Small producer slams big name 100 point wines!

Patland WinesIn a recent blind tasting of 2008 Cabernets and 2007 Syrahs, Patland vineyards beat out some big name wineries, including some 100 Point wines!

In the Syrah tasting the lineup included: Alban Reva (100 Points, $150.00), Guigal Cote Rotie La Landonne (97+ Points $350.00!!), Alban Lorraine (96 Points), ,  Betz Family La Cote Rousse, Araujo Eisele Vineyard, Carlisle James Berry Vineyard (96 Points), Paul Hobbs “Kick Ranch” (95 Points) Caysue Cailloux (97 Points), Colgin IX Estate (95 Points $250.00)

The winner: PATLAND 2007 Syrah  Stagecoach Napa Valley

In the Cabernet tasting the lineup included: Chappellet Pritchard Hill, Larkmead (95 Points), Dunn Howell Mountain (98+ Points), Anderson Conn Valley Reserve (98 Points), David Arthur 1147 (95 Points $150.00), Au Sommet (94 Points $250.00), Lewelling (96 Points), Bevan Cellars David’s Cuvee (95 Points, $150.00), Constant (95 + Points), Paul Hobbs Dr. Crane (96 Points $175.00), Hunderd Acre Kayli (96 Points) and Dana Estate (96 Points $350.00)

The winner: PATLAND 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach, Napa Valley

Third generation winegrowers turn heads!

Masut Vineyard and Winery

The Fetzer BrothersThe name Fetzer echoes in the history of California wine. The Fetzers were pioneers of organic and biodynamic winegrowing in California. The founders, Barney and Kathleen Fetzer created the brand many decades ago with the help of their 11 children.  Over the years Fetzer was sold to Brown-Forman (Jack Daniels, etal folks) and the family members all created their little niche wine ventures, among them one that we feature is Saracina and Atrea. Now we added Masut. The winemakers Jacob and Ben Fetzer (3rd generation Fetzers) are the sons of Bobby Fetzer who sadly died at a young age of 51. Both boys grew up on the ranch and at age 4 they pulled leaves on 6 acres of vineyard, but age 8 they made their first wine a blend of Cabernet and Sangiovese and the rest is history.  Today they are making their own wine from the family’s Masut Ranch. The Masut Ranch is 1500 acres, but only 27 acres were planted to grapevines in 1996. Having identified 13 separate blocks, each with its unique slope and contour, they selected appropriate clones: 113, 115 and 777

Masut 2009 Pinot NoirMasut 2009 Pinot Noir “Estate” Mendocino

A small production wine, this 2009 Masut “Estate” Pinot Noir offers a velvety soft texture.  On the nose this organic/biodynamic wine welcomes you with black cherry, a whiff of real Pinot “earthiness”.  On the palate this medium to full-bodied wine offers great complexity and a striking balance of fruit (wild berry jam, coffee and a hint of spice ) and acid which compliments the toasty vanilla richness and hints of cocoa on the finish. Fine tannins and vibrant acidity give it an elegant structure.

Napa’s best kept secret is out. A must have Cabernet!

Gary and RicardoThis is a real find! My old friend, winemaker Pam Starr (formerly Spottswoode, now Crocker-Starr and Bridesmaid) is the brain surgeon behind this medically owned wine venture. The winery is owned by two Chicago physicians, both wine-ohs (i.e. lovers of great wine, great food, the works). Gary (the GAR) is a native of Chicago who grew up with great Italian food and wine. He is a podiatrist and foot surgeon (I guess that helps when you do the “I love Lucy” thing! Ricardo (the RIC) was born in the Philippines and came to the US with his medical degree and $500.00 in his pocket. Fast forward the two guys met (1998) drank a bottle of Lafitte Rothschild and the rest was history. They purchased a property in Calistoga in 2002 and now split time between the win(dy) and win(e) countries.

