Screaming Eagle… Chardonnay (7 Barrels only)

 

Heidi Barrett, the original Screaming Eagle winemaker just announced a brand new wine from La Sirena! Although she made Chardonnay a number of times for her clients over the years, she was not compelled to make her own until a special vineyard site became available in 2016. Well-known vineyard manager Ulysses Valdez told her he had a few tons available from the Rued family original vineyard planted in 1969. She was enticed to have a look, and from there this beautiful Chardonnay was born. Only 173 cases were produced – so hurry!

La Sirena 2016 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley 
Retail 62.00 – GGWC 59.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code LAS16CHD during checkout

Heid Barrett says: “The first release of a very special Chardonnay from the original planting of the Rued clone. These vines were planted in 1969 and are magnificent, with large gnarly trunks and arms. The wine they produce is quite refined, golden light straw in color with aromas of apples, pears, lemon, and floral honeysuckle notes. The clone is known for its somewhat tropical aromatics – some even refer to it as the Muscat clone of Chardonnay. This one just hints at pineapple with a kiss of delicate French oak. Flavors are bright and clean across the palate with green apple, lemon and pomelo-like fruit character. Lower alcohol (13.2) and crisp acidity make for a delightful fresh old-vine Chardonnay of pure character.”

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Premiere Release 85 case Jeff Pisoni Pinot sensation

 

This 85 case production, 4 barrels is a new road the Luli folks (Sara & Gary Pisoni) have taken.  Working with a single vineyard (Highlands Ranch), instead of a blend of various SLH vineyards.  This Innaugural release will wow you, both on the palate as well as the wallet!

Luli is a partnership formed by Sara Floyd and the Pisoni Family. Sara Floyd is a Master Sommelier with many years of food and wine experience. The Pisoni Family is known for their eponymous vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands and for Pisoni Estate and Lucia wines.

Nestled against the foothills in the heart of the Santa Lucia Highlands, Highlands Ranch is in the direct path of heavy summer fog and wind, which funnels in from nearby Monterey Bay. This allows for a cool, slow-ripening season. Sandy-loam soils provide excellent drainage.

Luli 2015 Pinot Noir “Highlands Ranch” Santa Lucia Highlands 
Retail 45.00 – GGWC 41.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6
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Jeff Pisoni winemaker says: “Soft aromatics of bing cherry and rose petals lead off this supple, alluring wine. Floral notes continue to evolve on the mouthfeel, with raspberries and hints of baking spices. A graceful texture showcases the cool, fog-blanketed growing conditions. Lingering tannins are layered and create a soft, satisfying finish. This is a truly romantic wine.”

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KNOCKOUT UNDER $40.00 NAPA CAB

 

The latest release of Fisticuffs will really knock your socks off!   Fisticuffs’ vision is to produce the highest quality wine while keeping price well managed  -  in essence, to over deliver, Knock you out. Rob Lawson has been making stunning wines under various “cult” Cabernet labels such as Ghostblock, Mirror, Pahlmeyer and Kapcsandy for many years and did not skip a beat with the stunning 2015 vintage. For those who dream of big and expensive Cabernets and don’t want to pay the big bucks… I have got news for you! This is a wine that tastes a lot more expensive than its price point! This wine is “the” real deal! A knockout value.

Fisticuffs 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 
Retail 38.00 – GGWC 35.99
FREE SHIPPING on 12
Use the discount code FIST during checkout

The 2015 Fisticuffs is a classic Napa Valley Cabernet . This “value” Cab offers up aromas of dark chocolate, black cherry, cedar, and rose complement a mouth coating palate of vine ripened blackberry and baked raspberry. The tannins are modestly firm yet subtle and expansive, and slowly yield to mocha and candied pecans on the silky finish.  This wine over delivers for its price point!  This is low $30’s wine that tastes like $60!

Click here or on the links above to order!

NEWS FLASH! PAUL LATO 97-100 POINT WINES JUST ARRIVED!

