Dave Phinney is on a roll. D66 and Palermo

Dave Phinney
David Phinney is on a roll ever since the sale of Prisoner. He is focusing on small production lots like – Mercury Head, Papillon, Palermo, Saldo, etc. His D66 just arrived – it sounds more like a war plane, but it is not.  He purchased 235 acres in France some years ago, planted to Syrah, Grenache and Carignane.  The production is very limited, and will remain very small for years to come.  I had the pleasure of tasting this inaugural release and can tell you that it is a real GEM of a wine!  This is a Rhone blend for Cabernet lovers!!  Hurry as I received a very small allocation of this latest chapter in the Dave Phinney encyclopedia of unique wines.

Orin Swift 2009 D66 Proprietary RedOrin Swift 2009 D66 Proprietary Red Blend, Maury France
Retail 43.00 – GGWC 39.99

Another amazing wine from Dave Phinney – the latest D66, a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan sourced from his OWN estate in France! The wine has a very dark, opaque red color with subtle aromas of toasted oak, ripe blueberry jam and dried rose petal. The entry is mouth coating and lush. Opulent plum and ultra ripe cherry are balanced with asian spices and a bright vein of minerality and acidity that give great structure, weight and balance to the long finish. The tannin chains are long and will lend to ageability for 5 to 10 years.


Orin Swift 2009 Palermo – Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
GGWC 29.99

This stunning release of 90% Cabernet blended with 10% Merlot from some of the best sites in Napa will blow your mind! — I was shocked at the low price for this wine, and because of the value price I know that it will be gone in no time! This wine tastes a lot more expensive than its retail price. When I tasted it for the first time I said $50.00! This wine has everything you are looking for and some more! Aromatics, flavors, balance, finish! — Shocked that this all fits in a package at 29.99! The 2009 Palermo has a dense red/black hue. It has a dark berry and ripe currant nose with rich oak undertones and aged cigar box. The mouth coating huge entry leads into a soft middle with bright acidity. The long finish is broad with ripe tannins and plenty of structure lingering on the palate for 20-30 seconds.

Click here to see other wines by Dave Phinney.

Meeting with Congress

I will be meeting with members of Congress on May 31st in Washington DC to discuss the issue of HR1161 and your support will be extremely helpful.

Just a reminder. Please send me an email with your FULL NAME and MAILING ADDRESS voicing your opposition to HR1161. This onerous piece of legislation could potentially make it impossible for you to purchase wine from me in the future.

In addition, please take a moment to educate yourself further about HR 1161 and write your own congressman in opposition to this legislation.

Click here for more information on HR 1161: http://www.stop1161.org/

Find your congressional representative at this link: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml

Only four tickets remaining!

Washington DCThere are only FOUR remaining tickets for my Washington D.C. Wine Tasting on May 31st! This will be an event not to be missed. Most of these wines are not available on the east coast and this is a rare chance to meet and visit with some of the country’s best wineries and winemakers.

Golden Gate Wine Cellars will be hosting a tasting at a private residence near DuPont Circle on May 31st. Unfortunately, the capacity will be limited to 50 people. RSVP IS REQUIRED.

I am bringing the winemakers/owners of Coho, Malk, Knez (Hot new winery – winemaker from Anthill Farms), Charnu (Great new Cabernet producer from Napa), Redmon, Inherit the Sheep and Solitude as well as some other great wines (Paul Lato, etc.) with me as well! In all about 20 wines, and some great food!

It will be a very casual but fun night. Mingle with the winemakers, and finally put a face to that voice from San Francisco!

For these last remaining tickets, contact me ASAP by calling me at 415-337-4083 or emailing frank@goldengatewinecellars.com

Cost: $75 per person.

Helen Turley (Marcassin) does it again with Martinelli! Big Scores!

Martinelli Winery

Helen TurleyHelen Turley has had an amazing career, and she does not seem to stop producing stellar wines!  These are some of the last vintages she has made with Martinelli, as she is now focusing on her own label, so enjoy them while you can!  The 2008 Martinelli Zio Tony scored 96 Points in Parker and 94 in Wine Spectator, not shabby!

The Zio Tony Ranch is named for Lee Martinelli Sr.’s Uncle Tony.  The property was planted to apples before Tony Bondi purchased it in 1960.

Lee Sr. took over farming the apples in 1971, following Uncle Tony’s death, eventually planting grapevines with the consulting input of John Wetlaufer and Helen Turley.

We have a limited quantity of this voluptuous Chardonnay available, just in time for enjoying during these warm summer days or putting down in your cellar.