Garric Cellars 2008 Cabernet SauvignonGarric Cellars 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

The 2008 was sourced from Beckstoffer’s Missouri Hopper (home to many great wines, i.e. World’s End, etc.) and the historic Larkmead vineyard.  Pam Starr is no stranger to make stunning wines, and this puppy is just another example of her craftsman(woman) ship.  When I opened my first bottle, both  my wife and I said: “WAW (What A Wine).  Amazing, the aromatics filled our dining room and my kids even commented that this wine smelled very good.  On the nose tons of black stone fruit, a hint of anise and chocolate were prevalent.  The full-bodied flavors of more black cherry, black currant are lush, intense, yet incredibly well-balanced and in tune with the entire Garric picture!   For such a big bold wine, one would expect gigantic tannins – wrong!  The tannins are silky and elegant, but very long!  Only 400 cases of this little gem were produced, so I highly recommend you jump on this NOW!

Tofanelli beats many Zins in a blind tasting!

Tofanelli Family Vineyard

Vince Tofanelli recently poured at our Valentine’s Day Tasting and wowed many with his great wines and personality. As you might know Tofanelli grows a lot more than what he produces and Turley is one of his biggest clients!  That said, the following day we conducted a bind tasting of 10 great Zins (Martinelli G&L, Biale, Bella Lily Hill, A. Rafanelli, Biale, Black Sears, Rochioli, Paradigm &Turley “Tofanelli”) Our friend from Tofanelli blew away the pack by a horse length! We tasted with 30 people, and Tofanelli received 27 FIRST place votes, so it is not a fluke!

Tofanelli 2008 ZinfandelTofanelli 2008 Zinfandel, Napa

Absolutely classic. The aromatics of this Zin burst forward,  with concentrated fresh boysenberry juice and hints of raspberry sorbet. Sweet pipe tobacco and vanilla scents add complexity. Mouth-coating dark fruits kick in, laced with  allspice, clove and a dash of white pepper. On entry the wine is silky and juicy, with firm tannins supporting snappy Zin fruit expression. Ultra long finish. Drink now and  through 2021.

Tofanelli 2008 Charbono, Napa Valley

A food wine, par excellence. Lovely floral scents of wild rose and carnation combine with dusty blueberry, a vanilla-laced berry pie and yeasty dough aromas. Tar, pencil lead and a mineral component add complexity to the mouth-coating dark berry and black plum character at the wine’s core. Its elegant finish is framed by a nice bright acidity.  Drink now and through 2026.

Romanee Conti at a fraction of its cost!

Drew Winery

Jason Drew has a knack of producing great wines, and Bill Weir growing amazing Pinot Noir. The block used for the 2009 Weir Pinot Noir is a combination of Domaine Romanee Conti Selection and Rochioli clones used to make this stunning release. This vineyard is located in a cool pocket amongst the redwoods in the Yorkville Highlands AVA. The vineyard is on a steep southeastern slope at an elevation of approximately 850 feet. The Weir Vineyard is approximately 15 acres of vineyard planted to some of the more rare Pinot Noir clone selections seen today in California. It is also a source for some other great Pinot Noir producers in California (William Selyem, Spell, Kosta Browne, etc.)

Drew WineryDrew 2009 Pinot Noir “Weir” Yorkville Highlands AVA (Mendocino)

This is one of the most crowd pleasing wines to date. The aromas of sweet and spicy black cherries, exotic plums jump out of the glass. On the palate, this lush, medium to full-bodied Pinot Noir showcases intense flavors that are complex and round with delicious succulent black cherries and sweet plums balanced into a nice package with the right amount of acidity and the real varietal undertones of rose petals and a touch of earthy minerality. Only 180 cases produced. Various sourced scored this wine between 93 and 96 Points! Limited Production!

Right Bank Bordeaux meets the Napa Valley!

Virage WinesA “virage” is a bend or turn in the road. In the Napa Valley the (Virage winery) winemaking road  banks right, in the Bordeaux tradition, blending Cabernet Franc and Merlot ripened slowly in varied soils and a temperate climate.

This little gem turned heads recently when I poured it for some distinguished clients.  All assumed upper tier Bordeaux and a good $100+ a bottle!  Wrong, Napa Valley and less than $50.00!

Virage 2007 Proprietary RedVirage 2007 Proprietary Red, Napa Valley

The exuberant aromatics of this wine (sourced from the Hyde and Beau Terroir Vineyards)  jump out of the glass.  Bright cherries intermingle with black stone fruit, plums and a touch of mint chocolate.  On the palate this lush, full-bodied blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon showcases density and elegance, balance and structure.  Very well-balanced acidity and fine, silky tannins with a dusting of dark cocoa on the long finish.

