Celia Welch’s blind tasting winner!

At the recent blind tasting of 2013 Cabernet and Cabernet Blends a Celia Welch made wine wowed the crowd.  My group of 12 “tasting judges” tasted the following 10 wines:

  • Bevan “McGagh” (98 RP)
  • 12C “G3 (98 RP)
  • Aiken “Rutherford” (95 Points)
  • Quivet “Beckstoffer Las Piedras” (97 RP)
  • Altamura (93 RP)
  • Mark Herold “Mastodon” (98 RP)
  • Chappellet “Signature” (96 RP)
  • Forman (95 RP)
  • Skipstone “Oliver’s Blend” (94 RP)
  • Keever “Inspirado”

The Winner: Keever “Inspirado” with 7 First, 2 Second, 2 Third and 1 Fourth place votes, Bevan received 3 First, 3 Second and 3 Third place votes, followed by Quivet with 1 First, 3 Second and 4 Third place votes. Mark Herold received 1 first place vote.

Keever 2013 Cabernet “Inspirado” Napa Valley
REGULAR 79.99 – TODAY 15% OFF = 67.99 on 6 with FREE SHIPPING
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The 2013 Keever offers up stunning aromas of dark purple berries, chocolate, spice, toasted hazelnuts and wild anise that waft from the glass when one swirls this ripe, lush, succulent, complex Bordeaux-style blend.  The wine is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot and 2% Malbec.

Click here or on the links above to order.

Scientists Have Identified A Yeast Gene That Gives Wine And Beer Special Flavors

Scientists Have Identified A Yeast Gene That
Gives Wine And Beer Special Flavors

Thomas Pellechia
Forbes Magazine

When you taste a wine or beer that calls up the flavor of rose or honey think phenylethyl acetate; it’s a by-product of the yeast cells that turn sugar into alcohol to make wine and beer. Now, says Belgium microbiologists in a research paper, those flavors and more can be purposely developed in yeast strains using the latest gene-swapping scientific method.

The paper was published by mBio, a peer-reviewed journal of the century-old American Society for Microbiology (ASM). ASM covers a wide spectrum of individual microbiological research mainly for scientists to peruse. mBio is focused on more cutting-edge research of broader interest, and since winemaking has been a branch of microbiology ever since Louis Pasteur’s nineteenth century discovery that yeast is responsible for wine’s fermentation, the microbiology of wine is logically one of the areas for mBio to cover.

This particular study was led by Johan Thevelein working with Maria R. Foulquié-Moreno, each at the Center For Microbiology at VIB a Flanders-based life science institute. They applied high-throughput genomic analysis to study a hybrid strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the yeast that ferments wine (and beer).
The researchers found “swaths of DNA” containing multiple genes with one causative gene linked to high production of the flavor compound phenylethyl acetate. They also identified the part of genes that are responsible for intense production of the flavor.

Commercial yeast breeding has given winemakers a measure of control over what used to be an often unreliable process. There are commercial yeasts to facilitate cool fermentation, to bring out fruitiness, to thrive in hostile pH environments, and so on. Yeast plays a critical flavor role in flavoring beer but in wine, the grapes are responsible for most of its flavor. Yet, when yeasts metabolize they alter grape flavors by adding secondary flavors of their own. Hence, after their gene discovery they set out to create yeast strains that produce desirable flavors.

Thevelein claims it’s already possible for microbiologists to create desirable flavors by selecting hybrid strains, but it is a time-consuming process. It’s also a risky process that works in the lab but doesn’t always work in the winery or brewery, where it can produce an off-fermentation. His research proves to him that the best way to engineer desirable traits in yeasts is to use the gene-swapping process known as CRSPR/Cas9.

Using CRSPR/Cas9 Thevelein and Foulquié were also able to increase the phenylethyl acetate flavor compound production in the parents of the hybrid genes they used for their experiment. They say the process creates indistinguishable yeast strains from other methods of yeast breeding, and it is expected to allow yeast breeders to pinpoint breeds that can be used to create certain flavor profiles from which wine and beer producers can select.

Who knows, the step might be that wine buyers can tell winemakers what flavors they would like in their wines when ordering on the futures market. Or maybe wine club members will be allowed to specify which flavors they would like when they place an order. Or maybe it’s nice to know about the genes but there might be no practicality in knowing.

