French Laundry & Saison’s Top Cabernet by 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 their 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.

Hobel 2015 “The Figure” Cabernet Sauvignon
Retail 115.00 – GGWC 109.99
FREE SHIPPING on 4 or more
Use code HOBEL during checkout

The 2015 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 6 barrels were produced.

Winemaker Notes:  “Whereas the 2013 vintage was marked by its tannin profile and 2014 by its transparency of underlying terroir, 2015 is marked by the generosity of fruit.  Yields were down dramatically in 2015. First, cooler than normal weather during flowering and fruit set limited the berries per cluster. Second, dehydration at the end of the growing season due to the high temperatures further reduced cluster weights. Being just our second vintage from this vineyard, we made some farming adjustments in 2015 to help achieve better balance and structure. Like its 2014 predecessor, this wine is dense and really shows the vintage’s concentration.

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Kosta Browne Winemakers’ HOT NEW “VALUE” Pinot


Entering the wine industry less than 16 years ago as a harvest intern, Shane Finley has literally started at the bottom and worked his way to the top. After spending several seasons as an intern in California, Australia, and the Northern Rhône, Shane became Cellar Master at Copain Custom Crush. While there he had the opportunity to work closely with many notable winemakers including at Dumol, Carlisle, Pisoni Estate and Copain. He later took positions as Assistant Winemaker for Paul Hobbs Winery and then Associate Winemaker at Kosta Browne Wines, eventually head winemaker and now also winemaker at Dan Kosta & Emeril Lagasse’s “Alden Alli” wine venture.

Shane 2015 Pinot Noir “The Charm” Russian River Valley
Retail 47.00 – GGWC 44.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code SHANE during checkout

Showy and structured, the 2015 La Reine Pinot Noir exhibits an inky garnet color in the glass. It is a hedonistic Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir filled with brambly fruits and effusive spice.  Subtle blueberries, plum skin, and cardamom highlight its heady aromatics.  Firm tannins and notes of lavender, Asian spices, and cranberry support the wine’s core. The lingering finish unfurls with hints of sandalwood, ripe cherry, cola and toffee.

Winemaker Notes:La Reine has the structured core and delicate fruits of its predecessors. This years’ rendition is one-hundred percent old vine Martini clone planted in 1971.  La Reine balances Pinot Noir’s purity of fruit and seductive savory elements. Aged in fifteen percent new French oak for fourteen months, with twenty-five percent whole cluster inclusion, the 2015 La Reine is a wine with a firm backbone, juicy acidity, dark fruits and spice.”

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NEWS FLASH: Wine Pirates invade the Napa Valley!

Not fake, you read it right – Pirates have invaded the Napa Valley.  Although only a small section of Napa was captured, I am happy to report that Heidi Barrett fought them and was able to fight off the savage invaders.  But it was here that she created the idea of making a “Pirate” style wine, or in English “out-of-the-box”…

Heidi Barrett does not need any intro, but for those who do not know her – she is “Lady” Napa Valley, even better the “Queen” of the Valley! Heidi just released two new wines from her La Sirena portfolio; 2014 Pirate (her multi varietal  Cabernet based blend) and a stunning (bone dry) 2016 Moscato Azul (a wine for ABC fans  – “Anything But Chardonnay” lovers).

The true treasure of the seven seas – Pirate TreasuRed.  A hearty blend of seven varieties with full ripeness and big flavors from the stellar 2014 weather. The aromatics show layers of fruit; berry, cherry, plum, black raspberry, and pomegranate with smoky, spicy, meaty tones as well, complimented by sweet caramel, vanilla, toasty French oak. It’s a mouth coating yet silky structural wine with flavors that mirror the aromas. This is a big lush red that’s fun and delicious while also being quite versatile and age worthy to boot. Drink up all ye pirates!

La Sirena 2014 Pirate TreasurRed, Napa Valley
Retail 70.00 – GGWC 67.99
Use code PIRATE upon check out

The 2014 Pirate offers up a deep black-ruby colored wine with intense aromatics of sweet ripe fruit layered with toasty vanilla nuances, and hints of caramel. Layers of flavor coat the palate with broad appeal, wonderful cherry texture and seamless tannins. Bold, intense fruit flavors of dense blue and black berries are laced with a touch of chocolate and spice, and a whiff of vanilla. These flavors persist a long time in a lengthy and powerful finish. A great example of the magic of Heidi Barrett’s art of blending!

