95+ Point low $40s Pinot & FREE SHIPPING TOO!

Walter Hansel Winery has been synonymous with good quality and well-priced wines for years.  Real crowd-pleasing wines for those who don’t want to break the bank and still want to get a good quality glass of wine.  The 2015 Cahill Lane might be one of Steve Hansel’s best efforts to date.  Even with a 95+ Rating (which I think was 1 or 2 points shy from where it should be) this wine will impress both beginner and advanced oenophile.

Walter Hansel 2015 Pinot Noir “Cahill Lane” Russian River Valley
GGWC 43.99
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Anthony Galloni Vinous 95+ Points: “The 2015 Pinot Noir Cahill Lane Vineyard is a bit more closed than the other wines in this range, but it also offers greater subtlety finesse and nuance. I expect the 2016 will need at least a few years to be at its best, but all the elements are in place for that to happen. Blood orange, white pepper, chalk and mint give the 2016 an attractive upper register that is beguiling. This is a superb showing from Steve Hansel.”

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Wine of the Year Candidate!

Barbara and Jim Richards always had an interest in wine, both in its making and its consumption, and in food and gardening. In 1980, they were living in Midland, Texas, and began thinking about a second home and decided to start looking for a small property in the Napa Valley where they could build a home and plant a small vineyard. This dream was realized in 1983 when a friend of theirs, Dan Duckhorn, called and told them about the property now known as Paloma Vineyard.  The property is located five miles northwest of St. Helena at the top of Spring Mountain. In the last half of the 19th century it was a vineyard, but was allowed to return to forest around the turn of the century. The purchase of this raw land was the beginning of an odyssey that is ongoing, ever changing, but with one goal—to grow the best grapes possible and make a wine that reflects the terroir of Paloma Vineyard, Spring Mountain and Napa.  Sadly both Jim (2009) and Barbara (2016) passed away, but their son Sheldon has been groomed since 2003 to take over the reigns, and continue the legacy of Paloma for years to come.

Paloma has become synonymous with Merlot for Cabernet Lovers.  Like some of its First Growth French counterparts, Paloma’s Merlot could be called a proprietary red blend as it is a blend of 85% Merlot & 15% Cabernet.  I also want to let those Cabernet-philes know that one the most sought after, highly rated and probably (one of) the most expensive wines in the world is NOT Cabernet, but Merlot (i.e. Chateau Petrus)…. So Paloma, might be Napa Valley’s Petrus, but at a fraction the price!

Paloma 2014 Merlot Estate Spring Mountain, Napa Valley
Retail 65.00 – GGWC 62.99
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The Paloma 2014 Merlot is mind boggling good! This is a Merlot that will give many Cabernets a run for their money as this is  not your wimpy, soft, silky wine, but a well-balanced, complex, dark, concentrated, full-bodied mountain-grown gem!  The wine’s aroma is amazing, and jumps right out of the glass on impact.  This 2014 is layered with dense black stone fruit laced with dark chocolate and a whiff of toasty vanilla.  It is a big, lush youngster that pleases from start to finish.  It is well-balanced and elegant at the same time. But I suggest to put this one down for 6-12 months prior to imbibing.  Very small production.

PS: This wine might be any bit as good as the prevous wine-of-the-year winner!

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MODERATE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION LINKED TO HIGHER FERTILITY!

MODERATE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION LINKED TO HIGHER FERTILITY!
by Lauren Eads, The Drinks Business

A new study has made a positive link between moderate alcohol consumption and improved fertility in men, compared with those who drink nothing at all, and those who drink to excess.

The study was carried out by researchers at the Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico in Italy. Of the 323 men who took part in the research, 9.6% were abstainers, 30% drank less than 1-3 units per week, 30.3% drank 4-7 units, and 30% drank 8 units or more per week.
One unit equated to a 125ml glass of wine, 330ml beer or 30ml spirit, each containing 12.5 g of ethanol.

Compared with men drinking fewer than three units a week, the best quality semen was found in the 4-7 units/week group, linking moderate alcohol intake to higher semen volume, sperm concentration, and total sperm count.

