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
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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.

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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.”

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Unique Rued-Z Clone Chardonnay

There was a man named Ernest. He was an entrepreneur, a risk-taker and a role model for his grandson, Todd Gottula, who founded the Ernest Winery with his wife, Erin Brooks, back in 2012.  Todd’s grandmother, Joanne, is The Artist in the family. Her path as an artist revealed itself later in life, but her talent shines through. Today her beautiful works grace their lives daily—she is the source of the portrait of Ernest that appears on all of the Ernest bottles.

Ernest 2014 Chardonnay “The Farmer” Sonoma Coast
Retail 50.00 – GGWC 47.99
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The Farmer Chardonnay showcases the unique character of the Chardonnay Rued Z clone, offering up aromatics of citrus, white flowers and celery salt. The palate is a very refined, with a subtle appearance of some toasty vanilla elements. The wine is full in body, yet extremely well balanced and NOT buttery.  This youngster offers up some focused acidity and a brightness of fruit making this wine one-of-a-kind. Only 298 cases produced!!!

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Marcassin Disciple’s extraordinary Chardonnay (only 125 cases produced)

Ferren is a winery dedicated to tiny lots of artisanally made single vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines from the Sonoma Coast. Each of the vineyards is a jewel of the true coast, and is farmed to the highest standards of sustainability and wine quality. Owner and winemaker Matt Courtney started Ferren after an eight-year apprenticeship with Helen Turley at Marcassin Vineyard. The wines are made using traditional Burgundian methods without fining or filtration, and native yeasts on the grapes from the vineyards perform the fermentations.

Ferren 2015 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast (Silver Eagle/Lancel Vineyards)
GGWC 62.99
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Nose of apple, pear, mango and white flowers. Layered flavors of stone fruits, honey, zesty citrus and lemon oil pair with a rich mouthfeel without being creamy or buttery. Shows good intensity, complexity, and minerality with a smooth midpalate and a finish that lingers on the palate. 125 cases produced.

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Exotic Howell Mountain Cab Blend

Cami was the fifth child for Tom & Laurie Shelton – a very small 5-acre Howell Mountain project they purchased in 2001.  The property is managed by vineyard “Guru” David Abreu, who said that this soil was real “Cabernet Dirt’.

The family sold the grapes for many years, until Tom’s untimely death in 2008. It was then that Laurie decided to make some of her own wine and dedicating it to Tom’s spirit, and naming it for their last child “Cami”  The total production is a whopping 150 cases and the wine is made by Thomas River Brown’s long time assistant John Giannini at the Outpost Winery.

Cami 2014 Proprietary Red, Howell Mountain Napa Valley
GGWC 129.99
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Opaque and garnet in color with a luscious bouquet of red and blue berries, balanced by rose petal and tobacco with a touch of smoke on the nose, this wine is rich, juicy, and dense in texture like chocolate and boysenberry pie with a hint of smoke and tarragon.

Parker 94 Points: “Composed of 53% Merlot and 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2014 Red Blend displays a deep garnet-purple color with slowly evolving red and black currants, mulberries and underbrush notes with hints of new leather, charcuterie and exotic spices plus a waft of potpourri. Full-bodied, with a firm backbone of lively acid and firm, chewy tannins, it finishes long.”

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Complexity in a bottle…

The Nalle story starts in 1974 when Doug Nalle landed his first job as a cellar worker at Chateau Souverain (now a Francis Ford  Copolla  owned winery) in the Alexander Valley. By 1979 he had earned a co-winemaker job with John Kongsgaard at Balverne winery.  In 1984 he helped design a state-ot-the-art winery for a venture capitalist, which after one year was scuttled, which, in turn, spawned a Nalle-Hambrecht partnership and the Nalle label. The partnership ended amicably in 1990 at which point Doug and his wife, Lee became equal partners.  Fast forward and today his son Andrew is running the day-to-day winemaking after stints in France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Croatia, Spain, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. To say his palate is international is an understatement.

