Exquisite Under $50 Cabernet!


Corey Beck grew up in the Napa Valley in and around the vineyards his grandfather planted at Chateau Montelena.  He started his winemaking career under Scott McLeod at Rubicon (Francis Ford Copolla).  His own Cabernet Sauvignon is an amazing wine sourced from one of the most sought after vineyards in the Napa Valley nearby the Hourglass, 3 Palms and Switchback Ridge vineyards. This wine’s quality is much higher than its price tag!

C-Beck 2013  Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Retail 53.00- GGWC 49.99
Use code CBECK upon check out

The wine’s aromas jump out of the glass upon impact.  Gobs of black stone fruit with hints of sweet vanilla greet you on the gorgeous nose.  This full-bodied wine is big and bold, yet silky and luscious loaded with extremely well-balanced black stone fruits (black currant, dark plum and blackberry) and the right touch of acid that will allow this wine to age nicely.  The wine finishes long with soft and supple tannins.  Only 264 cases of this great wine were produced.

Click here or on the links above to order!




2014 is undeniably a magnificent vintage! The production levels were down from the previous vintage, so that might be a problem, especially when a winery like DuMOL is in high-demand. I would say that this might the best release ever from this winery. I hear from the owner Kerry Muprhy and winemaker Andy Smith that the various wine publications that tasted the wine gave it rave reviews!

DuMol 2014 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley
Retail 60.00 – GGWC 56.99
Use discount code DUMOL14 upon checkout

This might be one of the best Chardonnays DuMol has ever produced. The wine offers focused, piercing aromas of pear, lemon zest and cut grass with a flinty, chalky mineral edge. Crisp apple and lime juice on the palate broadens to ripe melon and white peach. Linear entry expands to layers of ripe stone fruits, almond and nutmeg. Electric acidity brings focus and balance to the persistent and intensely mouthwatering finish. Honey and lemon richness lingers. Serve at no cooler than 55 degrees to allow the wine’s full texture to sing! The 2014 was sourced from 5 amazing  vineyards – Dutton Ranch, DuMOL Estate, Lorenzo, Heintz &  Ritchie.

DuMol 2014 Syrah, Russian River Valley
Retail 64.00 – GGWC 59.99
Use discount code DUMOL14 upon checkout

The 2014 Syrah RRV is by far the best effort to date from Andy Smith. Sourced from three great vineyards (Greywackle, Gregori and Hoppe-Kelly). This wine offers soaring mutli-dimensional aromatic complexity that is really quite dramatic. Violet, dark cassis, graphite and espresso. Bright peppery component with hints of mint and red volcanic character. Simultaneously fragrant and red-fruited but with a brooding inner dark power. Focussed and granular tannins that are long but never edgy. Lingering complexity – espresso, dusty cocoa and mixed black fruits. Decant for an hour in its youth. You can easily age this wine for 10 to 15 years!

DuMol 2014 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
Retail 74.00 – GGWC 71.99
Use discount code DUMOL14 upon checkout

One of the best RRV Pinot Noir DuMOL has ever produced! This wine is brilliant in the glass. Lovely purity of Russian River Pinot Noir aromas: juicy black cherry, black raspberry, sassafras and rosehip. As it opens, cassis and smoke then savory fennel emerge. Full in body, this wine is layered with bright red fruits on the lush palate, then broad and chewy with real depth of flavor and deep resonant texture. Firms up with air to a lingering mouthwashing savory finish. This truly is a real gem by Andy Smith – Sourced from some stunning vineyards in the Valley.

Click here or on the links above to order!


The Evolution of Rhone Varietals in California

Many new winemakers in California are choosing to work with the Rhone varieties instead of the Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc grapes commonly associated with Napa wines. Cost and the suitability of California’s climate are a couple of the reasons but the reliable track record is the driving force.

Rhone grapes have a long history in California, with immigrant families planting Carignan and Grenache as far back as the late 1800’s. The seeds for California’s current love with Rhone grapes were sewn in the 70’s when Joseph Phelps, McDowell Winery, Zaca Mesa and Gary Eberle grew Syrah. Phelps and McDowell’s plantings were in northern California while Eberle and Zaca Mesa’s were on the Central Coast.

The next generation of aspiring “Rhone Rangers” was already in place. After a couple of years working as a tour guide at Zaca Mesa is Los Olivos, an aspiring young winemaker named Bob Lindquist started a new label, Qupe, in 1982. He made Chardonnay to help get his foot in the door but won people over with the Syrah.

Randall Grahm cc WikiCommonsBy the mid 80’s he was joined by others, not least an idiosyncratic UC Davis grad named Randall Grahm. Grahm was hell bent on making Pinot Noir, and he did, in Oregon.  However, when it came time to putting a stake in the ground, he settled on a small coastal town near Santa Cruz, Bonny Doon, and got to work on his masterpiece, “Le Cigare Volant,” an homage to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The first vintage, 1984, was released in 1986.

