Inaugural 6 Barrel Diamond Mountain Cabernet NEW GEM


Michael Klopka purchased the 150 acre estate in 1998, but it wasn’t a palatial estate – even a “diamond in the rough” was an understatement.  It was densely forested, nearly inaccessible woodland tract that choked sunlight.  It took a while to clear, and create 2 parcels (Cori and Sophie) totaling six acres of Bordeaux varietals.  Most of the fruit is sold, but a special section is kept for the SVR wines – only 150 cases are produced!  The first harvest was 2004, so with 10 year old till their first (Inaugural) release they had the time to experiment and release a great wine from the get go.

SummitVine 2013 Cabernet “Estate’ Diamond Mountain
Retail 85.00  – GGWC 79.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code SVR13 at checkout

The first release from this estate offers up amazing aromatics that jump out of the glass – red and black stone fruits, chocolate, a touch of volcanic and anise.  On the palate this full bodied Cab shows of its great body and opulence that is very complex, rich and loaded with lush flavors of black currant, fig, crème de cassis and a whiff of dark chocolate. This well-balanced wine finishes with more bold flavors and well-integrated, silky tannins.  Only 149 cases produced!

Wine Spectator says: “Ten High-Altitude Napa Cabernet Sauvignons: Add SummitVine to your list of wineries to watch”

Wine Spectator 93 Points: “Brimming with rich, lively dark berry and earth tones, this delivers a mix of currant, raspberry, red licorice, espresso and spicy oak notes.  Best of all, this glides along on the aftertaste.  Drink now through 2028.  149 cases made.”

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Chardonnay Blind Tasting Winner!


In a recent (blind) tasting with my tasting group we lined up a selection of amazing 2014 Chardonnays. The 15 of us tasted 10 wines:

  • Brewer Clifton 3D (95 Parker)
  • Kongsgaard (95 Parker)
  • Paul Lato “Souvenir” (96 Parker)
  • Evening Land “Summum” (95 WS)
  • Kosta Brown One Sixteen (94 Parker)
  • The Hilt “Vanguard” (94 Parker)
  • Saxon Brown “Rosella” (94 Parker)
  • Roar “Rosella” (95 Parker)
  • Tyler “La Rinconada” (94 Galloni)

The race was close, but at the end the result spoke for itself. The WINNER was TYLER “La Rinconada”

Tyler received 7 first, 5 second and 2 third place votes, ahead of Paul Lato “Souvenir” with 5 first, 5 second and 4 Third place votes, followed by Roar “Rosella” with 3 first, 3 second and 5 Tird place votes.

Tyler 2014 “La Rinconada” Chardonnay
GGWC Price $64.99
Use code TYLER14 at checkout

Mix & match with other Tyler wines

Justin Willett started out as an assistant winemaker and worked his way up owning his own label, which he created in 2005 producing 190 cases. His meticulous attention to detail has elevated him to “Must Have” status among many Chardonnay and Pinot Noir lovers. Working with some of the best vineyards in the Santa Rita Hills and Santa Barbara county, Justin has wowed many (including me) with his great craft. His latest releases all garnered big press (94 and 95 point ratings) and I’d say they could have been 96 and 97s but who am I to say.

Anthony Galloni 94 Points: “The 2014 Chardonnay La Rinconada Vineyard encapsulates so many of the attributes that make the Tyler Chardonnays deeply appealing. A slight hint of reduction appears first, before the wine blossoms on the mid-palate and finish. The Rinconada is a Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay with distinct elements of minerality and phenolic intensity that recall the Chardonnays of Santa Maria. In other words, it is a wonderfully complete and deeply satisfying Chardonnay to savor over the next handful of years. This is Justin Willett’s second vintage working with La Rinconada Chardonnay. Last year it went into the appellation wine, but in 2014 he bottled it separately.”