 

The long awaited day has arrived! We now have Paul’s latest wines in stock and ready to ship out to you! This is a very impressive vintage with several ratings in the 97-100 point ranges. You are nto going to want to miss out on these. We expect quantities to sell out quickly so place your order online at http://GoldenGateWineCellars.com or give me a call directly ASAP.

And as a side note, for those of you who don’t already know, Jeb Dunnuck, who rated these wines was until recently with Robert Parker and provided many ratings for Wine Spectator in the past. He has made quite a name for himself recently and has just started his own wine publication. Keep your eye out for his name as he definitely knows his wines!

Paul Lato 2015 Syrah “Il Padrino” Bien Nacido Vineyards, Santa Barbara 
GGWC 94.99
FREE SHIPPING ON SIX
Use code PAULLATO during checkout

OK to mix & match with other Lato wines

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!

Jeb Dunnuck – 97-100 Points: “Not yet bottled yet tasted as a final blend, the 2015 Syrah Il Padrino is another killer wine from this estate that will flirt with (or achieve) perfection. Coming 100% from the Bien Nacido vineyard in Santa Maria, it was fermented in stainless steel and spent 20 months in 80% new French oak. Black fruits, bacon fat, tapenade and smoke all flow to a concentrated, incredibly seamless, silky Syrah that has no hard edges, fine, elegant tannin and a great, great finish. It’s up with the finest examples of this cuvée to date.”

Paul Lato 2015 Syrah “Cinematique” Larner Vineyard, Ballard Canyon
GGWC 92.99
FREE SHIPPING ON SIX
Use code PAULLATO during checkout

OK to mix & match with other Lato wines

This is in my book “THE” best Cinematique to-date bar-none! I believe strongly that is equal, to the great 2014, 2012, 2008 and 2007 vintages (97 Point ratings).

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

Jed Dunnuck – 97-100 Points: “From the sandy soils in Ballard Canyon and scheduled to be bottled in August, the 2015 Syrah Cinematique sports a similarly deep, inky color to go with a more fruit-driven style in its violets, black raspberry and game scented bouquet. Like the Bien Nacido, it’s incredible on the palate, with a sensational texture, ripe, polished tannin and a blockbuster finish. Which of these two Syrahs you prefer will be due more to personal preferences than any difference in quality. Both are utterly incredible reds I wish every reader could taste.”

Paul Lato 2015 Grenache “Lumiere” Larner Vineyard
Retail 85.00 – GGWC 79.99
FREE SHIPPING ON SIX
Use code PAULLATO during checkout

OK to mix & match with other Lato wines

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.”

Jeb Dunnuck  95 Points: “The 2015 Grenache comes from the Larner Vineyard and will see 20 months in 30% new French oak. Black raspberries, blueberries, potpourri and ample spice notes give way to a rich, full-bodied, seamless beauty that has ripe tannin, a touch more flesh than the Bien Nacido cuvée, and ripe tannin. It too is a smoking good Grenache to drink over the coming 7-8 years.”

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Seismic shifts: Wines on fault lines

Seismic shifts: Wines on fault lines

By Elin McCoy

Can the complex topography created by faults in the earth’s crust really make a difference to a vineyard’s terroir – and its wines? Elin McCoy speaks to geologists and winemakers to find out…

Rhys Vineyards has plots either side of the San Andreas Fault, some just 300m apart, which have different soils and taste profiles

As I take in the sweeping vista of Santa Cruz’s mountain ridges from Rhys Vineyards’ Alpine Vineyard, owner Kevin Harvey explains the complex geology beneath our feet. Below us, California’s infamous San Andreas Fault is slowly, inexorably, grinding away.

I can’t help picturing a massive earthquake creating a vast chasm that will swallow up the vines – and maybe us too. Which gets me to wondering why so many vineyards around the world, from California to New Zealand, have been planted in geological fault zones.