Small (girl) winery beats up the Big Boys wineries!

Karen Culler has been around for some time now, and her portfolio has been very impressive. Although I think the last blind tasting I conducted might have just elevated her status some more. The Who’s Who of Napa Valley wineries was represented at this tasting. We tasted blind and guessed the price of each wine!
Amazing results!

The line up consisted of:

Wolf Family Estate Cabernet Napa Valley – 94 Points – $85.00
Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard  97+Parker – $200.00
Hundred Acre Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Kayli Morgan Vineyard 96+ Parker – $300.00
Joseph Phelps Insignia Proprietary Red Wine 97 Parker – $175.00
Colgin Cabernet Sauvignon Tychson Hill Vineyard 95 Parker – $500.00
Anderson’s Conn Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve  98 Points Parker $110.00
Carte Blanche Cabernet Sauvigon  96 Points Wine Spectator – $125.00
Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard 97+ Points Parker – $300.00
David Arthur Cabernet Sauvignon Elevation 1147  94+ Points Parker – $135.00
Beau Vigne Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve  96 Points Parker – $100.00
Dana Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Helms Vineyard 96 Parker – $350.00
Del Dotto Cabernet Sauvignon Villa del Lago 96 Poimts – $200.00
Dunn Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain 98+ Points – $100.00
Buccella Cabernet Sauvignon 96 Points Parker – $140.00

The Results….

1) Wolf  Retail 85.00 – Average “guessed” price  $112.00
2) Carte Blanche Retail 125.00  – Average “guessed” price  $102.00
3) Beau Vigne Reserve Retail 100.00 –  – Average “guessed” price  $101.00
4) Dunn Howell Mountain Retail 100.00 –  – Average “guessed” price  $96.00
5) Colgin Tychson Hill Retail 500.00 –  – Average “guessed” price  $95.00
6) Paul Hobbs To Kalon Retail 200.00 –  – Average “guessed” price  $95.00
7) Buccella Retail 140.00 –  – Average “guessed” price  $95.00
8 ) Anderson Conn Valley Rsv -Retail 110.00 – – Average “guessed” price  $75.00
9) Dana Estate Retail 350.00 –  – Average “guessed” price  $75.00
10) Phelps Insignia Retail 175.00 –  – Average “guessed” price  $75.00
11) Del Dotto Villa del Lago Retail 200.00 – – Average “guessed” price  $60.00
12) David Arthur 1147 Retail 135.00 –  – Average “guessed” price  $60.00
13) Hundred Acre Kayli Morgan Retail 300.00  – Average “guessed” price  $60.00
14)Araujo Eisele Retail 300.00 – – Average “guessed” price  $55.00

So this shows again that some of the scores and prices not always make sense. I still believe in Frank’s Palatable Price Point (FPPP) $35.00 – $85.00 rule! We don’t have a large supply of the Wolf wines in stock, so I suggest you hurry on this offer. Six bottles will get you FREE SHIPPING!

Wolf 2008 Estate Cabernet SauvignonWolf Family Vineyards 2008 Estate Cabernet, Napa Valley
94 Points – $85.00

On the nose one is greeted by black cherries and chocolate aromas followed by a full, lush body of black stone fruit and creme de cassis framed into a great, powerful body that is elegant yet amazing! I say elegant, not light!  Full, rich, extracted with a very long intense finish that does not want to end!   Only 175 cases of this little gem were produced!!

Announcing the Grand Unveiling of Our New Website!

After a lot of hard work and sleepless nights, I am excited to introduce you to our new website! It has a whole new look and feel, a lot of new features to make it easier to find the wine you are looking for, and easier for me to get it to you! And at the same time, the site still includes all of the incredible wines you have become accustomed to, and more are being added every day.

To celebrate the opening of our new website, I am including a special “Gift” to my customers over the next couple of days. The first twenty orders on the new website, starting today, will receive a 99.99% discount on a special wine selction that I will include with your shipment! Technically I cant give it away free but this is pretty darn close!

So come on over to and take a look around. Let me know what you think and remember to Always Drink Good Wine!

Que Syrah Syrah, What will be… A stunning wine at a great price!