Further inland Josh Jensen from Calera, planted the aromatic white Northern Rhone grape, Viognier. He made his first wine in 1986. By the early 90’s, John Alban, Steve Edmunds, the earlier pioneers, and others were working not only with Viognier but Roussanne and Marsanne, too.

California’s Mediterranean climate suits Rhone grapes. From Mendocino to San Diego County, and as far east as the Sierra Foothills, there are now nearly two dozen Rhône varieties grown. Some of the most exciting new California producers including DRAGONETTEHERMAN STORY, SANS LIEGE, LONGTABLE, PAUL LATO, DUMOL, etc.  have made the Rhone varieties their focus.

Every year there are new winemakers who aspire to make their mark, not just with the better known Rhone varieties but also with Cinsault, Counoise, Grenache Blanc and others.

The Rhone Rangers has over 100 member wineries and growers, and there are dozens of other California producers that also work with Rhone varieties.  Syrah is the 5th most widely planted red wine grape in the state and Grenache is the 8th. No doubt, Rhône varieties are here to stay and even though their roots in California may not run as deep as Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel, they’ve played a big part in the evolution of California wine.

If you want to try some of the new star Rhone grape wineries stop by Golden Gate Wine Cellars for our Rhone Rangers Tasting this Saturday August 6 from 1-5 PM.

For those of you living out of state, we’ll make our Tasting Selection available at a nice discount. Make sure to look for our Saturday 8/6 email for the tasting lineup.



Changes are coming!


As we slide into August, I hope that your summer has been a great one so far! I am excited to tell you about a couple of changes that are coming here at Golden Gate Wine Cellars. We have had a very busy year here and have gotten a lot of great feedback from our customers that we have implemented and are rolling out this week.

Our regular newsletter has been bringing you the first notice on the best new wine releases and Frank’s tasting notes several times a week for more than ten years. It has been a long time coming, but we are freshening up the newsletter to also include informative articles and news about wine, appellations, varietals, wine makers & wine making, and the Napa Region. Be sure to look extra closely at upcoming emails for featured interviews with the best up-and-coming wine all stars, educational articles like “How, when, and why should you decant a wine”, and everything else in-between.

You will not want to miss a single edition, so be sure that you add as well as to your address book or email contacts. If you use gmail, see this informative article on how to make sure the newsletter makes it to your email inbox.

After a lot of input and consideration, we are re-vamping our wine clubs! Many of you already subscribe to our exclusive wine club that delivers a case of hand-picked wines right to your door every couple of months. However, we have heard from some customers that they would like the option of a more approachable price point, to be able to get wines more frequently, or to choose a specific style of wine that suits their tastes more closely.

With this in mind, I am pleased to introduce our “New” Wine Club, the best way to discover and sample new wines.

Every month we will ship you a selection of 3 hard-to-find, boutique producers so you can decide if you want to add any of these wines to your cellar later.   We will also include comprehensive tasting and food pairing notes. Plus, as a member of the wine club, you will receive an exclusive 10% discount on the “club wines” when you buy 6 or more bottles!

You can choose from the following Wine Clubs:

1.       The Strictly White Wine Club – 99.99
In this club you will receive 3 white selections, personally selected by Frank and his tasting panel.  Not just some boring Chardonnay, but a selection of great whites (yes, we might include a Chardonnay once in a while), such as Arbe Garbe, DuMOL Viognier, Morlet’s 99 point rated White Blend, etc.

2.       The Pinot Club – 124.99
In this club you will receive 3 Pinot Noir selections, personally selected by Frank and his tasting panel.   It doesn’t always have to be big and bold, and I personally love a good Pinot Noir.  Pinot Noirs can be served with cuisine from all four seasons, so very versatile.

3.       Frank’s Selection of the Month Club – 174.99 – 199.99
In this club you will receive 3 amazing selections of some hard-to-find boutique producers, personally selected by Frank – so no one to blame but Frank.  Because my name is attached to this club, you will not be disappointed with the wines coming your way!

4.       High Octane Wine Club – 224.99 – 249.99
In this club you will receive 3 high-end selections, hand-selected by Frank and his esteemed tasting panel.  Since many of my high-end wines sell out so fast, we wanted to give you a chance to taste some highly rated, limited produced (red) gems.

As you can see, we have a lot going on and I hope that you are as excited about these changes as I am! Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the new newsletters and start thinking about which wine club you would like to join! As always, don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions about any of the wines, need some advice, or just want to chat about wine.

Thanks again for your support, and “Remember to drink good wine!”