Harvey, a venture capitalist who fell in love with Pinot Noir, spent more than a decade hunting for unique rocky sites where he thought the variety would shine. He wasn’t looking for land near a fault line, but says, ‘Soils near fault zones are often more diverse. They allow drastic differences in rocks and dirt to be located close to each other.’

Two of Rhys’s seven vineyards are only 300m apart, one on either side of the fault, but they have completely different soils. The wines from them taste completely different, too.

The San Andreas Fault bisects the Santa Cruz Mountain appellation, but also runs north to the West Sonoma Coast, where its actions created an equally tormented geologic jumble and shaped the ridge on which David Hirsch began planting his Hirsch Vineyards in 1980. He bought the land because he thought its proximity to the Pacific Ocean was key. But now he likes to say, ‘the San Andreas Fault defines our wines’.

Understanding fault lines

Think of a fault as a fracture in the earth along which rocks have been moved to one side or the other. According to the theory of plate tectonics, a jigsaw puzzle of huge plates of the earth’s crust float on top of a molten rock core. When the Pacific and North American plates crush against each other as they slide sideways, the movement creates zones of broken rock. The 1,000km-long San Andreas Fault is the boundary between the plates – and it’s where earthquakes occur that change the surface of the land.

Not all faults are alike. They can be short or long, wide or narrow, active or inactive. ‘One thing faults do is create complex topography,’ says retired Stanford University geologist David Howell, who is working to unravel the geological mysteries of Bill Harlan’s new Napa Valley Promontory Estate project. ‘Without earthquakes there would be no Napa Valley. Without faults, the Santa Cruz Mountains might look like the flat prairies of Nebraska.’

Professor Alex Maltman of Aberystwyth University, who is writing a book on vineyards and geology, points out that faults not only juxtapose different kinds of bedrock, they affect ground water flow, form valleys, cause erosion and escarpments and more. Indirectly all this may help form sites with exposures and microclimates ideal for grape growing and influences the way vineyards are planted.

An aerial view that clearly shows the San Andreas Fault. It bisects the Santa Cruz Mountain AVA, home to producers such as Rhys Vineyards and Hirsch Vineyards

But the patchwork of soils and crushed rocks from different eras that faults create may be the most important. Long ago, a New Zealand winemaker told me that he thought all the world’s great vineyards lay next to fault lines. And when you start checking the geology of various regions, it’s easy to be persuaded that he’s right.

Faults underlie Marlborough, Hawke’s Bay and Martinborough in New Zealand; Alsace, Burgundy, Gigondas and Jura in France; Heathcote and McLaren Vale in Australia, parts of Italy, southern Oregon, and many more global wine spots. Plenty of winemakers are convinced their effect on terroir has an effect on the wines.

In Alsace, for example, two main northsouth fault lines criss-crossed by smaller ones created bedrock that’s a mosaic of cracks and disruptions. The resulting patches of highly distinctive soils packed into a small area may be the reason for differences in taste and character among the 51 grands crus. The volcanic soil in the famous Rangen vineyard, right next to one main fault line, is rich in minerals found in very few of France’s vineyards. Not surprisingly, all of the old vineyard roads follow the fault lines.

An eruption on the Nîmes fault in Gigondas pushed up limestone slabs (very rare in the Rhône Valley) to high elevations, and those terraces are where the best Grenache wines, with richness and freshness, come from.

In southern Oregon, terrain variation in the Fault Line Vineyard at Abacela winery in the Umpqua Valley, named for the fault that runs diagonally through the property, allows owner Earl Jones to grow a number of different grapes. On one side of the fault are 20 millionyear- old cobblestones, and on the other rocks that are 10 times older; harvest dates between the two differ by two weeks.

Nowhere have faults created more named bits of earth than in Burgundy’s Côte d’Or. James Wilson, author of Terroir, points out that all the grand cru vineyards are on the upslope of the fault line, where activity aeons ago threw up the limestone that’s made the vineyards famous.

