95+ Rated, 5 Barrel Pinot Gem = FREE SHIPPING

Founded by husband and wife team Sarah and Chris Pittenger in 2009, Gros Ventre  is a small, family-owned winery operating out of the Sierra Foothills. They produce less than 1,000 cases of vineyard-designated wines such as Pinot Noir from the True Sonoma Coast and Anderson Valley, along with several new wines from the burgeoning wine region of El Dorado, where Chris is also the winemaker for “Rhone-varietal” winery Skinner Vineyards.

Gros Ventre 2015 “First Born” Pinot Noir
GGWC 64.99 net
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Robert Parker 95+ Points: “Pale to medium ruby-purple in color, the 2015 Pinot Noir First Born has pronounced notes of crushed black cherries, fresh raspberries and pomegranate with touches of roses, menthol, black soil and fungi. Medium-bodied and delicately crafted with a firm frame of very ripe, very fine-grained tannins and seamless freshness, the red fruit and earthy layers give way to a good, long, perfumed finish. 118 cases produced.”

Winemaker Notes:First Born is Gros Ventre’s flagship cuvée – a barrel selection of the best lots in a given vintage. The 2015 is comprised of 5 barrels sourced from an undisclosed vineyard in the Fort-Ross Seaview AVA, plus a single barrel of Campbell Ranch Vineyard (Annapolis). First Born is typically the boldest, most fruit-laden wine, but also shows some of the brightest acidity. This is the first year we’ve ever put 60% new oak in any wine, but this dense and structured beast called for it and is reveling in our decision. It chews up the new French oak and subtly integrates it with dark red and blue fruit notes, plus Asian 5-spice, orange peel, clove, and vanilla bean. The palate is flooded with fruit tannins, and finishes with a mouth-watering acidity.”

Click here or on the links above to order!


Vine Hill Ranch: The Quiet Superstar

Galloni 96+ Points: “The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon is gorgeous. Above all else, I am impressed with how much freshness the 2015 shows. Racy red cherry, plum, rose petal and lavender notes fill out the wine’s sumptuous frame. Bottled just a few months ago, the 2015 is a bit reticent, but it is nevertheless impressive. Time in the glass brings out the wine’s natural radiance.”

Vine Hill Ranch 2015 “Estate” Cabernet Sauvignon
GGWC 199.99
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The Vine Hill Ranch Story
by David Rosengarten, Forbes Lifestyle

In the fame-drenched Napa Valley, there is a tremendously important vineyard, growing Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, that is not famous at all. When you read the history of this vineyard, in the dramatic decades of the 60s, the 70s, the 80s, the 90s, right up to the modern day—what you find is a record of the most important changes that shook Napa Valley, pushed it into its modern superstar status. The vineyard of which I sing — VINE HILL RANCH  — quietly, surreptitiously, played one of the most central roles of all in the rise of California’s most iconic wine region.

Some proof…

Margaret PattilloPick a “famous” Napa wine from the 20th century. Let’s say the historic 1968 Beaulieu Vineyard Georges de Latour Private Reserve. A classic—made by the classic winemaker of the day, Russian-born André Tchelistcheff. What grapes did he choose to crush into this wine? Many of them were from Vine Hill Ranch, which sits in a beautiful southwestern corner of Oakville, rolling up over gentle hills into the east side of the Napa/Sonoma border (the Mayacamas Monutains). The elegant, almost European ’68 BV Georges de Latour made the kind of waves in the wine world that puts a wine region on the map….though it was not an era of “vineyard identification”…so it did nothing for the fame of the vineyard that grew the grapes
Another historic wine from the 20th century? How about its opposite, in a way: the much richer, much chunkier 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Robert Mondavi…grown almost 30 years after the ’68 BV Georges de Latour? You guessed it: same vineyard source, Vine Hill Ranch. BUT…a very, very different wine.

