A Scintillating Five Star wine, Top on the French Laundry Wine List!

Jason Kesner, winemaker extraordinaire at Kistler created yet another amazing wine. Jason was the longtime vineyard manager at Hudson, when in 2002 he produced 25 cases of his first wine for some of the top restaurants like French Laundry, Gary Danko and Golden Gate Wine Cellars! The following year he produced a massive 75 cases, and the rest as they say is history. Moreover, Jason has brought Kistler to new heights as well, where he has been in charge of winemaking since 2012.  The KESNER CHARDONNAYS are on the “Highly Recommended List” at the French Laundry for over 10+ years straight!

Kesner 2015 Chardonnay “Rockbreak” Sonoma Coast
Retail 65.00 – GGWC 61.99
FREE SHIPPING on six or more
Use code KESNER during checkout

There’s always a compelling juxtaposition in this wine, between its depth and the liveliness of the natural acids. With the 2015 that inherent tension is at the forefront. Tones of lightly grilled Meyer lemons, green orchard fruit flesh, fresh crème and struck flint. A luxurious lush mouthfeel that at very first blush belies the verve of the natural acids. Then they take over and thread through the finish, which lasts, and lasts. Intriguing. Fulfilling!  This wine is round and creamy without being “syrupy” amazing flavors, one would think he was drinking a Montrachet!

Click here or on the links above to order!

Wine 101 – Serving Temperatures

At one point or another, we have all heard the conventional line, “Drink red wines at room temperature and whites should be kept in the fridge.” In reality, however, when it comes to both drinking and storage this couldn’t be further from the truth.Any seasoned foodie or wine drinker knows that aroma is one of the most important elements of taste. The aroma, or “nose”, of a wine is produced when chemicals and molecules in the wine are released into the air above the liquid. The rate at which these molecules are released as well as which of these are released is highly dependent upon the temperature of the wine itself. Too warm and you will have a wine that tastes strongly of the sharpness and astringency of  alcohol. Too cool and the wine will often end up devoid of any flavor or richness at all.

Unfortunately, this means that the majority of wines consumed every day are drunk either too warm or too cool, and most likely under appreciated.

Each wine varietal has a temperature that is ideal for its particular set of aromatics. Here is a quick reference chart that gives you the best drinking temperature for many of the most common varietals.

Wine Serving Temperature Guidelines

Temp °F Temp °C Varietal
Vintage Port
Bordeaux, Shiraz
Red Burgundy, Cabernet
Rioja, Pinot Noir
Chianti, Zinfandel
Tawny/NV Port, Madeira
Ideal storage temperature
for ALL wines
Beaujolais, rose
Chardonnay, Riesling
Ice Wines, Spumanti

Keep in mind that all wines ought to be stored at around 55 F (13 C) so you will usually need to plan ahead to get your wines ready to drink. In most cases this means 30-90 minutes in the fridge for a white or 20-40 minutes sitting out for a red. But the wait will be worth it.

Don’t have that much time? If the wine is too warm, immerse the bottle in a mix of ice and cold water—this chills a bottle more quickly than ice alone because more of the glass is in contact with the cold source. It may take about 10 minutes for a red to 30 minutes for a Champagne.

If the wine is too cold, decant it into a container rinsed in hot water or immerse it briefly in a bucket of lukewarm water. If the wine is only a little cold, just pour it into glasses and cup your hands around the bowl to warm it up.

Keep in mind that a wine served cool will warm up in the glass, while a wine served warm will only get warmer. It’s always better to start out a little lower than the ideal temperature.

I hope that this information is helpful, and I know that if you aren’t already paying attention to the temperatures at which you serve your wine you will be surprised at the difference it makes!

As always, don’t hesitate to call me with any questions at 415-337-4083 or email frank@goldengatewinecellars.com And, remember to always drink good wine!

And here comes the “Gedi” with FREE SHIPPING

Owner and Winemaker Curt Schalchlin has been producing high quality Rhone varietals for years now.  Curt worked for some of the best winemakers in industry and went solo about over a decade ago, and with a very strong showing in his Sans Liege productions, and the rest as they say is history.  His latest “En Gedi” Grenache received rave reviews from press and consumers alike – HURRY on this one!

Sans Liege 2014 “En Gedi” Grenache, Santa Barbara
Retail 52.00 – GGWC 49.99
Use code SANSLIEGE during checkout

Winemaker Notes: “The allure of the open road was everything you needed. Sandalwood beads hang from the rear-view and with the top down you take in the hot asphalt. Wondering if you’ll make it by sunset you reach for the kopiko coffee candy which is nestled between your clove cigarettes and raspberry vanilla crumble bars you packed for later. The orange sun hangs low in the sky as you turn onto a dirt road and pass through a lavender field. If you hadn’t been there so many times before there is no way you could find it. You park next to the others’ car and walk the rest of the way in. They are already swimming in the cerulean pool beneath the waterfall. You strip down and dive in.”