Risk and reward

Workers move fallen wine barrels at Saintsbury Winery in Carneros following the 2014 earthquake that shook southern Napa

Planting on an active fault line has risks, and consequences can be dire. South of San Francisco, the San Andreas Fault runs directly under Cienega Valley Vineyards’ winery. As the plates move 1.3cm a year, the fault is slowly tearing the building apart.

Napa’s 2014 earthquake destroyed old vintages in Saintsbury’s winery in Carneros and left a scar slicing through the vineyard. Three years ago, a New Zealand quake caused crashing tanks in wineries in Marlborough’s Awatare Valley, and in the huge Chilean earthquake of 2010 some small wineries in Maule lost half of their stock.

But can vines planted on fault lines or in fault zones really convey some kind of special earthy, mineral character to the resulting wines? While some winemakers say yes, geologists scoff at the idea.

Jean Trimbach, whose family owns Maison Trimbach in Alsace, assured me at a tasting in New York of his greatest Rieslings that the fault line in Ribeauvillé, around which his vineyards are clustered, contributes energy, complexity and minerality to his wines. ‘The terroir there is very different from other soils in Alsace,’ he says. ‘The limestone gives the acidity that accounts for our steely style.’ His newest bottling is from the Geisberg grand cru, which lies on the fault line.

Ribeauvillé in Alsace where Trimbach Rieslings, including its wine from the Geisberg grand cru, are made around the fault line

Hirsch believes the soil complexity and diversity in his vineyard, caused by the San Andreas Fault, imparts a broader palette of flavours to his wines. He’s sub-divided the site into 60 blocks and admits that when he’s in a mystical mood, he speculates about the wines having an energetic aspect that he connects to the fault. ‘I fantasise about the heat and pressure in the earth,’ he says. ‘I imagine a lot of energy and dynamism coming through.’

The idea of emanations from deep inside the earth showing up in the glass is a seductive vision, even if geologists roll their eyes and call it a geological fantasy. ‘There’s nothing mystical about a fault,’ Maltman writes tersely in an email to me. ‘No vortexes or mysterious energies.’

No science correlates complexity of a vineyard with complexity in its wines. The relationship between geology and the taste of wine is still poorly understood.

Structural geologist Kevin Pogue at Whitman College did suggest a possible reason for wine taste differences. ‘If a large fault pulverised rocks, it would be easier for water to penetrate and leach out various chemical nutrients, which vine roots could absorb.’

There’s no scientific evidence, really, that fault-line vineyards directly affect the aroma and taste of their wines. But, glass in hand, I keep thinking of the wonderfully earthy character of Rhys Vineyards’ Pinots and all those wine regions formed by faults.

Awarded journalist and author Elin McCoy writes for a variety of publications, including Bloomberg News. For  more tips and information on wine grown in and around California’s fault zones, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 415-337-4083 or email frank@GoldenGateWineCellars.com!

LAST CALL for MUST have 2 barrel stunner by 100 Point wine magician!

Mike Smith, who we sometimes call “Mr. 100 Pointer” (Carter Cellars, Myriad, Scarlett, etc.), has taken the Beckstoffer Georges III vineyard’s stunning fruit and produced an equally stunning wine for 12C.Because of its prime location and high demand, this vineyard is known for its production of many great Cabernets exhibiting the FAMOUS “Rutherford Dust” mystique. The Beckstoffer Vineyard Georges III sits in the heart of the Rutherford AVA, which was originally planted by Georges DeLatour of Beaulieu in 1928.

The rows used are between the Silverado Trail and Conn Creek Road.  The Northern/Southern exposure provides for Sunny Days and allows the warm temperatures to heat the soil producing great concentrated flavors, while still maintaining a complex character. Magically, this offsets the cool breezes in the late afternoon, which enable the ripening process to be more controlled in order to sustain the flavors.