In fact, from the 1950s, when Vine Hill Ranch was established…Napa Valley Cabernet has been on a roller-coaster, style-wise. Vine Hill Ranch has seen it all. Its flavorful fruit has been used by many Napa winemakers for many decades to craft wines that were “of the times”—elegant sometimes, but at other times more forward and boisterous. Following the history of wines made from Vine Hill fruit is a way of following the history of Napa: Cakebread, Chappellet, Etude, Duckhorn, Lail, Bond, Araujo, and, right up to today, the great group at Favia Erickson Winemakers (Andy Erickson was the famous winemaker who fermented Screaming Eagle into mind-blurring fame).

Most happily, once and for all, I hope….Vine Hill Ranch, in 2008, decided to start using some of its own grapes to make its own wines, wines identifying “Vine Hill Ranch” on the label as the producer. And the establishment of the brand came right in the middle of one of Napa’s greatest stylistic eras (which is still going on): the era of the Modern Napa Wine, which is much less weighty, much more ethereal than the Napa wines of the 1980s-1990s. A perfect vineyard source (Vine Hill Ranch), found a perfect winemaker in 2008 (Francoise Peschon), to make elegant wines, through this day, that are the best possible expressions of Vine Hill fruit.

Intriguingly, almost ten years later, they are still not so well-known

Margaret PattilloThe contemporary Vine Hill wines are like a memoir of another era. Back in 1956, when an architect from Point Reyes, California, named Bruce Kelham, decided to buy a large vineyard in Napa Valley, and to move north to Napa, and to become a grape-grower…Napa Cabernet had an almost Old World aesthetic going on. The wines were gentler, lower in alcohol, somewhat like the European reds that were their historical grandparents. Tchelistcheff’s ’68 BV Georges de Latour was such a wine.

But then… May 1976 happened. In Paris!

Some of California’s best Cabernet producers.. in most cases, producers of rich wines…were asked to compete in Paris, in a blind tasting that set up French Cabernets (from Bordeaux, of course), and California Cabernets, for a duel. The judges were French. Staggeringly, the Californians came out with a first-place victory for the 1973 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (from Napa Valley), as well as big honors for other 1970s Napa Cabs from Heitz, Clos du Val, and Chateau Montelena. You can only imagine the shock throughout the world–and the frenzy in California.

Until the 1976 victory, the traditional, more restrained style was in full force in Napa. According to Dan Berger, wine columnist at the time for the L.A. Times, Cabernet-making was relatively buckled up before the Paris victory: “no excessive ripening (22 to 24 Brix was the standard), no excess alcohol (13.5% was considered too high), almost no new wood.”

But “the judgment of Paris” had its effect. The heads of California winemakers swelled, as did their wines. “If the richer, chunkier style of California Cabernet beat out the more elegant first-growth Bordeaux,” they wondered… “shouldn’t we go richer still?”

And they did. And they came in droves to do it, emboldened by California’s great international victory. “The consumer,” Berger says, “was inundated in the 1980s by brand after brand of new Napa and Sonoma Cabernets.” Soon-to-be classics like the Shafer Hillside Select were inaugurated (first vintage: 1983), as well as lots of smaller-scale wines and wineries. And the use of new oak was rampant; sarcastic tasters at the time spoke of pulling splinters out of their palates.

Well, this was fine and dandy for Vine Hill Ranch; if the pickers harvested their grapes later in the season, the grapes provided superb material for this over-the-top kind of Napa Cabernet.

And the wines got bigger still before the pendulum started swinging back twenty years later. A famous writer contributed a lot to the fattening up. The consumer was overwhelmed by all this up-sizing activity—and needed a lodestar, a voice, to help select these new California Cabernets. Wine writer Robert Parker emerged—who put the final kibosh on the elegant California Cabernet tradition; Parker had a predilection for big, densely fruity, heavily extracted wines, with lots of tannin, alcohol and new oak. “We had in California,” Berger recalls, “the first indications that high scores could sell wines. And because high scores went to fat wines, that changed everything.”

