KILLER CABERNET… A Photographer’s other Passion

GKG 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon “Llewellyn Vineyard, Napa Valley
Retail 115.00 – GGWC 109.99 FREE SHIPPING on FOUR or more
Use discount code GKG12 upon checkout

The Story: Greg Gorman is known as one of “the” top celebrity photographers in the world! He demands 20K and more per shoot! A few names, Marlon Brando, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, etc. Greg Gorman has been recognized for his contribution to the world of photography with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Professional Photographers’ of America, the Achievement in Portraiture Award from The Lucie Foundation and the Pacific Design Center Stars of Design award, etc. His passion started while getting his Master Degree in photography in Southern California when sipping on $7 bottles of Rioja. Fast forward to fame and he was asked to shoot the label for Dave Phinney’s “Papillon” label. Since Greg had been a fan of Dave’s Mercury Head Cabernet, that was a no-brainer. So over many glasses of wine and looking at various possible images for a wine label, Greg asked Dave to make a wine for him. He wanted it to be “top notch” just as his photography was. So Dave found a sweet spot on the Llewellyn vineyard, and the rest.. was history.

The Wine: As you know, 2012 was a great growing season with no frost, a mild Spring and a mellow Summer and Fall. The mild spring brought on a good fruit set. The warm summer and fall with no heat waves or excessive rains allowed the fruit to ripen slowly and evenly producing fruit that is rich and dark in color and bearing firm but sweet tannins. The aromatics offer up a combination of black currant and espresso with an underlying hint of toasted oak. Full bodied with strong flavors of black fruit, currants and cherries flood your palate on entry with further hints of espresso, dark chocolate and plums playing on your mid palate-coating the roof of your mouth with elegant integrated flavors of blackberry and cassis. Great acidity and sweet firm tannins round out a long finish and certainly make this vintage very age worthy. The wine is a blend of 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc, 1% Merlot and 1% Malbec all sourced from the Llewellyn vineyard.

Click here or on the links above to order!

*Free ground shipping on qualifying orders to a single address within the continental US. Orders to HI & AK will receive reduced air freight shipping.

Birthday Wine Tasting!

Come help me celebrate my birthday with a special wine tasting today from 1-5 pm! 2337 Ocean Avenue in San Francisco.

Today’s lineup includes:

Gonet-Medeville Champagne, France
Malk 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley
DuMol 2012 Chardonnay Russian River Valley
DuMol 2012 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley
Ziata 2010 Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley
Barrelhead 2010 Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley
Linked (Luc Morlet) 2009 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley

Birthday Lineup

Gros Ventre 2012 Cerise Pinot Noir wins blind tasting

My tasting group reviewd a great selection of 2012 Pinot Noirs. The lineup included

  • Rochioli “West Block” (94 AG)
  • Pahlmeyer (94 AG)
  • AP Vin Garys (95 RP)
  • Purple Hands “Hosltein” (93 WS)
  • Crystallum “Bona Fide” (93 RP)
  • Siduri “Garys” (93 AG)
  • Ceritas (92 AG)
  • Littorai “Platt” (93 AG)
  • Comptche Ridge (94 AG)
  • Anthill “Tina Marie” (93 AG)
  • Sineann “Resonance” (93 WS)
  • Gros Ventre “Cerise”

The Winner: Gros Ventre “Cerise”

Gros Ventre 2012 Pinot Noir “Cerise” Anderson Valley
Retail 55.00 – GGWC 49.99 FREE SHIPPING on SIX or more
Use discount code GV12CPN upon checkout

The Vineyard: This highly coveted vineyard sits high above the Anderson Valley floor – this rocky, wind and fog-swept source continues to impress. The warmer 2012 vintage created a more playful and approachable version than its colder 2011 counterpart (which is just now coming around). While each vintage is unique, there is a common style that is undeniably Cerise — a structured elegance that unfolds and reveals itself beautifully over time.