Nalle 2015 Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley
Retail 45.00 – GGWC 42.99
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Comprised of 90% Zinfandel, 6% Petite Sirah, and 4% Carignane, Nalle’s flagship Zin is a perfect blend of 65% Nalle estate old-vine fruit and 35% from the Bernier-Sibary Vineyard (a field blend of 80% Zin, 10% Petite Sirah, and 10% Carignane). Both vineyards are dry farmed and head trained. Aged in 25% new French oak, drink now and for many more years to come!  The 2015 Nalle Zin exhibits an inky/purple color as well as bright aromas of blue and black raspberries, kirsch, and anise. The complex aromatics lead into a lush full-bodied wine that is opulent and silky smooth long and complex finish.

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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.

“What separates the best valley floor sites from good valley floor sites is their ability to drain,” explains winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown. Panek Vineyard blankets a rocky, gently sloping knoll in the shadow of the Mayacamas Mountains along the old Napa River bed wash. The loamy soil, with its highly compacted alluvial deposits of gravel, provides optimal drainage. The valley basin is also more temperate than the hillsides surrounding St. Helena, making it ideal for slower ripening and full development of flavors. These elements coalesce in low yields of reliably superb fruit. Vines at Panek are densely spaced and pruned using the “two straight cane” method, which requires a specific skill set and hands-on, time-intensive attention. The ultimate goal is to allow the “site to shine through” the wine.

Pulido Walker 2015 “Panek Vineyard’ Napa Valley
GGWC 199.99
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Robert Parker 97 Points: “Composed of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged for 20 months in French oak, 80% new, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Panek Vineyard St. Helena has a deep garnet-purple color and gives up coffee, dried herbs and garrigue notions over a crème de cassis, blueberry pie and red currant jelly core with touches of cumin seed and black pepper. Medium to full-bodied, the taut, muscular palate is laden with savory and black fruit layers, featuring firm, ripe, grainy tannins and lovely freshness, finishing long and earthy. 225 cases produced.”

PS: Pulido Walker lost their home in the Napa fire, as well as part of their “estate” vineyard. Purchases of this wine will assist them in rebuilding.

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Blind Tasting Winner!

Last week we conducted a blind tasting of well-known 2015 & 2016 Pinot Noirs.  While all wines were top-notch, a few stood out and here are the results:

  • Aubert CIX (97 Points)
  • Pisoni “Estate”
  • Babcock “Je ne sais quoi” (95 Points)
  • Loring “Aubaine” (94 Points)
  • Walt “Sierra Mar” (94 Points)
  • Brewer Clifton “459” (95 Points)
  • Brickhouse “Les Dijonaise” (95 Points)
  • The Hilt “Vanguard” (94 Points)
  • Paul Lato “Contender” (95 Points)
  • Peay “Pomarium”

My group of 12 tasters and spitters rated the wines as follows:
Peay  5 First, 6 Second, 1 Third = 103/120
Pisoni 4 First, 3 Second, 3 Third, 1 Fourth, 1 Sixth = 79/120
Paul Lato  2 First, 2 Second, 6 Third , 2 Fourth =  66/120
Aubert 1 First, 1 Second, 2 Third, 6 Fourth = 48/120

Our first place always gets 10 Points, second gets 8, and third gets 5 points, all other votes are 1 point
Maximum amount of points = 120 (i.e. 12 first place votes)

Peay 2016 Pinot Noir “Pomarium” Sonoma Coast
GGWC 64.99
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The Pomarium is made from clones and blocks that capture dark fruit and earth flavors while also featuring high tone floral incense aromas. This offers a broad canvas and a balanced tension to the wine that makes it unique among wines from our area and from Pinot noir made, really, anywhere.

