An Amazing Pedigree! Tor 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

Tor Kenward Family Vineyards

I just tasted with Tor Kenward from Tor winery.  His latest release, the 2009 Napa Cabernet is a cuvee (blend) of To-Kalon, Cimarossa and Mast vineyards!  This bottling contains an  amazing pedigree and the wine lives up to it’s expectations!

On the nose you get the cool side of cabernet with earth/blackberry/cloves and a touch of mint. On the palate this is medium/full weight with just silky smooth tannins. This wine shows its base in Yountville with the black side of fruit as well as slightly more Bordeaux like profile. The addition of some famous Oakville fruit gives it some up front sweetness and depth. The addition of the Cimarossa Cabernet lends some cool climate spice and slightly firm tannins on the finish.  With all three vineyard sources from which Tor pulled to blend this wine, you may never taste a better example of a true Napa Valley Cabernet than this with its Yountville/Oakville/Howell Mountain sources.

Tor 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Bella stuns with 2009 Lily Hill!

Bella WinesThe new vintage of this much coveted old-vine zinfandel, is sourced from the oldest block of vines above the Bella vineyard caves.  This block was planted in 1915, and close to it’s centennial age!

The 2009 Lily Hill Zinfandel teases the nose with fine whiffs of black stone fruit.  I would call this wine silky on the palate with soft, velvet-like tannins.  On the mid palate this full-loaded wine is bursting with luscious dark fruit with a touch of peppery spiciness that lingers throughout the entire tasting process into this long finish of red plums and espresso. This is a lush and beautiful expression of old-vine Lily Hill zinfandel, overflowing with juicy flavors and complexity.  I would say that this wine rivals the best Bella has made yet to date.  As always, this is the smallest production in years.

Bella 2009 Lily Hill Zinfandel, Estate Dry Creek Valley
Retail 42.00 – GGWC 38.50 – JULY SPECIAL 35.00 on a FULL CASE

Sixth Anniversary Wine Tasting!

Don’t forget so RSVP up for our Sixth Anniversary Wine Tasting August 20!

“We Bring Wine Country to the City!” Celebrate our Sixth Anniversary and meet the winemakers, winery owners of many boutique wineries and taste their new releases.  We will be pouring up to 30 new wines!

Thus far, we have confirmed the following wineries and more are soon to be announced! DuMol, Redmon, Breckenridge, Malk, Phifer Pavitt, Paul Lato, Jemrose (Kosta Browne winemaker), Coho, Sans Liege, Field Recordings, Kennefick, Knez, and others…

This exclusive tasting will be on Saturday August 20 5 P.M. – 8 P.M. at the Lakeside Cafe – 2529 Ocean Avenue in San Francisco.

Generous hors d’oeuvres provided.

Tickets are $45.00 per person or $70.00 for two. SORRY NO TICKETS at the door! RSVP and ticket purchase is required by calling 415-337-4083, visiting or through eventbrite.

Kobalt 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon – 94 Points

Kobalt Wines

Robert Parker gives Kobalt’s latest release 94 Points and says: “A joint project between well-known winemaking consultant Mark Herold and Kevin Carriker, Kobalt’s big, blockbuster 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon (100% Cabernet Sauvignon) boasts an inky/purple color as well as a big, sweet perfume of camphor, charcoal, blueberries, black currants and toasty oak. Superb fruit, a sweet, full-bodied mouthfeel, a multilayered texture and a long finish with abundant but sweet, nicely integrated tannins, this classic Napa Cabernet should be consumed over the next 15-18 years. ”

My Tasting Notes: The 2008 Kobalt Cabernet Sauvignon (97% Cabernet, 3% Malbec) is similar to the 2007. The color of this wine is inky and reveals hues of black/blue/purple. Intense aromatic notes of violets, black raspberry, and bittersweet chocolate integrate well with and underlying graphite, mineral finish. On the palate, the brightly focused fruit shows nuances of pencil lead, black raspberry, and currant with a hint of cinnamon and cedar to round out the palate. The finish is balanced and lengthy, showcasing soft, supple tannins that are well integrated with the bright berry fruit, mocha and wood spice, with a clean touch of acidity.

