Philippe Melka’s ONLY Sonoma Cabernet

Fahri & Constance Diner created Skipstone after successful careers as entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.  The vineyard is sits like an amphitheater carved into a horseshoe-shaped mountain hidden high above Alexander Valley. With their European roots Fahri & Constance strive to create the best wines to rival the quality and artistry of California’s most highly regarded wine estates.  Add Philippe Melka, winemaker extra-ordinaire and you see where this is going….

Skipstone 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon “Oliver’s Blend Estate, Alexander Valley
Retail 125.00 – GGWC 119.99
Use code SKIPSTONE at checkout

The 2013 Oliver’s Blend is rich and masculine; hints of allspice and lovely notes of juicy black currant, plum and coffee are at the center of the aroma. The palate is layered with berries, cocoa, spice and tobacco. Fine, rounded yet pronounced tannins lend a satisfying strength to the palate and mouthfeel, followed by a smooth long, lingering finish that is consistent of Skipstone wines.

Robert Parker 94 Points: “The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Oliver’s Blend, which has 12% Merlot, is gorgeous stuff and showcases just how brilliant the Bordeaux varietals can be from the hillsides of Alexander Valley. The wine has an opaque purple color and a gorgeous nose of dusty, loamy soil scents interwoven with floral nuances, blackberry, licorice and dark, dark cherry. Very spicy and earthy, with a hint of new saddle leather, this wine spent 18 months in French oak, of which 72% was new. This is a terrific, full-throttle, beautifully balanced and pure wine that should drink well for at least two decades.”

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LAST CALL Thomas Rivers Brown’s Amazing Cabernet

Three great friends – One goal: to create something worth appreciating, like the time they’ve spent together. They searched for an area rich in heritage, resources, and committed winemakers which took them 2,297 miles west from their homes in Kentucky to Napa Valley. They traveled to California time and again. Wine was shared, stories were told, and their idea was born.  At the helm is Thomas Rivers Brown, one of Napa Valley’s most distinctive and acclaimed winemakers.(FYI: Post Parade refers to the moment when thoroughbred horses walk onto the racetrack minutes before stepping into the starting gate.)

Post Parade 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 
Retail 100.00 – GGWC 89.99
Use code PP13CS upon checkout

Amazingly intense wine from start to finish. Dark purple hue and stunning aromas of black stone fruit, chocolate and a touch of toastiness greet you on impact. This is an extraordinarily well-crafted wine that is lush on the palate, loaded with gorgeous jammy black stone fruits, chocolate, a touch of espresso and toasty vanilla that are in-sync with the right touch of acid.  The wine lingers on the finish for a good 30 seconds!  Only 250 cases produced.

2013 Tasting Notes from Winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown:

“2013 encapsulated all the good points of the previous growing season and then took it up a notch. The transition from budbreak to bloom to veraison to harvest was extremely well spaced out.  Temperatures stayed mild, with only one heat spike above 100 degrees in late June, and there was zero rain until November once all the fruit had been brought into the winery.  There’s always an element of mystery when it comes to how a wine will turn out in the end, but right from the beginning, the 2013 vintage wines showed so well.  Undoubtedly the best vintage since 2007, the 2013 Post Parade resonates with light airy aromatic notes, a complex and intricate fruit core, mouth coating concentration and a finish that lingers and leaves you wanting more before it’s gone away.”—Thomas Rivers Brown Winemaker

Robert Parker 93 Points: “Thomas Brown makes the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon from two well-known vineyards, the Tench Vineyard in Oakville, which is located on Oakville Bench (and made famous by Russell Bevan), and the Redhead Vineyard, which is back on Soda Springs Road. There are 425 cases of this beauty, which displays a dense ruby/purple color and notes of lead pencil shavings, blackberry, cassis and a touch of toasty oak in a full-bodied, layered, concentrated style. Drink it over the next 15 or so years.”

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Pinot Noir of the Month

Big Basin Vineyards was founded in 1998 on an historic site in the Santa Cruz Mountains next to Big Basin Redwoods State Park. The old ranch property was first settled in the late 1800s. Wine grape cultivation had been started by French immigrants by the early 1900s and continued until 1965 when the property was sold by Justin Lacau, who had named the property “Frenchy’s Ranch”, to a timber company. By the 1990s, all that remained of the vineyards were redwood stakes and scattered vines hidden by brush and poison oak bushes.  Bradley Brown’s mission was to restore the historic vineyard site using modern, organic viticultural methods.  The entire property is now certified organic.

Big Basin 2013 Pinot Noir “Alfaro” Santa Cruz Mountains
Retail 60.00 – GGWC 56.99
Use code BB13PN at checkout

Robert Parker 94 Points: “A more pretty, elegant and seamless effort than the Lester Vineyard, the 2013 Pinot Noir Alfaro Family Vineyard is a rock star Pinot Noir that does everything right. Offering up classic red and black raspberry fruits, crushed flowers, peppery spice and wet rock like minerality, it’s perfectly balanced on the palate, with a lively, ethereal texture, vibrant, yet integrated acidity and a great finish. This is pure class, and while it saw a similar level of whole cluster inclusion to the Lester Vineyard Pinot Noir, it’s much more integrated here.”

