Feb
22
2018

Haut Brion meets Napa Valley

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 Luc’s amazing talents.  Only a few hundred cases of this mindboggling wine was produced from this “next” Haut Brion of the Napa Valley! This wine received  a 100 point wine in my book!

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.

Carte Blanche 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Net 124.99
FREE SHIPPING on 4 or more!
Use code CARTEBLANCHE during checkout

Robert Parker 96 Points: “Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is composed of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon from Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper vineyard with 6% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc. It offers up notions of crushed blackberries, warm blueberries and dried herbs with suggestions of cedar, Marmite toast and unsmoked cigar. Medium to full-bodied with impressive concentration and a rock-solid backbone of firm, grainy tannins, the palate delivers mouth-filling black and blue fruit with a lively kick on the long, earthy finish. 400 cases were made.”

Winemaker Notes: “The 2014 Carte Blanche Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon showcases Oakville’s Missouri Hopper Vineyard owned by Andy Beckstoffer. 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine reveals the delicate balance of ripe dark fruits, plush velvety tannins, savory notes, structure and minerality. Ballard vineyard’s 6% Petite Verdot provides a brooding base note, depth and nuance.  A hint of Cabernet Franc, 1% from Kuleto Vineyard, was the perfect touch to round out this stunning wine.”

Click here or on the links above to order!

Feb
20
2018

Blind Tasting surprise Cab Blend under $60 beats out expensive Reds

In a recent blind tasting a small Paso Robles producer turned heads by beating out some Napa and Sonoma big guns! The line up included:

The Winner HALTER RANCH 2015 “Ancestor”

Halter Ranch 2015 “Ancestor” Proprietary Red, Paso Robles
Retail 60.00 – GGWC 54.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code HALTER during checkout

This youngster offers up bright aromas of ripe blackberry and vanilla notes.  On the lush, concentrated but very well-balanced palate, the wine showcases copious amounts of black raspberries, crushed flowers and a touch of spice.  It is medium to full in body with supple, yet elegant silky grained tannins

Winemaker Notes: Halter Ranch 2015 Ancestor, is a Bordeaux-style reserve blend, and an homage to the Ancestor Tree, the largest Coast Live Oak on record.  Carefully selected barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot  from the Esate property were blended for this cuvée which offers aromas of olallieberries and cassis.  Rich and powerful, this wine offers dark fruit flavors and has a silky, round mouthfeel that leads to a well-structured finish.  The 2015 Ancestor is an excellent food wine and pairs well with beef, lamb and game.  Enjoy now, or set aside for a special occasion, as this wine will develop beautifully for years to come.

Click here or on the links above to order!

Feb
19
2018

LAST CALL Under $30 Hidden Surprise Red Blend

The 2014 Old Soul Red (a blend of Zinfandel,  Petite Sirah, Syrah and Malbec) by winemaker Alex McGregor, is probably one of the best value non-mainstream red blends currently on the market.  Sourced from their 100% organic, and bio-dynamic vineyard the “OSR” pleases both palate and wallet!  I cannot forget to mention the Saracina 2016 SAUVIGNON BLANC ESTATE MENDOCINO either  – reminiscent of a nice Loire white, as well as their white Rhone blend  ATREA 2016 THE CHOIR WHITE BLEND.

Atrea 2014 Old Soul Red “Proprietary Red” Mendocino
GGWC 26.99
FREE SHIPPING on a full case
Mix & match with other Atrea & Saracina wines

Use code ATREA during checkout


This wine has a beautiful, deep ruby color, a product of its Petite Sirah component. Aromas are dark and intense, with exotic raspberry, black cherry, and cracked pepper notes. The palate shows both richness and elegance, with a ripe tannic structure and a spiciness that reflects the vintage. Pair this wine throughout the year with your favorite comfort foods: ribs or burgers, pizza or pasta with a Bolognese sauce, or a wild mushroom risotto.

Click here or on the links above to order!

Feb
17
2018

Keplinger new releases … more 95+ Ratings & FREE SHIPPING!!

 
The MUCH anticipated 2015 (Helen) Keplinger releases are finally in stock!