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RETAIL 58.00 – GGWC 53.99
Use code COHO at check out

Mix with other Coho wines

This might be the best Merlot Coho has produced yet to date.  A blend of 98% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, sourced from the great Michael Black vineyard in Coombsville (which is now officially an Appellation).   On the nose this wine shows of its great character immediately.  One is greeted by lush black and red currants, hints of coffee and a touch of anise.  The palate of this multi-layered wine is amazingly polished and well-balanced.  Gobs of black currant and chocolate coat this intense sultry body, leading into a very complex and long fish.  This incredible undertaking will turn lots of heads! As always very limited!

Coho 2013 Headwater Cabernet Blend, Napa Valley
RETAIL 48.00 – GGWC 44.99
Use code COHO at check out

Mix with other Coho wines

Again, a superb, well-made blend of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Summit Vine Ranch vineyard atop Diamond Mountain, with Merlot from the astounding Michael Black Vineyard add some Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Coombsville area in southern Napa Valley and we have the ingredients for what I believe is one of the best Headwater blends ever produced!

On the nose this wine shows gorgeous aromas of black and red stone fruit.  On the palate one encounters a well-balanced, cohesive wine that is flashy and opulent showcasing stellar black and red stone fruit with a touch of chocolate and a whiff of toastiness, it has great vibrancy and an amazing balance of beautiful fruit and subtle acidity.  This is a wine that will age nicely.  The finish is gorgeous and lasts a good thirty seconds.

Also check out these other great Coho wines:

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Helen Keplinger Pinot Noir


Boris Guillome is a 20+year wine industry veteran, having worked in some of California’s best restaurants and wine stores. In 2013, he decided that his next challenge would be in creating his own label, so he hired Helen Keplinger as his winemaker and set out to find exceptional sites and the best fruit possible. These wines are pure, focused and spectacular.  This is the second release!

Waterfall 2014 Pinot Noir “Walala” Sonoma Coast
Retail 65.00 – GGWC 59.99
Use code WATER14PN upon checkout

The wine is inspired by the winemaker’s love for Burgundy.  The wine offers a dark red hue. On the nose you are greeted by dark cherries, rose petals, plums and spices. The mouthfeel is elegant and lush, with flavors of ripe black cherries, black plum, clove, cinnamon, and tea. The lengthy finish is complex and inviting with soft silky tannins at the end. This is a smooth, balanced, savory wine. (Alc 13.5) Only 135 cases made.

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What is a “crisp” wine?

You’ve probably heard the word “crisp” uttered by the puckered lips of one of your wino friends, but what actually is a crisp wine and what makes it crisp in the first place? Let us demystify this often-used, confusing term.

The word “crisp” is exclusively used to describe white wines and is a reference to both a wine’s acidity as well as its dry — as in not sweet — characteristics. A wine is crisp when there is a good amount of acidity present that gives you a taste sensation similar to fresh squeezed lemonade, combined with an absence of sugar or strong fruit flavors. For these wines, the acidity and dryness are playing the major roles in terms of taste.

Crisp wines are perfect for sipping on a porch while lounging in the sunshine, or at your next backyard barbeque. A crisp wine should cleanse and awaken your palate, as opposed to a wine that saps the moisture from your mouth. It should taste refreshing and is the perfect wine to serve cold on a hot day.

These are wines that are best served young; they aren’t made for much aging, as the best grapes for these bottles are picked when they’re still not fully ripe, resulting in lots of acidity without a ton of sugar. This lack of high sugar also means these wines are low in alcohol, making them insanely drinkable. Try to drink them in their most current vintage because that’s when they’re freshest.

You’ll find crisp wines whenever you pop a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Assyrtiko, Albariño, Torrontes and even young Riesling. Some people try to claim that crisp wines aren’t very interesting, simply labeling them as “basic” quaffable wines. That simply isn’t true, though it’s an opinion that continually gets reinforced by snobby wine types. In fact, crisp wines can be excellent for pairing with food, especially when that food comes from the sea.

