Apr
16
2018

You say: “Old Chardonnay”, I say that you are wrong! Edit Subject

You’d say: “Old Chardonnay”, I say that you are wrong.

The Vigneron profession first appears in the Terrien family tree in the 1700s when they lived in the Loire Valley of France. “Bêcheur” was also one of their occupations, which is to say they shoveled dirt for a living. As bêche is a spade and terre means earth, winemaking just seems inevitable. Adding to the destiny of it all, Bêcheur also means pretentious arrogant snob. Perfect…

Terrien 2012 Chardonnay
GGWC Price $44.99
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Terrien Chardonnay comes from an Old Wente planting at Kiser Vineyard in Sonoma Valley. Wente, a California heirloom traced from France at the turn of the 19th Century, has a tendency to produce many small berries. The juice ferments with the addition of Montrachet yeast, which, like Old Wente, is itself a throwback to earlier California winemaking. In September  2012 four tons of good-looking large clusters were fermented with Montrachet yeast and remained for 8 months in a stainless steel tank. During this time the wine cold-settled and malo-lactic was arrested to keep the brightness which is so critical to the vitality of the wine as it ages.  In late April 2013 it was racked into 9 used barrels as it allows a wine to become rich without boosting oak flavor; it’s about slow oxygenation. A year later 218 cases were bottled. Not much happened in between.  But without a reputation like Chassagne-Montrachet, it makes sense to allow the wine to become complex with bottle age before introducing it to the market. That is why the 2012 is just being released in 2018!

This wine is rich yet weightless! On the nose you are greeted by beautiful aromas of chamomile, linden, lemon and melon come to mind, and a faint spicy-floral narcissus scent The wine is full in body without being heavy or creamy!  Very well-polished and harmonius. The bright acidity has yielded somewhat to the effects of bottle age and the palate weight is now tensioned in good balance. Nicely polished and harmonious wine with a long, textured finish.

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Apr
12
2018

GREAT Cabernet UNDER $35 still exists!

Obsidian Ridge Vineyard is planted at 2,640′ atop the Mayacamas range north of the Napa Valley. This is one of the newest American Viticultural Areas, named Red Hills Lake County for the distinctive volcanic soils that define this remarkable mountain appellation. The vineyard’s red soils are shot through with obsidian rock — this steep, sloping terroir of obsidian gravel is all that a winemaker could hope for. The unrestricted drainage and meager soil fertility produce wines with great tannic structure.

Obsidian 2016 “Estate” Cabernet, Red Hills
Retail 34.99
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Dark aromas of ripe blackberries and black currants mulled with a touch of cloves and anise rise from the glass, complemented by hints of cacao beans and dark chocolate nibs. On the palate, the wine is dense and full-bodied, with a core of black fruit compote and hints of licorice. This is a textured wine with medium tannins, finishing with a dusting of light oak tannin. While still youthful, this is quite the impressive rendition of this Estate offering.

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Apr
11
2018

20% OFF Amazing TWO Barrel Cab Franc Surprise!

This 2013 Crauford bottling might be the smallest Cabernet Franc production in the Napa Valley to date.  Sourced from their single estate vineyard in the Oak Knoll district of the Napa Valley.

CrauforD 2013 “Estate” Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley
Retail 88.00 – GGWC 69.99
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On the nose this wine greets you with a display of deep, dark berry fruit aromas, with undercurrents of vanilla, spice and a whiff of citrus.  On the palate, this medium to full bodied wine offers up dark black fruits, a suggestion of coffee, mocha and spice.  This extremely well-made, small production Cab Franc finishes with a light framework of silky grained tannins that result in a long lasting finish.

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Apr
10
2018

BECKSTOFFERS’ “OWN” VERY LIMITED PRODUCTION CABERNET

Kata is the culmination of many years of combined experience and practice in the art of grape growing and winemaking.  In its creation, we have patiently employed highly selective artisanal farming and winemaking practices to produce a wine of balance and elegance. A wine that is worthy of the legacy of Napa Valley’s historic Beckstoffer Bourn Vineyard.

KATA 2015 CABERNET “BOURN VINEYARD” NAPA VALLEY
GGWC 199.99
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The 2015 Kata shows great concentration and volume. The rich texture is complemented by
abundant acidity that reveals nuances of mocha, blue fruit, licorice, spice and violets. This is a
full-bodied wine that rewards the palate with unusual complexity and a long finish.

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points: “The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Bourn Vineyard is a deep, inky-colored 2015 that has serious amounts of depth and density. Full-bodied, uber-concentrated, tight and backward, it’s going to need time, yet offers lots of smoked black currants, plums, smoked earth and dark chocolate. It’s a terrific wine that’s going to age beautifully.”

