Dec
11
2019

#8 OF THE YEAR – STUNNING CABERNET in stock now!

By winemaker Jennifer Williams, one of the rising stars of Napa Valley winemaking, the 2016 Black Label is produced with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from the Lewelling, Criscione, and Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyards. This wine took spot number 8 in our annual list of the best wines Napa has to offer! Only 202 cases were produced.

Arrow & Branch 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate “Black Label” Napa Valley
GGWC 124.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6
Use code ARROW during checkout

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points: “The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Black Label come mostly from the Lewelling and Criscione Vineyard (which was planted by Tony Soter in early 2000s), with a touch from Dr. Crane vineyard outside of Saint Helena. Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 22 months in barrel, this rocking, sexy 2016 gives up loads of black currents and black raspberry-like fruit intermixed with intriguing notes of tobacco, spice and incense aromas and flavors. It’s complex, full-bodied, elegant, and just does everything right. I’d be thrilled to drink bottles over the coming 15 years or more, and while it’s not expensive it’s not inexpensive, as Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon goes, it’s an incredible bottle of wine.”

Click here or on the links above to order!
 

Dec
10
2019

The eagerly awaited Carlisle 2017 Fall Releases are now in stock! Better get yours before they are all gone!

Carlisle 2017 Papera Ranch Zinfandel, Russian River Valley
GGWC 51.99
FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more
Use code CARLISLE during checkout

Mix & match with other CARLISLE OK

Medium-dark to dark garnet-ruby. An incredibly high-toned, expressive nose of raspberry coulis, briar, and tobacco. You can’t help but smile when smelling this! On the palate, pure silk and grace. Deftly balanced, texturally nearly ethereal, with intense raspberry, blood orange, and briar-like flavors. Ho-hum. Papera knocks it out of the park again. Drink this archetype Russian River Valley Zinfandel from 2020 through 2028.

Winery Notes: “With irrigation available to these vines planted in 1934, this vineyard weathered the Labor Day Weekend heatwave quite well. Even after our aggressive sorting, both in the vineyard and at the winery, we were still able to produce a normal amount of this flagship wine. Picked three times over a two-week period in the second half of September, each lot was cold soaked for five days before being pressed to French oak, an average of 25% new. Unfined. Unfiltered. “

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points: “The 2017 Zinfandel Papera Ranch comes from a site close to the Mancini Ranch and vines planted in 1934. Notes of plums, blueberries, violets, and earthy, herbal notes all flow to a full-bodied, incredibly deep, layered and concentrated 2017 that certainly makes the most of the vintage. With ripe tannins, remarkable purity of fruit, no hard edges, and flawless balance, it’s another gem in the vintage.”

Carlisle 2017 Integral Proprietary Red, Russian River Valley
GGWC 49.99
FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more
Use code CARLISLE during checkout

Mix & match with other CARLISLE OK

Medium-dark to dark ruby-purple. Lifted aromas of black olive, smoked game, and spice. Smells quite savory and delicious. Medium-full bodied on the palate, notes of spice and earth weave in and out of the black and blue fruit flavors. Tannins are quite fine at this early stage but with the high percentage of whole cluster and Mourvèdre, this wine is definitely built for aging.  If you plan to drink it now, I highly recommend a good two hour decanting.  Enjoy till 2030, and perhaps even beyond.

Winery Notes: “In the first two vintages of The Integral, 2015 and 2016, we simply combined all the Mourvèdre and Syrah in tank and let ‘er rip. But with our blocks at Radiant Ridge Vineyard, the source for this wine, now in full production, we took a more measured approach in this vintage. Some of the Syrah was fermented as 100% whole-cluster while we cofermented the remaining Syrah and Mourvèdre in various combinations and whole-cluster amounts. In the end, the 100% whole-cluster Syrah made the final blend along with a tank of 50/50 fully de-stemmed Syrah and Mourvèdre, and a tank of 44% Mourvèdre (all whole cluster) and 56% Syrah (fully destemmed). We really dodged a bullet as two days after picking this vineyard, the fires broke out and the vineyard became inaccessible for two weeks. Miraculously, despite burning completely around the vineyard, the property incurred no significant damage. Phew! “