The Wine:

Martinelli 2008 Chardonnay Zio Tony Ranch, Russian River Valley
Retail 65.00 – GGWC 52.99

Robert Parker 96 Points: “The light green/gold-colored 2008 Chardonnay Zio Tony Ranch reveals more butterscotch, honeyed mandarin orange, citrus oil, brioche, leesy, waxy notes along with full-bodied richness and a California style that mimics a premier cru Meursault with its hazelnut and subtle smokiness. Drink this stunning Chardonnay over the next 7-8 years. ”

Wine Spectator 94 Points: “Bold, ripe and fleshy, with exotic floral and spicy notes, along with flavors of bubble gum, fig, honeydew melon and hazelnut. Full-bodied and viscous, gaining depth and nuance on the long, tapered finish. Drink now through 2017. 545 cases made. –JL”

Click here or on the links above to purchase.

Capiaux… 97 point winemaker…. New releases

Sean Capiaux
Capiaux Cellars

Sean Capiaux the 97 Point winemaker (O’Shaughnessy/Capiaux) has just released a few amazing 2009 vintages of this Capiaux label; Chimera (92 Points) and Widdoes (94 Points).  Both wines are stunning and as it was the case in the past – very limited.   I also have a small amount of his 2008 Pisoni (94 Points) in stock.  The 2009 Pisoni is slated for late fall 2011.

Capiaux 2009 Widdoes Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
Retail 45.00 – GGWC 39.99

This vineyard is the source for some other amazing wines (DuMol, Kosta Browne, Roessler, etc.). This very small production greets you with a gorgeous nose of strawberries and bright red stone fruits.  On the palate; this well-constructed youngster offers a full, intense body loaded with some more red and black stone fruit and a velvety appearance with a slight touch of earthiness and minerality.  The wine finishes with a amazingly beautiful long finish.

Capiaux 2009 Chimera, Sonoma Coast
Retail 35.00 – GGWC 31.99

The Chimera is cuvee of the Widdoes (RRV), Hendricks  (Sonoma Coast/Petaluma Gap),  Lakeville (Sonoma Coast/Petaluma Gap),  Winkler (RRV) and  Maritime Vineyards (Sonoma Coast).   This “value” bottling is amazingly sexy from the get-go.  On the nose this wine is amazingly fragrant – loaded with exotic aromas, red stone fruit and a touch of minerality.  On the palate one will experience a medium to full bodied wine that is lush and bright – more red cherries and some earthy minerality.  The wine is complex and well-balanced and finishes gorgeously.

Keever 2008 Cabernet – Celia Welch cannot be stopped!

Celia Welch - Keever VineyardsCelia Welch cannot be stopped!  This latest release of Keever 2008 Estate Cabernet will rock-your-world!  Only 400 cases produced of this little gem, so I caution you – buy it NOW as it will be gone tomorrow

Keever Vineyards is nestled in the western slopes of Yountville, California in the Napa Valley. It is a family-owned and operated winery, producing exquisite Cabernet Sauvignon from the family’s six acres of rocky, hillside vineyards.

Keever 2008 Cabernet SauvignonKeever 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Yountville – Napa Valley

Made by esteemed winemaker Celia Welch (Scarecrow, Corra, etc.) Stunnnnnnnnnnner! Loaded, dense well-structured wine. Aroma of black stone fruit, full in body, well-balance – gorgeous, sexy wine I had a bottle open for 3 days and it was still drinking well! Needs decanting, and could use from some time in the cellar! As with the 2007, this wine will last a good decade and more!


The next Abreu/Screaming Eagle, C-Beck 2007 Cabernet

Corey Beck
Corey Beck grew up in the 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 the infamous Jim Barbour’s estate vineyard. This wine’s quality (and its grapesource) will rival the big Abreu/Screaming Eagle wines! Free ground shipping on purchase of a full case.


C Beck 2007 Cabernet SauvignonC-Beck 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Retail 50.00 – GGWC 44.99

This Cabernet is a stunning wine sourced from Jim Barbour’s estate vineyard.  The 2007 C-Beck Cabernet (just under 14% ABV) offers amazing aromatics of black stone fruit and a touch of anise.  On the palate this lush puppy shows an amazing balance of the right amount of fruit and acid.  This well-structured, intensely powerful wine is equally elegant and bright.  The wine finishes with long and silky tannins.  Only 190 cases produced!

Got MALK? Malk beats the Big Boys (girls) from Napa!

Malk Family VineyardsMalk winery has been on fire as of late.  I just conducted a blind tasting of ten 2007 vintage Cabernets and Malk blew away some very big names – Phelps Insignia (98 Parker), Caymus Special Selection  (95 WS), Altamura (95 Parker/96 WS), Arietta, Barnett Rattlesnake Hill (95 Parker), Bevan “Showket” (95+ Parker), Carter “Coliseum” (95+ Parker), Dominus (98 Parker) and  Del Dotto St Helena Mt (97 Parker).