The spectacular 1990 vintage itself sealed the deal. Pushed by this warm year, and by the growing knowledge that making wine that’s bigger and bigger predictably leads to higher and higher scores, a new type of California Cabernet emerged: the expensive bottle (wineries were flirting with $100 per at this point, soon to rise), containing sweet-ish, ripe, concentrated wine, whose price was ostensibly justified by the 97, 98, 99-point scores the wines were receiving.

Throughout the 1990s, the push was towards Cabernets like these. “What became the norm,” Berger says, “were wines not for the dinner table, not for the cellar (because alcohol and pH were too high for aging)… but ‘walking-around wines,’ show-off wines, trophy wines.” This is the era in which the California cult wines became all the rage: Harlan, Screaming Eagle, Bryant Family Vineyard, Staglin, anything made by Helen or Larry Turley, with prices for a single young bottle rising absurdly close to $1000. “These were egocentric wines,” notes Bob Millman of Executive Wine Seminars, a prestigious tasting group in New York City, “centered around the egos of the proprietors, or the flying consultants flown in from across the globe to assist them.” The wines, according to Steve Tanzer, of the top wine publication Vinous, became “urban indoor sporting events.”

As if this weren’t enough basis for change, the ’80s had brought another startling development: the discovery of phylloxera in northern California’s vineyards, the same root louse that had nearly wiped out the vineyards of Europe in the late 19th century. This horrific plague threatened the end of Napa Valley wine. Yes, Napa Valley was riding the Cabernet rocket–but the rocket was about to explode, if something wasn’t done about the vineyards.

Having no choice, many wineries pulled out their old, phylloxera-susceptible vines—as they did, in a major way, at Vine Hill Ranch—and planted new rootstock that was much more resistant to the disease. The changes wrought by this were unexpected–and enormous. The new vines produced massive amounts of sugar easily; it soon became apparent that you could have much more concentrated wine than ever before, with higher alcohol and a greater impression of sweetness. A lot of the newly re-planted vines came with new trellising systems…..bringing even more sunshine and ripening to the grapes. Plus….modern yeast strains that came into vogue at this time were better at converting sugar to alcohol.

“Intriguingly,” says Bruce Phillips, grandson of Bruce Kelham, and current co-owner of Vine Hill Ranch—“another trend was taking hold at the time of the post-phylloxera re-planting: the identification of vineyards on the labels.” Robert Mondavi, a long-time buyer of Vine Hill Ranch grapes, started identifying his wine made from Vine Hill grapes as Robert Mondavi Winery Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon.” Before the phylloxera epidemic, Phillips pointed out, “almost all vineyards were planted in a way to maximize volume. But at this time—the re-planting of quality producers started to emphasize individual plots.” This was an important new phenomenon in California that lasts to this day—mirroring the age-old practice of wine in, say, Burgundy, where the most prominent thing on the most expensive labels has always been the name of the vineyard, not the producer. Vineyard-identification in Napa accompanied the rise of richer, more expensive wines.

Margaret PattilloSo where can you go from there? Nowhere. 16% alcohol? No way. There WAS no way for these pumped-up, expensive, vineyard-identified wines to get any bigger in style.

So… they didn’t. Starting in the mid-2000s, after taking much international ribbing about “monster” wines…and just about at the time that Vine Hill Ranch was starting to make its own wine, in an elegant style…Napa Cabernet went on a diet.

“While heightened alcohols and fruit concentrations dominated the wines of the late 90’s and early part of this century,” says Bruce Phillips, ”Napa inevitably moved towards grapes being harvested at balanced maturity…resulting in wines that are uniquely expressive of their individual vineyard sites and the subtle nuances informed by each individual growing season.”

Phillips made a great contribution to ths trend. When a guy whose family has been growing grapes for fifty years starts making wine himself, people notice. Neighbors notice the kind of wine he’s making. And right from the VHR get-go, in 2008, Francoise Peschon has been making Napa wine in a decidedly French direction.

Easy question: where is Vine Hill Ranch wine going from here? To ever-greater quality, I suspect. Peschon, is still in place, at the height of her skills. Many of the blocks of Vine Hill Ranch that are used for the winery’s own wine are getting older—a good thing, in viticulture! And a very good thing, in this case! I had the opportunity recently to taste through barrel samples of the most recent vintage, the 2017. There were six samples, each from a different block of the 70-acre vineyard; each of the blocks had had its own planting date.

