PAUL LATO’S STUNNING 2014 SYRAH & GRENACHE RELEASES!

 

 

Paul Lato hardly needs an introduction. His wines have raised the bar among Napa wines for several decades now and each release continues to impress. We have just a handful of his 2014 releases remaining in stock, and the ones that we do have are going fast. Here are Paul’s 2014 Syrah and Grenache releases that you will not want to miss!

 

Paul Lato 2014 Syrah “Cinematique” Larner Vineyard* 

Retail 95.00 – GGWC 89.99

FREE SHIPPING on 6, can mix & match with all Lato wines, use code PAULLATO at checkout.

 

This is in my book “THE” best Cinematique to-date bar-none! I believe strongly that is equal, if not better than the great 2012, 2008 and 2007 vintages (97 Point rating).  I’d be surprised that this wine will not see very high 90 scores again!

 

Robert Parker 2012 – 97 Points: “On another level, the 2012 Syrah Cinematique Larner Vineyard (92.5% Syrah, 5% Viognier and 2.5% Grenache aged in 50% new French oak) has an incredible perfume of sweet blackberry, raspberry, crushed violets, coffee bean and bay leaf to go with a medium to full-bodied, silky, seamless and ethereally textured profile on the palate. Picking up plenty of fine tannin with time in the glass, this is a gorgeously pure, layered and multi-dimensional Syrah that will benefit from short-term cellaring, and have 15 years or more of ultimate longevity. It’s not a blockbuster, yet excels on its balanced, seamlessness and purity.”

 

Paul Lato Notes: “In just a few short years, this vineyard has become a holy grail for Rhône varietals in Santa Barbara County, receiving critical acclaim for the quality of the grapes and viticultural practices. Christine Larner and her son, Michael, also a winemaker, are ardent about the continued care and development of their vineyard. The natural beauty of the site with its rolling, sun-splashed hills creates an incredibly peaceful vibe. The Syrah clones of Estrella and 877 planted in this picturesque site produce a rich, intensely flavored wine that retains its elegance.”

 

Paul Lato 2014 Syrah “IL Padrino” Bien Nacido Vineyard*

Retail 95.00 – GGWC 92.99

FREE SHIPPING on 6, can mix & match with all Lato wines, use code PAULLATO at checkout.

 

This is becoming Paul Lato’s BEST Syrah bottling numerous years in a row.  If one were in the Rhone Valley, it would put many of the big names to shame!  In a recent tasting Paul’s Il Padrino bottling beat out 100 point wines like Alban’s Reva, and others!  I only get 5 cases of this gem, so jump on it NOW, as this might be the year of a 100 Point Syrah from Lato! This wine gets 95-98 points every release!

 

Robert Parker 2013 – 96 Points: “As with the Grenache releases, the 2013 Syrah Il Padrino Bien Nacido Vineyard is a bigger, richer wine than the Larner Vineyard release. This inky, mostly opaque 2013 has an off-the-hook bouquet of smoked black fruits, ground black pepper, graphite, bacon fat and marine-like sea-breeze to go with a full-bodied, ultra-pure, elegant and seamless profile on the palate. Beautifully concentrated, multi-dimensional, layered, elegant and with blockbuster length, it’s another wine from Paul that has the pedigree to drink splendidly in its youth, yet age gracefully.”

 

Paul Lato 2014 Grenache Bien Nacido Vineyard*

Retail 80.00 – GGWC 74.99

FREE SHIPPING on 6, can mix & match with all Lato wines, use code PAULLATO at checkout.

 

Paul Lato’s notes: “This is one of the most historic vineyards in Santa Maria Valley tracing its grape-growing history back to the days of the Spanish land grants. Vineyard Manager Chris Hammell and his dedicated crew continue to take this vineyard to even greater heights. Many of this region’s most acclaimed winemakers have enjoyed great success working with this internationally renowned site.”

 

Robert Parker 2013 – 95 Points: “A bigger, richer and more concentrated effort than the Larner Grenache, the 2013 Grenache Bien Nacido Vineyard offers lots of cassis and black raspberry fruit to go with underlying notes of wet gravel, shrimp broth, peppery herbs, licorice and pepper. Medium to full-bodied, seamless, elegant and multi-dimensional on the palate, with a weightless mouthfeel, it’s acidity is nicely integrated and it never puts a foot wrong. Given its balance and overall purity, it’s a killer drink today, but it will evolve beautifully.”