“As regards low intake, our findings are consistent with other research,” said lead author Dr. Elena Ricci of the Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico. “In Italy, alcohol consumption is common but usually limited to small quantities, and this applies in particular to men referring to our Infertility Clinic. Moderate alcohol intake appears positively associated to semen quality in men. They are counselled to limit but not avoid alcohol.”

While the findings indicated that moderate alcohol intake won’t harm your chances of conceiving, researchers warn against the notion that alcohol could boost your fertility.

The team points to a Danish study from 2014 which found that drinking 40 units, or two pints a day, reduced sperm count by 33%. That research also suggested that even modest alcohol consumption – which it defined as more than five units a week – could reduce sperm quality.

Prof Allan Pacey, from the University of Sheffield, who was not involved in the research, told The Sun: “It’s OK to have a glass of beer or wine with dinner but if you are trying for a baby a night on the lash should be avoided.”

Prof Simon Fishel, from CARE Fertility, added: “I would not use alcohol as a means to try to boost a low sperm count.”


Make sure to visit our site http://ggwc.com and blog http://frankmeliswine.com for plenty of great wine suggestions!

95 Point Napa Cab by Russell Bevan’s Right Hand

 

Kimberly Hatcher is the longtime assistant to Russell Bevan and has kept her eyes and ears open as she is on a roll now! Her Morgado label is bringing in some impressive reviews and creating quite a buzz. Robert Parker and Jeb Dunnuck have “noticed” her and the press is out! That said, Kimberly’s wine are very small productions, and with the high scores… they will sell out fast!

She makes the wines at the Tench Caves, and Russell might be looking over her shoulder once in awhile (or maybe not)

Morgado 2015 Sugarloaf Mountain Proprietary Red, Napa Valley
GGWC 94.99
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Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points: “As to the red blend from Hatcher, the 2015 Sugarloaf Mountain Red Wine offers deep, concentrated notes of cassis, black cherries, graphite, and earth. This full-bodied, elegant, sensationally textured 2015 has no hard edges, fine tannin, a surprising elegance, and a terrific finish. It’s going to drink nicely for two decades.”

Robert Parker 94+ Points: “Composed of 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Franc, the 2015 Sugarloaf Mountain Proprietary Red has an evocative, earthy nose of tilled soil and mossy bark over a core of warm red and black currants with touches of pencil shavings, dried herbs and fungi. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is fine, elegant and fresh, with expressive earthy layers and a long, finely grained finish.” 

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Black Friday in July!

In July!!

Why wait till November to get a “deal” when you can get it in July.

TODAY ONLY, receive 10% OFF on ALL wines* in stock (excluding sale items)

ENTER code BLACKFRIDAYJULY at check out to receive your 10% discount*

*Purchase of $500.00 or more

Visit http://GoldenGateWineCellars.com now!

98 Point under $40.00 White


A family one acre site, Halleck Vineyard is perched above the Russian River watershed and flanked on the west by the slopes to the Pacific Ocean. It commands an expansive view of rolling Sonoma County. Winning # 1 Pinot in the US in 2003 put them on the map, but it hasn’t stopped there.  They source from some of their neighbors very best vineyards!

At the recent California State Fair, the largest wine tasting competition in the US, this little winery beat out thousands of others to get “Double Gold” and a 98 Point rating!

Halleck 2017 Sauvignon Blanc “Little Sister” Russian River Valley
GGWC 39.99
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The Little Sister Sauvignon Blanc reminds me of a crisp, but rich Sancerre. It displays classic neutral citrus notes, with a floral nose that hints of sea breeze, with its earthy complement. The delivery yields bright acidity, offering a mid-palate of flinty minerality, a hint of tart passion fruit and the long lingering, yet crisp finish for which Halleck Vineyard wines are noted.

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The 100-Point Cab guy does it again!


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

The 2016 12c “G3” has a dark opaque purple color with amazing aromatics of  of bright blackberry and blueberry fruits and a whiff of bitter chocolate and graphite. Bold flavors on the palate make for a lush and elegant wine that offers up a sexy, full-body loaded with delicious flavors that lead into a long complex finish.  This is a wine that should drink well over the next 10-15 years.