Jeb Dunnuck 94+ Points: “Coming from a single vineyard in the cooler Bennett Valley (although the site is so unique they don’t label this wine as from Bennett Valley), the 2017 The Integral checks in as 62% Syrah and 38% Mourvèdre that had the Syrah mostly destemmed and the Mourvèdre fermented with 100% whole clusters. Deep purple-hued with notes of smoke blue fruits, bloody minerality, charcoal, and graphite, it’s medium to full-bodied, concentrated, backward, and structured. Hide bottles for 4-5 years and it’s going to keep for over a decade.”

Carlisle 2017 Piner-Olivet Zinfandel Russian River Valley
GGWC 41.99
FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more
Use code CARLISLE during checkout

Mix & match with other CARLISLE OK

Medium-dark to dark garnet-ruby. Intense aromas of cherry, cactus pear (tuna or higo chumbo in Spanish, I ate a lot of them as a child), pomegranate, and a subtle note of baking spice. Full-bodied but so well-balanced. Flavors of red and black fruits linger in the long and powerful finish. Compared to the ’16, slightly darker in profile yet this offers more immediate enjoyment. Drink this lip-smackin’ Zinfandel from release through 2026.

Winery Notes: Blending is always surprising. You can have two great components for a wine, both worthy of being bottled on their own, but when fully blended together, they do not result in the best wine. As a result, sometimes a portion of a component gets left out. Such was the case when it came to blending our “Big 3” – Carlisle, Papera, and Montafi. Fortunately, the “leftovers” of these three wines melded seamlessly together to create an insanely yummy wine showcasing the terroir of this cool growing area of the Russian River Valley. Twenty-six percent new oak and bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Vinous 94 Points: “The 2017 Zinfandel Piner-Olivet Ranches is absolutely gorgeous. Silky and inviting, with lovely creaminess, the Piner-Olivet Ranches has so much to offer. Juicy dark red berry, blood orange, mint, spice and pomegranate infuse a super-expressive Russian River Zinfandel endowed with tremendous class. The 2017 is a blend of fruit from Carlisle, Papera and Montafi, all top sites in their own right. This is one of the highlights in the range.”

Carlisle 2017 Rossi Ranch Zinfandel Sonoma Valley
GGWC 51.99

FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more
Use code CARLISLE during checkout

Mix & match with other CARLISLE OK

Winery Notes: “Medium-dark to dark ruby-purple. A highly perfumed bouquet of smoked meats, mulberry, black olive, and spring flowers. I could sniff this all day! On the palate, medium-full bodied with flavors of black fruits, earth, and savory spice. Finishes quite long with authoritative but polished tannins. I love this wine now for the aromatic fireworks but believe its best lies ahead. Enjoy from 2023 to 2033.”

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points: “From a well-known site in Sonoma, the 2017 Zinfandel Rossi Ranch offers ripe blackberry and cherry notes as well as complex ground herbs, underbrush, and earthiness. Medium to full-bodied, seamless, and flawlessly balanced, it has fine tannins as well as a great, great finish.”

Click here or on the links above to order!
 

Dec
8
2019

Blind Tasting is the Only Way to Rate Wine Fairly

Blind Tasting is the Only Way to Rate Wine Fairly
BY SEAN P. SULLIVAN

in WineMag.com

 
Blind tasting is at the heart of our ratings and reviews here. But what does that mean exactly? Don’t worry. We aren’t putting blindfolds on ourselves and fumbling around for the wine glass. Though that would be fun to watch.

Blind tasting means bottles are stripped of capsules, placed into paper bags and arranged in peer-group flights of the same or similar styles, varietal compositions, vintages and/or appellations, of about five wines. They are then tasted and scores are recorded, after which the bag is pulled off and the wine revealed.

Why is this method important? Simply put, it removes many opportunities for bias and levels the playing field for all wines to receive the same analysis without any preexisting expectations. That is to say, it removes all preconceived notions, good, bad or in between.
 

