Sep
26
2020

The Challenge of Hybrid Grape Varietals

The Challenge of Hybrid Grape Varietals

by Dwight Furrow
in foodandwineaesthetics.com
 

A recent article by Jamie Goode on the need for the wine community to embrace hybrid grape varietals raises an important set of issues. Most of the wines we drink are made from the grape species Vitis vinifera. But these varietals cannot survive cold winter temperatures and they are subject to a variety of diseases such as downy mildew and powdery mildew which require heavy applications of fungicides. As Jamie points out, these fungicides are not sustainable.  Copper sulfate is especially harmful to the long-term health of the soil.

One solution is to grow hybrid grape varieties made by crossing of European Vitis vinifera vines, American Vitis labrusca and Vitis riparia grapes. These hybrids not only survive cold winters but are resistant to mildew, requiring significantly fewer applications of chemicals throughout the growing season. Most Californians have never tasted these hybrids and they have been banned from many European appellations because they were deemed inferior to vinifera. Yet they are common throughout the Midwest and East Coast.

The challenge is taste. For those of us accustomed to the flavors and structure of vinifera varieties, these hybrids taste odd to say the least. I’ve tasted my share of Marquette, Norton, Frontenac, Chambourcin, Traminette, La Crescent and many others. Some were quite good; others quite dreadful. As with all winemaking it’s a matter of matching varietal, location and wine making technique. As everyday drinking wines most have potential (although I think Frontenac Red has a future only as a port-style wine). Can these wines reach the heights of the very best vinifera? Will we see a 100 point Marquette in the near future? It’s hard to say in part because it’s a matter of adjusting our taste sensibilities to include flavors that don’t quite fit our conventional categories.

The challenge then is not all on the grape growers, viticulturalists, and winemakers. It’s on those of us who taste seriously as well. We at least need to be open-minded about hybrids and adjust our concepts of what wines should taste like. Tasting the new is always a challenge but it is how we make progress.

As Jamie concludes:

“It may take some time for the wine world to open its mind to resistant varieties, but the current situation isn’t sustainable. Our longtime addiction to Vitis vinifera grapes — used in the vast majority of today’s wines — with its attendant spray regimes, is simply no longer justifiable. It’s time to recognize the progress made by the grape breeders, and to get behind these new resistant varieties.”
 

Sep
25
2020

Philippe Melka’s Hidden Napa Cabernet Gem


 

A classic Bordeaux-style blend (90% Cabernet Sauvignon & 10% Petit Verdot) sourced from premier Napa Valley sites, Double Eagle Red is treated to site specific winemaking focused on expressing the rich, fruit-driven style of the valley floor vineyards.  It was aged for 20 months in 60% new French oak. The wine shows a  garnet-purple color.  Bright aromas of  red and black currants, and subtle cordial notes with touches of red roses, violets, spice box jump out of the glass.  The wine is medium to full-bodied, bold and with silky grained tannins.  The wine is complex and offers bright freshness and depth, finishing long. Only 400 cases were produced!

Double Eagle 2016 Proprietary Red, Napa Valley
GGWC 94.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code EAGLE during checkout

Mix & match with Double Eagle Sauvignon Blanc

Also check out their small production Sauvignon Blanc

Double Eagle 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley  
GGWC 49.99
FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more
use code EAGLE during checkout

Mix & match with Double Eagle Red

The 2018 Sauvignon Blanc greets you with lively  notes of lemon tart, key lime pie and orange blossoms, a touch of fresh grapefruit and a whiff of minerality. The wine is medium-bodied, and the palate has beautiful elegance and freshness with bright citrus and mineral notes, framed by a great refreshing backbone and silky  texture.  The wine serenades you with a nice long perfumy finish.

Click here or on the links above to order!
Call 415-337-4083 or email frank@goldengatewinecellars.com for priority allocation.

Sep
24
2020

Understated, Vivid & Intense 95 Point BEST “Dollar-Cost-Average” Chardonnay


 

Walter Hansel has been synonymous with great quality at a great price! Year after year these wines impress me and my clientele alike. The first vines were planted in 1978 just up the block from Kistler!  The first vintage they produced 3 barrels of Pinot Noir and 10 barrels of Chardonnay, and the rest as they say, is history! Stephen Hansel (Walter’s son) had one of the best winemakers as his tutor (Tom Rochiolli) so it is no surprise that they are still putting out great wines decades later. Year after year this winery produces amazing “Dollar Cost Average” under-priced, and over-delivered quality wines!