On top of that, Malk was by far the least expensive! Jump on this release while I still have some.  Moreover, their Sauvignon Blanc is gorgeous as well!

Malk 2007 Cabernet SauvignonMalk 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Napa Valley
Retail 79.99 – GGWC 72.00 – SPECIAL 69.99

Winemaker Robbie Meyer (L’Angevin, Peirson Meyer  95 PT Parker) has crafted an amazing wine from the Griffin Vineyard in Stag’s Leap. The 2007 Vintage of the Malk Family Vineyards is likely their best effort to date. This wine greets you with gobs of black stone fruit right from the start. On the palate this youngster is loaded with more blackberry, currant and intense stone fruits. A whiff of spice spirals through on the mid palate of this full-bodied Cabernet, where we encounter a silky feel. The wine is and dense and well-extracted, but extremely balanced with the right touch of acidity. I would suggest to either put this wine in the cellar for a few years or at least decant it when brewing that early morning cup of Joe – so you can drink this one at day’s end! Only 500 cases produced.

Malk 2010 Sauvignon BlancMalk 2010 Sauvignon Blanc

Once again, the 2010 vintage produced a wine of beautiful aromatic character and elegant presence on the palate. White flowers and fresh peach notes prevail on the nose, with underlying notes of light citrus and orange blossom. The palate is silky yet weighty, framed perfectly with the classic Sauvignon Blanc crispness.  I would say that this is the best SB produced to date by the folks from Brian Malk.
Click here or on the links above to purchase!

The Ghost is Back! Very limited.

Ghost Block Winery

Ghost Block has been scaring many of us in a good way.  The Quality/Price ratios are intune like the the best performers in a ballet.  As always, only a very limited production of this Oakville producer is available (six bottle limit per person).

Nestled on a gently sloping knoll on the north edge of Yountville, Ghost Block vineyard is named in honor of the historic Pioneer Cemetery which it borders. According to local legend, George C. Yount; who was the first person to plant a grapevine in the valley, wanders the hillside overseeing the industry he himself founded on this very land.

Ghost Block 2008 Cabernet SauvignonGhost Block 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville Napa Valley
Retail 65.00 – GGWC 59.99

Distinctive flavors of Ghost Block and Rock Cairn were heightened with the intense 2008 growing season. Finesse oriented with an elegant balance and structure. Bright aromas of roses, tobacco and spice lead to a full palate of blackberries, cherries and cocoa, and citrus. The mid palate is full and leads to a bright long finish of cherries, caramel, spice, cassis and coffee.

Click here or on the link above to purchase.


HB1161 – A Threat to Wineries and Wine Retailers

Dear Wine Friends:

I’m sure many of you heard about the HR 1161 bill currently circulating in congress.  This bill is unofficially known as the Wholesaler Protection Act, which seeks to limit shipment of wine (and beer and spirits) and will undermine the free-market system.  I oppose the bill and hope that you would reach out to your Congressman/woman to change their minds since this bill could seriously impact your ability to purchase wine, as well as my livelihood.

Many of you do business with me because I have products that your wholesalers (thus your local retailer/restaurant) do not carry; I purposely do not stock items that are readily available in the local, larger California and National market place to avoid issues like this.

Moreover, the State of New Hampshire offers something that others states might have to look at to circumvent this entire issue – impose a Use Tax.  I am not a fan of paying taxes either – NH allows companies like mine to ship directly to end consumers as long as the consumer pays an 8% “Use Tax” for the transaction. None of my NH clients complains, as they are buying those hard-to-find wines that are not in the NH stores.  I would propose this for all the states that are having issues with direct shipping and this would alleviate lots of other issues – plus it would generate large amounts of tax revenue for your local and state coffers.

Congress doesn’t realize that the CA wine industry is an economy larger than (GDP) that of countries like Belgium. This industry includes not only wine, but also a few million employees – from grower, to picker, to winemaker, to sales force, to retailer, retail staff, packaging supply companies, UPS/FedEx.  Really, could you imagine that 3/4 of the CA wineries and 7/8 of CA wine retailers (like me with a good chunk of out-of-state clientele) would go out of business?

Find your congressional representative at this link: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
Click here for more information on HR 1161: http://www.stop1161.org/
Sign the petition: https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr1161

I don’t want to write an entire thesis on this, but you get the idea!
Please reach out to your Congressman/woman.

A very humbled,
Frank Melis