MilAnge 2014 Syrah, Santa Barbara

Retail 80.00 – GGWC 74.99

FREE SHIPPING on 6, can mix & match with all Lato wines, use code PAULLATO at checkout.

 

The 2014 MilAnge Syrah was crafted by ace winemaker Paul Lato.  This youngster oozes with stunning and bright fruit.  On the nose you’ll encounter red and black stone fruits with a whiff of bacon fat.  On the palate this lush wine is loaded with sweet black stone fruit, crushed flowers, cassis and cured meats.  Bold, yet elegant this wine is concentrated yet approachable with a rich and lush mouthfeel.  The wine ends with touch of white pepper silky finish.  Only 25 cases were produced.

FYI:  We have small amounts of Paul Lato’s oustanding 2014 Chardonnays and Pniot Noir remaining

Click here or on the links above to order!

LAST CALL for Exquisite Under $50 Napa Cabernet!

 

Corey Beck grew up in 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 one of the most sought after vineyards in the Napa Valley nearby the Hourglass, 3 Palms and Switchback Ridge vineyards. This wine’s quality is much higher than its price tag!

C-Beck 2013  Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Retail 53.00- GGWC 49.99
FREE SHIPPING on SIX
Use code CBECK upon check out

The wine’s aromas jump out of the glass upon impact.  Gobs of black stone fruit with hints of sweet vanilla greet you on the gorgeous nose.  This full-bodied wine is big and bold, yet silky and luscious loaded with extremely well-balanced black stone fruits (black currant, dark plum and blackberry) and the right touch of acid that will allow this wine to age nicely.  The wine finishes long with soft and supple tannins.  Only 264 cases of this great wine were produced.

Click here or on the links above to order!

Spottswoode 96 Point Rated Cabernet

 

Robert Parker is quoted in Wine Spectator as saying “When the history of Napa’s great vineyards is written, the 40-acre Spottswoode vineyard will be counted among the finest grand cru vineyards of the region.”

Spottswoode is a family-owned historic vineyard and winery renowned for its exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon. Established in 1882 by George Schonewald, the estate is distinguished by the pre-prohibition Victorian home depicted on the wine label. Spottswoode was christened by Mrs. Albert Spotts in 1910 and it was acquired by Mary and Jack Novak in 1972. Mary released Spottswoode’s first Cabernet Sauvignon in 1982, exactly one hundred years after the estate’s founding.

Spottswoode 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate” Napa Valley
FREE SHIPPING on 4
Use code SPOTTSWOODE at checkout

Robert Parker 96-98 Points: “The flagship wine, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate, which in this vintage is a blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot aged 20 months in 60% new French oak. It is elegance personified. Dark blueberry and black raspberry fruit with crème de cassis, licorice and spring flowers emerge from this juicy, medium to full-bodied wine with everything in ideal balance. The acidity, tannin, wood and alcohol are subtle and disguised. This is another beauty from Spottswoode. Slightly less dramatic than the 2012, but classic, it offers 20-25 years of aging potential.”

Anthony Galloni 96 Points: “Vivid, nuanced and explosive, the estate’s 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon possesses remarkable intensity and pure power. The 2013 is one of the most precise wines I have tasted here in some time. Dark blue and black fruits, cedar, lavender and leather are all vivid and beautifully articulated throughout. The flavors build effortlessly to the huge, dramatic finish.”

Also check out these other great Spottswoode wines:
SPOTTSWOODE 2015 SAUVIGNON BLANC, NAPA/SONOMA
SPOTTSWOODE 2013 “LYNDENHURST” CABERNET SAUVIGNON

Rosé is NOT just SWEET PINK wine! Here’s why….

When I first got into the wine industry a few decades ago, rosé was anything but cool. White Zinfandel from California made the public think that all rosé was sweet, and unfortunately, imports such as Royal Lancers from Portugal and wines such as Sutter Home White Zin confirmed this notion.

Today, however, rosé is the second fastest growing segment of the wine market – the United States is the second largest rosé consuming country in the world, following France of course! It accounts for nearly 10% of all wine made worldwide. You’ll find rosé at high-end restaurants and corner grocery stores alike.

The dry rosés from Provence did more to change people’s perception of pink wine than anything else. Domaine Tempier’s Bandol rosé started to have a huge cult following in the 90’s and other producers from this area were able to ride its coat tails.

