Screaming Eagle Winemaker Hits The Charts Again With Leviathan.

Leviathan Red Wine

Andy Erickson is a real gem!  He is not only a great guy, he is a stunning winemaker. This latest release (which some of you already purchased) got a 93 point rating from Wine Spectator. I would have given it 95! I still have some supply left, but because of the score it is moving very fast!

Leviathan 2008 Proprietary Red
Retail 52.00 – GGWC 47.90

Leviathan 2008 Proprietary RedGolden Gate Wine Cellars review:

Andy Erickson is the winemaker for Screaming Eagle, Dalla Valle, Ovid, Arietta, Favia, and others. Leviathan is a family venture between Andy and his wife Annie Favia-Erikson and her family—- The 2008 is a blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc and 7 % Syrah —- Leviathan means “something unusually large or formidable. I can say that this latest release is just that! —- Perfumes of star anise, paprika, and thyme draw into the glass. Flavors of cherries and blackberry jam rush over the palate, with smooth tannins and intense fruit lingering on a lengthy finish. A sizeable wine, the newest incarnation of Leviathan is a hedonistic delight now, and should provide added excitement in years to come – but why wait? FREE SHIPPING* on a FULL CASE!

Wine Spectator review – 93 POINTS:

“Starts understated, building depth and dimension, featuring bright, rich black currant, anise, sage and black licorice character. A full-bodied orchestration of flavors at the end weave together into a tapered finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Franc. Drink now through 2022.—J.L.”

Rock Star wine – Dragonette is for real!

Dragonette Cellars

Dragonette CellarsAnother gem finds its way on Frank Melis’ roster of boutique producers.

Dragonette (not a movie or T.V. show, but the name of the founders) is a 3-man venture, two brothers and their best friend.  Their love for wine turned into making it!  I enjoyed tasting with the Dragonette team and their low key appeal, but high profile approach to perfection, and the quality of the wines convinced me quickly – I had to get my hands on this before the press does!

I am excited to introduce Dragonete’s current releases of Pinot Noir and Syrah.  As you know, we only stock small producers, their production is very limited – so you will have to act quick!

Dragonette 2009 Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills
Retail 45.00 – GGWC 39.99

The 2009 vintage was sourced from some amazing vineyards in the Santa Rita Hills – La Encantada, Clos Pepe, Cargasacchi-Jalama  and Fiddlestix. All four sources of some of the greatest wines in California. The wine delivers serious, dark aromas of ripe, jammy and sexy black cherry and blueberry fruits, baking spices (cardamom, nutmeg) and a touch of vanilla. On the palate, the wine is medium to full bodied, muscular yet chiseled; flavors of ripe cherry, sweet cranberry and kirsch mingle with vanilla and espresso notes. The wine finishes long with pleasant acidity and ripe tannins. HEAD TURNER!

Dragonette 2009 “Hilliard-Bruce” Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills
Retail 55.00 – GGWC 49.99

Only 100 cases of this lush, full-bodied, elegant gem were produced! The wine is exuberant and lively, delivering classic aromas of black cherry fruits, cola, baking spices (pumpkin pie, cinnamon), and sandalwood. On the palate, the wine is pure, silky and full bodied, giving the taster mouthwatering waves of ripe black cherry and other red fruits, kirsch and cola. The wine has a long sappy finish, as lift and a touch of grace is provided by acidity and soft tannins.  STUNNER

Dragonette 2008 MJM Syrah
Retail 60.00 – GGWC 53.99

This mind boggling blend of 92% Syrah, 6% Grenache, 1% Mourvedre, and 1 % Viognier blew me away.  This wine is truly amazing.  MJM are the initials of the wives of the three partners and they had to make their best possible wine or suffer the consequence of sleeping on the couch or worse the dog house.  I can tell you that all three still share the same bed – that is enough for that part of the story (Paul Harvey would say).

This is a big boy on ballet slippers – a linebacker performing the Nutcracker!  Amazing aromatics jump out the glass.  Tons of intense black stone fruit with a touch of Asian spices intertwined with some toasty vanilla, mocha and a touch seasoned cedar.  This behemoth attacks you at first, but is quickly tamed by its elegance on the mid-palate where it displays gorgeous black berry and blue berry fruit with a touch cassis and chocolate.  Incredibly well-balanced, this wine has amazing depth and concentration.  It lingers on the palate into an amazing long, silky but flavorful finish.  This is a bottle of wine that requires a hearty piece of meat!