It’s only wine, but it’s so good …

Remember to visit us at www.ggwc.com or call Frank @ 415.337.4083 to get some…

Master Sommelier’s Stunning new Pinot Project

Within a few months of becoming the ninth Master Sommelier in the United States, Larry Stone became the first American to win the prestigious Best International Sommelier in a French Wines competition in Paris. He continued as a restaurateur and sommelier at the Four Seasons, Charlie Trotter’s, and Rubicon Restaurants. After leaving the restaurant scene Larry worked on various wine ventures, before settling in Oregon and creating “Lingua Franca”.  Larry hired one of the most amazing winemakers in the world – Dominic Lafon as his consulting winemaker and you have the makings of a winning team!

Lingua Franca 2016 Estate Pinot Noir
GGWC 54.99
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Winery Notes: ”The vintage marks the first release from our Estate, a vineyard site that has been coveted for decades and finally planted by Larry Stone. It is beautifully located in the heart of the Eola-Amity Hills, dry farmed organically on Jory and Nekia soils. The wine is medium intense, complex with floral, mineral, flint and red cherry, black plum fruit tones, and a long finish. The fruit is sorted in the vineyard, then sorted by hand, finally by a special destemmer/sorter, handled so as to preserve the terroir of this remarkable site. elegant finish.”

Click here or on the links above to order!

Bevan New Releases Now Available!

The much anticipated releases of Russell Bevan’s “Burgundy Portfolio” have arrived! As always very limited and first-come, first-served!

Bevan 2016 Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir
GGWC 79.99
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OK to mix with other Bevan releases!

Winemaker Notes: “The Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir is made up of four different clones and all of them are expressed on different levels. The power and massive textures come from the Pommard clone, the floral aromatics from the Swan, roasted earth from the Calera and bright fruit from the 828 clone. The combination is a powerful, deep wine that in the glass looks like Cabernet but in the nose is all Pinot Noir seduction. In the world of Pinot Noir this is an 800-pound gorilla.”

Robert Parker (2014) 96 Points: “I tasted four Pinot Noirs from 2014, all of them stunning. My favorite is the 2014 Pinot Noir Petaluma Gap, which is made from Dijon clones 777, 115 and 828 and aged in a combination of François Freres and Gamba oak. He doesn’t filter, so what he has in the barrels ends up in the bottle. The wine has an incredible fragrance of spring flowers, black raspberries, kirsch and licorice, with forest floor. This is a full-bodied, dense, wonderfully textured Pinot Noir with beautiful purity and a long finish – a sumptuous Côtes de Nuit grand cru look-alike. Drink it over the next decade or more.”

Bevan 2016 Rita’s Crown Pinot Noir
GGWC 79.99
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OK to mix with other Bevan releases!

Winemaker Notes: “Our Rita’s Crown Pinot Noir is also a massive wine, but is much more focused on the mid- palate and back of the mouth. The wines from Santa Rita are inky and dark. Plum, cherry, raspberry, the fruits come at you in waves. The textures are pure velvet. This is as decadent of a Pinot Noir as we have ever made.”

Robert Parker (2015) 96 Points: “Across the board, production is smaller in 2015 and I saw many of the same wines that I tasted from bottle in 2014, plus a few newer items. The only Pinot Noir offered was the 2015 Pinot Noir Santa Rita, which looks to be sensational, with exotic notes of blood oranges intermixed with black cherry, Asian spice and blacker fruits in a full-bodied, lush texture with loads of sweet tannin and plenty of glycerin. This will be a sexy beast when released in a year or so.”

Bevan 2016 “Ritchie” Chardonnay
GGWC 69.99
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OK to mix with other Bevan releases!

Winemaker Notes:Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay is our consistent stunner. The long, even-growing season in 2016 allowed us to leave the fruit on the vine longer than we normally do. This, combined with the fact that we only got 1.6 tons per acre, allowed the fruit to develop incredibly thick skins, which equates to power and richness. The nose is more Cote du Beaune than any Chardonnay we have ever made, but the mouth is all California. It is oily and layered. Fruit dominates, but there is a minerality to it that also plays a major role. There is also a slight green tint to the wine as we aggressively fought to limit oxygen exposure, so we could capture as much of the wines verve as possible. You can drink her now or wait for five to seven years and she will still be a beauty.”

Robert Parker (2014) 95 Points: “His 2014 Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard is 100% from this famous vineyard source for Chardonnay, planted with the old Wente clone. There are 250 cases of this wine, which is aged in three-fourths François Frères cooperage and the remainder in Remond. Light golden with a greenish hue, the wine reveals honeyed apricot, white peach, wet pebbles and floral notes. It is rich, full-bodied, loaded with minerality and extremely pure, with the oak well-concealed. This should drink well for 4-5 years, if not longer.”