The Domaine Romanee-Conti from California


Katy Wilson named her winery after her great-grandmother – Verona LaRue Newell.  Verona survived and suffered through the great depression.  Verona left a big impression on her and when she started her own business dedicated the winery “LaRue” to her.  Katy grew up on a farm and at a young age knew that she wanted to be a winemaker.  She drove a tractor before she could drive a car!  After graduating with a degree in winemaking, she gained experience working at many great wineries both in the US as overseas, Phelps, Craggy Range, Torbreck and most recent at Kamen, but it was during her days at Flowers that she fell in love with Pinot Noir and the Sonoma Coast.  She sources from two stellar vineyards, Rice-Spivak and Emmaline Ann – used by many great wineries like Cobb, Flowers, William Selyem, etc.

LaRue 2013 Rice-Spivak Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Retail 75.00 – GGWC 72.99
Use code LARUEPN at checkout

This is a beautifully complex wine that offers the unexpected. The wine is rich and textured with fragrant aromas of Bing Cherries, crushed flowers and a touch of rose petals.  On the palate, this large Pinot Noir is full in flavor yet elegant and not flabby! If I was drinking Burgundy, I’d say Grand Cru Pommard! The wine is amazing from start to finish.  Lush bright cherries, tea leaves coat the palate. The wine’s balance is impeccable with the right touch of acid intertwined with great fruit. The finish is long and mouth-watering. Only 200 cases produced! Alcohol 12.5%

Galloni 94 Points: “One of the highlights in this range, the 2013 Pinot Noir Rice-Spivak is superb. Deep, dark and pliant, the 2013 captures a striking middle ground, with expressive aromatics and giving fruit, all with support from beams of tannin and acidity that shape the wine and add focus. This is another fabulous Pinot from Katy Wilson, but readers will have to be patient. Blood orange, spice and rose petal add an exotic flair on the close.”

Click here or on the links above to order!




I am excited to introduce the new Coho Cabernet Sauvignon from the exceptional 2013 vintage. The wine is sourced from five small, family-owned vineyards located on Diamond Mountain, Yountville, and Coombsville. Winemaker Phil Titus (longtime “star” at Chappellet) produced an amazing, crowd-pleasing wine! As always the Coho production is limited – so don’t wait too long to jump on this wine!

Coho 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Retail 65.00 – GGWC 61.99
Use code COHO at checkout

The 2013 Coho Cabernet kicks of with spicy aromatics of licorice and mocha that  lead to a rich palate of cassis and black currant flavors on the big bold palate. The wine is full and lush in body, loaded with bold and bright black stone fruit and a touch of lively acidity that will support the flavors for years of exceptional enjoyment. However you won’t have to wait as it is already eminently enjoyable.

Antonio Galloni wrote in Vinous: “This is one of the more open-knit, voluptuous wine(s) of the year…Readers looking for immediate gratification will find plenty of that here.”

Robert Parker says: “The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon might be the best of the Coho wines. The wine has a deep ruby/purple color, rich cassis fruit, good acidity, purity and ripeness. This is impressive, full-bodied and well-made. Drink it over the next 10-15 years.”

Click here or on the links above to order!


July 30 Wine Tasting Special!


Many of our clients wish they can attend the Saturday tastings, but they live out-of-state. So here’s a solution – we will make the wines we taste available to you at our “Special Tasting Day Price.”

Today our theme is “Boutique Producers” (click on the links below for full tasting notes.) When you order 6 or more bottles (mix & match ok) you’ll receive 10% OFF the wines, and you can have your own tasting at the leisure of your home.

Here is today’s lineup:

Wine made by 100 point winemaker, Mike Smith

Wine made by Pam Starr, formerly Spottswoode

On the wine list at Gary Danko

Wine made by Screaming Eagle winemaker – 96 Point rating!

C-Beck 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Wine made  by Francis Copolla’s “Rubicon” winemaker, Corey Beck.

Winemaker, Peter Heitz (100 point Turnbull wines) crafted this 100 case selection.

To order, either call or email me, or order online and use code TASTING0730 at checkout.

On a another tasting note – We will be in the New York next year June 17, 2017.   We will bring California wine country to you – 30 wineries, 70+ wines.  You’ll have a chance to meet many winery owners, winemakers and taste all their latest releases.  Plenty of food and good cheeses will be available, so you don’t leave hungry!

Tickets are $150.00 each, but order before September and receive 15% OFF (20% OFF if you pay by check).

For more info on the event contact or (415)337.4083

Click here or on the links above to order!


Pinot Noir of the Month


Winemaker, Kurt Beitler, is a genius winemaker, meticulous farmer, and passionate believer in creating wines that express their depth and complexity with minimal intervention. Kurt grew up around Caymus, being mentored by his uncle, Chuck Wagner, and has unending amounts of passion.  He farms his own vineyards and does everything possible in the vineyard so the winemaking is completely hands on.