There are a few ways to make rosé. One is to “bleed” some of the juice from red wine during the maceration process. This is called “saignée.” It also serves the purpose of concentrating phenolics in the red. Instead of just discarding the left over wine, some wineries bottle it as rosé. Lightly pressing red grapes to extract just enough color to give the wine a pink hue is another method. This is how “vin gris” is made. Of course mixing red and white wine together is another way.

Most rosé made in the United States is still sweet and that might account for why imported rosé sales are growing while domestic rosé sales have gone down. However, there has been a proliferation of dry rosé made in California and many of these wines are every bit as good as the pink wines other countries have to offer.

In fact, California rosé is as diverse as the state. So long as a producer has access to red grapes, rosé can be made.MCEVOY uses Pinot Noir, andLORENZA creates a Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre blend that is similar to the rosé from Provence. White grapes can also be added to the blend. Some producers prefer lighter, lower alcohol versions while others go for a fuller and often fruitier style. A few rosés have a touch of noticeable residual sugar yet many are bone dry. As rosé is usually considered a warm weather wine, most people want it to be crisp and refreshing more than anything else.

 

We’re having a “Rose and Summer White “tasting Saturday August 27, We will feature five rosés and 1 “special white” from different parts of the state and composed of a variety of grapes, this selection really captures the variety and quality of rosé California has to offer. If you’re in the area be sure to stop by from 1-5 P.M.

 

For those who cannot attend the tasting I have a “six pack” special – 10% OFF THIS WEEK ONLY!

HERMAN STORY 2015 ROSE OF GRENACHE “AFTER HOURS”

LORENZA 2015 ROSE (RHONE BLEND)

MCEVOY 2015 ROSE OF PINOT NOIR “ROSEBUD”

DRAGONETTE 2015 ROSE OF GSM “HAPPY CANYON” SANTA BARBARA

WALTER HANSEL 2015 ROSE OF PINOT NOIR “ESTATE” RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY

Plus a non-rose to fill out the “summer-selection” tasting six pack!

ARBE GARBE 2015 PROPRIETARY WHITE, RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY

Please use code TASTINGAUG27 at checkout to receive the 10% discount.

Sceaming Eagle Winemaker’s Hot New Cabernet Gem

 

Marciano Estate revitalizes a proud winegrowing history that dates back to the mid-19th century. The property upon which their vineyards are planted was part of the Bourn family estate, a country residence for one of San Francisco’s most successful and influential families during the time of California’s Gold Rush. When the Bourns purchased the St. Helena property in 1872, the estate – which the family called Madroño included over 100 acres of vineyards, orchards and grazing pastures, two cottages and a home. Though the Bourns replaced the original house with a much larger home, complete with Victorian towers and decorative stone work, this new home burned down in 1888. A second home – one that utilized the original stone walls along with a few oak doors — was completed in 1903-1904, and still stands on the property today.

The Bourn family had a keen interest in Napa Valley’s burgeoning wine industry, particularly Sarah Bourn, the family matriarch. After her husband, William I died, she devoted herself to learning everything she could about grape growing. In the meantime, her son, William Bourn II, recognized the need for additional winery capacity in Napa Valley. He and his partner, E. Everett Wise, built Greystone Cellars in 1888/89, one of Napa Valley’s grandest structures and today the home of the Culinary Institute of America’s west coast campus. Though the onset of phylloxera dampened William II’s enthusiasm for the wine industry and triggered the sale of Greystone in 1894, the Bourn family continued to maintain their residence at Madroño, adding to their Napa Valley vineyard holdings and selling grapes to wineries throughout the valley.

The Marciano family purchased the estate in 2006 and has completely brought it up the 21st Century standards. They also hired a top winemaker (Andy Erickson) and vineyard manager (David Abreu) and the end-result is amazing grapes and stunning wines!

Massiglia 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate
Retail 130.00 – GGWC 124.99
FREE SHIPPING on 4
Use code MASSIGLIA at checkout

The 2012 Massiglia is a blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, all sourced form the Marciano Estate. The aromatics are captivatingly complex—cassis, ripe raspberries, fresh-cut truffles, salted caramel, and wet gravel. The burnished, rounded texture of the wine is immediately appealing; but with such structure, the wine will continue to age for many years.