Bevan 2017 “Dry Stack” Sauvignon Blanc
GGWC 34.99
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OK to mix with other Bevan releases!

Winemaker Notes: “The 2017 Dry Stack Sauvignon Blanc is an incredibly expressive wine already, just weeks in the bottle. The nose is all about the tropics. Pineapple, guava and kiwi dominate. The wine is lively and the glycerin levels are off the chart, giving it a super seductive mid palate. This wine will disappear from your cellar quickly after you open your first bottle”

Robert Parker (2015) 96 Points: “I have said before that Bevan’s Sauvignon Blanc from the Dry Stack Vineyard in Bennett Valley is one of California’s finest examples of this Italian clone of Sauvignon Blanc that is planted in these gravelly, loamy soils. His 2015 Sauvignon Blanc Dry Stack Vyd may be his best to date, simply because yields were lower, and there is even more concentration. This wine is aged half and half in stainless steel and the rest in François Frères Burgundy barrels. It is 100% Sauvignon Blanc, and the wine has a spectacular bouquet of caramelized citrus, honeysuckle, orange blossom and brioche. It is amazingly rich and dense, with the texture of a great grand cru white Burgundy or top California Chardonnay. This is his best yet, and I’ve been buying it every year since I discovered it. Drink it over the next 5-6 years.”

Click here or on the links above to order!


Cinco de Mayo
Wine Tasting Extravaganza and Fundraiser!

On Saturday May 5, I am hosting a benefit wine tasting for my daughter’s High School. The kids don’t have a gymnasium and have been raising money to have one built! However, they are short some funds for the final stretch.

Construction is set to start June 1, so I want to do my share.

I am donating the proceeds of this event back to the school!

To sweeten the deal, if you place an order TODAY or TOMORROW, at Golden Gate Wine Cellars I will enter you in a drawing for FREE TICKETS.

I am giving away 10 tickets, so your chances are pretty good to win a duo ticket (5 x 2 giveways). And even if you don’t win, please join us to support this worthy cause!


 “Bringing Wine Country to the City”
Saturday May 5, 2018
5 to 8 PM

ONLINE $50.00
AT THE DOOR $70.00

RSVP and Purchase Tickets by calling 415-337-4083
or visiting:

Meet the owners/winemakers of the following wineries:

  • Paul Lato
  • Sanguis
  • Coho
  • Halcon
  • MC4
  • Luli
  • Bella
  • Bridesmaid
  • Seabiscuit
  • Solitude
  • Amici
  • Sans Liege
  • Herman Story
  • Pied-A-Terre
  • Teeter-Totter
  • Arbe Garbe
  • Melis Family Winery
  • Green & Red
  • Mi Sueno
  • Monthuys Champagne
  • Paloma
  • Yount Ridge
  • and others TBA

Great wine and generous hors d’oeuvres will be served.

ALL proceeds of this event go to the Waldorf High School Home Court Campaign!!! 



Rick Mirer, the former stand-out Quarterback at Notre Dame and NFL player with the Seahawks, 49ers, Raiders, Bears & Jets turned another longtime hobby into a profession – wine! This Mirror 2014 Cabernet is his eleventh release and I would say the best-effort yet-to-date! His friend Jeff Smith (owner of Hourglass winery) did not need to convince him that there was life after the NFL (New Found Love). He was already a big Hourglass fan, and when they hooked up to discuss his future, Mirror was born – the rest, as they say, is history. The wines are made by Kirk Venge. The name Mirror comes from the two St. Helena vineyards that “mirror” each other across the Napa Valley. The western half is just of Hwy 29, the eastern half perched above the Silverado Trail.

Mirror 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mountain Napa Valley
96 Points!
GGWC 109.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more!
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The aromas of this Cabernet Sauvignon are an ever evolving blend of ripe blackberries, dark chocolate and baking spices. The big, bold palate offers layers of complexity – a soft, ripe entry of dark cherry with hints of leather followed by a concentrated core of ripe plum, highlights of vanilla, cinnamon and espresso beans.  The balanced acidity delivers a seamless harmony of fruit and rich tannins that integrate into a clean and long lasting elegant finish.

Winery Notes: “Aroma and bouquet – an elegant and complex blend of ripe blackberry, dry grass with accents of dark chocolate and baking spices. The palate commences with milk chocolate and vanilla followed by a lush complexity of ripe blackberry and blueberry with nuances of nutmeg, cloves and toasted oak. Soft, yet firm and integrated tannins carry through to the silky, elegant, clean finish.”

Click here or on the links above to order!