Dragonette Wine Cellars

David Ramey’s next amazing Cabernet

Joseph Family 2007 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley
Joseph Family VineyardsRetail $40.00 – GGWC $36.00

Joseph Family Vineyards is a small family owned and operated producer of classic Cabernet Sauvignon. Located in the south-east corner of the Alexander Valley, the vines climb a steep gravel slope above the Russian River valley.

Joseph Family 2007 Cabernet SauvignonThe 2007 was made in a classic Bordeaux style, with extended maceration (the juice left on the skins for up to 4 weeks) and aged in 65% new French oak for 21 months.  After this the wine was aged for over a year in bottle thus showing nicely upon release!

The wines are made by esteemed winemaker David Ramey.  The 2007 vintage is dense and complex, with deep black cherry notes infused with  a touch tobacco, chocolate and mocha. This great Cabernet is beautifully balanced with a smooth and long finish. Unfiltered but naturally fined, this wine has tremendous structure and fruit, with a seamless integration of silky tannins.  Gorgeous and limited!

FYI, this estate sits next to Silver Oak, but at half the price (of Silver Oak) it is 100% better!

Joseph Family Vineyards

Mountain Reds prevail – A day in the vineyard with Brian Graham.

Ramian EstateI spent a day with Brian tasting through his great portfolio of wines.  He also made a little more Chapter 7 available out of his library as the Chapter 8 will not be out until late fall 2011. We tasted the following wines:

Ramian Estate 2006 Malbec, Diamond Mountain, Napa  Valley
Retail 50.00 – GGWC 44.99

Brian Graham, believes that the vineyard is absolutely the most important factor when creating a wine. As he states, “For me, it’s the vineyard that creates the quality and a wine’s uniqueness. Really it’s all about the vineyards.”   Situated 1100 feet above the Napa Valley floor, well above the cold morning fog, this Diamond Mountain vineyard has short cool mornings and long warm days. Concealed in a bowl at the top of the mountain, the soils here are very shallow and filled with shale, fractured rock and volcanic ash. This environment yields the qualities most prized among mountain fruit.   This wine was barrel aged for 26 months and bottle aged for an additional 2 years before being released.  The aromatics on the wine are astonishing, they ooze out of the glass.  On the palate this very sophisticated wine shows dense concentration, yet remarkable elegance of black stone fruit and well-balanced acidity.  This wine is gorgeous and offers an amazing long finish! Only 120 cases produced – an exclusive for Golden Gate Wine Cellars

Ramian Esate 2007 Reserve Tempranillo
Retail 50.00 – GGWC 44.99

Situated at 2500 feet elevation the steep mountain vineyard is well above the cold morning fog. It has all of the prized ripening characteristics rarely found at one single site. Short cool mornings and long, very warm days with a constant cool breeze to keep the grapes from ripening too fast. This vineyard is one of the last to be picked in California, creating intense rich flavors with massive body and weight. Concealed in a bowl at the top of the mountain, the soils here are very shallow and filled with shale, fractured rock and volcanic ash. This environment yields the qualities most prized among mountain fruit.   This wine is ultra plush, rich, full-bodied with amazing length and elegance, reminiscence of classic Rioja. Its cellar aging potential is at least 10 to 12 years.Only 100 cases produced – an exclusive for Golden Gate Wine Cellars.

Ramian Estate 2007 Chapter 7, Napa
Retail 62.00 – GGWC 57.99
Buy 12 for only 54.99 ea with FREE SHIPPING

From the tallest heights of Mt. Veeder, well above the Napa Valley floor, the winemaker handcrafts his story one chapter at a time into a collected work of vintages: a traditional tale told from a new perspective, a moveable feast intended to endure. This classic Bordeaux “style” blend exemplifies its Napa Valley mountain home.  All five traditional Bordeaux grapes are used with Cabernet Sauvignon being the majority and dominate varietal. Our goal is to create a soft and very rich old-world style Cabernet Sauvignon blend but with ultra rich Napa Valley fruit flavor. This wine will age for 10-15 years easily.