Parker 94+ Points: “The proprietary red wine, the Massiglia, tends to be a blend of about two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon, 29-30% Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot. These wines see slightly less new oak than the Cabernets (about 61-71%, depending on the vintage). The star is the Proprietary Red Blend Massiglia, which has a dense purple color and a wonderful nose of creosote, black truffle, blueberry and blackberry fruit. It is full-bodied and opulent, but also has good, sweet tannin, grip and a delineated, vibrant mouthfeel.”

Click here or on the links above to order!

2016 Harvest Report – Part Two

Dear Friends,

 

As promised, two pre-harvest reports for you.  Last time we shared some info about DuMOL, Linked, and Inherit the Sheep.  Today, our focus is on Spottswoode and Hudson.  Two “big” boys and girls in the Valley.  Both these vineyards would have “First Growth” and “Grand Cru” status if they were located in France.

As we are approaching the 2016 harvest, I want to give you a heads-up and share my experiences while visiting the Napa and Sonoma Valleys this last week.

After 5 years of major drought in California, we finally had a somewhat normal winter rainfall even though we had expected much more after the touted “El Nino” was announced.  Unfortunately, the flooding and massive deluges never materialized yet we took all the rain we could get.  I’d say the reservoirs are looking good, but we still will have to conserve as this could (again) be another drought year.  Since March we have not seen a drop of rain!

Last year the drought did a number on the yields of every vineyard in the state–many are down 30-50%, and some even more–which means we all will have less wine.  But the quality is exceptional!  I barrel-sampled with 10+ wineries and the 2015 will be another one for the books!

I visited with a few folks in the valley – Hudson (Carneros), Linked (Knight’s Valley), Spottswoode (St. Helena), Inherit The Sheep (Coombsville, Napa) DuMOL (Russian River Valley) and came away with the following to report to you.   Today PART 2 of the report – Hudson and Spottswoode.

 

HUDSON

Lee Hudson owner, John Kongsgaard winemaker

 
Happy clusters of Hudson Chardonnay

The big news I got from Lee was that he is building a winery on the site of his great vineyard, and groundbreaking is scheduled for mid-August!

Due to a temperature drop, Lee is planning to start picking August 22, which is about a week later compared to last year.  Lee told me that the vintage is looking beautiful with the stars all in alignment.  It’s looking early with very healthy canopies and a good average to average plus size crop. “We are very excited, rocking with anticipation,” Lee told me.

The Hudson Ranch is 200 acres and production is in small amounts. 95% of the fruit is sold to 32 other wineries, like Kongsgaard, Kistler, DuMol, etc.   The principal varietals grown on the ranch are Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Grenache, yielding on the average 2.5 – 3 tons per acre.  Lee also grows small amounts of Viognier, Alberino, Arneis, Aliatico, Greco Di Tufo, Friulano, Ribollo Gialla. Verdejo and Vermintino. These are represented in areas as small as 1 to .3 of an acre each.

The vineyard is situated on a sloping, rolling area at 300 to 400 feet elevation in the Carernos region.  If this vineyard were located in France, it would have “Grand-Cru” status!

I have been a big fan of Lee and his “Hudson Ranch” for years and am excited about what the vineyard has to offer for years to come.  Make sure to check out the HUDSON 2013 CHARDONNAY CARNEROS

 

Also a few other wines worth checking out produced from this estate:

ARIETTA 2013 MERLOT “HUDSON I BLOCK” NAPA VALLEY 96 POINTS

ARIETTA 2013 VARIATION ONE, NAPA 96 POINTS

 

 

SPOTTSWOODE WINERY:

NOVAK FAMILY OWNERS, ARON WEINKAUF WINEMAKER

The Spottswoode Estate Cabernet Vineyard

Spottswoode is one of the venerable Napa Valley wineries dating back to 1882 when George Shonewald planted 17 acres on the 31-acre property. In 1906 he sold the property to Joseph Bliss, who renames it “Stonehurst” but sells it 2 years later to Dr. George Allen who renames it “Lyndenhurst” for the four Linden trees that grace the garden.  In 1910 he sells it to Mrs. Albert Spotts who swiftly renames it “Spottswoode” in honor of her late husband.   In 1916 she plants various varietals hoping that the manufacturing of alcohol would not be banned (Prohibition).