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Napa’s First Growth White Bordeaux

In 1972 Jack and Mary Novak purchased the orginal “Spottswoode” property  In 1977, when Mary Weber Novak’s husband passed away unexpectedly, leaving her with five young children and a newly replanted vineyard, she became one of the first women to run a major Napa Valley winegrowing estate. In the years since, through her hard work, insight and perseverance, she has established Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Wineryas one of the valley’s great family-owned wineries and first growth-caliber properties.  The first commercial wine was produced in 1982 by Tony Soter (Etude & Soter wines).  Many other great winemakers have passed the review, all making highly rated wines from this great estate. Today the winery is run by the daughters Beth & Lindy.

Spottswoode 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa/Sonoma
Retail 42.00 – GGWC 39.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code SPOTTSB at checkout

Made using grapes from a who’s who of the finest vineyards, including Hyde, Farina, Ink Grade, Pelkan and the Spottswoode Estate Vineyard, the 2015 Sauvignon Blanc is a complex and richly textured wine, with vivacious acidity and dazzling aromas of white peach, passion fruit, lemongrass and wet stone. To accentuate its layered complexity, this blend of 75% Sauvignon Blanc and 25% Sauvignon Musque was fermented in a combination of small stainless steel barrels, new and neutral French oak and concrete “cuvees.” Regrettably, there is less of this exciting wine to go around this year due to lower yields in the vineyards all over the valleys.

Winemaker Notes: Fresh and juicy, with great complexity. A powerful wine that’s layered and textured with citrus and stone fruits filling the palate. Fresh pear and white peach mingle with passion fruit and lemon meringue. The mouthwatering vivacious acidity and complex subtle vanilla and creaminess gives great length to this impressive wine.

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A $100.00 CAB at ½ the PRICE by 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 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Retail 52.00 – GGWC 47.99
Use code CONVEX upon checkout

The 2012 Convexity is an amazing bottle of wine from start to finish. The 2012 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!

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Happy Father’s Day


God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle’s flight,
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,
Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so,
He called it … Dad

Happy Father’s Day!


Being regarded as a pioneer in her field was business as usual for Nan McEvoy. Her grandfather, Michael De Young (as in the The Young’s Museum), founded the San Francisco Chronicle in 1865 and Nan started there as a cub reporter (a rare position for a female at the time), gradually working her way up and eventually serving as Chairwoman of the Board from 1981 to 1995. When a director’s bylaw forced her into retirement at age 72, Nan set about doing what she does best—making things happen—and McEvoy Ranch was born. Always an activist with a spirit of adventure, she was an early member of the Peace Corps and John D. Rockefeller’s Population Council. Nan was named Food Artisan of the Year by Bon Appetit in 2003. Nan passed away in March 2015 at the age of 95, and the reins of McEvoy Ranch have since been taken into the very capable hands of her son Nion.

McEvoy 2012 “Evening Standard” Pinot Noir, Estate – Petaluma Gap
Retail $48.00 – GGWC 44.99
Use code MCEVOY upon check out

The 2012 McEvoy Pinot Noir “Evening Standard” is a wine of elegance and structure — a cool-climate coastal wine with a balanced, old-world style that embodies the pioneering spirit of Nan Tucker McEvoy. This vintage is brilliant ruby in color, with aromas of cherry, pomegranate and cranberry, along with notes of black plum, rose and a touch of anise. It’s full in body and lively in the mouth with flavors of complex red and black stone fruits, and anise, with additional savory notes and a slight touch of minerality. Ready to drink now and capable of aging many years.

Also check out the MCEVOY “ROSEBUD” ROSÉ

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Blind Tasting Winning GSM

In a recent “Rhone Varietal” blind tasting my tasting group awarded Alta Colina with a solid first place. We tasted the following wines:
  • Herman Story GSM (94 RP)
  • Booker “Vertigo” (95 RP)
  • Frequency (93 AG)
  • Tenet (95 RP)
  • Big Basin (93 AG)
  • DuMOL “Eddie’s Patch” (95 AG)
  • Keplinger “Sumo” (94 AG)
  • Keplinger Fuego (95 AG)
  • Herman Story “On the Road (94 AG)
  • Herman Story “Nuts & Bolts” (95 RP)
  • Alta Colina GSM
Alta Colina received 9 out of 12 first, 2 out 12 second and 1 third place votes, ahead of Keplinger Fuego with 2 first, 6 second place votes and Booker Vertigo 1 first, 4 second place votes.