Intriguingly, my two favorite barrel samples were from the two youngest blocks! One of these blocks was five years old, and one was six years old. They seemed much brighter, even deeper, than the blocks averaging around 20 years of age.

Margaret PattilloThis doesn’t necessarily mean that the younger vines are better vines; Peschon uses different barrel treatment for wines from blocks with different ages—typically choosing more new oak, and longer stays in oak, for wines from older blocks. But the careful tracking that she does—and constant experimenting—will inevitably lead to adjustments that improve the quality of the wine. When I asked her about her criteria in choosing barrels, she said “we look for barrels that enhance the quality of our vineyard, rather than make a statement.” Brava! Exactly what a winemaker in Napa Valley in 2000 might not have said!

I also had the chance to taste a range of recent vintages already in bottle. Brava again! I especially liked two: the 2010, a luscious wine, with pretty eucalyptus notes, and very little wood influence; and the 2015, a wine that’s becoming available in retail, elegant, with good acid, and with touches of vanilla and camphor in the very pretty nose. Complex, high-quality wines, the both of them.

These wines are not inexpensive, of course…like so many wines before them that came out of this very special vineyard. The 2015 has just appeared in California wine shops at around $200 a bottle. But if you compare that to other first-rate, better-known Napa Cabs—at Wally’s Wine and Spirits in Los Angeles, you can find yourself a nice 2015 Screaming Eagle for only $2500—I’d say $200 is quite a bargain.

Grapes in the same family since 1956, wines from the same winemaker since 2008—both of these things encourage me to break the piggy bank (it’s only a fracture, really!) for this enormously consistent wine from VINE HILL RANCH.

Click here or on the links above to order!


175 case Blind Wine Tasting Surprise

My tasting group of 12 brought in a nice selection of 2014 Chardonnays from Oregon and California. The impressive lineup included:

  • Cattleya “Pratt” 95 Pt (RP)
  • Bergstrom “Sigrid” 95 Pt (RP)
  • Brewer Clifton “Hapgood” 95 Pt (RP)
  • Martinelli “Zio Tony” 95 Pt (AG)
  • White Rock “Breccia” 96 Pt (RP)
  • Sanguis “Loner” 94 Pt (RP)
  • Ramey “Ritchie” 95 Pt (RP)
  • Paul Lato “Souvenir” 96 Pt (RP)
  • DuMOL “Estate” 96 Pt (RP)
  • Kistler “Hudson” 96 Pt (AG)
  • Bethel Heights “Casteel” 94 Pt (RP)
  • Littorai “Mays Canyon” 94 Pt (AG)
  • Bethel Heights “Casteel” 94 Pt (RP)

The surprise winner –  Bethel Heights “Casteel” which garnered 7 of the 12 first place, 3 second and 2 third place votes from our panel. Paul Lato received 4 first, 5 second and 3 second place votes followed by DuMol “Estate they received 1 first, 2 second and 6 third place votes.   Very surprised that Kistler, Ramey and Littorai came in at the bottom of the pack.  That is the great thing about doing blind tastings!

Bethel Heights 2014 “Casteel” Chardonnay
GGWC 79.99 net item
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In 1977 Ted Casteel, Pat Dudley, Terry Casteel, and Marilyn Webb abandoned the academic life and bought 75 promising-looking acres northwest of Salem, with 14 acres of newly planted cuttings in the ground. In 1981 they harvested their first crop and started home winemaking in Terry’s basement. In 1984 they produced their first commercial vintage, and now the second generation has taken over the reigns!

Winemaker Notes: “Our 2014 Casteel Chardonnay opens with aromas of preserved lemon, brioche, white pepper and fresh ginger. The palate is both graceful and energetic, displaying the tension of a wine that will age gracefully over the next 8 to 10 years.”