Kobalt 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Retail 100.00 – GGWC 89.99

The details on temperature controlled shipping

Beginning July 20  we will be offering temperature controlled shipping via UPS!  A blessing for those who want to have their wines arrive in good condition during the hot summer months.

This service is ground via temperature controlled/refrigerated containers – (UPS rail). I have monitored the shipments for some weeks during UPS’ trial runs and the wine arrives in very good condition!

There will be a nominal, flat surcharge of $8 to $12 on each shipment.  We will still offer the FREE ground shipping for orders of $500.00 or more, but if you request refrigerated shipping, there will be a surcharge for this additional service.

Hawaii and Alaska shipments can only be shipped 1 or 2 day AIR as no other service is available. Again, we still store wines at no charge and will gladly ship AIR if you desire to do so. In either case, we will deduct the cost of FREE ground shipping from the air freight  charge for orders exceeding $500.00.

UPS has divided the US into four regions, alternating this shipping program between them once a week. For example, the week of July 20 it will cover the NY region which includes NH, etc.  The other regions are Jacksonville (FL) July 27, Chicago (IL) on August 3 and Dallas (TX) on August 10 rotating back to NY, FL, IL and TX.

Unfortunately, some states are not a part of UPS’ temperature shipping program. Most states are, but depending on where you live, it is possible that you might not be able to benefit from this program. – Contact your congressional representative and voice your opinion regarding bill HR1161 – what Congress calls the CARE Act of 2011, (Community Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness Act) more an “act” that prevents you the consumer to buy the wines you like from people like us to “protect” the local wholesaler – who does NOT stock these hard-to-find wines to begin with… sorry I got carried away.

This can all be a little confusing, so as always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Your humbled Wine Servant,
Frank Melis

Wine Club Special

Dear Wine Friends:

We have a great mid-summer offer that you cannot ignore. We are offering our Premier Imbibers Wine Club memberships at an unheard of $200 discount! PLUS – Sign up for our Premium Wine Club (1 year commitment minimum) and receive a special gift worth over $300.00 from us in return! (While supplies last.) You can purchase your membership all at once or make bi-monthly payments (every other month) and still receive the $300.00 GIFT.


Do you have a hard time selecting wines when walking into your local store? Or do you say to yourself, “I really want to try a bottle before I buy a whole case? We have the answer for you. Our Wine Club will send you a shipment of six bottles of hand-selected wines through out the course of the year, along with extra features such as elaborate wine and food pairing notes.  Our Wine Club offers many unique hard-to-find wines.  Every two months we ship six bottles (mix and match) before they are reviewed by press and or our customers (no mass emails, etc.).  In essence a preview before the Joneses get their hands on them (often they won’t as you get to sample them first and re-order!).

Premier Imbibers Wine Club – Annual Membership – $200.00 off regular price*
Retail 1800.00 – GGWC $1599.99


Premier Imbibers Wine Club – Single Purchase $299.99 per shipment

Click Here or on the links above to take advantage of this incredible offer!

Secret Service Wine!

Von Holt Wines

Chris Von Holt is the quintessential, second career, artisan wine proprietor. He was raised in San Francisco, CA, just a few miles from California’s premier wine growing valleys. As the saying goes, he knows the area.  His first career was service to the Executive Branch of government as a United States Secret Service Agent, where he served his country for over twenty years. He protected 4 presidents, 4 vice-presidents, and their immediate families, as well as numerous foreign heads of state, and senior members of government. While assigned to Protective Details, he traveled to 40 foreign countries, having to quickly discern the nature and differences of people, places and cultures; while witnessing the culinary traditions and offerings of numerous foreign heads of state.  His travels exposed him to the best of the best (i.e. wine) and living in the Bay Area he knew that he was destined to have a second career in the wine industry.  With Ed Kurtzman (winemaker at ROAR, FREEMAN, AUGUST WEST and SANDLER on his side you can only expect that the best possible wine is being made!