Suggested pairings: BBQ ribs, pulled pork, jerk chicken, wood-fired pizza, hearty red sauce, brisket, gourmet burgers, chorizo/spicy sausage, and many others – quite a versatile wine.

Make sure to  check out Heidi’s other excellent new release:
La Sirena 2016 Moscato Azul (BONE DRY)

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It is not weird, not light, not small – It is Petite and … comes with Free Shipping!

It started in 1914 when Eliza & Pads Peterson purchased a 100-acre property in the Napa Valley. It hosted a small Zinfandel vineyard, but with the onset of Prohibition in 1920, prunes became the cash crop. It remained an orchard, large vegetable garden and also hosted  numerous farm animals. Not until the 1990s was the orchard replaced by vines again. The current Peterson generation has been growing Petite Sirah, Cabernet and Merlot on the property. Under the guidance of ace-winemaker Robert Foley, the Petersons have been producing amazing wine from the property called “Switchback Ridge” named for the winding trails in the hills above the vineyard. Today Kelly Peterson continues the legacy that began with her great-grandfather, Mads 103 years ago. Her daughter Ashley is being groomed to take over the reins one of these days as well

Switchback Ridge 2014 Petite Sirah, Estate, Napa Valley
Retail 65.00 – GGWC 63.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code SWITCHBACK during checkout

This might be the BEST Petite Sirah to come from the Napa Valley in decades.  The wine offers up a very dark blue/purple color, almost crude oil-like.  On the nose you’ll encounter gorgeous aromas of black stone fruit, dark chocolate, espresso bean and a hint of minerality.  On the palate this lush, full-bodied gem offers bright, bold yet extremely well-balanced fruit.  Very opulent, yet extremely well-refined, this youngster can be enjoyed now, but will be able to cellar for a good 10-15 years.  LIMITED PRODUCTION!

Winemaker Notes: “Welcome to the blackberry patch! Enticing aromas of blackberry pie lead to a viscous and mouth coating palate. Perfectly integrated natural acidity is framed by abundant tannins that are chewy and coating but not angular, giving way to an incredible, long-lasting finish. ~ Bob Foley, Winemaker”

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Life is too short not to drink this bubbly!

I am very proud to announce this stunning Grand Cru GROWER CHAMPAGNE located in the revered hill slopes of Mesnil sur Oger. The Robert Champagne Estate is above all a family business. The Robert family has been cultivating vines for several generations. Henri Robert (1881-1948) began working on vineyards after the 1st  World War when vines were planted “en foule”. In the 1930s he established the first group of ‘growers’ to share equipment needed for pressing and wine-making.

At the start of the 2nd  World War, André Robert (born in 1925) began to work in the vineyard with the use of a horse. In 1960 he bought the Estate (dating back to the 19th century) as it is today with its amazing chalk-stone cellars for ageing. He began to sell his own bottled champagne in 1962. Bathed in the world of champagne throu-ghout his childhood, Bertrand Robert took over the estate in 1961, with his wife Colette joining him in 1990. Bertrand’s daughter, Claire joined her father in 2013 and now works beside him in the vineyards and cellar. These are absolutely stunning champagne offerings… pure and all Grand Cru. Only available in California here at Golden Gate Wine Cellars!

Andre Robert Champagne Brut “Reserve” Grand Cru, Blanc de Blancs, Le Mesnil
Retail 50.00 – GGWC 46.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code BUBBLY during checkout

The Andre Robert is a great bubbly!  Sourced from two Grand Cru vineyards in Le Mesnil (mostly 2009 and 2010 vintage). 100% Chardonnay with a dosage from 8-9 g/l, which translates to medium on the “Brut” rating scale.  This wine has gorgeous aromas of pie and citrus and white stone fruit.  On the palate pleasant fruit and the right acidity, amazingly balanced, a real crowd-pleaser.

Winemaker Notes: “Light yellow color. Expressive nose of white flesh fruit, pastries with overriding mineral touches. The mouth is both structured and refreshing with ever-present minerality, finishing on a slightly toasted register.”

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HOT FROM THE PRESS: Smashing Release from the Mike Smith/Jim Barbour Team

Mike Smith and Jim Barbour have become the Joe Montana/Jerry Rice duo of the Napa Valley!  Our friends at Bench have really benefited from their expertise!