Robert Parker 94 Points: “The 2014 Chardonnay Casteel Reserve had just been bottled. It has a perfumed nose of white flowers and melted candle wax, very well defined with lime and frangipane aromas developing. The palate is well balanced with a crisp, citrus lemon and lime-driven opening. This feels spicier than the Justice Vineyard Chardonnay, gaining depth towards the finish that has a bit of fire in its belly. This is a very well-crafted Chardonnay that should age with style.”

Click here or on the above links to order!


French Laundry & Frank Melis say: ”An Exceptional “Local“ Spanish Red

Jessica Tarpy Shaheen, joined former Screaming Eagle winemaker Andy Erickson at “Favia Erickson Winegrowers” in 2008, where she had the good fortune to work alongside true masters of their craft (the great viticulturist Annie Favia her husband ace winemaker Andy Erickson).  She also worked with several other outstanding growers Mike Wolf, Terry Wilson, Lee Hudson, Phil Coturri and Ann Kraemer.

The “​Shake Ridge” vineyard is a warm, sun-kissed site, high on the slopes of Amador, at the base of the Sierra Mountains. The combination of high altitude and cool air drainage from the mountains allows temperatures to drop significantly in the evening, with a diurnal shift of up to 60 degrees. This juxtaposition translates to rich fruit flavors, while retaining freshness and acidity. Meticulously farmed by Ann Kraemer, the Tempranillo and Graciano come from the original planting of Duero clones in the F Block, embedded in iron-rich volcanic soils with quartz outcroppings. Shake Ridge Vineyards supplies fruit to bevy of notable winemakers (Helen Keplinger, Rosemary Cakebread), etc.

Gather 2014 “Decimo” Proprietary Red, Shake Ridge Vineyard
~ GGWC 44.99 ~
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With a vibrant ruby hue and aromas of Luxardo cherries and violet, the 2014 Gather lures you in with savory notes of dried herbs and five-spice with a hint of lavender that carries over to the palate. As you delve in, layers of star anise, cocoa, espresso, cherry, raspberry, ripe black plum and subtle Amaro and are revealed for a truly complex yet highly quaffable experience. Lush and silky tannins give way to refreshing, balanced acidity, and a long, lingering finish. The blend is composed of 94% Tempranillo and 6% Graciano. ONLY Six barrels produced. ​​

Notable Wine List Placements:
The 2014 Gather is on the following well-regarded wine lists:  The French Laundry, Morimoto Napa, Cole’s Chophouse, Chateau Marmont, Wayfare Tavern, Redd Restaurant, Solage Calistoga, Element Restaurant, Farmstead Restaurant, etc.

Click here or on the links above to order!


Celia Welch’s blind tasting winner!

At the recent blind tasting of 2013 Cabernet and Cabernet Blends a Celia Welch made wine wowed the crowd.  My group of 12 “tasting judges” tasted the following 10 wines:

  • Bevan “McGagh” (98 RP)
  • 12C “G3 (98 RP)
  • Aiken “Rutherford” (95 Points)
  • Quivet “Beckstoffer Las Piedras” (97 RP)
  • Altamura (93 RP)
  • Mark Herold “Mastodon” (98 RP)
  • Chappellet “Signature” (96 RP)
  • Forman (95 RP)
  • Skipstone “Oliver’s Blend” (94 RP)
  • Keever “Inspirado”

The Winner: Keever “Inspirado” with 7 First, 2 Second, 2 Third and 1 Fourth place votes, Bevan received 3 First, 3 Second and 3 Third place votes, followed by Quivet with 1 First, 3 Second and 4 Third place votes. Mark Herold received 1 first place vote.

Keever 2013 Cabernet “Inspirado” Napa Valley
REGULAR 79.99 – TODAY 15% OFF = 67.99 on 6 with FREE SHIPPING
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The 2013 Keever offers up stunning aromas of dark purple berries, chocolate, spice, toasted hazelnuts and wild anise that waft from the glass when one swirls this ripe, lush, succulent, complex Bordeaux-style blend.  The wine is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot and 2% Malbec.

Click here or on the links above to order.