Parlay 2009 Proprietary Red
Retail 24.00 – GGWC 19.99

The Cabernet Sauvignon portion (70%) was grown in the Oak Knoll district on Napa Valley. The Oak Knoll viti-cultural area creates elegant, soft wines with a long rich, fruity finish. Then barrel aged long enough to create soft tannins and structure.  Each of the other vineyards and varietals, Syrah, Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot were added to help create this serious but fun wine that can be enjoyed in almost every situation and occasion. Each year the blend will changes slightly but Brian’s goal and focus will remain true. To create an everyday, every occasion rich red wine that everyone can afford. This wine was created and intended to be a great value, rich, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon based red wine with cellar aging potential of 6 to 8 additional years.  The wine is lush, overflows with flavor and taste more like a $40.00 bottle!  On the nose one is greeted by intense black and blue berry fruit with hints of pepper.  On the palate this medium to full-bodied Red blend is  loaded with more of the luscious berry fruit one appreciated on the nose.  This wine has a good tannic structure which will allow you to enjoy this puppy for some years to come. As it was the case with the 2007 and 2008 vintage, this value wine sold out very fast!

Que Syrah Syrah What will be – Two stunning new Syrah releases from Red Car and Skylark.

Skylark 2007 "Stagecoach" SyrahSkylark 2007 Stagecoach Syrah, Napa
Retail 45.00 – GGWC 39.99
Buy 12 for only 37.99 ea.

This vineyard known for some of the most sought after Cabernet and Syrah lies at the southern edge of Pritchard Hill at 900 – 1800 feet elevation.  My friends John Lancaster and Rob Perkins (sommeliers at Boulevard Restaurant in San Francisco) crafted yet another amazing wine! Only 225 cases of this stunner were produced.  The color is opaque.  On the nose this gem spews out massive aromas of black currant, black berry and smoked meat.  On the palate this wine offers a cornucopia of black fruits crushed together and sprinkled with cardamom.   It coats the entire inner mouth with lavish texture, while the fruit origin supplies the balance.  A real powerhouse, but gifted with tons of grace!

Red Car 2007 "Cuvee 22" SyrahRed Car 2007 Cuvee 22 Syrah, Sonoma Coast
Retail 55.00 – GGWC 49.99
Buy 12 for only 47.99 ea.

The 2007 Cuvee 22 Syrah primarily hails from cool-climate Sonoma vineyards. Rich yet restrained notes of cured meat, dark chocolate, and underbrush coat the palate. Vibrant essences of violets, cooked herbs, Turkish tobacco, and espresso grounds stimulate the nose. It delights the intellect and gratifies the senses.  Cuvee 22 is the “older” twin brother of Tomorrowland. It is the identical blend but benefits from aging five additional months in larger format barrels. The result is a wine of great concentration and nuance with the bonus of the additional elevage, which increases the level of refinement and allows secondary flavors to gain advantage over primary fruit tones.  STUNNER!!!

A recap of our Spring Wine tasting event.

It was again a sold out full house – we are looking at a new venue so we don’t need to turn away anyone in the future!  We tasted over 30 wines with the owners and winemakers of Adastra,  Atrea, Baton, Boeschen, Brewer Clifton, Demuth Kemos, Fisticuffs, Hilliard Bruce, Krutz, Luli, Paloma, Phifer Pavitt, Red Car, Saracina, Seabiscuit and Solitude.

The big hitters of the night were: 
Atrea 2007 Old Soul Red

Adastra 2008 Pinot Noir
Boeschen 2008 Cabernet
Hilliard Bruce 2008 Pinot Noir
Krutz 2007 Cabernet (Stagecoach)
Paloma 2008 Merlot
Phifer Pavitt 2007 Cabernet
Red Car 2007 Syrah
Solitude 2009 Chardonnay

Due to the success of the tasting many of these wines are now in limited supply, so I urge you to jump on them (with the same special pricing) while we still have some.

Wine for Japan Assistance

Dear friends of Golden Gate Wine Cellars :
I just found out that one of my longtime clients in Japan died during the awful earthquake/Tsunami.
Even if Mr. Watanabe had not died, I would have still send out this email that Golden Gate Wine Cellars would donate 5% of sales generated between today and March 18, 2011 to the Japanese victims.  I have contacted the Japanese Consulate in San Francisco and have been given donation information.
As we did with Haiti, we feel the need of doing this for the people in Japan. So if you had planned to order wine in the near future, why not do it before March 18 and help the people in Japan.
I was in San Francisco in 1989 during the earthquake on October 17 (which happens to be my wife’s birthday),  and can tell you that help was badly needed then – Japan was hit much harder than the Bay Area and they will need help for a long time to come.
I will supply you with a report on March 21 as to how much we generated for the victims of the Japanese earthquake.
A very humbled,
Frank Melis

The world is not ending… but it may stop for a moment!

