fine-grained tannins and plenty of freshness supporting the generous black and blue fruits and beautiful spice layers, finishing on a lingering mineral note.”

Winemaker Helen Keplinger Notes: “The 2015 Carte Blanche Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% varietal makeup. Cabernet Sauvignon was farmed mainly at Oakville’s Missouri Hopper Vineyard owned by Andy Beckstoffer. A small amount of Cabernet from Las Posadas Vineyard on Howell Mountain was used in the final blend. A super complex nose leaps from the glass, showing dark and red fruits, cassis, graphite, and lead pencil. A broad palate opens to reveal black fruits, hint of red currant, and fresh tobacco leaf, all leading to a mile long silky finish. Enjoyable now with air and built for cellar aging.”

Carte Blanche 2015 Proprietary Red, Napa Valley
GGWC 149.99
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OK to mix & match with Carte Blanche Cabernet

Jeb Dunnuck 98 Points: “Leading off the 2015s from this estate, the 2015 Proprietary Red is a much more Cabernet-dominated blend than the 2014 and is 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and the rest Malbec. Brought up all in new French oak, this monster effort boasts a deep purple color as well as sensational notes of currants, blackberry liqueur, graphite, espresso roast and leafy herbs. Full-bodied, ripe, opulent and incredibly concentrated, this killer effort needs 2-3 years to shed some baby fat, but it’s going to keep for 2-3 decades.”

Winemaker Helen Keplinger Notes: “The 2015 Carte Blanche Proprietary Red Wine is a Right-Bank inspired blend of 59.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petite Verdot and .5% Malbec. Select vineyards and blocks were chosen and farmed specifically to attain a dense, rich wine framed by delicate fine-grained tannins. Beckstoffer’s Orchard Vineyard Merlot offers a plump & full mid-palate while providing ample nuance. Beckstoffer’s Missouri Hopper Cabernet Sauvignon in Oakville provides a full spectrum of rich and dark fruit, while the Sage Ridge Vineyard Cabernet Franc from Sage Ridge Canyon offers nuances of tobacco, plum, and roasted poblano. The 2015 Proprietary Red shows blackberry, black cherry and espresso on the nose. The palate entry is silky and focused, showcasing currant, crushed blackberries, graphite, and roasted poblano pepper through an enduring finish. 150 cases produced.”

Click here or on the links above to order!

Sep
27
2018

The Wine “Catch” of the Day!

Winemaker Phil Titus (Chappellet etal) is the new winemaker at the helm, and it seems like Coho is getting an extra shot in the arm with this new addition. Coho will continue to source from the same vineyards, but with adding Phil Titus, they might have gone from Coach to First Class!

Coho 2015 Piont Noir Stanly Ranch Carneros Napa Valley
GGWC 44.99
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This 2015 Coho comes three distinct Dijon clones of Pinot Noir on Stanly Ranch in Los Carneros. Ripe aromas of black cherry, wild berry and enticing ripe plum aromas mingle with floral violet scents with a toasted almond and vanilla-infused bouquet. Rich and mouth-filling on entry, where the opulent texture reveals layered black cherry, plum and red currant flavors and fine-grained tannins which builds finesse on the elegant finish. Only 340 six-pack cases produced.

Also check out these other great Coho Wines:
COHO 2014 “OLD POODLE DOG” CABERNET, NAPA VALLEY
COHO 2013 MERLOT “MICHAEL BLACK”, NAPA VALLEY
COHO 2014 CABERNET SAUVIGNON, NAPA VALLEY
COHO 2014 HEADWATER CABERNET BLEND, NAPA VALLEY