Scientists Have Identified A Yeast Gene That Gives Wine And Beer Special Flavors

Scientists Have Identified A Yeast Gene That
Gives Wine And Beer Special Flavors

Thomas Pellechia
Forbes Magazine

When you taste a wine or beer that calls up the flavor of rose or honey think phenylethyl acetate; it’s a by-product of the yeast cells that turn sugar into alcohol to make wine and beer. Now, says Belgium microbiologists in a research paper, those flavors and more can be purposely developed in yeast strains using the latest gene-swapping scientific method.

The paper was published by mBio, a peer-reviewed journal of the century-old American Society for Microbiology (ASM). ASM covers a wide spectrum of individual microbiological research mainly for scientists to peruse. mBio is focused on more cutting-edge research of broader interest, and since winemaking has been a branch of microbiology ever since Louis Pasteur’s nineteenth century discovery that yeast is responsible for wine’s fermentation, the microbiology of wine is logically one of the areas for mBio to cover.

This particular study was led by Johan Thevelein working with Maria R. Foulquié-Moreno, each at the Center For Microbiology at VIB a Flanders-based life science institute. They applied high-throughput genomic analysis to study a hybrid strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the yeast that ferments wine (and beer).
The researchers found “swaths of DNA” containing multiple genes with one causative gene linked to high production of the flavor compound phenylethyl acetate. They also identified the part of genes that are responsible for intense production of the flavor.

Commercial yeast breeding has given winemakers a measure of control over what used to be an often unreliable process. There are commercial yeasts to facilitate cool fermentation, to bring out fruitiness, to thrive in hostile pH environments, and so on. Yeast plays a critical flavor role in flavoring beer but in wine, the grapes are responsible for most of its flavor. Yet, when yeasts metabolize they alter grape flavors by adding secondary flavors of their own. Hence, after their gene discovery they set out to create yeast strains that produce desirable flavors.

Thevelein claims it’s already possible for microbiologists to create desirable flavors by selecting hybrid strains, but it is a time-consuming process. It’s also a risky process that works in the lab but doesn’t always work in the winery or brewery, where it can produce an off-fermentation. His research proves to him that the best way to engineer desirable traits in yeasts is to use the gene-swapping process known as CRSPR/Cas9.

Using CRSPR/Cas9 Thevelein and Foulquié were also able to increase the phenylethyl acetate flavor compound production in the parents of the hybrid genes they used for their experiment. They say the process creates indistinguishable yeast strains from other methods of yeast breeding, and it is expected to allow yeast breeders to pinpoint breeds that can be used to create certain flavor profiles from which wine and beer producers can select.

Who knows, the step might be that wine buyers can tell winemakers what flavors they would like in their wines when ordering on the futures market. Or maybe wine club members will be allowed to specify which flavors they would like when they place an order. Or maybe it’s nice to know about the genes but there might be no practicality in knowing.

It’s only wine, but it’s so good …

Remember to visit us at or call Frank @ 415.337.4083 to get some…


Master Sommelier’s Stunning new Pinot Project

Within a few months of becoming the ninth Master Sommelier in the United States, Larry Stone became the first American to win the prestigious Best International Sommelier in a French Wines competition in Paris. He continued as a restaurateur and sommelier at the Four Seasons, Charlie Trotter’s, and Rubicon Restaurants. After leaving the restaurant scene Larry worked on various wine ventures, before settling in Oregon and creating “Lingua Franca”.  Larry hired one of the most amazing winemakers in the world – Dominic Lafon as his consulting winemaker and you have the makings of a winning team!

Lingua Franca 2016 Estate Pinot Noir
GGWC 54.99
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Winery Notes: ”The vintage marks the first release from our Estate, a vineyard site that has been coveted for decades and finally planted by Larry Stone. It is beautifully located in the heart of the Eola-Amity Hills, dry farmed organically on Jory and Nekia soils. The wine is medium intense, complex with floral, mineral, flint and red cherry, black plum fruit tones, and a long finish. The fruit is sorted in the vineyard, then sorted by hand, finally by a special destemmer/sorter, handled so as to preserve the terroir of this remarkable site. elegant finish.”