Von Holt 2009 Pinot NoirVan Holt 2009 Pinot Noir “Suacci” Russian River Valley
Retail $40.00 – GGWC $35.99 – FREE SHIPPING* on FULL CASE

I don’t like to quote publications, but Wine Spectator just wrote on July 6 2011 that 2009 is THE best vintage for Pinot Noir in decades and produced some of the most amazing wines ever.  Here is one example.  I would describe The Van Holt 2009 Suacci Pinot Noir as a cross section between a great Premier Cru Red Burgundy and a high-end California Pinot Noir.  The wine offers intense aromas and flavors of pomegranate and red fruits with a (oh so) slight earthy undertone. The 2009 growing season was one of the coolest in over two decades and the result was stunning wine!  This is a delightful wine that is rich, intense yet very elegant with bright red cherry, raspberry fruit that is well-balanced with the right touch of acidity.  The wine finishes long with a touch of toasty vanilla and silky tannins. While nuanced and lovely now, this is also one for the cellar.  Only 225 cases produced.

Also check out the new release of the Van Holt’s 2008 Syrah “Old Lakeville” only 75 cases produced!
Retail $33.00 – GGWC $29.99

Summer wines

The weather is heating up and the days are long. There are not many things that are nicer than kicking back on the porch and watching the sun set with a cool glass of white wine. Here are some of my picks for the best summer releases.

Valdez 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, U.V. El Diablo Vineyard Russian River Valley
Retail $30.00 – GGWC $27.99

Jemrose – 2009 “Egret Pond” Viognier Bennett Valley Sonoma
Made by the Kosta Browne winemaker!!
Stephen Tanzer 91 Points
Retail $36.00 – GGWC $33.50

Orin Swift 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Veladora

La Sirena 2010 Moscato Azul, Napa Valley
Heidi Barrett’s (Screaming Eagle) own label!
Retail $33.00 – GGWC $29.99

Azur 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley
Hot new venture
Retail $30.00 – GGWC $25.99

Sans Liege 2009 Cotes du Coast (Proprietary White) Paso Robles
Stunning white!
Retail $26.00 – GGWC $23.95

2009 Morlet La Proportion Doree (White Blend), Sonoma County
Morlet makes Peter Michael, World’s End, Carte Blanche, Chateau Boswell, etal – Collectible wines!
Robert Parker 96 points!
Retail $65.00 – GGWC $59.99

Walter Hansel 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley
Best SB in years! Every year one of my best sellers too!

Malk 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

Hot weather shipping news!

I am working with UPS on shipping TEMPERATURE CONTROLLED (great for summer and winter). By later this week, or early next week we should have more detailed information. We still can store your wines here, but it might be great to ship during the hot summer at no or very small extra costs! I have seen a lot of data from UPS on this topic and it looks very promising.

More to come later this week…

Happy Independence Day from Golden Gate Wine Cellars

The Statue of Liberty Unveiling - Oct 28, 1886Dear Friends of Golden Gate Wine Cellars,

Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, barbecues, family reunions, and often time for families to reflect. We at Golden Gate Wine Cellars want to reflect on the past six years and say thank you for all your support.  Without you we would not have been able to succeed.  Being an independent business owner is a risk and requires hard work and many hours.  I wake up happy every morning (I do have a great wife and two awesome daughters), but I love coming to work and talking to all of my customers and sharing my passion. Only in America is this possible – I made a hobby into a great profession. Thank you to all of you!

Have a great Holiday weekend.  Have fun wherever you are!  Drink lots of good wine (remember my motto – Always Drink Good Wine!), but most of all BE SAFE!

A very humbled,

Frank Melis

I do have a few American success stories (wine suggestions) to share with you. Enjoy!

Lang & Reed 2009 Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley
Retail 26.00 GGWC $22.99

Passenger 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Stag’s Leap Napa Valley
Retail 82.00 – GGWC $74.95

Jemrose 2007 Syrah “Cardiac Hill” Bennett Valley Sonoma
(Stephen Tanzer 92 Points)
Retail $44.00 – GGWC 39.99

Orin Swift 2008 Papillon Proprietary Red Blend, Napa Valley
Retail 60.00 – GGWC $54.99

La Sirena 2010 Moscato Azul, Napa Valley
Retail 32.00 – GGWC $28.99

2480 “Hollywood and Vine” 2009 Chardonnay Napa Valley
Retail 45.00 – GGWC 39.99

Knez 2009 Pinot Noir (Cerise/Demuth) Anderson Valley
Retail 35.00 – GGWC 29.99