The Stuller Vineyard (1263 feet elevation) grows amid redwoods and hawks, and peers over the Pacific Ocean, 5.8 miles west.  The hallmark of Stuller Vineyard is its soil diversity, which determined its planting in two separate plots:  Dijon Clone 115 and Dijon Clone 667. The vines are stressed and have extremely low vigor; each produces mere ounces of fruit.

Boheme 2013 Pinot Noir “Stuller” Sonoma Coast
Retail 55.00 – GGWC 52.99
Use discount shipping code BOHEME upon check out

A beautiful pale ruby color. Nose of red fruits, rose petals and anise. Mid-weight on the palate, smooth and elegant, with flavors of cranberries, pomegranate, orange zest, sage. With its long, clean finish, excellent balance and exquisite structure, this exceptional wine will provide years of enjoyment. Only 285 cases produced.

Click here or on the links above to order!


Hot new 94 point Cabernet


Mark Grassi grew up in Northern California in Walnut Creek. Fond of wilder places, he moved to Napa Valley in 1980. He was torn between working in the wine industry and in construction, and first chose the latter. All the while, Mark kept taking viticulture and enology classes at Napa Valley College and refining his palate. In 1989, Mark launched Grassi & Associates, builders of custom homes, wineries and estates in Napa and Sonoma Valley. In 1999, he acquired 14 fertile acres in one of Napa’s finest winegrowing areas. That vision became reality with Grassi Wine Company, founded in 2001. Winemaker is ace Robbie Meyer (Peter Michael, Lewis, Peirson-Meyer, Jericho Canyon, etc.)

Grassi 2013 Cabernet “Estate” Napa Valley
Retail 78.00 – GGWC 74.99
Use code GRASSI upon checkout

This youngster offers up gobs of licorice, blueberry and blackberries on the nose.  The wine is well-balanced and not overly concentrated. Very elegant with a medium to full  palate laced with gorgeous red and black fruit intertwined with spring flowers, licorice and a whiff of spice.  The wine finishes long with silky grainy tannins. I’d decant for a good hour.  Enjoyment for 10 years!

Anthony Galloni 94 Points: A dark, sensual wine, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignongraces the palate with expressive blue and dark red fruit, cinnamon, cloves, licorice, menthol and new leather. Drink this bold, racy Cabernet over the next decade or so. The 2013 offers a fabulous combination of concentration, mid-palate depth and intensity, but with silky tannins that give it tons of near and medium-term appeal. The 2013 finishes with striking freshness and a closing note of sweet French oak.”

Click here or on the links above to order!


Blind Tasting Winnner = SMALL but Mind-Boggling Napa Cabernet



Longtime Napa Valley winemaker Charles Thomas (Longtime winemaker at Lokoya and Cardinale with many 100 point ratings!, Verite, Quintessa, Rudd, Opus One, etc …) and his wife Lili Thomas-Hsi (pronounced “SHE”) have been living on Mt. Veeder surrounded by their vineyard.  The first release from their estate was last year when the 2011 THV  was introduced.  The 2012 was just released and I am very excited about this project.


We lined up some amazing highly rated 2012 Napa Cabernets, and surprisingly theTHV blew them all away. The line-up included:
  • Beau Vigne “Estate” (98 RP)
  • Del Dotto “The Beast” (98 RP)
  • Dominus (98 AG)
  • Kongsgaard (95 RP)
  • Anakota “Helena” (96 RP)
  • Barnett “Rattlesnake Hill” (96 RP)
  • Gandona “Estate” (96 RP)
  • Diamond Creek “Red Rock Terrace” (96 RP)
  • Dunn “Howell Mountain” (96 AG)
  • Thomas-Hsi “THV”
The winner = THOMAS-HSI “THV” received 9 FIRST and 4 SECOND place votes, while Beau Vigne and Dominus received the other first place votes.

Thomas-Hsi “THV” Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate” Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley
Retail 170.00 – GGWC 164.99
FREE SHIPPING on 4 or more
Use code THV at checkout

The 2012 THV is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot and a 1/2 % each Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc all from their vineyard atop Mt Veeder. This is a truly remarkable wine. On the nose you are greeted by a combination of chocolate, minerality, a touch of earthiness and bold black and red fruit. On the palate this bold Mountain-grown Cabernet offers up unique flavors of intense and vibrant black stone fruit. This wine is amazingly well-crafted and loaded with gorgeous flavors from start to finish. A real crowd pleaser, this 175 case estate-grown production. Because of the limited production, and the fact I was only allocated 5 cases of this wines, I can tell you that this wine will sell out fast. Don’t wait too long to get in your order! This is a wine that you can drink now (decant a good two hours before serving) and will cellar well for a good 10-15 years.

Click here or on the links above to order!