Between 1919-1930 prohibition takes hold and Spottswoode falls into disrepair.  They survive by selling the grapes to the Christian Brothers (who make sacramental wine, suddenly very popular at that time!). They also grow produce, mushroom, and frogs for frogs’ legs, which were very popular in San Francisco restaurants during those years.  In 1930 she gifts it to her niece, who begins to sell fruit to the St. Helena Wine Cooperative.  

This lasts for several decades and in 1972 the estate is sold to the current owners the Novak Family, who still own and operate the winery.

Between 1973-75 the vineyard is replanted to Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc.  Jack Novak passed away at a very young age in 1977 and Mary Novak decides to make the best of everything, officially founding Spottswoode winery in 1982.  Tony Soter was the original winemaker till 1997.  Since then some great winemakers have passed through this amazing property (Pam Starr, Rosemary Cakebread and Jennifer Williams.  Today the wines are made by Aron Weinkauf)

 

Spottswoode assistant winemaker James Revie with a cluster of 2016 Cabernet.

After a great winter and early spring “El Nino” Spottswoode’s vineyard benefited from the generous amount of rain that fell on this gorgeous and venerable property.  Everything is looking amazing at this time, with harvest anticipated in late September to early October, about a week or so later compared to 2015.   The yields are looking very good, and the anticipation of great quality is there!  The RED varietals have just finished veraison. The quantity will be average to just above average – but they settle for high-quality and modest yields anytime!  Anticipated harvest time will be September 12th for the reds, while they will start picking the whites late August.

Check out these current releases from Spottswoode:

SPOTTSWOODE 2013 CABERNET, NAPA VALLEY – 96 POINTS!! - AVAILABLE NOW!

SPOTTSWOODE 2012 CABERNET “LYNDENHURST” NAPA VALLEY

SPOTTSWOODE 2012 CABERNET SAUVIGNON “ESTATE” NAPA VALLEY (96+ POINTS)

SPOTTSWOODE 2015 SAUVIGNON BLANC, NAPA/SONOMA

2016 Harvest Report – Part 1

Dear Friends,

 

As we are approaching the 2016 harvest, I want to give you a heads-up and share my experiences while visiting the Napa and Sonoma Valleys this week.  This week the focus is on DuMOL, Linked and Inherit The Sheep.

After 5 years of major drought in California, we finally had a somewhat normal winter rainfall even though we had expected much more after the touted “El Nino” was announced.  Unfortunately, the flooding and massive deluges never materialized yet we took all the rain we could get.  I’d say the reservoirs are looking good, but we still will have to conserve as this could (again) be another drought year.  Since March we have not seen a drop of rain!

Last year the drought did a number on the yields of every vineyard in the state–many are down 30-50%, and some even more–which means we all will have less wine.  But the quality is exceptional!  I barrel-sampled with 10+ wineries and the 2015 will be another one for the books!

I visited with a few folks in the valley – Hudson (Carneros), Linked (Knight’s Valley), Spottswoode (St. Helena), Inherit The Sheep (Coombsville, Napa) DuMOL (Russian River Valley) and came away with the following to report to you.   Today PART 1 of the report – DuMOL, Linked and Inherit The Sheep.

 

Linked Vineyards (Jessica Link owner.  Luc Morlet Winemaker)

 

The Linked Estate overlooking the Napa Valley at Sunset

The Linked vineyard is located in the Knight’s Valley (just Northeast of Calistoga) overlooking both Napa and Sonoma counties.  Planted in 2000, the vineyard is located at an elevation of 1200 feet with 16-acre vineyard planted to Bordeaux varietals, and yielding an average of 2 tons per acre.  Only 1 acre is earmarked for the “Linked” Cabernet production, the other 15 go mostly to Luc Morlet (for his Morlet label) and a few other wineries.  As there is no winery on the side, the wines are made by Luc Morlet at his state-of-the-art “Morlet” winery.

 

The vineyard is managed by Jessica’s husband Drew Johnson, who has 30+ years’ experience in the valley.  Jessica told me that Mother Nature’s way lets us know that harvest is on the way.  The 2016 Cabernet is undergoing veraison, a stage in the grape growing cycle that causes green berries to turn purple and transitions the vines from grape growth, to grape ripening.  Jessica told me that they are about 30-40% through verasion.  She estimates to be harvesting this beautiful crop around October 15th, which is typical for this vineyard and vineyards located on hillsides or mountains, which are usually slower ripening.