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Apr
9
2018

Unique Rued-Z Clone Chardonnay


There was a man named Ernest. He was an entrepreneur, a risk-taker and a role model for his grandson, Todd Gottula, who founded the Ernest Winery with his wife, Erin Brooks, back in 2012.  Todd’s grandmother, Joanne, is The Artist in the family. Her path as an artist revealed itself later in life, but her talent shines through. Today her beautiful works grace their lives daily—she is the source of the portrait of Ernest that appears on all of the Ernest bottles.

Ernest 2014 Chardonnay “The Farmer” Sonoma Coast
Retail 50.00 – GGWC 47.99
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The Farmer Chardonnay showcases the unique character of the Chardonnay Rued Z clone, offering up aromatics of citrus, white flowers and celery salt. The palate is a very refined, with a subtle appearance of some toasty vanilla elements. The wine is full in body, yet extremely well balanced and NOT buttery.  This youngster offers up some focused acidity and a brightness of fruit making this wine one-of-a-kind. Only 298 cases produced!!!

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Apr
7
2018

Marcassin Disciple’s extraordinary Chardonnay (only 125 cases produced)

Ferren is a winery dedicated to tiny lots of artisanally made single vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines from the Sonoma Coast. Each of the vineyards is a jewel of the true coast, and is farmed to the highest standards of sustainability and wine quality. Owner and winemaker Matt Courtney started Ferren after an eight-year apprenticeship with Helen Turley at Marcassin Vineyard. The wines are made using traditional Burgundian methods without fining or filtration, and native yeasts on the grapes from the vineyards perform the fermentations.

Ferren 2015 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast (Silver Eagle/Lancel Vineyards)
GGWC 62.99
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Nose of apple, pear, mango and white flowers. Layered flavors of stone fruits, honey, zesty citrus and lemon oil pair with a rich mouthfeel without being creamy or buttery. Shows good intensity, complexity, and minerality with a smooth midpalate and a finish that lingers on the palate. 125 cases produced.

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Apr
6
2018

Exotic Howell Mountain Cab Blend

Cami was the fifth child for Tom & Laurie Shelton – a very small 5-acre Howell Mountain project they purchased in 2001.  The property is managed by vineyard “Guru” David Abreu, who said that this soil was real “Cabernet Dirt’.

The family sold the grapes for many years, until Tom’s untimely death in 2008. It was then that Laurie decided to make some of her own wine and dedicating it to Tom’s spirit, and naming it for their last child “Cami”  The total production is a whopping 150 cases and the wine is made by Thomas River Brown’s long time assistant John Giannini at the Outpost Winery.

Cami 2014 Proprietary Red, Howell Mountain Napa Valley
GGWC 129.99
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Opaque and garnet in color with a luscious bouquet of red and blue berries, balanced by rose petal and tobacco with a touch of smoke on the nose, this wine is rich, juicy, and dense in texture like chocolate and boysenberry pie with a hint of smoke and tarragon.

Parker 94 Points: “Composed of 53% Merlot and 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2014 Red Blend displays a deep garnet-purple color with slowly evolving red and black currants, mulberries and underbrush notes with hints of new leather, charcuterie and exotic spices plus a waft of potpourri. Full-bodied, with a firm backbone of lively acid and firm, chewy tannins, it finishes long.”

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Apr
5
2018

Complexity in a bottle…


The Nalle story starts in 1974 when Doug Nalle landed his first job as a cellar worker at Chateau Souverain (now a Francis Ford  Copolla  owned winery) in the Alexander Valley. By 1979 he had earned a co-winemaker job with John Kongsgaard at Balverne winery.  In 1984 he helped design a state-ot-the-art winery for a venture capitalist, which after one year was scuttled, which, in turn, spawned a Nalle-Hambrecht partnership and the Nalle label. The partnership ended amicably in 1990 at which point Doug and his wife, Lee became equal partners.  Fast forward and today his son Andrew is running the day-to-day winemaking after stints in France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Croatia, Spain, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. To say his palate is international is an understatement.

Nalle 2015 Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley
Retail 45.00 – GGWC 42.99
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Comprised of 90% Zinfandel, 6% Petite Sirah, and 4% Carignane, Nalle’s flagship Zin is a perfect blend of 65% Nalle estate old-vine fruit and 35% from the Bernier-Sibary Vineyard (a field blend of 80% Zin, 10% Petite Sirah, and 10% Carignane). Both vineyards are dry farmed and head trained. Aged in 25% new French oak, drink now and for many more years to come!  The 2015 Nalle Zin exhibits an inky/purple color as well as bright aromas of blue and black raspberries, kirsch, and anise. The complex aromatics lead into a lush full-bodied wine that is opulent and silky smooth long and complex finish.