The Wine: The steady and bountiful 2012 growing season produced a bigger crop and larger clusters and berries. This has made for a lush moutfeel, medium to full bodied wine. This wine, while quite young, exhibits aromas of cherry, strawberry, hard candy, green tea and sage, coupled with floral notes of rose petal and sweet alyssum. The fine tannins and lifted acids provide the architecture to support the wine’s dense and intricate long finish.

Click here or on the links above to order!

*Free ground shipping on qualifying orders to a single address within the continental US. Orders to HI & AK will receive reduced air freight shipping.

Killer Napa Cab 25% OFF ~ Made by Aaron Pott – Vineyard Managed by Jim Barbour

Adler Deutsch 2011 Cabernet “Estate” St. Helena, Napa
Retail 92.00 – GGWC 69.99 FREE SHIPPING on SIX or more
Use discount code ADV11CS upon checkout

The Story: Adler Deutsch Vineyard is located on the edge of the acclaimed West Rutherford Bench. Its soils are composed of Bale loam, rounded gravel and cobbled stones, providing good water drainage. This 2.17 acre site was planted in 2004 to Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyard is planted in three blocks to 5×8 spacing of low-trained vines. The vineyard is meticulously farmed by Jim Barbour and the team at Barbour Vineyards to maintain the health of the vines and preserve the integrity of the land.  Add winemaker Aaron Pott to the mix and you have a tandem winning winemaking team!

Tasting Notes: The 2011 Adler Deutsch Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is a classically-styled Cabernet crafted from estate-grown fruit. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Petit Verdot, the 2011 vintage is a dense ruby color, verging on purple. On the nose, the wine reveals fresh, ripe red and black fruits, including Bing cherry, black cassis, and blackberry along with licorice, violet and dried lavender.  These follow through on the lush and full-bodied palate to combine with chocolate, vanilla and espresso.  The mid-palate is juicy and the finish is a blend of lingering dark fruits and espresso wrapped up in supple and seductive tannins. The 2011 Adler Deutsch Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon will age well for the next decade.

Click here or on the links above to order!

*Free ground shipping on qualifying orders to a single address within the continental US. Orders to HI & AK will receive reduced air freight shipping.

Chardonnay of the month! (6 barrels produced only 10 cases allocated)

In the early 1930’s Garret Bowlus’ grandfather William Hawley Bowlus began launching his one of a kind “Albatross” sailplanes off the ridges of Carmel Valley. Today his family carries on his avant-garde legacy farming Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on a steep Carmel Valley ridge rising over 1250 feet. The vines are rooted in a rocky diatomaceous clay loam soil overlooking Carmel Bay and the Pacific Ocean only seven miles in the distance. They handcraft the wines from soil to bottle with the utmost care and consideration to unearth the unique terroir and reveal the elegance and complexity of the distinct coastal location.

Albatross Ridge 2011 “Estate” Chardonnay, Carmel Valley
Retail 58.00 – GGWC 54.99 FREE SHIPPING on SIX or more
Use discount code ALBA11CHD upon checkout

This might be one of the biggest surprises of the 2014 Spring wine tasting season! This tiny production Chardonnay offers a bright display of stone fruit and white flowers that jump out of the glass on impact. This medium to full-bodied wine offers up amazing flavors of apple, pear, and a hint of apricot that are framed by lively acidity and minerality that leads to a layered richness that lingers on the finish. Only 160 cases produced!

Pairs well with: Oysters, Foie Gras, wild King Salmon and Smoked King Salmon, Sushi and Sashimi, Steak Tartar and Roasted Chicken.

Click here or on the links above to order!

*Free ground shipping on qualifying orders to a single address within the continental US. Orders to HI & AK will receive reduced air freight shipping.