The nose on the 2016 Pomarium has a powerful core reminiscent of Japanese plums, which are tangy and tart while also dark and deep black. The floral quality keeps the aroma lifted and bright and not heavy. The palate reveals a more serious and masculine side with dried leaf qualities, dark berry, blood/iron, and blood orange flavors all held together by fine tannins. This is a very good Pomarium and will age beautifully for many years to come.

Galloni 95 Points: “The Peay Pinot Noir Estate Pomarium brings together all the elements of the house style. The creaminess of Ama meets the more tannic profile of the Scallop Shelf in a vivid, nuanced Pinot Noir that hits all the right notes. Dark cherry, plum, rose petal, lavender, licorice, spice and new leather infuse the creamy, expansive finish. The Pomarium is a winner.”

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Paul Lato 2016 Releases!

Great NEWS, the GREAT wines from our friend Paul Lato are here!!!  The 2016 vintage is clearly one for the records books (amazing quality, but sadly still small quantities).  As always, Paul’s wines are first-come, first served.

Paul Lato was born in Poland. He worked as a certified Sommelier in one of Toronto’s most exclusive restaurants and visited California for the first time in early 1990s.  Jim Clendenen (owner of ABC winery & Clendenen wines) told Paul to just pack up and move here, and he would show him the ropes –  a decade later he did make the move and took a job at Bien Nacido vineyards for just $10.00 per hour, he did get free “lodging” at the bunkhouse in the vineyard. The Bien Nacido owner pushed Paul to make his own wine. With some tutoring (he observed the best in the business for some years, asked a lot of questions and experimented a lot) he made his first wines and by chance met Robert Parker.  Parker asked him if “he” was the Polish Sommelier that makes wine and said that he wanted to taste it.  Parker told him that he would tell him immediately if the wine was the real McCoy or …. (slang for excrement) Parker was blown away and gave Paul Lato a rave review. From then on, Paul’s new career was born.

I met Paul in 2002 and have been a big fan since day one, and could say that we have become good friends along the way.  Paul is even making wine under my own “Melis Family” label!

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Paul Lato 2016 Chardonnay “Belle de Jour” ~ GGWC 79.99

This bottling has created a real following.  I would be hard pressed, but I can tell you that this one is every bit as good as the ‘12 (95 Pt WA), ‘13 (96 Pt WA) & ‘14 (95 Pt WA) bottlings, maybe a touch more focused and more elegant! A real “skilled” winemaker gem! Due to the success with the previous vintages I have a lot of demand for this bottling and it will be sold out well before it arrives at my store!

Paul Lato Notes: “Duvarita is a biodynamic-in-the-making vineyard, with a purity, brightness, and provincial beauty to the fruit. Fresh aromas of yellow apple and lime rind arise on the clean and crisp nose, while fully-rounded tones of butterscotch and Meyer lemon envelop the palate in juicy bliss. The finish is long and mouth-watering with toasted hazelnut and honeysuckle notes lingering.”

Jeb Dunnuck (formerly with Robert Parker) 2015 Review 96 Points: “Sautéed apple, salted butter, brioche and toasted bread notes all emerge from this 2015 Chardonnay Belle Du Jour Duvarita Vineyard, which comes from a great site in the Sta. Rita Hills and was fermented and aged in 50% new oak. Rich, supple, elegant, yet stacked Chardonnay that’s already impossible to resist. I love its concentration and I suspect it will evolve nicely for a decade or more.” 

Paul Lato 2016 Chardonnay “Souvenir”  ~ GGWC 79.99

This is a more than worthy follow-up to the other great Souvenir bottlings which received 96-98 Point ratings! This wine might be Paul’s boldest production, yet another gem in my book.  It is by far Paul’s smallest bottling, only 4 barrels produced.  This is a carbon copy of the 2011 that received rave reviews from my clients and critics alike! I’d be shocked not to see similar scores, or higher!