 

Linked Cabernet going through veraison

Jessica just released the LINKED 2012 CABERNET SAUVIGNON “ESTATE” KNIGHT’S VALLEYwhich is probably the best wine since their first release – 2007!  With one of the best winemakers of the Napa Valley on their team, Linked is poised to great success.  The vineyard is only getting better as the vines are gradually maturing.

 

While the Linked Vineyards name clearly has ties to the family name (Link), it means much more. It represents all the links that created the wine; the unique site, the family, the winemaker and all the friends who pitch in and support them. Jessica and Drew hand number each bottle, and record who acquires each one. So, you will always have a link to Linked Vineyards, and they to you.  Thus the multiple “rings” on the label.

 

LINKED SPECIAL, BUY 4 = FREE SHIPPING  ~ Use the discount code “LINKED″ during checkout

 

DuMOL Winery (Kerry Murphy, Owner – Andy Smith, Winemaker)

The DuMol Estate at Sunset

This will be the 21st harvest for DuMOL, and Andy Smith anticipates it will be a JACKPOT (21….) of a vintage.  So far everything is looking amazingly good at both the estate and other vineyards DuMOL works with.  General Manager and Partner Tom Pillsbury told me that the crop size is normal and there was no shatter.   Since none of the DuMOL vineyards experienced any heat spikes during the current growing season, they are very happy with how everything is progressing in the right direction so far.  Andy Smith anticipates to start harvest around Labor Day, which is about a week or two later compared to last year, but in no way late!  The past couple of vintages have been much earlier compared to normal. He said that this El Nino year might have brought some normalcy back to the harvest cycle.

 

I also barrel-sampled the single vineyards which will be out late 2016 as well as the 2015 vintage (a very small vintage) which will be released in 2017.  All the wines were A+

The Heintz Vineyard, one of DuMol’s sources, looking very happy this year!

As for the current vintage, the 2014 Russian River Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah are now in stock.   I would say in the 20 years working with DuMOL, the 2014 vintage might be the best if not the top 3 of all the vintages I have worked with.  I fondly recall hiring Mike Murphy, DuMOL’s owner Kerry Murphy’ son in 1995 and being the first retailer to feature their wines.  The first two vintages were crafted by Paul Hobbs who in 1998 turned the reigns over to Andy Smith.  Andy has been the captain of the DuMOL ship ever since and has steered the winery to amazing heights under his tenure-ship.

Check out these current releases from DuMOL:

 

DUMOL 2014 CHARDONNAY, RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY
DUMOL 2014 PINOT NOIR RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY
DUMOL 2014 SYRAH RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY

FREE SHIPPING on SIX or more (can mix & match)  ~ Use discount code DUMOL14 upon checkout

 

Inherit the Sheep (Clay Gregory owner – Chris Carpenter winemaker)

While I don’t have a full pre-harvest report from our friends at Inherit the Sheep, I did want to share a picture of their Cabernet vineyard (going through veraison) with you.

The  INHERIT THE SHEEP 2013 CABERNET SAUVIGNON, ESTATE COOMBSVILLE NAPA VALLEYis current and is probably the best one to date.  Clay told me that the 2014 is any bit as good, 2015 very small (maybe 75 cases).  2016 is looking as good as one can expect and hope, courtesy of a good drenching this winter and early spring.  He predicts 2016 to be a spectacular one.  Harvest date TDB, but probably late September, I did not barrel sample the 2014 or 2015 as he does not make the wines on site.  I will be doing so later this fall. 

 

FREE SHIPPING on 6+ ~ Use code SHEEP upon check out.

As you can see, the 2016 harvest is shaping up to be a very nice one and I am eagerly looking forward to seeing what these excellent winemakers produce! Stay tuned however, as I will have PART TWO of the 2016 harvest report ready for you next week!Best,

Frank

MidWeek Wine Special!

 

The Rosella vineyard is on of the most sought after vineyard sources for great Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Nestled in the benchland of Monterey’s Santa Lucia Highlands, Rosella’s Vineyard was planted in 1996 by Gary Franscioni one of the appellation’s pioneering growers (from Garys’ fame – he also owns the Garys’ vineyard with Gary Pisoni),

Many great wineries such as Kosta Browne, Roar, Lucia, Carlisle, Siduri, and many others have been sourcing high-quality fruit from this vineyard.  So I was excited to hear that Saxon Brown started making wines from this much coveted vineyard as well!