Walter Hansel 2018 Cuvée Alyce Chardonnay, Russian River Valley
$41.99 Net item
FREE SHIPPING on 12
Use code HANSEL during checkout

OK to mix & match with other Hansel wines

Robert Parker 95 Points: “The 2018 Chardonnay Cuvée Alyce opens slowly to lovely aromas of warm peaches and apricots with accents of toast, roasted almonds and honey. The medium-bodied palate is silky, super concentrated, layered and fresh, cut through with uplifting mineral character and finishing very, very long. Gorgeous!”

Vinous 94 Points:The 2018 Chardonnay Cuvée Alyce is rich and vivid, yet also light on its feet. A wine of real personality and character, the Cuvée Alyce is intense and yet not at all heavy. Lemon peel, almond, dried flowers and sweet spice are all nicely lifted in a class, understated Chardonnay that will drink well with minimal cellaring.”

Tasting Notes: The Cuvée Alyce opens with new oak aromas of toast, smoke, nutmeg and a gunflint hint with pie crust, spiced red apples, warm yellow peaches and loads of savory nuances—honey, hazelnuts, dried hay—at the core. Medium to full-bodied, it packs a wallop of flavor in the mouth, giving up oodles of warm fruits, spices and savory flavors, with great freshness to lift the very long, layered finish. This is fabulous! Give it another couple years in the bottle.

Click here or on the links above to order!
Call 415-337-4083 or email frank@goldengatewinecellars.com for priority allocation.

Sep
23
2020

Screaming Eagle winemaker locates a wine from the “Lost & Found” Department


 

The 2018 Vin Perdu label features esteemed winemaker, Heidi Barrett, lifting off from the vineyard — and taking the wine with her! If you do not get your hands on this wine now, it will be long gone; your eternal “lost wine”!

Vin Perdu 2018 Proprietary Red, Napa Valley
GGWC 94.99
FREE SHIPPING on six or more!
Use code VINPERDU during checkout

Vin Perdu is racy and voluptuous, not to mention incredibly delicious. Succulent red cherry, rose petal, mocha, plum and spice are all given an extra kick of textural richness. Plush, opulent and creamy, this wine is an absolutely joyous wine to enjoy over the next decade or so.

Winery Notes: “The Vin Perdu 2018 is composed of estate grown grapes from the Amuse Bouche, La Sirena and Fantesca properties. For this vintage, Heidi masterfully blended 33% Cabernet Sauvignon with 12% Petit Verdot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 38% Syrah and 6% Merlot.”
 

BE SURE TO JOIN US ON OCTOBER 2nd!
HEIDI BARRETT’S LA SIRENA VIRTUAL WINE TASTING!

Click here for tickets!

Click here or on the links above to order!
Call 415-337-4083 or email frank@goldengatewinecellars.com for priority allocation.

Sep
22
2020

The Queen of the Valley delivers another great Cabernet


 

In case you didn’t know her yet, It all started in the late 80s when Heidi Barrett began working for Dalla Valle as an “independent winemaker”. She began to develop a tiny project called Screaming Eagle shortly afterwards, and from there, things escalated quickly. With 5 perfect 100-point scores for her wines in the span of just a few years, Heidi skyrocketed to international fame, setting a world record for the highest price ever paid for a single bottle of wine – $500,000 for a 6L of 1992 Screaming Eagle at the Napa Valley Wine Auction in 2000. Today, Heidi maintains a stable of ultra-premium client wineries, including Paradigm, Lamborn, Amuse Bouche, Au Sommet, Fantesca, and Kenzo, as well as her own brands La Sirena and Barrett & Barrett. She and Bo live among their vineyards in Calistoga. In her free time, she enjoys scuba diving, flying her helicopter, making art, and gardening.

Paradigm 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Oakville Napa Valley
GGWC 84.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code PARA16 during checkout

Silky, structured and subdued, this wine shines in black pepper, leather and tobacco, with a dash of underlying dark chocolate. More savory than fruit forward, it has lively acidity and integrated oak and plenty of structure for aging.