Click here or on the links above to order!


Bevan New Releases Now Available!

The much anticipated releases of Russell Bevan’s “Burgundy Portfolio” have arrived! As always very limited and first-come, first-served!

Bevan 2016 Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir
GGWC 79.99
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Winemaker Notes: “The Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir is made up of four different clones and all of them are expressed on different levels. The power and massive textures come from the Pommard clone, the floral aromatics from the Swan, roasted earth from the Calera and bright fruit from the 828 clone. The combination is a powerful, deep wine that in the glass looks like Cabernet but in the nose is all Pinot Noir seduction. In the world of Pinot Noir this is an 800-pound gorilla.”

Robert Parker (2014) 96 Points: “I tasted four Pinot Noirs from 2014, all of them stunning. My favorite is the 2014 Pinot Noir Petaluma Gap, which is made from Dijon clones 777, 115 and 828 and aged in a combination of François Freres and Gamba oak. He doesn’t filter, so what he has in the barrels ends up in the bottle. The wine has an incredible fragrance of spring flowers, black raspberries, kirsch and licorice, with forest floor. This is a full-bodied, dense, wonderfully textured Pinot Noir with beautiful purity and a long finish – a sumptuous Côtes de Nuit grand cru look-alike. Drink it over the next decade or more.”

Bevan 2016 Rita’s Crown Pinot Noir
GGWC 79.99
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Winemaker Notes: “Our Rita’s Crown Pinot Noir is also a massive wine, but is much more focused on the mid- palate and back of the mouth. The wines from Santa Rita are inky and dark. Plum, cherry, raspberry, the fruits come at you in waves. The textures are pure velvet. This is as decadent of a Pinot Noir as we have ever made.”

Robert Parker (2015) 96 Points: “Across the board, production is smaller in 2015 and I saw many of the same wines that I tasted from bottle in 2014, plus a few newer items. The only Pinot Noir offered was the 2015 Pinot Noir Santa Rita, which looks to be sensational, with exotic notes of blood oranges intermixed with black cherry, Asian spice and blacker fruits in a full-bodied, lush texture with loads of sweet tannin and plenty of glycerin. This will be a sexy beast when released in a year or so.”

Bevan 2016 “Ritchie” Chardonnay
GGWC 69.99
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Winemaker Notes:Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay is our consistent stunner. The long, even-growing season in 2016 allowed us to leave the fruit on the vine longer than we normally do. This, combined with the fact that we only got 1.6 tons per acre, allowed the fruit to develop incredibly thick skins, which equates to power and richness. The nose is more Cote du Beaune than any Chardonnay we have ever made, but the mouth is all California. It is oily and layered. Fruit dominates, but there is a minerality to it that also plays a major role. There is also a slight green tint to the wine as we aggressively fought to limit oxygen exposure, so we could capture as much of the wines verve as possible. You can drink her now or wait for five to seven years and she will still be a beauty.”

Robert Parker (2014) 95 Points: “His 2014 Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard is 100% from this famous vineyard source for Chardonnay, planted with the old Wente clone. There are 250 cases of this wine, which is aged in three-fourths François Frères cooperage and the remainder in Remond. Light golden with a greenish hue, the wine reveals honeyed apricot, white peach, wet pebbles and floral notes. It is rich, full-bodied, loaded with minerality and extremely pure, with the oak well-concealed. This should drink well for 4-5 years, if not longer.”