Blind tasting removes many opportunities for bias and levels the playing field for all wines to receive the same analysis without any preexisting expectations.

What types of biases exist? Let’s say I know a wine comes from a highly regarded producer. I might be inclined to look at it more favorably. The opposite certainly holds true, too. Perhaps I have never had a high-quality bottle from a certain producer, appellation or vintage. Do those wines really stand a fair chance if I am not tasting blind?

Another important bias is price. We are unaware of price points during our tastings, because otherwise, an expensive wine is more likely to be thought of favorably than an inexpensive wine.

If you don’t believe me, put a bottle of wine in a paper bag at a party. Tell half of your friends it costs $200. Tell the other half it costs $50. Ask how much they like it. I guarantee the differences in how those two groups perceive the wine will be profound.

Removing that variable as a consideration allows reviewers to focus on the juice in the glass and find unexpected high-¬quality, value-driven wines that perform just as well as, if not better than, those for two or three times the price

Biases can compound as well, such as an expensive wine coming from a top producer in a highly regarded vintage, or vice versa.
  
You might think blind tasting is the norm for wine reviews and reviewers, but it isn’t. Some evaluate wines while sitting with the winemaker or in large-scale, nonblind tastings or perhaps in nonblind, smaller tastings.

Personally, I still meet regularly with winemakers to talk about and taste their wines, as do all of Wine Enthusiast’s reviewers, for informational purposes. During these meetings, I usually write down notes and scores, but for my own personal reference—only scores from subsequent blind tastings are published—as the exercise provides an excellent opportunity to compare nonblind and blind scores, albeit with a different bottle on a different occasion.

What have I found? My scores tasting with winemakers are typically one to two points higher, sometimes more, than they are when tasted blind in a controlled setting and peer-group flight.

This shouldn’t be shocking. Winemakers are excited about their wines, and they are trying to get me excited about them too. Guess what? It works!

The effects of expectation can be profound. Blind tasting removes expectation and always yields surprises. As wine professionals, we like to think we are immune from biases. But we are not. We’re only human, after all.

 

Dec
7
2019

Wine is NOT Rocket Science… or is it?

John Caldwell grew up in Napa into a family that ran a shoe business. John eventually turned one business into many more.  Living in Napa and making money, he purchased 54 acres of land and had plans to develop some homes.  Unfortunately, that backfired and now he was “stuck” with 54 acres of dirt.  He had been on trips to France, and one thing let to another that he was going to start a vineyard.  On one of his trips, he decided that the only way to get vines from France was to smuggle them into the country.  With the help of some friends in New York and Canada, he started to bring in vines from Haut Brion.  Unfortunately on his last of 5 trips, he got caught by customs agents.  They wound up confiscating his last load, but John got lucky that via a lawyer friend he was released with a warning and a fine.  His 4300 vines were in a barn in Napa and that started the success story that Caldwell Vineyard would become years later.

In the mid-late 90’s I met John and we tasted through some barrels, when he said, you know this is not “Rocket Science”!  At that time, Philippe Melka was his winemaker, and the next day Melka asked him what that “blend” was all about that he made the day before.  That said, John created “Rocket Science” under my eyes and a new brand was born. So many years later, I am still a big fan of this wine and his first retail account!

Caldwell 2017 “Rocket Science” Red Napa Valley
GGWC 71.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code SHIPFREE6 during checkout

A voluptuous nose is dominated by black raspberry, black currant, ripe blueberries, black olive, cassis, clove, and white pepper. A raspberry attack leads into a full, juicy mouth of ripe plum and cherry. The structured cocoa tannins give way to a long finish of chocolate-covered strawberries.

The 2017 Rocket Science is a blend of 57% Syrah, 14% Tannat, 11% Malbec, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petite Sirah, 2% Merlot

Winemaker’s Notes: “The only sure way to know you’ve got a supernova in your sights is to do a diagnostic… fragrant spices, explosive fruit, finish like a long-tail comet… check. This high-octane vintage draws you in with inviting aromas of raspberry, plum, anise, and rose petals lighting up the red spectrum. Cocoa, leather, and fresh black tea fill in the darker side. Fluid dynamics take over with a full-throttle cherry attack. Mellow, sweet tannins carry the day while this wine’s long, pomegranate finish streaks across the sky with nothing to stop it but another sip.”