Incidentally, 12C get’s its name from Twelve degrees Centigrade or Fifty-five (55) degrees Fahrenheit, which is the optimum storage temperature for wine.

12C “G3″  2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 
Retail 120.00 – GGWC 114.99
FREE SHIPPING on 4
Use code 12C during checkout

Winemaker Notes: “Twenty-fifteen gave us all the raw materials to produce what might be the best 12C G3 to date. Dark purple to the rim, captivating scents of dark cherry and cassis combine with dark chocolate notes and a potpourri of baking spices. A full-bodied explosion stretches across the mid palate seemingly flowing forever. Sweet and polished tannins, pure ripe Cabernet Sauvignon fruit and Rutherford soil accents shine brightly in this wine. The concentrated and pure finish is detailed perfectly by fresh natural acidity allowing this wine to stretch for miles. Cellars this big boy for 3-5 years and you will be rewarded with an even more polished and articulated beauty.

Click here or on any of the links above to order!

Bordeaux Meets Paso Robles (99 Points)

The name “Booker” comes from the two orphan brothers, Claude and Dick Booker, who had purchased the land in the late 1920’s. By the turn of the century the Booker brothers had acquired over 1,200 acres on Paso’s Westside. The Booker brothers were Paso’s favorite sons, dedicating their lives to being great farmers and humanitarians. Aside from lending their farming knowledge and manual labor to neighbors and those in need, they were the area’s biggest philanthropists, leaving 100% of their estate to charity when they passed, Dick in 1990 and Claude in 2000.

Eric and Lisa Jensen purchased 100 acres of the property in 2001 with the intent of growing the best fruit for some of the best wineries in the area. After making wine with Justin Smith (of Saxum) for five years and Stephan Asseo (of L’Aventure Wines) for two years the Jensens decided it was time to create their own expression with Booker Vineyard. The 2005 Vintage was Booker Vineyard’s first release with the wines being made by owner Eric Jensen, and the rest… is history!

Booker 2015 Proprietary Red Blend, Paso Robles 
Retail 85.00 – GGWC 79.99
FREE SHIPPING on SIX or more!
Use code BOOKER during checkout

Robert Parker 97-99 Points: “Showing the potential of the Bordeaux varieties in these limestone soils on the west side of Paso Robles, the 2015 My Favorite Neighbor Proprietary Blend is a smokin’ blend of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon and 33% Petit Verdot that’s aged all in French oak. Locked and loaded, with tons of jammy blackberry fruits, creme de cassis, sweet oak, violets and chalky minerality, this tour de force is full-bodied, incredibly rich and structured. Forget it for 2-3 years and drink over the following 15-20 years.”

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97 POINT RATED THOMAS RIVERS BROWN CAB

 

Proprietors Mark Pulido and Donna Walker have a long history in Napa Valley, building relationships and putting down roots in the community. In the early 1980s, Donna and Mark began making regular trips to the Valley, meeting vintners at iconic cellars where they often tasted from the barrel. They were drawn into tasting room discussions about harvest and the rhythms of crafting wine. Pulido-Walker is a natural outgrowth of the couple’s passion, as collectors, for the place and its promise. Their Mt. Veeder Estate is a testament to the family’s long-term commitment to Napa Valley and view toward the future. They hooked up with Thomas Rivers Brown to create their own brand, and the rest as they say… is history.

Pulido Walker 2014 Cabernet “Melanson”, Napa Valley 
GGWC ~ $199.95 Net
Free Shipping on 3 or more
Use discount code PULIDO during checkout

Robert Parker 97 Points: “The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Melanson Vineyard comes from a higher elevation site on Pritchard Hill. This is slightly lower in alcohol at 14.3% and sees 88% new French oak. This is a beauty. Black raspberry, blueberry, white flowers, forest floor, graphite and camphor are all present in the aromatics and flavors of this full-bodied wine that has magnificent fruit purity and an expansive, large-scale mouthfeel, but no heaviness or cloying characteristics. This is a beauty to drink over the next 25 years.