Bevan 2017 “Dry Stack” Sauvignon Blanc
GGWC 34.99
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Winemaker Notes: “The 2017 Dry Stack Sauvignon Blanc is an incredibly expressive wine already, just weeks in the bottle. The nose is all about the tropics. Pineapple, guava and kiwi dominate. The wine is lively and the glycerin levels are off the chart, giving it a super seductive mid palate. This wine will disappear from your cellar quickly after you open your first bottle”

Robert Parker (2015) 96 Points: “I have said before that Bevan’s Sauvignon Blanc from the Dry Stack Vineyard in Bennett Valley is one of California’s finest examples of this Italian clone of Sauvignon Blanc that is planted in these gravelly, loamy soils. His 2015 Sauvignon Blanc Dry Stack Vyd may be his best to date, simply because yields were lower, and there is even more concentration. This wine is aged half and half in stainless steel and the rest in François Frères Burgundy barrels. It is 100% Sauvignon Blanc, and the wine has a spectacular bouquet of caramelized citrus, honeysuckle, orange blossom and brioche. It is amazingly rich and dense, with the texture of a great grand cru white Burgundy or top California Chardonnay. This is his best yet, and I’ve been buying it every year since I discovered it. Drink it over the next 5-6 years.”

Click here or on the links above to order!



Cinco de Mayo
Wine Tasting Extravaganza and Fundraiser!

On Saturday May 5, I am hosting a benefit wine tasting for my daughter’s High School. The kids don’t have a gymnasium and have been raising money to have one built! However, they are short some funds for the final stretch.

Construction is set to start June 1, so I want to do my share.

I am donating the proceeds of this event back to the school!

To sweeten the deal, if you place an order TODAY or TOMORROW, at Golden Gate Wine Cellars I will enter you in a drawing for FREE TICKETS.

I am giving away 10 tickets, so your chances are pretty good to win a duo ticket (5 x 2 giveways). And even if you don’t win, please join us to support this worthy cause!


 “Bringing Wine Country to the City”
Saturday May 5, 2018
5 to 8 PM

ONLINE $50.00
AT THE DOOR $70.00

RSVP and Purchase Tickets by calling 415-337-4083
or visiting:

Meet the owners/winemakers of the following wineries:

  • Paul Lato
  • Sanguis
  • Coho
  • Halcon
  • MC4
  • Luli
  • Bella
  • Bridesmaid
  • Seabiscuit
  • Solitude
  • Amici
  • Sans Liege
  • Herman Story
  • Pied-A-Terre
  • Teeter-Totter
  • Arbe Garbe
  • Melis Family Winery
  • Green & Red
  • Mi Sueno
  • Monthuys Champagne
  • Paloma
  • Yount Ridge
  • and others TBA

Great wine and generous hors d’oeuvres will be served.

ALL proceeds of this event go to the Waldorf High School Home Court Campaign!!! 




Rick Mirer, the former stand-out Quarterback at Notre Dame and NFL player with the Seahawks, 49ers, Raiders, Bears & Jets turned another longtime hobby into a profession – wine! This Mirror 2014 Cabernet is his eleventh release and I would say the best-effort yet-to-date! His friend Jeff Smith (owner of Hourglass winery) did not need to convince him that there was life after the NFL (New Found Love). He was already a big Hourglass fan, and when they hooked up to discuss his future, Mirror was born – the rest, as they say, is history. The wines are made by Kirk Venge. The name Mirror comes from the two St. Helena vineyards that “mirror” each other across the Napa Valley. The western half is just of Hwy 29, the eastern half perched above the Silverado Trail.

Mirror 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mountain Napa Valley
96 Points!
GGWC 109.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more!
Use code SHIPFREE6 upon checkout

The aromas of this Cabernet Sauvignon are an ever evolving blend of ripe blackberries, dark chocolate and baking spices. The big, bold palate offers layers of complexity – a soft, ripe entry of dark cherry with hints of leather followed by a concentrated core of ripe plum, highlights of vanilla, cinnamon and espresso beans.  The balanced acidity delivers a seamless harmony of fruit and rich tannins that integrate into a clean and long lasting elegant finish.

Winery Notes: “Aroma and bouquet – an elegant and complex blend of ripe blackberry, dry grass with accents of dark chocolate and baking spices. The palate commences with milk chocolate and vanilla followed by a lush complexity of ripe blackberry and blueberry with nuances of nutmeg, cloves and toasted oak. Soft, yet firm and integrated tannins carry through to the silky, elegant, clean finish.”

Click here or on the links above to order!