12c “G3” Cabernet Sauvignon, Beckstoffer Vineyard Rutherford Napa Valley
GGWC 124.99
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Winery Notes: Twenty-Sixteen was an incredible year for our Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard G3 Wine. An alluring mix of aromatics consisting of dark fruits, acacia flowers, and Belgium chocolate intertwine with a mid palate that is loaded with layers of pedigree.  The beauty of this site is how it captures and marries subtle but exuberant ripeness with the dusty earth of the Rutherford appellation.  The finish combines the above notes and extends into an abyss of dark fruit notes accompanied with baking spice’s, blueberry cobbler and plush tannins that envelope the senses. This wine is immediately approachable yet will to gain further complexities for 3-8 years.  Extended aging may add a touch of magic.  What a wine!

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Impressive & Sexy Rhone blend

The winemaker says: “Sand & Stone is always our most vibrant cuvee due a good portion of Grenache, one of our most favorite grapes. Grenache absolutely thrives in the limestone soils of Paso Robles, and it seems as well suited here as its traditional home in the Southern Rhone. Coupled with the powerful nature of Petite Sirah, Sand & Stone showcases how we can bring tremendous freshness and overall drinkability to a rather powerful wine. To retain this freshness, we age the cuvee in special thick-staved 350L and 400L puncheon that limit oxygen exposure during elevage. From start to finish it brims with pure, focused fruit; dried strawberries, olallieberry, and black raspberry. Always floral and tremendously aromatic, it features plenty of spicy notes of white pepper, licorice, and smoky oak along with a juicy, youthfully tannic finish.”

Aaron 2014 “Sand & Stone” Paso Robles
(Petite Siriah, Syrah, Grenache blend)
GGWC 49.99
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Vinous 94 Points: “Saturated ruby. Ripe, spice-tinged black raspberry, vanilla and pungent flowers on the expansive nose. Intense red and dark berry liqueur flavors are lifted and sharpened by smoky minerality and a suggestion of white pepper. Concentrated as well as juicy and focused, finishing with impressive length and sexy notes of candied violet and spicecake.”

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VARIETAL FOCUS: SAUVIGNON BLANC

VARIETAL FOCUS: SAUVIGNON BLANC

Sauvignon blanc: (a.k.a. Sauvignon, Fumé blanc)   so • vin • yon  blahnk

At the Lake County Sauvignon Blanc Experience event in May, the famous French ampelographer Jean-Michel Boursiquot explained that the name is derived from the French word sauvage; in reference to the grape’s tendency to grow wild or “untamed,” putting out a prolific amount of canes, leaves and fruit. While the grape is often referred to as indigenous to either Bordeaux or the South-West of France, there is evidence that it may have actually originated in France’s Loire River Valley; as Boursiquot has found the earliest written references to the grape in Loire, dating back to 1534.

In the Graves and Sauternes regions of Bordeaux, it is traditionally blended with Sémillon or Muscadelle; producing dry whites in Graves, and medium to luxuriously sweet whites in Sauternes. The grape stands alone in the wine regions of the Loire; the most famous being the bone-dry, minerally and tart-edged white wines of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, although Sauvignon-based whites from the Quincy, Cheverny and Menetou-Salon appellations are also imported into the U.S.

In the U.S., Sauvignon has its own storied history. Charles Wetmore founded Cresta Blanca Winery in Livermore Valley in 1882, and shortly thereafter traveled to France and returned home with cuttings of the grape from d’Yquem. Louis Mel also used these cuttings to plant El Mocho Vineyard (a property purchased by the Wente family in 1925, and since renamed Louis Mel Vineyard). The thinking was that the gravelly, silty loam soils of Livermore Valley could duplicate the white wines of Bordeaux. In 1889, a Sauvignon based white wine from Cresta Blanca (an 1884 vintage) won the Grand Prize at the prestigious Paris Exposition. But the ultimate significance of the Livermore Valley plantings is that this selection, originating from d’Yquem, became the U.C. Davis FPS (Foundation Plant Services) clone 01 – taken by Dr. Harold Olmo in 1958 from the Wentes’ Louis Mel property – that is now the predominant selection planted in California, Washington, and New Zealand (where it is called UCD 1).