Paul Lato Notes: “24-year-old Wente clone vines contribute to the classic, precise nature of this naturally-pleasing Chardonnay. Golden straw-colored in the glass, notes of clover honey and roasted plantain notes emerge from the nose with great clarity. The mouthfeel is electric and buoyant, with wet limestone minerality and a stunning swell of lemon-like acidity that enlivens the palate.”

Jeb Dunnuck (Formerly with Robert Parker) 2015 review 98 Points: “Showing a touch more oak (it was brought up in 70% new barrels), the 2015 Chardonnay le Souvenir Sierra Madre Vineyard offers classic notes of white peach, pineapple and buttered stone fruits intermixed with spice and hints of toasted nuts. It’s ripe, beautifully textured and full-bodied on the palate offering tons of richness and depth as well as a great finish.”

Paul Lato 2016 Chardonnay “East of Eden” Pisoni Vineyard  ~ GGWC 79.99 

This is the Sixth Release of the “East of Eden” Chardonnay from the famed Pisoni Vineyard. Only a few barrels were produced, and I was lucky to get a few cases from Paul as they were all earmarked for his mailing list and for restaurants like French Laundry, Per Se, Gary Danko, etc.  This is probably the best rendition of a 1er Cru Montrachet produced in California.  As you are aware of Paul’s meticulous wine-making skills and strategy, nothing escapes this guru of precision! I’d say that this wine is very similar to the great 2015 vintage, which received 97 Points from Parker!

Paul Lato notes: “The low-yields of Pisoni Vineyard contribute to this muscular and delineated wine, which several Master Sommelier’s have compared to the legendary Corton of Burgundy. The unique aromatic profile shows alpine flower along with sea water elements and a touch of sweet almond paste. The palate has a textured, tannin-like structure with subdued mineral tones that allow for white floral and tropical qualities to lift up beautifully.”

Jeb Dunnuck (formerly with Robert Parker) 2015 – 98 Points: “Showing a similar color as the other Chardonnays, the 2015 Chardonnay East of Eden Pisoni Vineyard offers a stunning minerality to go with notions toasted bread, charcoal, buttered stone fruits and spice. Rich, concentrated, decadent and textured, it has wonderfully bright acidity and is the finest Chardonnay I’ve tasted from Paul.”

Paul Lato 2016 Pinot Noir “Seabiscuit” ~ GGWC 84.99

This latest Zotovich “Seabiscuit” bottling is by far Paul’s best effort to date! I would say that it will rival his 97 Point rated 2015 version!  As it is the case with all of Paul’s wines, I get limited amounts of this great gems, so I can only remind you how great and limited they are!

Paul Lato Notes: “Located toward the center of Highway 246 on a gentle, even slope with northern exposure, Zotovich Vineyard has proven capable of making extraordinary wine with great aromatics and fine structure. Dark pleasant red, with rose, bing cherry, raspberry cake, and a hint of wood aromatics. It is mid-bodied, zesty and smooth on the texture with a bit of spice on the finish. The tannins are gentle but persistent and will allow this wine to age gracefully with time and will be ready to drink within a couple of years.”

Jeb Dunnuck (formerly with Robert Parker) 2015 – 97 Points: “One of the more Burgundian in style, the 2015 Pinot Noir Seabiscuit Zotovich Vineyard (15 months in 60% new French oak) is one of my favorite Pinot Noirs in the vintage. Concentrated, layered and ethereally textured, this balanced and pure Pinot Noir has ultra-fine tannin and offers beautiful aromas of framboise and blueberry fruits, flowers, violets and blood orange. Incredibly elegant and seamless, it’s pure class. Drink it anytime over the coming decade.”

Paul Lato 2016 Pinot Noir “Suerte” Solomon Hills  ~ GGWC 86.99

Paul is not slowing down one bit, and this workhorse “Suerte” will amaze many Pinot lovers alike! It shows gorgeously young, and will even improve a lot more in the years to come!  Only a few barrels produced! This 2016 is any bit as good as the 96 point rated 2014 & 15 vintages!