For those who tried and loved the Bench “Circa 1964” I can tell you that the Bench Cabernet will take you to another stratosphere! This is his first Cabernet Sauvignon project from harvest to table in Stags Leap District Mike Smith has done.

Bench Vineyards is a husband and wife venture (Sam Sharp and Allison Steltzner).  The Estate consists of 30 acres and sits next door to Odette and some other great Stag’s Leap vineyards.  The name “Bench Vineyards” comes from its unique topography – a true “benchland” vineyard located on the eastern side of the Napa Valley, directly below the Stag’s Leap Palisades.

Bench 2015 “Estate” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Retail 155.00 – GGWC 149.99
FREE SHIPPING on 4 or more
Use code BENCH during checkout

Mike Smith created a Cabernet Sauvignon that is a masculine in style, but still maintains the elegance of the Stag’s Leap region hallmarks.  The fruit is sourced from the estate’s older Martini Clone that was planted 30+ years ago! The wine offers up striking aromas that jump out of the glass on impact!  The wine, although very full in body and loaded with lush blue and black fruits offers up an stellar roundness and elegance not seen in many Napa Cabernets of this caliber.  The is an over-abundance of richness, purity and complexity in this wine leading to a long and elegant, fine-grained tannin finish. Limited production!

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Last Call for Dave Phinney’s Aftermath!


Jim Kaplan’s winery Aftermath (AFTER MATH) is a story of Math Professor turned Winery Owner, the story of what he is doing “After Math”

Jim Kaplan has a phD in Applied Mathematics and was a professor at Northwestern and Boston Univeristies.  A consulting gig morphed into an investment advisory business, JL Kaplan Associates which grew to manage $5.3 Billion! He sold the business to Wachovia in 2002 and started another business Cubic Asset Management, which he still runs today.  In the meantime, his hobby wine turned into a real winery venture.  He purchased an amazing 15 acre vineyard in the Silverado Bench roughly 200 feet above the valley floor. Only 8 acres are planted to Cabernet and a small amount of Petit Verdot.

His winemaker Dave Phinney does not need an intro, as his name resonates quality for many years now.  His viticulturist is Steve Matthiasson, probably one of the most sought after vineyard managers guys like Dave Abreu and Jim Barbour.

The first vintage 2011 was probably one of the best 2011′s from Napa!  The 2012 sadly “collapsed” in the Napa earthquake.  But luckily the 2013 and 14 were saved!  We did very well with 2013 and sold out in no time. The 2014 just rolled in, and WAW a.k.a What a Wine!

Aftermath 2014 Cabernet “Estate” Napa Valley
Retail 80.00 – GGWC 76.99
Use code MATH upon checkout

This 100% Estate-grown Cabernet offers up an amazing bouquet of classic dark Cabernet fruit that jumps out of the glass upon impact.  This 2014 youngster is lush, full in bodied and surprisingly well-balanced.  The wine is multi-layered loaded with gorgeous black currant, dark chocolate, a whiff of anise, cassis and a touch of spice on the opulent palate.  Extremely well-balanced and in-sync wine that will please the big Cab lover.  This is a killer wine, but unfortunately a very limited production.

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Napa & Sonoma Fire Relief Wine Tasting fundraiser

Today we are holding a Napa & Sonoma Fire Relief Wine Tasting fundraiser at our store in San Francisco. The entire cover charge ($25.00) plus 5% of our sales will go to the relief efforts and rebuilding of our beloved wine valleys! If you are in the San Francisco area, please join us this afternoon from 1-5 PM at 2337 Ocean Avenue!

Purchase advance tickets at or at the door.

If you cannot make the tasting, consider donating to the effort at

We really appreciate all your kindness and support!


Napa Chardonnay = “Grand-Cru Chablis” at a value!

Situated on a hillside above Napa’s Dry Creek Road, the beautiful Harms Vineyard radiates wholesomeness and good vibes. Organically farmed for 25 years, and biodynamic for 20 years, the healthy soils and wise older vines produce deep and complex wines.  If this vineyard was in located in Burgundy, it would be a “Grand-Cru” Chablis!

Winemaker Steve Matthiasson was the 2014 Winemaker of the Year and was recently nominated for the prestigious 2017 James Beard Award!