I received the  Sumo, Lithic and Caldera bottlings from Helen. Quantities are very limited this year, but the quality is amazing! Let me know ASAP as these wines will sell out well before the end of the year! Helen Keplinger has been crafting amazing wines for over a decade now (Bryant Family, Carte Blanche, Grace Family, Arrow & Branch, Kenzo, Paradigm, Fiddlehead Cellars etc.) She worked with the Napa Elite (Heidi Barrett, David Abreu) and gained other valuable experience in France and Australia.  She can stand her own in this demanding wine world and her expertise is showcased in all the wines she produces.

The Wines: 

KEPLINGER 2014 “SUMO” SHAKE RIDGE VINEYARDS
Retail 75.00 – GGWC 71.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code KEP during checkout

Mix & match OK ALL Keplinger wines

Sumo is a Cote Rotie twist on Petite Sirah – Petite Sirah co-fermented with Viognier, and blended with a small amount of Syrah. The 2015 Sumo is a blend of 84% Petite Sirah, 13% Syrah, and 3% Viognier, all from Shake Ridge Vineyard. The Petite comes from three blocks, one is 80% rock and produces small, thick-skinned berries with intense aromatics and dense structure. The second Petite block also has very rocky soil with a western exposure – the berries are ever so slightly larger and the skins slightly thinner (remember this is still Petite!), bringing a juicy elegance to the blend. The third Petite block is at the bottom of a north-facing block, and is all about vibrant, fresh fruit – the lifter of the trio. The 2015 Sumo was aged in a mix of barriques, Muids d’Oc, and Demi Muids – all French Burgundian cooperage – 70% of which was new. The nose is super dark and exotic, showing layers of blackberry concentrate, tar, bittersweet chocolate, black licorice, black peppercorn, turpentine. The palate is massive, with blue and black fruit, crazy spice, creosote, and a long, plush finish. Ah, Sumo. 295 cases produced.

KEPLINGER 2015 “LITHIC” GSM, SHAKE RIDGE VINEYARDS
Retail 75.00 – GGWC 71.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code KEP during checkout

Mix & match OK ALL Keplinger wines

The 2015 Lithic is a blend of 40% Mourvedre, 34% Grenache, and 26% Syrah – all coming from Ann Kraemer’s incredible Shake Ridge Vineyard, situated at 1700’ in the Sierra Foothills of Amador County. Farmed to perfection, the extraordinary Sierra uplift soils, loaded with quartz, basalt, soapstone, and shale always combine to create wines of great purity, richness, and minerality. The Mourvedre, Grenache, and Syrah blocks are all on rock-filled slopes with excellent exposure and drainage. The blocks were harvested for optimal ripeness on four different dates, and combined into small co-fermented wine lots, each with a different percentage of whole cluster grapes. The wine was aged in once-used and neutral French Demi Muids for 16 months before being bottled without fining or filtration. The 2015 Lithic has a tightly wound gorgeous nose of lavender, blackberry, blueberry, black peppercorn, wild thyme, cacao, carnation, green olive, newbuck leather, and pencil shavings. There is just as much intensity on the palate, with a silky entry, broad, mineral-driven tannins, and an impressive finish. 300 cases produced.

KEPLINGER 2015 “CALDERA” PROPRIETARY RED, GOLDBUD VINEYARD
Retail 75.00 – GGWC 71.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code KEP during checkout

Mix & match OK ALL Keplinger wines

This wine hails from the gorgeous Aiken soils of Goldbud Vineyard in El Dorado County at an elevation of 2900’. The beautiful, fine red volcanic soil is strewn with lava pebbles, giving this wine a true sense of place. The head-trained vines are now 19 years old, allowing the vineyard to be dry-farmed, and giving the wine more intensity and terroir every year. The 2015 Caldera – 65% Mourvedre, 31% Grenache, and 4% Counoise – has an incredibly dark, concentrated profile, with awesome tension of fruit and savory notes. The nose has great intensity and purity – rose petal, wild strawberry with a kirsch edge, dried aromatic herbs, blackberry, graphite, black tea, regaliz, and herb-roasted meat. This is a really stunning vintage of Caldera, with a super silky entry, terrific depth and length, and great tension between seductive fruit and pensive savory notes. 180 cases produced.