I am very excited to offer the latest hot item from the Napa Valley.  Jonathan Maltus, garagiste winery owner of the amazing Chateau Teyssier in Bordeaux has created a big buzz in Napa with the latest release of three stunning wines.  With  the assistance of the enologist from Cheval Blanc and Jonathan’s passion and attention to detail I can tell you that  this latest venture has taken  Napa by storm!

World's End Wines

# 1
Good Times, Bad Times Cabernet Sauvignon, “To Kalon” Oakville Napa
Retail 125.00 – GGWC  104.99

The production is only 350 cases, and I can tell you that they are flying of the shelf before the wine even arrived!   This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, sourced from one of the “best” blocks of the To Kalon vineyard, offers on amazing aroma of black stone fruit and anise.  On the palate this big boy showcases more dark stone fruit that intense and complex but extremely well-balanced.  The wine has a firm tannic structure exhibiting more balance between richness and concentration.  I opened a bottle on Monday and Tuesday it showed even better!  The wine did not fade at all by Wednesday which tells me that this puppy can live a long live in the cellar (15 – 20 years).

# 2
Crossfire Cabernet Sauvignon, “Missouri Hopper” Oakville Napa
Retail 100.00 – GGWC 89.99

The Missouri Hopper is a part of Andy Beckstoffer’s vineyards (To Kalon, etc)  This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon production of only 500 cases offers hints of mocha, cassis and vanilla on the nose.  On the palate this big boy greets us with lush black currant and espresso flavors.  The wine is rich and full in body with intense but well-balanced flavors on the mid palate.  The wine finishes long with ripe, supple tannins and as the GTBT it has amazing aging potential (12 – 15 years)

# 3
Wavelength Cabernet Franc/Syrah, “Sugarloaf Mountain” Oakville Napa
Retail 80.00 – GGWC 71.99

With only 350 cases produced this “different” blend has turned lots of heads already.   On the nose this wine offers touches of raspberry and flowery aromatics.  On impact you’ll encounter delicate touches of toasty vanilla, ripe sweet berry fruit and more raspberry and a touch of chocolate.  This well-balanced wine offers great depth, tons of flavor both on the mid palate and well into the long finish, which offers nicely balanced almost silky tannins.

Buy a mixed  six bottle case and we will take an EXTRA 5% OFF plus give you FREE SHIPPING!!
Buy a mixed full case and we will take an EXTRA 10% OFF plus give you FREE SHIPPING!!

Premiere Napa Valley 2011

I attended the 15th Premiere Napa Valley wine auction on February 25, and purchased some great auction lots! All of them are available for purchase on our website – www.goldengatewinecellars.com

2011 Premiere Napa ValleyThe days leading up to the big event I tasted through and array of great wines that were offered at the auction. I was not successful in acquiring all the lots I intended to bid on – hopefully I can get some more clients together next year to help purchase some of these one-of-a-kind lots.
I also tasted some upcoming releases and I can tell you that the Napa Valley has a lot to offer in the years to come! The lots I purchased are: Robert Foley/Switchback Ridge 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Ghostblock/Markham 2009 Cabernet Blend, Pahlmeyer 2009 (100%) Cabernet Sauvignon (from the same source as their “Piece de Resistance,” Detert 2009 Cabernet Franc (long time Right Hand man of Heidi Barrett at Revana and La Sirena) and Charnu 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon which was a real find!
Some of the other wines I bid on were Coho, Tetra, Ovid, Scarecrow, Textbook, Amuse Bouche, Lewis, Alpha Omega, Revana, Schrader, O’Shaughnessy, Arkenstone, Buccella, Boeschen, Kristine Ashe, Vineyard 29, Meteor, and Spottswoode. Their upcoming releases are amazing!!

For those who would like to me bid on certain lots in 2012, please get in touch ASAP. Most lots are 5 cases (some 10 and 20), which are exclusively produced for this auction. They are labeled with a private label as well! It would be great to have 5 people combine in a purchase so you get something very limited.

I had a few of my clients take me up on this offer, and soon they will be in possession of some one-of-a-kind Cabernets from Premiere Napa Valley 2011!