Matthiasson 2016 “Harm Vineyard” Chardonnay, Napa 
Retail 45.00 – GGWC 42.99
Use code HARM during checkout

The 2016 Matthiasson “Harm” Chardonnay is a knockout wine. It has a lovely and attractive aroma of honeysuckle and flinty notes.  The wine is beautifully defined, intense, balanced and sophisticated. On the palate you are greeteb by fresh, bright and engaging fruit with nice, roundness and surprising richness.  Although young, this wine shows character and flair with gorgrous flavors of Gravenstein apple, a touch of honey, white peach and citrus lemon fanning out on the finish.

Winemaker Notes: It has ripe pear and apple as well as melon and tropical fruits. The wine from the vineyard is soft and fleshy, with rich ripe fruits and a natural opulence. It is a happy, pleasing Chardonnay, reflecting the long history of happiness on the property.  Only 300 cases produced!

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Carlisle has always been one those coveted wineries, so I always get excited when Mike Officer (owner/winemaker) allocates me some of his much sought after wine!  Unfortunately the 2015 vintage is so small that we are offering it to you as a part of mixed six-bottle case (2 bottles each of the “Carlisle” vineyard, Papera Ranch and Rossi Ranch).

This wine will sell out fast, so don’t procrastinate, and ACT NOW!

Carlisle 2015 “Mixed” Six-Pack
USE CODE CARLISLE2015 during checkout

Carlisle 2015 “Carlisle Vineyard” Zinfandel

Dark to very dark ruby-garnet. Much deeper in color than many other Zinfandels in this vintage. An intense nose of blood orange, raspberry (zinberry!), and licorice allsorts. Very expressive and very striking. Totally seamless and polished on the palate with flavors of orange rind and red berry fruit. This is an incredibly nuanced and texturally alluring Zinfandel that is more expressive and approachable than the 2014 rendition. Drink from release to 2024

Robert Parker 94 Points: “The 2015 Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard is 88% Zinfandel and 12% mixed black varietal blend. This is another killer wine, as it is always one of the top wines in his extensive and impressive portfolio. The alcohol is a minor component to this big, juicy, succulent, in-your-face, dramatic Zinfandel that boasts raspberry, black cherry, strawberry, licorice, tar, earth and roasted Provençal herbs. It is spicy and elegant, but at the same time, heady, rich and generously endowed. Drink it over the next 7-10 years.”

Carlisle 2015 “Papera Ranch” Zinfandel

Medium-dark ruby-garnet. With aeration and swirling, aromas of kirsch liqueur and briery spice emerge from the glass. On the palate, tightly coiled but at the same time very poised and polished with no rusticity. Red fruits are echoed in the energetic, mineral-laden finish. Exceptionally well-balanced, this wine will age well and develop further complexity. When to drink? Wait a couple of years and then enjoy from 2020 to 2026.

Robert Parker 94 Points: “A killer effort is the 2015 Zinfandel Papera Ranch, from a vineyard planted in 1934, and made from 96% Zinfandel and 4% Carignan. This is a good-sized wine, given its 15.4% alcohol, but like all of Mike Officer’s wines, the alcohol never shows. Moreover, he clearly gives the fruit plenty of attention so that it can strut its ripeness and full-bodied character, given the fact that he rarely uses more than 20-25% new French oak, and of course, the wines are bottled with no clarification by fining or filtering. This should drink well for up to a decade or more.”

Carlisle 2015 “Rossi Ranch” Zinfandel

Medium-dark ruby-garnet. With aeration and swirling, aromas of kirsch liqueur and briery spice emerge from the glass. On the palate, tightly coiled but at the same time very poised and polished with no rusticity. Red fruits are echoed in the energetic, mineral-laden finish. Exceptionally well-balanced, this wine will age well and develop further complexity. When to drink? Wait a couple of years and then enjoy from 2020 to 2026.

Robert Parker 93 Points: “As for the 2015 Zinfandel Rossi Ranch, this is 100% Zinfandel from low yields, coming from vines planted in 1910 (which makes it a youngster compared to the 122-year-old vines of the Bedrock Vineyard). This has a deep ruby/purple color and oodles of raspberries, Provençal herbs, pepper and strawberries. This elegant, medium-bodied, lusty Zin (15.4% alcohol) should drink well for 5-8 years.”

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