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Apr
4
2018

“MUSCULAR” 97 POINT THOMAS RIVERS BROWN CABERNET

 

Proprietors Mark Pulido and Donna Walker have a long history in Napa Valley, building relationships and putting down roots in the community. In the early 1980s, Donna and Mark began making regular trips to the Valley, meeting vintners at iconic cellars where they often tasted from the barrel. They were drawn into tasting room discussions about harvest and the rhythms of crafting wine. Pulido~Walker is a natural outgrowth of the couple’s passion, as collectors, for the place and its promise. Their Mt. Veeder Estate is a testament to the family’s long-term commitment to Napa Valley and view toward the future. They hooked up with Thomas Rivers Brown to create their own brand, and the rest as they say… is history.

“What separates the best valley floor sites from good valley floor sites is their ability to drain,” explains winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown. Panek Vineyard blankets a rocky, gently sloping knoll in the shadow of the Mayacamas Mountains along the old Napa River bed wash. The loamy soil, with its highly compacted alluvial deposits of gravel, provides optimal drainage. The valley basin is also more temperate than the hillsides surrounding St. Helena, making it ideal for slower ripening and full development of flavors. These elements coalesce in low yields of reliably superb fruit. Vines at Panek are densely spaced and pruned using the “two straight cane” method, which requires a specific skill set and hands-on, time-intensive attention. The ultimate goal is to allow the “site to shine through” the wine.

Pulido Walker 2015 “Panek Vineyard’ Napa Valley
GGWC 199.99
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Robert Parker 97 Points: “Composed of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged for 20 months in French oak, 80% new, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Panek Vineyard St. Helena has a deep garnet-purple color and gives up coffee, dried herbs and garrigue notions over a crème de cassis, blueberry pie and red currant jelly core with touches of cumin seed and black pepper. Medium to full-bodied, the taut, muscular palate is laden with savory and black fruit layers, featuring firm, ripe, grainy tannins and lovely freshness, finishing long and earthy. 225 cases produced.”

PS: Pulido Walker lost their home in the Napa fire, as well as part of their “estate” vineyard. Purchases of this wine will assist them in rebuilding.

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Apr
3
2018

Blind Tasting Winner!

Last week we conducted a blind tasting of well-known 2015 & 2016 Pinot Noirs.  While all wines were top-notch, a few stood out and here are the results:

  • Aubert CIX (97 Points)
  • Pisoni “Estate”
  • Babcock “Je ne sais quoi” (95 Points)
  • Loring “Aubaine” (94 Points)
  • Walt “Sierra Mar” (94 Points)
  • Brewer Clifton “459” (95 Points)
  • Brickhouse “Les Dijonaise” (95 Points)
  • The Hilt “Vanguard” (94 Points)
  • Paul Lato “Contender” (95 Points)
  • Peay “Pomarium”

My group of 12 tasters and spitters rated the wines as follows:
Peay  5 First, 6 Second, 1 Third = 103/120
Pisoni 4 First, 3 Second, 3 Third, 1 Fourth, 1 Sixth = 79/120
Paul Lato  2 First, 2 Second, 6 Third , 2 Fourth =  66/120
Aubert 1 First, 1 Second, 2 Third, 6 Fourth = 48/120

Our first place always gets 10 Points, second gets 8, and third gets 5 points, all other votes are 1 point
Maximum amount of points = 120 (i.e. 12 first place votes)

Peay 2016 Pinot Noir “Pomarium” Sonoma Coast
GGWC 64.99
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The Pomarium is made from clones and blocks that capture dark fruit and earth flavors while also featuring high tone floral incense aromas. This offers a broad canvas and a balanced tension to the wine that makes it unique among wines from our area and from Pinot noir made, really, anywhere.

The nose on the 2016 Pomarium has a powerful core reminiscent of Japanese plums, which are tangy and tart while also dark and deep black. The floral quality keeps the aroma lifted and bright and not heavy. The palate reveals a more serious and masculine side with dried leaf qualities, dark berry, blood/iron, and blood orange flavors all held together by fine tannins. This is a very good Pomarium and will age beautifully for many years to come.

Galloni 95 Points: “The Peay Pinot Noir Estate Pomarium brings together all the elements of the house style. The creaminess of Ama meets the more tannic profile of the Scallop Shelf in a vivid, nuanced Pinot Noir that hits all the right notes. Dark cherry, plum, rose petal, lavender, licorice, spice and new leather infuse the creamy, expansive finish. The Pomarium is a winner.”

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