You say: “Old Chardonnay”, I say that you are wrong! Edit Subject

You’d say: “Old Chardonnay”, I say that you are wrong.

The Vigneron profession first appears in the Terrien family tree in the 1700s when they lived in the Loire Valley of France. “Bêcheur” was also one of their occupations, which is to say they shoveled dirt for a living. As bêche is a spade and terre means earth, winemaking just seems inevitable. Adding to the destiny of it all, Bêcheur also means pretentious arrogant snob. Perfect…

Terrien 2012 Chardonnay
GGWC Price $44.99
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Terrien Chardonnay comes from an Old Wente planting at Kiser Vineyard in Sonoma Valley. Wente, a California heirloom traced from France at the turn of the 19th Century, has a tendency to produce many small berries. The juice ferments with the addition of Montrachet yeast, which, like Old Wente, is itself a throwback to earlier California winemaking. In September  2012 four tons of good-looking large clusters were fermented with Montrachet yeast and remained for 8 months in a stainless steel tank. During this time the wine cold-settled and malo-lactic was arrested to keep the brightness which is so critical to the vitality of the wine as it ages.  In late April 2013 it was racked into 9 used barrels as it allows a wine to become rich without boosting oak flavor; it’s about slow oxygenation. A year later 218 cases were bottled. Not much happened in between.  But without a reputation like Chassagne-Montrachet, it makes sense to allow the wine to become complex with bottle age before introducing it to the market. That is why the 2012 is just being released in 2018!

This wine is rich yet weightless! On the nose you are greeted by beautiful aromas of chamomile, linden, lemon and melon come to mind, and a faint spicy-floral narcissus scent The wine is full in body without being heavy or creamy!  Very well-polished and harmonius. The bright acidity has yielded somewhat to the effects of bottle age and the palate weight is now tensioned in good balance. Nicely polished and harmonious wine with a long, textured finish.

Click here or on the links above to order!

GREAT Cabernet UNDER $35 still exists!

Obsidian Ridge Vineyard is planted at 2,640′ atop the Mayacamas range north of the Napa Valley. This is one of the newest American Viticultural Areas, named Red Hills Lake County for the distinctive volcanic soils that define this remarkable mountain appellation. The vineyard’s red soils are shot through with obsidian rock — this steep, sloping terroir of obsidian gravel is all that a winemaker could hope for. The unrestricted drainage and meager soil fertility produce wines with great tannic structure.

Obsidian 2016 “Estate” Cabernet, Red Hills
Retail 34.99
FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more
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Dark aromas of ripe blackberries and black currants mulled with a touch of cloves and anise rise from the glass, complemented by hints of cacao beans and dark chocolate nibs. On the palate, the wine is dense and full-bodied, with a core of black fruit compote and hints of licorice. This is a textured wine with medium tannins, finishing with a dusting of light oak tannin. While still youthful, this is quite the impressive rendition of this Estate offering.

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20% OFF Amazing TWO Barrel Cab Franc Surprise!

This 2013 Crauford bottling might be the smallest Cabernet Franc production in the Napa Valley to date.  Sourced from their single estate vineyard in the Oak Knoll district of the Napa Valley.

CrauforD 2013 “Estate” Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley
Retail 88.00 – GGWC 69.99
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On the nose this wine greets you with a display of deep, dark berry fruit aromas, with undercurrents of vanilla, spice and a whiff of citrus.  On the palate, this medium to full bodied wine offers up dark black fruits, a suggestion of coffee, mocha and spice.  This extremely well-made, small production Cab Franc finishes with a light framework of silky grained tannins that result in a long lasting finish.

Click here or on the links above to order!


Kata is the culmination of many years of combined experience and practice in the art of grape growing and winemaking.  In its creation, we have patiently employed highly selective artisanal farming and winemaking practices to produce a wine of balance and elegance. A wine that is worthy of the legacy of Napa Valley’s historic Beckstoffer Bourn Vineyard.

GGWC 199.99
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The 2015 Kata shows great concentration and volume. The rich texture is complemented by
abundant acidity that reveals nuances of mocha, blue fruit, licorice, spice and violets. This is a
full-bodied wine that rewards the palate with unusual complexity and a long finish.

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points: “The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Bourn Vineyard is a deep, inky-colored 2015 that has serious amounts of depth and density. Full-bodied, uber-concentrated, tight and backward, it’s going to need time, yet offers lots of smoked black currants, plums, smoked earth and dark chocolate. It’s a terrific wine that’s going to age beautifully.”

Click here or on the links above to order!