Paul Lato Notes: “Solomon Hills is the most westerly vineyard in the appellation, making it the coolest due to its proximity to the ocean. Suerte is a favorite of some of my most loyal supporters, including Thomas Keller and Wolfgang Puck. Dark color with a shiny hue. Pronounced brooding nose with darker fruit nuances of blueberry pie and cherry with a hint of clove and light smoke. On the body, the wine is well defined possessing zesty flavors with balanced structure and bright acidity. While the tannins are quite firm on the finish, the wine delivers plenty of pleasure and intensity. Classic Santa Maria Pinot at its best. Decant one half hour prior to service.”

Jeb Dunnuck (formerly with Robert Parker) 2015 – 96 Points: “The darkest colored in the lineup, the 2015 Pinot Noir Suerte Solomon Hills Vineyard saw 15 months in 65% new French oak. It’s a big, ripe, sexy effort that dishes up lots of cassis and strawberry fruits intermixed with notions of smoked earth, licorice and spices. Layered, pure and silky on the palate, it has fine tannin and a great finish. This textured 2015 is guaranteed to impress over the coming 7-8+ years”

Paul Lato 2016 Pinot Noir “Lancelot” Pisoni Vineyard ~ GGWC 99.99

The “flagship” wine of Paul’s Portfolio!  I don’t need to tell you that the Pisoni vineyard is often compared to the best (1er and Grand Cru) vineyards in Burgundy, and Paul puts a real Burgundian twist on this source!  This wine equals the best of the previous Lancelot bottlings and could even surpass it! VERY LIMITED!

Paul Lato Notes: “This is another special vintage from Pisoni Vineyard.  Vibrant and deep, dark cherry color.  Booming aromatics out of the glass, with blueberry pie-like notes. Power and grace in the mouth with plenty of fruit, oak, and vanilla nuances that blend seamlessly. Touch of spice and abundance of minerality. Long finish, very impressive now and full of aging potential and evolution in the bottle. Our Grand Cru from Santa Lucia Highlands.”

Jeb Dunnuck (formerly with Robert Parker) 2015 – 97 Points: “Coming from the Santa Lucia Highlands and a site located on the southern end and granite soils, the 2015 Pinot Noir Lancelot Pisoni Vineyard was completely destemmed and brought up in the standard 65% new French oak. Its deep ruby color is followed by killer notes of black raspberries, blueberries, violets, spice and spring flowers. Rich and textured, yet also tight and focused, it’s unquestionably the most fruit forward, rich and concentrated in the lineup. It’s a sensational Pinot Noir from this difficult vintage.”

Paul Lato 2016 Pinot Noir “Contender” Drumm Canyon  ~ GGWC 89.99

This might be the best Contender bottling to date!  This rendition of the Drumm Canyon Vineyard “Contender” will make you (happily) dream of a 1er Cru Pommard at a much lower price point!  This latest release is Paul’s best effort to-date and I have only 5 cases of this wine to offer!

Paul Lato Notes: “Our parcel at Drum Canyon Vineyard is on a severely steep hillside graced with beautiful southern exposure. Attractive, dark red. Boysenberry and cassis notes. Full of energy, wired with fine tannin and a long spicy finish. Made from two Burgundy suitcase clones, and would easily fit as a ringer wine in a Burgundy tasting. Decant one hour prior to service.”

Jeb Dunnuck (Formerly with Robert Parker) 2015 – 95 Points: “The 2015 Pinot Noir The Contender Drum Canyon Vineyard is similarly colored and offers a slightly more plump, rounded style. Framboise, flowers, strawberries and spice give way to a medium to full-bodied, seamless, beautifully textured Pinot Noir that has no hard edges and a terrific finish. Drink it anytime over the coming decade.”