Click here or on the links above to order!

Feb
16
2018

Pinot of the Month

Justin Harmon, owner/winemaker was born in Chicago, to a large Irish family where wine did not play a role in his life while growing up. Milk was the beverage of choice at the dinner table, and the industrial beers of the Midwest, fueled family parties. He does not pinpoint a specific moment that his passion for wine was ignited but, instead, attributes it to a series of experiences, places visited, bottles opened and friendships forged. At this point in life, he can not imagine a life without the joys of all things wine!

Argot 2015 Pinot Noir “Mosaic” Sonoma County
GGWC 49.99
FREE SHIPPING on SIX
Use code ARGOT during checkout

The 2015 Mosaic is a compliation of some great and sought after vineyards from the Sonoma Mountain, Bennett Valley and Petaluma Gap appellations – thus Mosaic.  The 2015 iteration of ‘Mosaic’ Pinot Noir strikes a beautiful balance between hillside exuberance and valley floor elegance.  Strawberry-rhubarb notes build into black cherry, blood orange and accents of bakers cocoa.  The fruit is framed by the highly present, but suave tannins that mark the vintage, while a bright natural acidity carries the long finish.

Also check out these other great Argot wines (they assort for free shipping as well)

ARGOT 2013 SYRAH “ESTATE” SONOMA MOUNTAIN – 94 POINTS
ARGOT 2014 CHARDONNAY “ESTATE” SONOMA MOUNTAIN – 93 POINTS
ARGOT 2014 PINOT NOIR  “ESTATE” SONOMA MOUNTAIN – 94 POINTS
ARGOT 2015 PINOT NOIR “BASTARD TONGUE” SONOMA COUNTY  95 POINTS 

Click here or on the links above to order!

Feb
15
2018

$100.00 CAB at ½ the PRICE by Winemaker of the Year

Winemaker of the Year Steve Matthiasson has been farming some of Napa’s greatest vineyards for decades now and he also created some great brands himself.  The latest CONVEXITY is one of those $100.00 “tasting” Cabernets that I can offer at $50.00 and you’ll be happily surprised with the quality/$ ratio!

Convexity 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Retail 55.00 – GGWC 49.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code CONVEX at checkout

The 2014 Convexity is an amazing bottle of wine from start to finish. The 2014 is a blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot and 9% Petit Verdot. On impact plenty of dark/purple fruit jumps out of the glass. The wine is full in body with a host of stunning flavors on the palate – Savory, floral, chocolate and a hint of spice for all around complexity. Nicely balanced and forward, this youngster is  very intense, yet extremely elegant on impact, and loaded with gorgeous fruit, well-balanced acidity that runs into a long, juicy, silky finish.  Limited production!

Winemaker Notes: “The 2014 Convexity has aromatics of black currant, raspberry, star anise & cedar box. On the palate, robust tannins intertwine with luscious fruit flavors of berries and plum to create masterful complexity. Drink now or over the next two decades.

Click here or on the links above to order!

Feb
14
2018

95 Point Rated Under $30 Red

A British couple settled in the hills of Mendocino where they found land with schist-like Cote–Rotie soils on a windblown cool mountaintop overlooking the Pacific Ocean, which would become their “estate” vineyard. With the assistance of Justin Smith (Saxum), Crole Meredith  & Steve Lagier (Lagier-Meredith), Mike Officer (Carlisle) and Wells Guthrie (Copain) they set out to plant what has become a much regarded Rhone-varietal vineyard. Wells helped develop and maintain the vineyard. Under the tutelage of the great Roar winemaker (Scott Shapley) they have put some very good quality and well-priced wines on the wine map!

Halcon 2015 Syrah “Alturas” Estate, Mendocino 
Retail 33.00 – GGWC 29.99
FREE SHIPPING on 12
Use code ALTURAS during checkout

When you close your eyes while tasting this wine, you’d think you are in the Rhone Valley tasting some amazing Cornas – at a “value price” . The grapes were sourced from the Halcon estate vineyard  at high-elevation.  It is a blend of 90% Syrah and 10% Viognier (co-fermented).  The wine is loaded with black stone fruit, a touch of bacon-fat, olives, violets and a whiff of minerality.  The wine is full in body, lush with amazing concentration and balance as well as a touch of acidty and silky grained tannins, all intertwined on a bold, but elegant palate.