94 Points: The 2014 En Gedi Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard is 100% Grenache that was fermented with 30% whole cluster and aged mostly in new Puncheons. It’s lighter ruby color is followed by a killer Grenache perfume of kirsch, dried spice, dried flowers and hints of vanilla. Elegant, graceful and lightly textured, yet not light on flavor or intensity, it’s a beautiful Grenache that I wish was more prevalent in California.” by Jeb Dunnuck, formerly with Robert Parker

Click here or on the links above to order!

Vince Tofanelli does it again!

Vince Tofanelli grew up in an Italian family – LOTS of food and WINE!  His grandfather introduced him at a very young age to wine (he would pour a little vino in his water), and that led to an early introduction, and later education as winemaker crafting great wines and tending to this amazing vineyard.  The historical vineyard stands as one of the last examples of pre-World War II grape growing. The methods Vince still uses were once prevalent throughout the valley; no irrigation (not even a drip line to be seen, with an organic philosophy – he never jumped on the ‘bandwagon’ of post-war pesticides).

Tofanelli 2014 “Estate” Zinfandel, Napa Valley
Retail 42.00 – GGWC 39.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code TOFANELLI during checkout

The Tofanelli old vines (planted 1929) are still producing amazing fruit and Vince knows best!  The 2014 vintage is a big, bold dense Zinfandel that is oozing with lush black currant, black berry, anise and a hint of toasty vanilla. The Tofanelli 2014 Zin offers  intense, opulent black stone fruit and licorice aromatics that jump out of the glass and lead into a full body flavor pool of black currants, berries and subtle black pepper spice.  Well-rounded and amazingly crafted.

Click here or on the links above to order!

Classic! Under $28 Petite Sirah!

Trinafour is a very small producer specializing in Rhone Varietals.  The latest Petite Sirah will knock your socks off!  Only 121 cases produced, so it will go fast! Sourced from the single vineyard “Niemi”

Trinafour 2013 Petite Sirah “Niemi”
Retail 32.00 – GGWC 27.99
FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more
Use code TRINPS during checkout

The wine offers up gorgeous aromas of ripe blackberry, violet and crushed rocks.  The mouthfeel is lush, with bright and bold purple hued fruit flavors dominating the spectrum.  The wine offers up amazing richness, yet well-balanced and smooth on the mid-palate, with a long-lasting silky grained finish.  Only 5 barrels produced!

Pairs exceptionally well with smoked barbeque, Cassoulet, and Parmigiano-reggiano.

Click here or on the links above to order!


This is “the” holiday gift of the year!

A wooden gift box with 4 bottle GSM blending kit. The Offering is a GSM blend and the Journeyman wines are the Offering deconstructed -100% Grenache, 100% Syrah and 100% Mourvèdre. Drink them all separately, replicate The Offering, or create your own blend. Perfect to give as a gift or gather friends for a blending party.

Sans Liege 2014 “Blending Kit”
FREE SHIPPING on 2 or more blending kits
Use code BLENDING during checkout


  • Engraved wood 4 bottle gift box – Offering image on lid & Sans Liege logo on side
  • 100 ml, glass graduated cylinder for blending
  • 1 bottle of 2014 Fool’s Errand – Grenache
  • 1 bottle of 2014 Long Way Home – Syrah
  • 1 bottle of 2014 Take the Pebble – Mourvèdre
  • 1 bottle of 2014 The Offering – Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Viognier
  • Tasting mat with technical and tasting notes. Letter from winemaker with suggestions on ways to use the kit
Click here to order!

Food is my Religion, featuring GGWC!

We were excited to welcome Marie and Patrick, the “Vegan and the Beast” of the foodie blog “Food is my Religion” to our in-store wine tasting recently. Here is a video they put together of their visit. Take a look!

95 Point under $80 MUST HAVE Napa Cab

Knighton Family Vineyards was founded in 2007 by Jim and Ann Knighton with their first commercial release. However the story of how they came to live in the Napa Valley begins a few years prior. Jim was living and working in San Francisco at the time – his home was located in the Sunset District, an often cold and foggy part of the city even in the summertime. In 1999 Jim decided he wanted to purchase a small weekend home in a location that offered a respite from urban life as well as a climate that delivered more of a ‘true’ summer. The next thing you know he buys a 50 acre property (3.9 acres planted), and the rest as they say is history.  Today wineries such Ramey and Vineyard 29 purchase grapes from this great vineyard.Knighton 2014 Cabernet “Ava Grace” Estate
Retail 85.00 – GGWC 79.99
Use code KNIGHTON during checkout

Robert Parker 95 Points: “A blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon and 18% Merlot coming from the northeastern hillsides of Napa Valley, this is quite a stunning Cabernet Sauvignon. Inky purple, its notes of charcoal embers, crème de cassis, background oak and earth are followed by a full-bodied, super-concentrated wine with beautifully pure blackcurrant fruit, attractive spice and well-integrated acidity, tannin, alcohol and new oak. This is a major sleeper of the vintage and actually a realistic price for something this grand. Drink it over the next 20 years.”