A few “crisp” wine suggestions:


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A Casual Wine at a Casual Price


The 2014 Casual Encounter is a blend of 39% Syrah, 38% Grenache, 28 Mourvedre and 3% Tannat.  This (not so) Casual (encounter) offers up an amazing aromas of chocolate, sweet red and black stone fruit on the nose.  The wine is full in body, loaded with intense flavors of lush black stone fruits, hints of bitter chocolate, savory and spicy notes.  This big burly wine is intense, well-balanced yet shows great elegance  under its thick skin.  This is Russell From at his best!

Herman Story 2014 Casual Encounter GSM, Santa Barbara
Retail 52.00 – GGWC 49.99
Use code HERMAN at checkout

Winemaker Notes: “This is the pure distillate of cruising around the desert with a Saudi Prince in his brand new Mercedes S class: Late summer black mulberry, oiled leather falcon hood, rare Belgian chocolate melted with salt and coffee nibs, rose roasted pistachios, jasmine flowers, blood orange, sun warmed sandstone, geranium oil, muddled mint, roasted lamb shank, nutmeg and fresh gold chains.”

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136 year old Napa Winery comes back to life! Great Value for Amazing Quality


Liparita winery was created in 1880 by WF Keyes, son of General Keys.  The actual cellar still stands high atop Howell Mountain today. Going through some ownership changes, prohibition, etc, along the way Liparita gained fame and glory by winning gold medals at the Paris Exposition in 1900 and in 1904 at the St.Louis Expostion, which was a rare feat for a Napa Valley wine at that time!  The Hoopes family are the new stewards to the brand and have done a great job with the new release the Yountville V Block.

Liparita 2013 Cabernet “V-Block” Yountville, Napa Valley
Retail 68.00 – GGWC 64.99
Use code LIPARITA at checkout

The 2013 Liparita “V Block” is a single vineyard blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot.  This might be one of the better high-end tasting wines at a great value!  The wine is full in body, with lush, rich opulent flavors of black currant, anise and a touch of dark chocolate.  Amazing finesse and freshness shows from start to finish. The V Block is a complex and well-balanced wine that will please both your palate as well as your wallet!  This small production Cabernet finishes with a long silky grained tannin finish.  This wine is drinking well now and will cellar for a good 12-15 years.  Limited production.

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95 Point, 200 case, Low (12.8%) alcohol Pinot Noir

In 2001, two generations of the Cobb family came together to explore a shared passion for Pinot Noir with the founding of Cobb Wines. Focused exclusively on crafting single-vineyard, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noirs, Cobb Wines combines the winegrowing expertise of David Cobb—one of the pioneers of Pinot Noir  viticulture on the far Sonoma Coast—with the winemaking talents of his son, noted pinot noir specialist Ross Cobb. The original seeds for Cobb Wines were planted in 1989, when David began cultivating pinot noir vines at his sustainably farmed Coastlands Vineyard. A marine ecologist by trade, David spent years studying soils and climatological charts in his search for the ideal place to found his vineyard. His search led him to the ridgetops of the Sonoma Coast, where he believed he would be able to grow grapes perfectly suited to a more complex and graceful style of California pinot noir. On weekend and summer breaks from college, David would be joined in the vineyard by his son Ross, who quickly grew to love the hands-on work of growing winegrapes. And the rest, as they say… is history!

Cobb 2013 Pinot Noir “Jack Hill” Sonoma Coast
Retail 75.00 – GGWC 69.99
Use code COBB13 at checkout

WS 95 Points: “This tiny, isolated two-acre vineyard near Freestone is bordered on all sides by coastal evergreens. Its sandstone-based soils grew some beautiful fruit in 2013. Ross Cobb’s even hand coaxed that fruit into a pinot noir with a diaphanous clarity that might make you hold your breath, if you didn’t want to keep smelling the wine: a hint of strawberry, the airy leafiness of oolong tea, the lift of rose petals. It has a quiet but captivating persistence, nothing excessive, nothing missing—the vinous equivalent of a Basho haiku.

Winemaker Notes: This wine displays lovely layers of black cherry and raspberry, as well as all of the earthy minerality and spice that we have come to love from Jack Hill. Rich tannins and bright natural acid add poise and definition to the lovely fruit.