Since the 1970’s, Bob Tillman has looked for the site where he could plant a world-class vineyard. He didn’t find that property until he moved to the Central Coast of California and tasted Paso Robles wines. Finally, he and his wife Lynn knew they were in the place where they could produce the kind of wines they love to drink.  In 2000 they located this awesome hilltop property and the rest as they say is history!  Alta Colina has had five vintages and had great success among their customers.  I can tell you that the 2012 vintage will out perform the 2010 & 2011 vintage, but with the production so small and again some nice Robert Parker scores, you’ll have to hurry!

Alta Colina 2012 GSM “Estate” Paso Robles
Retail 52.00 – GGWC 49.99
Use code ALTA  at checkout

The Alta Colina GSM blend is traditionally dominated by Grenache, and the stunning 2011 is no exception. The blended wine offers a gorgeous and complex nose. Cherry, strawberry, and dried rose petal aromas combine with berry notes–leading to a bright, fruit-forward mouth. Smoky oak flavors emphasize the velvety tannins. The wine’s exceptional balance progresses nicely to a clean finish, both mineral and fruity.

Robert Parker 94 Points: “A beautiful wine that would stand nicely beside top quality Chateauneuf du Papes, the 2012 GSM (52% Grenache, 26% Syrah and 22% Mourvedre) was completely de-stemmed and spent 18 months in 67% new French oak (Syrah), 25% new French oak (Mourvedre) and 8% new (Grenache). It offers lots of wood smoke, plum, blackberry, olive and wild herbs characteristics in its plump, full-bodied, supple and sexy personality. While certainly a fruit-driven effort, it still has a pretty, elegant and lightly textured style and is always a joy to drink. Drink it anytime over the coming 7-8 years.”

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Forbes’ Winemaker To Watch!

Gavin Chanin, who was named one of FORBES’ “30 under 30” in Food and Wine, and the “Winemaker to Watch” by San Francisco Chronicle, began his winemaking career as a harvest intern at Au Bon Climat and Qupé, under the tutelage of winemakers Jim Clendenen and Bob Lindquist, working his way up to assistant winemaker at both labels. Taking the fall quarter off each year from his studies at UCLA to work harvest in California, Gavin also worked harvest in South Africa and New Zealand. He then the traveled extensively in Burgundy and Italy before returning to launch Chanin Wine 2007.
Retail  58.00 – GGWC 55.99
Use code CHANIN at checkout
Winemaker’s Notes: This wine displays classic Los Alamos characteristics of crushed red fruit, raspberry and ripe strawberry on the nose. As the wine opens up, aromas of leather and cinnamon add depth. There’s a very linear focus to this wine, with a refreshing, energetic mouthfeel and long finish. We expect this wine to age quite well, though it’s tasting great right now. Robert Parker 93 Points: “The 2013 Pinot Noir Los Alamos was my favorite of the Pinot Noirs and its transparent ruby color is followed by a beautiful bouquet of subtle strawberries, Asian spices and crushed flowers. Medium-bodied, perfumed and elegant, with a seamless, fine texture, it shines for its purity and class more than for power or richness. Aged 16 months in 10% new French oak, it’s a Pinot Noir with class that will drink nicely over the coming 4-5+ years.”
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Hot New Napa Cab by 98 point winemaker

It started in 1914 when Eliza & Pads Peterson purchased a 100-acre property in the Napa Valley. It hosted a small Zinfandel vineyard, but with the onset of Prohibition in 1920, prunes became the cash crop. It remained an orchard, large vegetable garden and also hosted  numerous farm animals. Not until the 1990s was the orchard replaced by vines again. The current Peterson generation has been growing Petite Sirah, Cabernet and Merlot on the property. Under the guidance of ace-winemaker Robert Foley, the Petersons have been producing amazing wine from the property called “Switchback Ridge” named for the winding trails in the hills above the vineyard. Today Kelly Peterson continues the legacy that began with her great-grandfather, Mads 102 years ago. Her daughter Ashley is being groomed to take over the reins one of these days as well.Switchback Ridge 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate” Napa Valley
Retail 95.00 – GGWC 89.99
Use code SR13CS during checkout

A rich, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon with a beautiful expression of power and grace. Sweet black cherries and cassis aromas continue on the palate with a flood of mouth filling viscosity and gentle tannins. An incredibly lush mid-palate leaves an impression of berry, all-spice and chocolate covered cherries, leading to a long, velvety finish.

Robert Parker on 2012 (96 Points): “As difficult as it may be to believe, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Peterson Family Vineyard may be even better than the Merlot. Glorious notes of forest floor, blackcurrants, blackberries, mocha and espresso emerge from this full-bodied, majestically concentrated wine boasting an expansive, broad texture, stunning purity, a 50-second finish, enormous body, and no sense of overbearing, over-ripeness or heaviness. Alcoholphobes should not be concerned about the wine’s 15.5% alcohol content as there is not a trace of heat in the fresh flavors. Drink this beauty over the next 10-15 years.”

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