Meyer Family Syrah

Remember Justin Meyer (founding winemaker/partner) of Silver Oak?  I know you’ll say, I don’t like Silver Oak today – I (might/will) agree.  The first 20 somewhat vintages of Silver Oak are much better than the last 10.  That has to do with the fact that Justin Meyer left Silver Oak 10+ years ago (sadly he passed away about 8 years ago).  Justin his wife Bonny (yes, from Bonny’s Vineyard, which they still own today) and their son Matt started the Meyer Family Estate in Mendocino a good 10-12 years ago.  Currently Matt and his wife Karen (a winemaker from Australia) are at the helm of the estate.  Small amounts of Syrah, Chardonnay and Port are produced from select sites in Mendocino and of course the “Piece de Resistance” THE “Bonny’s Cabernet” from the family estate in Oakville (Napa Valley).  I just tasted with the Meyer folks and the latest (2007) Syrah and (2006) Bonny’s Vineyard Cabernet are outstanding!  Inquire about the upcoming Bonny’s releases, as it is VERY limited!

Meyer Family 2007 Syrah, Yorkville Highlands Mendocino
Retail 30.00 – GGWC 27.99

The 2007 Syrah Yorkville Highlands, Mendocino is THE best effort to come from these nice folks.  As you know, 2007 was one of those almost perfect years and the end result is an almost perfect Syrah. The intense aromatics jump out of the glass with lush ripe black cherries, plums, coffee and a hint of spice.  This full-bodied, very elegant (almost silky) Syrah offers racy yet very well-balanced fruit with the right touch of acidity. A long intense finish gives this wine some more personality.  Drink now – 2020.

Meyer Family 2006 Bonny’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville Napa Valley
Retail 140.00 – GGWC 129.99

This is a throw back to the good old Silver Oak days.  A very intense wine from start to finish.  A little Oakville dust on the nose and mid palate.  Black stone fruit oozing  out of the glass.  Full in body, dense concentrated, with a Bordeaux-like elegance in the center part.  More chocolate, coffee, a touch of leather and intensity lead into a very long finish.  The tannins are there to allow this puppy to cellar well for a good 15-20 years.  VERY LIMITED – 2 bottles per account only.

Meyer Family 2010 Chardonnay, Anderson Valley Mendocino
Retail 26.00 – GGWC 23.99

From the first pour to the last drop, the characteristic that distinguishes this lively and refreshing Chardonnay is its crisp, acid-etched mineral backbone. The nose lacks the butter of a typical California Chardonnay and instead offers a fruit basket of inviting aromas. It arrives on the palate like a fresh apple and pear tart with a squeeze of lemon, lightly spiced with clove and nutmeg. The flint-and-mineral character of the palate is softened by eight months in French oak, which has also added layers of toast and vanilla and a hint of marzipan. Only 158 cases produced.

A $100.00 wine at half the price!

Brian Graham has wowed us for many years with his great blends from Mt. Veeder.  This year he is adding to his portfolio with a single vineyard Cabernet sourced from the Canard vineyard in Calistoga.

As it is the case with other Ramian wines, this one too is very limited!  Only 101 cases produced

Ramian Estate 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon “Canard” Calistoga Napa Valley
Retail 55.00 – GGWC 49.99

This is classic Napa Valley Cabernet in old world style.  On the nose one is greeted by dark fruits that dominate this extracted big, rich, full bodied wine throughout.   The aromas are gorgeous and intense.  On the palate this full-bodied, extremely well-balanced Cabernet offers black currant, coffee and chocolate like flavors that linger into a long, silky finish.  This wine is very bright and rich and offers aging potential, although I decanted a bottle for about 2 hours and really enjoyed just as it had been in my cellar for 4 or 5 years.  Only 101 cases produced, so this wine will go fast!

Ramian Estate 2009 Chardonnay, Red Hen Oakville Napa Valley
Retail 45.00 – GGWC 39.99

Ramian is not always synonymous with Cabernet or Cab blends.  Brian knows how to craft a good Chardonnay as well.  He crafted a gorgeous wine from the Red Hen vineyard in Oakville (Napa Valley).

This wine (125 cases) is a real classic.  The wine offers exotic fruits on the nose with a touch of minerality.  On the palate this medium to full-bodied wine showcases green apple and ripe Anjou pears with a touch of crisp acidity and minerality and a touch of tropical (not sweet) fruit.  The wine is well-balanced and not a butterball at all, as it only underwent 20% Malolactic fermentation.