Click here or on the links above to order!

Good Old Pinot still turns heads and scores another 94 Points!


Walter Hansel has become synonymous with great quality at a great price!  Year after year these wines seem to impress me and my clientele alike.  The first vines were planted in 1978 just a up the block from Kistler!  The actual winery did not start till 1996 when they produced 3 barrels of Pinot Noir and 10 barrels of Chardonnay, and the rest as they say, is history!  Stephen Hansel (Walter’s son) had one of the best winemakers as his tutor (Tom Rochiolli) so it is no surprise that they are still putting out great wines decades later.  Year after this winery has produced amazing “Dollar Cost Average” under priced wines!

Walter Hansel 2014 Pinot Noir “Cuvee Alyce” Russian River Valley
GGWC 43.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code HANSEL during checkout

Robert Parker 94 Points: “There are 810 cases of the 2014 Pinot Noir Cuvée Alyce. This is another flamboyant beauty, with ostentatious notes of black cherry jam, kirsch, spice box, earth and loamy soil undertones. It is full-bodied, opulent and a total hedonistic, intellectual turn-on. Drink it over the next 7-8 years.”

Galloni 93+ Points: “The 2014 Pinot Noir Cuvée Alyce is one of the most open wines in this range. Crushed flowers, sweet red berries, mint and cinnamon lift from the glass as this aromatic Pinot opens up in the glass. This site is heavy in clay and the berries are small, but those qualities aren’t especially evident today. It will be interesting to see if the wine fills out over the next year. The 2014 went through multiple stages of expression in just the time I was able to follow it. Although not fully formed just yet, the Alyce has considerable potential.”

Click here or on the links above to order!

The Top 25 Wines of 2017!

Dear Friends of Golden Gate Wine Cellars,

It has been an amazing year of tasting, smelling & swishing wines. We tasted over 2400 wines this year, so to come up with our “own” Top 25 wines that are “the greatest” is not easy. But as always, we will do our best! My tasting group of 18 wine swishers, wine smellers, wine “evaluators”, and friends of Bacchus carefully evaluated the wines and came up with the following final list:

(Order $500.00 or more and we’ll pay the shipping – Enter code 500shipfree during checkout)

1 – Bench 2015 “Estate” Cabernet Sauvignon, Stag’s Leap Napa Valley - 96 Points
2 – Sans Liege Prophetess XIII/XIV, Santa Barbara – 95 Points
3 – Hobel 2015 “The Grain” Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – 95 Points
4 – Shared Notes 2015 Sauvignon Blanc “Les Leçons des Maîtres” RRV - 96 Points
5 – Kesner Chardonnay 2015 “Rockbreak” Sonoma Coast – 94 Points
6 – Colgin 2014 IX Estate Proprietary Red, Napa Valley – 98 POINTS Parker
7 – Law Estate 2014 Audacious “Prop Red” Paso Robles – 96+ Points Parker
8 – En Tirage 2010 Blanc de Blancs, Beckstoffer Carneros – 95 Points
9 – Cavus 2104 Cabernet “Estate” Stag’s Leap – 94 Points
10 – (tied) Post Parade 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley – 94 Points
10 – (tied) Linked 2013 “Estate” Cabernet Sauvignon, Knight’s Valley – 94 Points
12 – Yount Ridge 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, Estate, Oakville – 95 Points
13 – Peay 2014 Syrah “Les Titans” Estate, Sonoma Coast – 96 Points
14 - Paul Lato 2015 Syrah “Cinematique” Larner Vineyard – 97-100 Points
15 – C-Beck 2014  Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley – 95 Points
16 – Switchback Ridge 2014 Merlot “Estate” Napa Valley – 94 Points
17 – Arbe Garbe 2016 Proprietary White, Russian River Valley – 94 Points
18 - Argot 2015 Pinot Noir “Bastard Tongue” Sonoma County  - 93 Points
19 – (tied) Y Rousseau 2014 Cabernet “Le Roi Soleil” Mt. Veeder – 93 Points
19 - (tied) Kamen 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, Estate Sonoma Valley – 93 Points
21 – DuMOL 2015 Chloe Chardonnay Russian River Valley – 95 Points
22 – Coho 2014 Pinot Noir “Stanly Ranch” Carneros Napa Valley – 93 Points
23 – Sans Liege 2014 “The Offering” Santa Barbara – 93 Points
24 – Bella 2014 Zinfandel “Lily Hill” Dry Creek – 93 Points
25 – Trujillo 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley – 93 Points

Click here or on the links above for the full tasting notes!