Click here or on the links above to order!

Dec
6
2019

96 Point Chardonnay Stunner!


I met Greg Brewer in the late 1990s when he was the assistant winemaker at Santa Barbara winery. He had just made his (own) first two barrels of wine and was very excited about it – I didn’t disagree!  He immediately received great accolades, and 20 years later he’s still at it.  His latest “3D” is yet another example of his great craft.

Brewer Clifton 2017 “3D” Chardonnay, Santa Rita Hills
Retail 70.00 – GGWC 64.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6
Use code BC173D during checkout

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points: “The 2017 Chardonnay 3D comes from a more easterly site that was planted in 2007. It’s a richer Chardonnay and offers an ethereal, gorgeously pure bouquet of caramelized citrus, white flowers, pineapple, honeysuckle, and toasted bread. Beautifully layered, seamless, and polished, with medium to full-bodied richness, it’s another rocking effort.”

Parker 96 Points: “The 2017 Chardonnay 3D has a wonderfully open nose of honey-drizzled hazelnut, sweet hay, warm peach and nectarine with white blossoms, a hint of chamomile, red apple skin and a strong line of crushed rock minerality. It’s medium to full-bodied and juicy with tons of ripe, honeyed fruits that segue back to lime skin and crushed stone on the very long, energetic finish.”

Click here or on the links above to order!
 

Dec
5
2019

Don’t forget the Holiday Bubbles for your end-of-the-year Parties!

The holidays are (almost)here and what better to celebrate than with
some great bubblies that will not break the bank!

Click on the links below for tasting notes & pricing

FRANCOISE BEDEL NV BRUT CHAMPAGNE “ORIGNI-ELLE”
HENRI DOSNON BRUT ROSE CHAMPAGNE
CARBONISTE 2018 ROSE OF PINOT SPARKLING CALIFORNIA
EN TIRAGE 2010 BLANC DE BLANCS, BECKSTOFFER CARNEROS NAPA
ALLIMANT LAUGNER CREMANT ROSE D’ALSACE

THIENOT ROSE CHAMPAGNE NV REIMS, FRANCE 
LOUIS DE GRENELLE PLATINE CREMANT DE LOIRE 
STEPHANE COQUILLETTE CARTE D’OR BRUT CHAMPAGNE 
ANDRE ROBERT BRUT “RESERVE” GRAND CRU, BLANC DE BLANCS, LE MESNIL 
CAZALS 2009 CHAMPAGNE MILLESIEME
CLOTILDE BRUT “GRAND-CRU” CHAMPAGNE, FRANCE 
DIEBOLT VALLOIS CHAMPAGNE NV BRUT ROSE 
MONTHUYS CHAMPAGNE NV BRUT, 750ML
MONTHUYS CHAMPAGNE BRUT NV IN MAGNUM

And, as always, feel free to give us a call at 415-337-4083
for personalized assistance and suggestions!

Dec
4
2019

French Laundry, Benu & Michael Mina’s Favorite & Featured Grand-Cru = FREE SHIPPING

“Site” is a new venture from  Jeremy Weintraub (longtime Seavey winemaker).  He sources from the best “Sites” in California. This latest Viognier is just a good example. The 2016 Site is sourced from the Larner Vineyard.  The Larner Vineyard would be considered a “Grand Cru” if it was located in France.

The wine is on the list at French Laundry, Benu, Michael Mina and some other high-end Bay Area Restaurants.  So I am lucky to have a wine of this caliber in my portfolio as well.

Accolades: “Top Grand Cru Vineyards in California by Wine Spectator ~ Top Five California Vineyards by Wall Street Journal ~ Top 25 Vineyards in the World by Wine & Spirits ~ California’s Best Single Vineyards by Wine Enthusiast ~ Top 5 Vineyards You Can Trust by Pinot Report ~ Ten Best Vineyards by Food & Wine, etc.”