The popularity of Sauvignon blanc within more modern California wine history is closely associated with Robert Mondavi. The Mondavis were intrigued by the potential of Sauvignon blanc in California; having planted the grape in the “I Block” of To Kalon Vineyard, in Napa Valley’s Oakville region, as far back as 1943 (old vines still in production today – see black and white picture above), two years after the brothers (both Lodi Union High School graduates) took over the old Charles Krug estate. In 1966 Robert planted more Sauvignon blanc in To Kalon’s I Block; but more significantly, in 1968, he came out with the first vintage of Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc, which immediately became a huge commercial success.

Although Mondavi’s “Fumé Blanc,” which he got approved as a legal synonym for Sauvignon blanc, was imaginatively named for the Pouilly-Fumés of France, the style of Mondavi’s wine was rather un-Pouilly-Fumé-like in that it saw barrel aging (Pouilly-Fumés are traditionally bottled straight out of stainless steel tanks). Mondavi also experimented with barrel fermentation, aggressive lees stirring (to attain a creamy texture) and, in the tradition of Bordeaux, blending with Sémillon – producing a more flowery, melony, and far less herbaceous, less minerally or citrusy style of wine than that of Pouilly-Fumé or Sancerre. Because of the Mondavi influence, the soft, often tropical fruit-driven style of “Fumé” would remain the predominant approach to the varietal in Napa Valley, Sonoma County, and most of California; at least up until the explosion of the markedly greener, sharper New Zealand styles of Sauvignon blanc into the U.S. market, starting in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Today, California styles of Sauvignon blanc are likely to balance herby green sensations with green melon, tropical fruit, floral as well as earthy/mineral qualities in deference to growing “international” tastes among consumers and critics; while aggressively oak influenced (i.e. “Graves” inspired) styles appear to be on the wane, except for a handful of ultra-premium priced Napa and Sonoma bottlings.

Sonoma/Marin Counties and Lake County are two of California’s major Sauvignon blanc regions – crushing 15% and 13% of the state’s 2017 total, respectively.

This post was adapted from the ZinFest Blind Tasting Event, hosted by Randy Caparoso

Make sure to check out these amazing Sauvignon Blancs:

1. BEVAN 2017 SAUVIGNON BLANC “DRY STACK”

2. CRAUFORD 2017 SAUVIGNON BLANC, “STANLY RANCH” NAPA VALLEY

3.  SPOTTSWOODE 2017 SAUVIGNON BLANC, NAPA/SONOMA

4. SCARLETT 2016 SAUVIGNON BLANC, RUTHERFORD NAPA VALLEY

5. SHARED NOTES 2016 “LES PIERRES QUI DÉCIDENT” SAUVIGNON BLANC, RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY

6. YOUNT RIDGE 2016 SAUVIGNON BLANC, ESTATE, OAKVILLE

Alcohol improves memory, scientists say…

Alcohol improves memory, scientists say
as study finds drinking helps people recall information

By Sophie Jamieson

Drinking alcohol can actually improve memory, academics have found as a study showed that those who drink after studying are better at recalling what they learnt.

In a study, 88 social drinkers were given a word-learning task.

They were then split in two groups at random and told either to drink as much as they liked – the average was four units – or not to drink at all.

The next day, they all did the same task again – and those who had drunk alcohol remembered more of what they had learned.

Researchers at the University of Exeter stressed this limited positive effect should be considered alongside the well-established negative effects of excessive alcohol on memory and mental and physical health.

Professor Celia Morgan said: “Our research not only showed that those who drank alcohol did better when repeating the word-learning task, but that this effect was stronger among those who drank more.

“The causes of this effect are not fully understood, but the leading explanation is that alcohol blocks the learning of new information and therefore the brain has more resources available to lay down other recently learned information into long-term memory.

“The theory is that the hippocampus – the brain area really important in memory – switches to ‘consolidating’ memories, transferring from short into longer-term memory.”

The effect noted by the researchers has been shown under laboratory conditions before, but this is the first study to test it in a natural setting with people drinking in their homes.

There was also a second task which involved looking at images on a screen.

This task was completed once the drinkers had drunk alcohol again the following day and the results did not reveal significant differences in memory performance post-drinking.

The study’s participants were 31 men and 57 women, aged 18 to 53.

The paper, Improved memory for information learnt before alcohol use in social drinkers tested in a naturalistic setting, is published in the journal Scientific Reports.