“The” Friday 13th Wine

Everyone panics on the Friday the 13th – I don’t! For this Friday 13th I figure that we needed to have a “different” type of wine, and the 2012 Abstract is just that. This bottling is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Petite Sirah sourced from some great hillside vineyards in Napa and Sonoma. This is a wine that will please many wine drinkers alike from beginner to connoisseur. And on a side-note Friday the 13th is not a bad day, as a matter a fact I was married on a Friday (April) the 13th and I am still happily married!!

“There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.” – Pablo Picasso

Abstract 2012 Proprietary Red Blend
Retail 32.00 – GGWC 28.99 FREE SHIPPING on 12
Use discount code ABS12 upon checkout

The 2012 Abstract has an amazing hue and nose. It offers up a crude oil-like complexion. Out of the glass one is bombarded with perfumed aromatics of black stone fruit, anise, kirsch and a touch of espresso and a whiff of sage spice. On the palate, this full-bodied youngster will tease you with its voluptuous texture yet remarkable freshness of lush black and mulberries, chocolate, plum and a hint of black tea at the tail end. Very well-balanced, good acidity with sweet and silky tannins rounding out this incredibly elegant wine. Long lasting finish.

Click here or on the links above to order!

*Free ground shipping on qualifying orders to a single address within the continental US. Orders to HI & AK will receive reduced air freight shipping.


I know the holidays are not something you are thinking of in June, but we are! Last week I met with the owner and winemaker of this great Champagne producer and am very excited to offer you a chance to offer this great bubbly on Pre-Sale at a nice discount plus FREE SHIPPING!

The Brocard Pierre Champagne vineyards are situated to the South of the Ardennes Champagne region, in the Aube at Celles-sur-Ource, a village in the Côte des Bar, where they benefit from sunshine favorable to the ripening of the grapes, which offers this smooth, harmonious and vintage rich typicity that is quite typical of the Côte des Bar The Celles-sur-Ource vineyard is located in the southernmost part of Champagne, on the hillsides of the valleys of the Ource and of the Seine.

We offer 2 bottlings, both will be in stock late September, well in time for the holiday season! The Pre-Sale ends June 15

Brocard Pierre 1er Cuvee “Blanc de Blancs” Brut
Retail 65.00 – PRE-SALE 55.00 on SIX with FEE SHIPPING

Use discount code BROCPRESALE upon checkout

The Blanc de Blancs (or white of whites) is a blend of 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Blanc sourced from their estate vineyards in Champagne. The wine offers a light golden color with breathtaking aromas of white flowers, marzipan and stone fruits. The gorgeous mouthfeel is fresh and pure, laced with flavors of apples, lemon and meringue and a whiff of roasted almonds. This bubbly will pair well a great shellfish dish, foie gras or just for sipping on its own!

Brocard Pierre 1er Cuvee “Blanc de Noirs” Brut
Retail 65.00 – PRE-SALE 55.00 on SIX with FREE SHIPPING
Use discount code BROCPRESALE upon checkout

The Blanc de Noir (or white of reds) is a 100% Pinot Noir bottling, sourced from the estate vineyards of the Brocard Pierre family in Champagne. This wine offers up a clear, golden hue with a powerful and complex nose of lavender, toasted hazelnuts and figs. A very complex mouthfeel that is rich, crisp and clean, with well-defined flavors of red plums, red raspberries and white cherries. This is a full-bodied Champagne that is rich in the mouth, and is loaded with voluminous fruit and finishes with a long lasting crescendo of complex flavors. This is wine that will accompany many gourmet meals.

Click here or on the links above to order!

A Visit to the Walter Hansel Bistro

A Frank Melis review:

Last week I took my wife and daughters to check out the new Walter Hansel Bistro in the beautiful Russian River Valley.   The restaurant is about 1 mile away from the Walter Hansel Winery and 1 mile from Historic Railroad Square in Santa Rosa, California.

The Bistro is a cozy, single story converted farmhouse that seats about 90 people.