Saxon Brown 2013 “Rosella” Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands
Retail 58.99 – NOW 47.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6
Use code SAXON at checkout

Only 200 cases of the 2013 Saxon Brown Rosella’s Chardonnay were produced!  This wine has a very intense aroma of tropical fruits (guava, peach, mango) and a hint of creamy nuttiness jumping out of the glass.  The wine is lush and full in body with a round, creamy texture of pure Chardonnay fruit flavors of apple blossom and orange marmalade.  A touch of underlying minerality leads into a long finish where you’ll encounter a touch of toasty vanilla.

Click here or on the links above to order!

Exquisite Under $50 Cabernet!

 

Corey Beck grew up in 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 one of the most sought after vineyards in the Napa Valley nearby the Hourglass, 3 Palms and Switchback Ridge vineyards. This wine’s quality is much higher than its price tag!

C-Beck 2013  Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Retail 53.00- GGWC 49.99
FREE SHIPPING on SIX
Use code CBECK upon check out

The wine’s aromas jump out of the glass upon impact.  Gobs of black stone fruit with hints of sweet vanilla greet you on the gorgeous nose.  This full-bodied wine is big and bold, yet silky and luscious loaded with extremely well-balanced black stone fruits (black currant, dark plum and blackberry) and the right touch of acid that will allow this wine to age nicely.  The wine finishes long with soft and supple tannins.  Only 264 cases of this great wine were produced.

Click here or on the links above to order!

The Evolution of Rhone Varietals in California

Many new winemakers in California are choosing to work with the Rhone varieties instead of the Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc grapes commonly associated with Napa wines. Cost and the suitability of California’s climate are a couple of the reasons but the reliable track record is the driving force.

Rhone grapes have a long history in California, with immigrant families planting Carignan and Grenache as far back as the late 1800’s. The seeds for California’s current love with Rhone grapes were sewn in the 70’s when Joseph Phelps, McDowell Winery, Zaca Mesa and Gary Eberle grew Syrah. Phelps and McDowell’s plantings were in northern California while Eberle and Zaca Mesa’s were on the Central Coast.

The next generation of aspiring “Rhone Rangers” was already in place. After a couple of years working as a tour guide at Zaca Mesa is Los Olivos, an aspiring young winemaker named Bob Lindquist started a new label, Qupe, in 1982. He made Chardonnay to help get his foot in the door but won people over with the Syrah.

Randall Grahm cc WikiCommonsBy the mid 80’s he was joined by others, not least an idiosyncratic UC Davis grad named Randall Grahm. Grahm was hell bent on making Pinot Noir, and he did, in Oregon.  However, when it came time to putting a stake in the ground, he settled on a small coastal town near Santa Cruz, Bonny Doon, and got to work on his masterpiece, “Le Cigare Volant,” an homage to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The first vintage, 1984, was released in 1986.

Further inland Josh Jensen from Calera, planted the aromatic white Northern Rhone grape, Viognier. He made his first wine in 1986. By the early 90’s, John Alban, Steve Edmunds, the earlier pioneers, and others were working not only with Viognier but Roussanne and Marsanne, too.

California’s Mediterranean climate suits Rhone grapes. From Mendocino to San Diego County, and as far east as the Sierra Foothills, there are now nearly two dozen Rhône varieties grown. Some of the most exciting new California producers including DRAGONETTEHERMAN STORY, SANS LIEGE, LONGTABLE, PAUL LATO, DUMOL, etc.  have made the Rhone varieties their focus.

Every year there are new winemakers who aspire to make their mark, not just with the better known Rhone varieties but also with Cinsault, Counoise, Grenache Blanc and others.

The Rhone Rangers has over 100 member wineries and growers, and there are dozens of other California producers that also work with Rhone varieties.  Syrah is the 5th most widely planted red wine grape in the state and Grenache is the 8th. No doubt, Rhône varieties are here to stay and even though their roots in California may not run as deep as Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel, they’ve played a big part in the evolution of California wine.

If you want to try some of the new star Rhone grape wineries stop by Golden Gate Wine Cellars for our Rhone Rangers Tasting this Saturday August 6 from 1-5 PM.

For those of you living out of state, we’ll make our Tasting Selection available at a nice discount. Make sure to look for our Saturday 8/6 email for the tasting lineup.

Cheers,
Frank