Winemaker Heidi Barrett Notes: “Dark Cabernet color with beautiful aromas of black cherry, cassis, plums, 5-spice, vanilla. Big, ripe and mouth-coating across the palate. The flavors are similar to the aromas with ripe fruit, berry/cherry pie, moderate tannins, and nice length. This wine shows enough structure to be age-worthy yet soft and balanced enough to enjoy upon release. Flavors linger in this tasty dense wine. Tastes like Oakville.”

Click here or on the links above to order!
Call 415-337-4083 or email frank@goldengatewinecellars.com for priority allocation.

Sep
21
2020

2 BARREL, 96 POINT CHARDONNAY SENSATION


 

In 2001, the Peirson and Meyer families brought more than 70 years of collective passion and experience in wine together to form what would become the Peirson Meyer vineyards. Now, nineteen years later they have an established reputation for highly acclaimed wines worth noticing.

Peirson Meyer 2017 Chardonnay Untitled # 12, Sonoma Coast
GGWC 79.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code PM17CHD during checkout

Winemaker Notes: ”Through the art of blending our Untitled #12 Chardonnay achieves a perfect balance of richness, acidity and elegance. The palate is full of ripe tropical notes and orange oil, laced with creamy sweet spices. The finish is long, seductive and persistent on the palate.”

Vinous 96 Points: “The 2017 Chardonnay Untitled #12 is stellar. The Untitled Chardonnay is meant to capture the essence of the vintage. I haven’t always found it to be materially more complex than the two vineyard designates, but there is no denying the sheer beauty of the 2017. Lemon confit, white flowers, orchard fruit and chamomile all grace this very pretty and expressive Chardonnay.”

Click here or on the links above to order!
Call 415-337-4083 or email frank@goldengatewinecellars.com for priority allocation.

Sep
20
2020

FREE Virtual Wine Tasting Giveaway!

Dear Friends,

We are having fun with our Weekly Virtual Wine Tasting events. If you have not yet joined us, I highly recommend you do! Every Friday at 3 PM PST we meet with a winemaker/winery owner at his/her winery and taste 3 new releases. I provide some food pairing suggestions so you can make it a real Happy Hour!

This is a chance to visit California Wine Country from the comfort of your home, while enjoying the wines, meet and taste with the winemaker – So no travel, no hotel, no car rental – JUST order a 3-PACK of wine and we deliver it to your home in time for the session(s)!  Invite your friends, family and have a Social Distance Wine Tasting. I know that some of you have organized an entire dinner around the wines, others just S.I.P.ped and munched on finger foods, but everyone has had a great time.
 

BUY 2 Virtual Tastings, and RECEIVE A THIRD VIRTUAL TASTING FREE*!
PLEASE CALL ME DIRECTLY at 415.337.4083 to to receive your FREE VIRTUAL WINE TASTING*!

I look forward to seeing you on one of our future sessions!

A Humbled
St. Frank,
Your Patron Saint of (soft) Tannins

 

Virtual Wine Tasting Schedule

CLICK HERE to place your order

*To get your free tasting, you must CALL 415-337-4083.
*The free tasting will be the one lesser total price.

 

VIRTUAL CALENDAR (Every Friday at 3 PM PST, we will feature 3 or 4 wines)
~ wines need to be purchased by no later than the Monday before the tasting in order to participate ~
 
 
Sept 25

Coho with owner Gary Lipp

Three new releases and one GGWC exclusive wine!
~ wines need to be purchased by no later than Sept 21 in order to participate ~

__________________
 
Oct 2

La SIrena with Remi and/or Heidi Barrett

~ wines need to be purchased by no later than Sept 28 in order to participate ~

__________________
 
Oct 9

Walter Hansel with owner/winemaker Stephen Hansel

~ wines need to be purchased by no later than Oct 5 in order to participate ~

__________________
 
Oct 16

Shared Notes & Cattleya with Bibiana Gonzalez Rave Pisoni and Jeff Pisoni

~ wines need to be purchased by no later than Oct 12 in order to participate ~
 
Sep
19
2020

Thomas Rivers Brown’s 97 Point Napa Valley “Pauillac”


 

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.