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EARTHQUAKE ANNIVERSARY & Thomas Rivers Brown’s Inaugural CAB

A note from the “President, Wine Taster, Dishwasher, Jack O.A.T, of Golden Gate Wine Cellars.

Dear Friends,

Cypress Freeway Memorial

October 17 is in an “interesting” day at the Melis’ Family as it is the anniversary of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, but also my wife’s birthday (I better remember that!)

For those who might not remember, that was the “big one” that hit just minutes before the SF Giants and Oakland A’s were to start the World Series at Candlestick Park.  I am sure we all remember what we were doing around 5 PM PST on  September 17, 1989, especially those baseball fans among you.

I remember – I was ready to leave my first job as a wine consultant (fresh out of college) and when I walked through the store I thought I ran into a wine display with my backpack as it fell over, but I didn’t – It was the “BIG ONE”!  Thousands of bottles of wine, spirits, beer on the floor, light fixtures dangling of the ceiling, people panicking and confused.  It was pretty dark inside, and the noise and smell made for an eerie moment.

Enough nostalgia… on to the real stuff… “WINE” and the Inaugural release from TRB (Thomas Rivers Brown)

For the past few years, The Hobels & Thomas Rivers Brown had been searching for a new vineyard to add to the lineup, looking for a unique vineyard that would allow them to produce a wine that would rival the quality and balance of our original Hobel Cabernet Sauvignon from the Engelhard Vineyard.  They finally found a wonderful match with the R.M. Kennedy Vineyard, a beautiful hillside vineyard located in Calistoga.  The inaugural release from this vineyard, the 2014 Hobel “The Figure” is a voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon that has a spicy layered nose of vanilla extract, plums, cherries, toasty vanilla, rose petals and turned earth. The wine is juicy, rich and silky, with loads of glycerin. While it is easy to drink now, the depth of the materials promises great evolution.  Only 4 barrels  (96 cases) were produced.

Hobel 2014  “The Figure” Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley  ”INAUGURAL VINTAGE”

Retail 100.00 – GGWC 94.99
Use code HOBEL at checkout

Mix & match with other Hobel Cabernets

Winemaker Notes: “2014s showed much more transparency than the 2013s. Vintage character dominated the 2013s, whereas varietal and site expression mark the 2014s which, for me as a winemaker, is a much more enjoyable experience. Wines took a little longer in tank to color up and concentrate so time on skins went from an average of 14-16 days to 18-19 days. The wines continued to concentrate in barrel, improving every time we sampled them.”

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WINE ALERT 200 case 94 Point Grenache GEM



Owner and Winemaker Curt Schalchlin has been producing high quality Rhone varietals at a very respectable price level for years.  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 and Groundwork productions, and the rest as they say is history.  His latest En Gedi Grenache received rave reviews from press and consumers alike – HURRY for this one!

Sans Liege 2013 Grenache “En Gedi” Santa Barbara
Retail 50.00 – GGWC 46.99
Use code ENGEDI at checkout

Winemaker Notes: “Could this be the way, or should you have turned left at that last hedge? You’re lost. Looking up at the towering cedar overhead – the lodestar, you take a quick swig of raspberry liqueur and breath in the scent of sage knowing it must be close. You retrace your steps and begin to think that nothing in the maze looks familiar when something catches your eye. The door, how could you have missed it? It creaks open and memories of your youth and this clandestine place rebound – dried peppercorns, clove, figs, wild blueberries. Sitting knee to knee as cool stream water spatters onto nearby stones to share stolen chocolates from a chalky paper she carried in her apron pocket.”

Robert Parker 94 Points: “Another awesome wine is the 2013 En Gedi Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard, which was mostly destemmed (80%) and spent 22 months in 20% new French puncheons and the rest in neutral oak. Loaded with sweet blackberry fruits, peppery herbs and a kiss of minerality, this full-bodied Grenache has true richness and depth, sweet tannin and rock solid freshness. Drink bottles through 2023.”

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