Thomas Rivers Brown: “Between boulders clinging stubbornly to the steep slopes of Pritchard Hill, the Melanson Vineyard sits east of Oakville among some of the most highly regarded and closely held vineyard properties in the Napa Valley. Vines grow at elevations from 1,100 to 1,380 ft. above sea level, in fractured serpentine and clay soils laden with igneous and seabed rock.

Melanson’s southwestern exposure is a distinct advantage, especially at elevations that translate to later bud break and harvest. Solar radiation is magnified at this altitude, while variations between high and low temperatures are moderated. The result is mountain fruit with thicker skins and higher tannins. The ink-black, super-concentrated berries are powerfully expressive of the site, with pronounced granite minerality. The higher tannins give the wine more structure with less weight on the palate and excellent aging potential.”

Be sure to check out this other amazing Thomas Rivers Brown Cabernet as well:
HOBEL 2014 CABERNET SAUVIGNON “THE GRAIN” NAPA VALLEY ~ 94 POINTS!

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Impressive Wine project by Paul Hobbs’ disciple

The Trombetta story began around the family table with food harvested from their garden paired with wines they loved. The Trombetta family’s journey into winemaking commenced in the mid 80’s as home winemakers. A passion was ignited and they pursued learning winemaking at Santa Rosa junior College and UC Davis. An opportunity to work side by side with Paul Hobbs in 1998 changed their hobby into a passionate pursuit of wine making. One night at dinner Paul discovered their daughter Erica’s palate at age 10. Encouraging Erica’s talent, Paul walked vineyards around Napa and Sonoma counties with her. In 2010 Erica graduated from California State University Fresno with her degree in enology. She flew to Mendoza, Argentina to intern at Vina Cobos (Paul Hobbs’ Argentina project).  Erica worked a few years at Rudd Estate before becoming headwinemaker at Paul Hobbs’ Cross Barn winery, and also the head winemaker at Trombetta.

Trombetta 2015 Chardonnay “Four Brothers” Sonoma Mountain 
Retail 56.00 – GGWC 53.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6
Use code TROMBETTA during checkout

Robert Parker 93 Points: “The 2015 Chardonnay Four Brothers Vineyard opens with struck match/sulfides notes, giving way to lemon tart, pink grapefruit and ripe peach notes with hints of baker’s yeast, marzipan and ginger. Medium-bodied with a fine, fresh and elegant palate, the intense citrus and savory flavors are supported by a racy acid line; the finish is long and toasty.”

Winemaker notes: “Rich aromatics of fresh white peach skin, pear, guava and stone fruit. Crisp acid, and lingering fresh fruit on the palate. Hints of tropical fruit in finish.”

Click here or on the links above to order!

Knock-Out Scarlett Cab by Mike Smith 2.0



Scarlett Wines is a family operation owned by the McGah family, who are most notably known for co-founding the Oakland Raiders. Representing over four generations of wine growers, the family’s personal touch can be felt from the soil to the glass. The winery previously operated under the name McGah Family Cellars and rebranded in 2015 in honor of its flagship wine, Scarlett, which is named after the founder’s daughter.

Scarlett 2015 Cabernet, Napa Valley 
Retail 72.00 – GGWC 69.99
FREE SHIPPING on Six or more
Use code SCARLETT15 during checkout


Robert Parker 94 Points: ‘As for the 2015s, as you might expect from this high-quality vintage in Northern California, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon McGah Family Vineyard is a fruit bomb. Blackcurrants, blackberry, spring flowers and pen ink, in a full-bodied, in-your-face and rather flamboyant, dramatic style, are all part of its appeal and personality. Drink it over the next 15-20 years.”

Make sure to check out Scarlett’s other equally stunning offerings:
Scarlett Reserve Cabernet
Scarlett Petit Verdot
Scarlett Zinfandel
Scarlett Sauvignon Blanc


Click here or on the links above to order!