Paul Lato 2016 Pinot Noir “Atticus” John Sebastiano Vineyard, Santa Barbara ~ GGWC 84.99

This might be one of Paul’s best renditions of this great vineyard.  Intensely aromatic, lush fruit, medium to full in body, but extremely well-balanced.  Bright red stone fruit on the mid-palate with a hint of spice leading into a long silky finish.

Paul Lato Notes: “John Sebastiano is my most eastern vineyard in the appellation with a stunning south facing hillside topography.  Combined with its relatively windy locale, this vineyard produces wines of high concentration.  This wine has pronounced notes of raspberry and tart blueberry.  It has smooth texture, fine structure, and a zesty long finish with a hint of spice. Needs three years in the bottle but will last 12+ years.  Atticus has been an international favorite from its very first vintage.”

Jeb Dunnuck (Formerly with Robert Parker) 95+ Points: “From a site on the eastern edge of the Sta. Rita Hills, the 2015 Pinot Noir Atticus John Sebastiano Vineyard spent 15 months in 75% new French oak. It’s vibrant ruby color is followed by notes of blackberries, raspberries, smoked earth, ground herbs and hints of minerality. It’s one of the larger framed, riper wines from Paul, yet in this vintage, it stays beautifully focused, tight and pure. It has the balance and texture to shine today, but it will be better with a year or two of bottle age.”

Paul Lato 2016 Pinot Noir “Duende” Gold Coast  ~ GGWC 84.99

This is Burgundy made in California!  The Gold Coast Vineyard is almost 30 years old and is not planted on rootstock!  Intensely perfumed aromatics jump out of the glass. Medium to full in body, this wine offers gobs of red stone fruit, a touch of underbrush and spice in its medium to full-bodied shell.  The wine lingers for a longtime into a gorgeous, lengthy finish.

Paul Lato Notes: “This may very well by my finest vintage of Duende to date. Delicate, medium red color and fantastic perfume. Stewed strawberry and raspberry notes with very pleasant red fruit nuances from the nearly 30 year old vines at Gold Coast Vineyard. Silky texture on the tongue from the intermingling of the fruit with the finest new French oak – refreshing acidity and light tannins on the finish.  Duende is a perennial favorite of many of my longest customers.”

Jeb Dunnuck (Formerly with Robert Parker) 2015 – 94 Points: “The 2015 Pinot Noir Duende Gold Coast Vineyard from Paul was completely destemmed and spent 15 months in 50% new French oak. It’s an ethereally textured, lightly colored, finesse-driven effort that comes from 27-year-old vines and the old Martini clone of Pinot Noir. It offers sensational notes of rose petals, strawberries, cherries, mint and sappy herbs. Medium-bodied, lightly textured, yet with tension, purity and verve, give bottes a year or two of bottle age and enjoy over the following decade.”

Paul Lato 2016 Pinot Noir “Prospect” Sierra Madre – GGWC 89.99

The 2016 Pinot Noir “The Prospect” is polished and sensual from the very first taste. Plump and juicy, but also light on its feet, it has a level of finesse and subtlety that is quite rare in this vintage. Bright, saline notes infuse the tightly wound finish. I would prefer to cellar the 2016 for a year or two.

Paul Lato notes: “We source the best of the best grapes from Sierra Madre, the prime property in the middle of the valley; Sierra Madre and Pisoni are the only two vineyards that I make both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  Medium dark color, pretty and translucent with a nose of fresh strawberry and bing cherry. It has well defined mineral structure and finishes zesty and delicious.”

Jeb Dunnuck (Formerly with Robert Parker) 2015 – 95 Points: “The 2015 Pinot Noir The Prospect Sierra Madre Vineyard is another Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir from Paul and this was aged 15 months in 45% new French oak. Slightly deeper ruby colored than the Duende, it offers more framboise, black cherry, earth and forest floor aromas and flavors, a silky, layered texture, high, yet integrated acidity and fine tannin. It excels in the more firm, focused style of the vintage and will keep for a decade or more.”

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