Site 2016 Viognier “Larner Vineyard”
GGWC 44.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6
Use code SITE during checkout

Winery Notes: The Site 2016 Viognier Larner Vineyard, this is an outstanding white that has plenty of classic Viognier character in its buttered stone fruits, banana, and floral aromas and flavors. It’s medium-bodied, has bright acidity, and a beautiful elegance.

Vinous 94 Points: Bright green-tinged straw. Penetrating aromas of ripe citrus and pit fruits are complicated by suggestions of ginger, pungent flowers and dusty minerals. Juicy and deeply concentrated, offering intense white peach, pear nectar and tangerine flavors that show outstanding clarity and minerally back-end cut. The floral note repeats strongly on the incisive finish, which lingers with excellent focus and spicy tenacity.

Click here or on the links above to order!
 

Dec
3
2019

Blind Tasting (Pinot Noir) winner!

Our last Pinot Noir Blind Tasting of year concluded with a surprise winner. We lined up the following great Pinots from California & Oregon:

  • Brickhouse “Les Dijonnais” (95 Points)
  • Morlet “Coteaux Nobles” (96 Points)
  • Brewer Clifton “Hapgood” (95 Points)
  • Rhys “Alpine” (95 Points)
  • Liquid Farm “Spear” (95 Points)
  • Kistler “Cuvee Natalie Silver Belt” (96 Points)
  • Dumol “Finn” (95+ Points)
  • Beaux Frères “The Upper Terrace” (96 Points)
  • Senses “MCM88” (95 Points)
  • Capiaux “Pisoni” (94 Points)

The WINNER was Capiaux “Pisoni” by a landslide!

Capiaux 2016 Pisoni Vineyard Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands
GGWC 59.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6
Use code CAPIAUX during checkout

Pisoni Vineyard’s reputation precedes itself so what if left to say? The 2016 appears darker than usual leaning to the purple spectrum. Old World aromas of earth, carbon and restraint. As it broadens in the glass, black fruit, toasted nuts, currant and even rum raisin emergs. Bright acidity, fine tannins.

The 2016 Pinot Noir Pisoni Vineyard is sensual, racy and inviting. Silky tannins and a creamy palate feel yield a Pisoni of unusual finesse, which is quite remarkable for a site that in the past has tended to produce much darker and more potent wines than this. Hints of violet, lavender, spice and a dash of new oak add shades of nuance.

Click here or on the links above to order!
 

Dec
2
2019

Holiday Gift Suggestions

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Click on any of the suggestions above for more details!

Dec
1
2019

ARE YOU KIDDING? An UNDER $55 Thomas Rivers Brown 95 Point Napa Cab!

The farmer works to produce the best crop possible, knowing once it leaves their hands, they no longer have control. The winemaker, regardless of skill and ability, can only work with what comes through the winery doors.

Matt Hardin, a 6th generation Napa resident and farmer, is a partner in Barbour Vineyards, one of the most renown vineyard management companies in Northern California.

Thomas Rivers Brown, winemaker for some of Napa and Sonoma’s most iconic labels (Schrader Cellars, Outpost and his own Rivers-Marie), has more than 20 100-point wines to his resume.

Working together for many years over many different projects, a friendship was developed. Out of that friendship the idea of working together, utilizing the strengths of the other, Caterwaul was born.

Caterwaul 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, Stag’s Leap Napa Valley
GGWC 54.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6
Use code SHIPFREE6 during checkout

This Cabernet was sourced from one of the most historic and pedigreed sites in Stags Leap. An alluring wine that is dense, plush and beautifully layered in the glass. Bright aromatics play off the super-ripe, racy fruit in a wine that conveys the essence of the vintage and this site to great effect. Hints of pomegranate and white flowers add a decidedly exotic touch to the explosive finish.

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points: “The 2017 showed beautifully and it is certainly in the same ballpark as the 2016. The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley is crazy good for the price and boasts a rounded, sexy style as well as upfront notes of black raspberries, cassis, orange blossom, and dried flowers. This medium to full-bodied effort will drink well right out of the gate.”

Click here or on the links above to order!