95 Points by Jeb Dunnuck (formerly of Robert Parker): “The 2015 Syrah Alturas is also a beauty that has a passing resemblance to a good vintage of Guigal’s Côte Rôtie la Mouline (just with less oak). Violets, incense, spring flowers, blackberries and blueberry notes all flow to a full-bodied, elegant, seamlessly textured Syrah that has plenty of classic pepper and spice, solid mid-palate depth and ripe tannin on the finish. It needs an hour in the decanter if drinking over the coming 2-3 years, and will have 15+ years of overall longevity.”

Click here or on the links above to order!

Feb
13
2018

100 Point Winemaker’s Stunning New Cabernet!


Jim Barbour was raised on his family ranch in Rutherford where he learned the life of framing, a passion for land, and the understanding that hard work breeds success. After graduating from UC Davis, Jim returned to Napa to begin a career that would lead him to become on Napa Valley’s most sought-after and successful viticulturists.  He has been dedicated to his craft, producing premium wine grapes using traditional and contemporary hand-farming methods.  Jim has planted and managed many prominent vineyards in the valley, including Hundred Acre, Checkerboard, Blankiet, Revana, Gandona Estate, The Vineyardist, Keever, Pillar Rock, DR Stephens, Husic, Grace Family, and more.

In 1992 he planted his own vineyard and in 1995 produced his first vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon of just 50 cases.

His winemaker is no other than Celia Welch (Miss 100 Points), known for her great skills putting wineries on the map of success.  Her list is long, but in case you didn’t know – Scarecrow, Corra, Keever, Kelly Fleming, Lindstrom, Rewa, Castiel, 2480 Hollywood & Vine, etc. She took over from the “other” 100 point winemaker, Heidi Barrett and the rest… is history!

Barbour 2015 “Estate” Cabernet, Napa Valley 
GGWC 154.99 net item
FREE SHIPPING on 4 or more
Use code BARBOUR upon checkout

The 2015 Barbour “Estate” Cabernet is amazingly opulent from start to finish.  The wine’s aromas of black stone fruit, anise, mocha and chocolate jump out of the glass on impact.  This full-bodied wine is loaded with generously layered dark berry, plum, chocolate and exotic spices that tickle the lush concentrated palate. A MUST HAVE!!

Click here or on the links above to order!

Feb
12
2018

Premier Cru Vineyard Chardonnay Gem

Montagu is a boutique winery dedicated to showcasing wine from some of the finest vineyards in Napa Valley and Sonoma. Each wine is a true expression of the world-class terroir from which it comes. Dedicated to minimal intervention in the winery, Montagu allows each wine to naturally express its authentic and full potential.

Montagu Wines is a tribute Weston Eidson’ great-grandfather John, the second Lord Montagu of Beaulieu and a British automotive pioneer responsible for much early automotive legislation. He was also the first person to drive an automobile to Parliament, gave the future Edward VII his first car ride, and whose assistant served as the model for the iconic Rolls-Royce hood ornament known as the Spirit of Ecstasy.

His son, and Edison’ great-uncle Edward, the third Lord of Montagu, continued his father’s legacy by founding Britain’s National Motor Museum and worked tirelessly to promote the heritage and preservation of British history. He was also a lover of wine and produced his own from a vineyard he planted in Southern England.

Both his great-grandfather and great-uncle led innovative and adventurous lives and it is Eidson’ hope that you discover this spirit and zest for life in each bottle of Montagu Wines.

Montagu 2016 Chardonnay “Ritchie Vineyard” Sonoma Coast
GGWC 53.99
FREE SHIPPING on SIX or more
Use code MONTAGU during checkout

This Chardonnay hails exclusively from the world class Ritchie Vineyard in the heart of the Russian River Valley. The Chardonnay is rich, powerful, and driven by layers of white peach, candied orange peel and lemon curd. Brightness balances the wine and is a hallmark of classic Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay.  This wine was fermented in French barrels (100% new) and spent a year in barrel leading to wonderfully balanced oak integration while sur lee aging developed depth and complexity.