Pulido Walker 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon “Panek” Napa Valley
GGWC 229.99
FREE SHIPPING on 3
Use code PULIDO during checkout

Winemaker Notes: “Yield was smaller than average in 2017 throughout the Valley, and the Panek Vineyard was no exception. While quantity was down, the quality of all five clones planted to this site continues to impress. We saw superb maturation across the board, with clone 337 coming into its own and clone 6 putting on its best showing ever. The 2017 Pulido~Walker Panek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is blended from the three clones we have traditionally used, along with clone 337, to bring you a wine of excellent quality from a vineyard where quality has become consistently high. This vintage is balanced and light on its feet, with fresh fruit characteristics. Somewhat more red fruited than is typical even for this site, the wine is a refreshing one to drink now. We have seen fleshier vintages certainly, and much as we anticipate the ways those wines will develop with age, we greatly appreciate the 2017 Panek Cabernet Sauvignon for giving us something delicious to uncork right away.”

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points: “Lots of dark fruits, scorched earth, tobacco, and some Pauillac-like lead pencil notes emerge from the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, which is 100% varietal from a great vineyard in St. Helena. With medium to full-bodied richness, ripe tannins, and impressive balance, this savory, meaty Cabernet is going to benefit from 4-5 years of bottle age and drink beautifully for 15-20 years or more.”

Click here or on the links above to order!
Call 415-337-4083 or email frank@goldengatewinecellars.com for priority allocation.

Sep
18
2020

96 Pinot Noir Gem


 

The Beaux Frères Vineyard was a creation of Robert Parker and his brother-in-law (Beaux Frere) Mike Etzel.  The winery/vineyard is located on an 88-acre farm atop Ribbon Ridge in the Chehalem Valley near Newberg (Yamhill County, Willamette Valley). Tall and stately Douglas fir trees cover nearly 50 acres of the farm, with homestead and winery buildings occupying another 8 acres. The vineyard is situated on 30 acres of steep, contiguous southeast, south and southwest facing hillsides of Willakenzie soils at elevations of around 400 feet. Planting began in 1988 with tightly planted Pinot Noir vines spaced at a density of about 2200 plants to the acre. The oldest vines in the vineyard are now a seasoned 29 years of age, and the vineyard as a whole is a mixture of own-rooted Pommard and Wädenswil clones and younger Dijon clones on phylloxera-resistant rootstocks.  Recently Robert Parker & Mike Etzel each sold a chunk of their ownership to a French producer.  However, Mike Etzel will remain on as President and winemaker.

Beaux Frères 2018 Pinot Noir “Beaux Frères Vineyard” Ribbon Ridge
GGWC 94.99
FREE SHIPPING on six or more
Use code BF18PN during checkout

Vinous 96 Points: “Brilliant ruby. Intense red and blue fruit, floral and spice qualities on the highly perfumed nose, along with hints of cola and licorice. Juicy and precise, offering concentrated raspberry, boysenberry and floral pastille flavors that take on a five-spice-powder nuance with air. Plays power off delicacy with a sure hand and finishes extremely long and silky, with polished tannins framing lingering red fruit and candied rose notes. 45% new oak”

Winemaker Notes: “Aromatics of potpourri, candied cherry, Asian spice and incense lift elegantly from the glass. A silky entry point on the palate leads to notions of pure blue and red fruits, fresh fennel, and juicy cranberry, all supporting a depth of connected and composed tannins that deliver a remarkably mouthwatering finish. There is a complex level of tension at its core, indicating a nearly timeless potential for cellaring.“

Click here or on the links above to order!
Call 415-337-4083 or email frank@goldengatewinecellars.com for priority allocation.

Sep
17
2020

Solid, Dollar-Cost-Average GREAT Value Napa Cabernet



 

Turnbull has been rooted in the culture and history of the Napa Valley for more than 35 years. Operating out of a small building from the original estate winery in Oakville, they stand for exceptional quality and a true Napa Valley wine experience, as it should be.  This Cabernet is true Dollar-Cost-Value priced!

Turnbull 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Regular $59.99 – Now 49.99
FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more!
Use code TURNBULL during checkout

Dusted blackberries, plums, and dark fruit tones coalesce into a wide expanse of engaging freshness and vibrancy. Creamy tannins tell a story of a layered and complex wine. Brilliant raspberry reduction, Rainier cherry, and cassis unfold in waves through the mid-palate to its impressive, well-tiered finish. This 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is truly symphonic in its progression of flavor, density, power, and lift.

Click here or on the links above to order!
Call 415-337-4083 or email frank@goldengatewinecellars.com for priority allocation.