We started with

A great Amuse Bouche of cauliflower and pesto “shooter” served in a tequila shot glass

We shared some appetizers

Liberty Duck Rillettes – A Confit duck leg, baguette crouton, cornichons and quince apple chutney

Lobster Bisque “en Croute”  – A Creamy lobster bisque in a puff pastry crust with a cognac topping.

Hickory Smoked Salmon Peruvian Causa  –  Whipped potato, hickory smoked salmon, quail egg, Aji amarillo cream

Mussels prepared in grandmother-like sauce served Belgian style with “skinny” fries

For entrees we ordered

Australian Rack of Lamb – Herbs Crusted, vegetables Tian, polenta, quince pear chutney

Corvina Sea Bass – Bloomsdale spinach, gratin Savoyard, micro Arugula, Beurre blanc

Day Boat Royal Sea Scallop  – Sunchoke puree, fried capers, pommes “gaufrettes,” truffle butter

We ended with

An assortment of various Sorbets and a French Press Coffee

Our family always scores from 1 to 5, and according to my girls it was a 4.5 out of 5

The ambiance was a 4.1/5,  Service was 4.8/5, Food was 4.5/5,  Menu Pricing 4.2/5.

I would recommend a visit to Walter Hansel Bistro, and when you do make sure to use my name when making a reservation.  Ask for Stephen Hansel (owner)

3535 Guerneville Rd, Santa Rosa, CA

Wine of the Month

Stolpman Vineyards is one of the larger vineyard holdings in Santa Barbara at 220 acres, but they sell a lot more than they make into their own wines.  That said, the Angeli bottling is the very best of the best of their estate, or the crème de la crème as the French would say.  The wine is named after the owner’s Italian family from Lucca (Tuscany).  The first couple of vintages Angeli was just the best of the vineyard, regardless of the varietal.  As of 2002 it became a 100% Syrah, the “King of Ballard Canyon”.    The wine is vinified mostly whole cluster so retain as much of the pure flavors as possible!

Stolpman 2012 “Angeli” Syrah
Ballard Canyon, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara

Retail 71.00 – GGWC 67.99 – FREE SHIPPING on SIX or more
Use discount code ANGELI upon checkout

The 2012 Angeli is a quintessentially beautiful Syrah. This might be on the best, if not the best Syrahs I have tasted all year! The aromatics are stunning and gorgeous – Black and Kalamata olives with hints of lush blueberries.  The body is masculine, yet very refined while retaining perfect balance and elegance.  One cannot help but to savor each sip and enjoy the meaty, juicy edge to the finish.  If you pop a bottle soon, make sure to decant it to be rewarded with wonderful complexity packed into this beautiful beast.  Very small production!

Click here or on the links above to order!

Portalupi 2012 Zinfandel Russian River Valley – ZIN OF THE YEAR!

Portalupi is a small family owned winery that was created by a husband and wife team in 2002.  Their goal was to create wines worthy of their Italian ancestry.  Having traversed the gamut of premium wineries I would say they succeeded in their quest and the results are some very high-quality wines, at an economically justified price level.

Portalupi 2012 “Old Vine” Zinfandel, Russian River Valley
Retail 35.00 – GGWC 31.99 – FREE SHIPPING on SIX or more.
Use code PORT12RRVZIN upon checkout

Double Gold Medal Winner at the 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Competition.   This Zinfandel comes from a vineyard located just off Laguna Road in the Russian River Valley. Owned and loved by the Marcucci Family, this vineyard began six generations ago. Phil Marcucci farms in the Italian tradition passed down through the generations. Always offering up consistent and solid fruit, the vineyard is a mainstay of the Portalupi portfolio. “Balance” is the word when describing the style of fruit grown on this historic property. Integrated moderate tannins coupled with cranberry/raspberry fruit are the hallmark of this wine’s pedigree. Spot-on, the wine begs for tomato sauce based pastas and classic American barbeque. Very limited production

Click here or on the links above to order!