Click here or on the links above to order!

Feb
11
2018

The Nose Knows…

The nose knows

By Allen Balik
Napa Valley Register

From the very early days of my vinous adventure, I realized wine was expressive of all five senses.

Our first impression is visual where we can appreciate a wine’s color, clarity and density as it is poured into the glass. We then take a sniff to discover the bouquet and assess its aromatic components. Taste, sensory mouthfeel and finish complete the first sip. And, of course, the sound of the cork popping (especially with a sparkler) and glasses clinking in a festive toast can add to the overall experience.

As the years unfolded, I continued to delve deeper into wine’s intrinsic character and began to realize that the nose (both literally and figuratively) took on the dominant role in the entire tasting/appreciation process both on physiological and sensory levels. Visually, we can tell much of what’s to come on the palate by the wine’s color and clarity. But, it’s the nose and our overall olfactory system that affect almost everything else, from the initial bouquet through the palate and on to the finish.

Our nose is far more than that “cute little thing” in the middle of our faces. It is a complex and interconnected system of membranes, neural sensors, transmitters, filters, etc. that extend beyond what we normally attribute to its role in breathing. Our sense of smell (through its receptors and transmitters) extends to the mouth where it works in combination with our taste buds to create a perception of flavors. When we swallow, aromatic elements are volatilized and again picked up by the olfactory system to give us the “finish” that is so important in the gratification found in a quality wine.

In fact, it is well accepted that the influence of the nose and our sense of smell account for the vast majority of our sense of taste, even though a quantitative measure has not been accurately agreed upon in the scientific community. There are four specific taste bud groupings on the tongue to relay the impressions of sweet, sour, bitter and salty along with umami as a fifth more esoteric “savory” sense.

However, we can all agree that our sense of taste goes far beyond any combination of the five. And that’s where the nose continues to contribute by further adding to our appreciation of flavor and finish.

Without our nose and its complex web of membranes and receptors, our sense of taste remains incomplete. Does that steak, salad, pizza or melon taste the same when we’re experiencing a cold’s nasal congestion? Of course not. And the same will be true when trying to enjoy a glass of Cabernet, Chardonnay or a chilled Riesling with the Kleenex box nearby as we are sniffling and sneezing.

So when tasting a wine, can we extend the value of our nose and further appreciate the experience while amplifying the olfactory role from that first smell to a lingering finish? Absolutely!

Here are a few suggestions to get the most out of your next glass of wine involving three of the five senses. Swirling the wine in the glass magnifies the surface area many-fold, allowing for additional air contact and release of those precious and intriguing scents. Put your nose (literally) far into the glass while inhaling quickly and deeply to fill the membranes and broaden the olfactory impression.

Then take in a mouthful (not a baby sip), swirl it around (much like a mouthwash) coating the tongue as well as the roof and walls of the mouth to further release flavor elements for the taste buds, aromatics for the nose and sensory components for mouthfeel. And you can even (although this takes a little practice) suck in a bit of air to amplify and extend the experience.

You’re now ready to the appreciate that very important finish. A plethora of aromatic and flavor components have already been released by the aeration of the wine and the warmth of your mouth. These components now carry forward beyond the mouth, where there are no longer any taste buds. The aromatics continue on through the nasopharyngeal passage located in the upper part of the throat, above the roof of the mouth and behind the nose. Here, the nose and olfactory system kick into high gear to complete the experience with a (hopefully) long and luscious finish that is often expressed with descriptors of flavor but actually experienced through the nose.

It’s true that the nose really knows. Aromatics really are a major component of our tasting experience and there’s much we can do to enhance the connection between the nose and palate.

If you are new to tasting and comparing wines and getting to know their distinct nuance and aromas, or even if you are a seasoned vinophile, please join us at one of our in-store tastings! Our wine expert, Frank Melis, will guide you through a variety of some of the best wines California has to offer. Every Saturday from 1 – 5 PM. See the upcoming event calendar for more details!