Two friends, Founders – David Huang and Clint Holdsworth, crossed paths in Napa, but come very different back grounds.  David studied biomedical engineering at Harvard. he had to decide between going to UC Davis to study winemaking and going to medical school. He chose medical school and went to the Uniformed Services University. He then served in the Air Force for 15 years, deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan to care for our troops.  After his service he relocated to Napa and enrolled in Napa College to study Enology.  It is here that he met his partner Clint who after a career with Genetech had relocated to California from Illinois… The rest as they say is history.


David Clinton 2014 Zinfandel “Ancient Vines” Teldeschi Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley 
Retail 35.00 – GGWC 32.99
FREE SHIPPING on Six or more
Use code DAVIDCLINTON during checkout
The 2014 Ancient Vines bottling from the Teldeschi Vineyard showcases the rich fruit and flavor concentration associated with vines of this age and pedigree.  Building on the style we have demonstrated in previous vintages, this wine shows vibrant aromas and fresh flavors of raspberry, blackberry, black cherry, and blueberry, with slight notes of licorice, tar and vanilla.  The finish on this wine is not bashful, filled with spice and black pepper that integrate with and complement the wine’s tannins. The wine’s bold flavors and complex, yet balanced structure allows it to pair nicely with a broad range of food styles, including pasta dishes, grilled meats and vegetables, and barbecue.

Click here or on the links above to order!


Chris Corley is a Monticello winery descendant and of course he was set out to make wine.  He did not always agree with the family practice and decided with the help of his wife “Jules” to create the Jules and Barrelhead winery. The Jules wines are well-made Napa Valley blends in the $30.00 range!  This small production of 52% Cabernet Franc, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon &  22% Syrah was sourced from two great vineyards in the Oak Knoll District of the Napa Valley.

Jules 2013 Vin Rouge (Red Blend), Napa Valley 
Retail 34.99 – GGWC 32.99
FREE SHIPPING on 10 or more
Use code JULES13  upon checkout
The wine is built on the framework of a bold Cabernet Franc, which provides the structure and depth that is essential in crafting wines that are intended for moderate to long term aging. The secondary layer on this framework is Merlot, which softens some of the edges without compromising the structure. Merlot also contributes a slightly brighter fruit component to both the nose and the palate which nicely balances the darker tones from the other varietals. The tertiary layer is Syrah, which melts over the first two wines, filling in the gaps, deepening the core texture and rounding out the long finish.

On the nose, you’ll find deep black and purple berry aromas, mocha and coffee. There is a subtle beam of lavender and vanilla which gives way to a light toastiness.  On the palate, you encounter a dark rich wine, especially after it is decanted for an hour or so, allowing the tannins to melt a bit. The attack maintains a brightness and vigor, which quickly subsides and softens into a deeply textured rich core. The finish is long with a slight grip of chewy tannin framing a long rich fall off the back of the palate.

Click here or on the links above to order!

Help for Texas

By now, I am sure that you have heard about the terrible disaster and destruction wrought by Hurricane Harvey in South Texas and seen the frightening images on television. Thousands of families have lost their homes or are stranded without food, adequate shelter, or medical care. I am sure that many of you are wondering what you can do to help out.

I just wanted to pass on this list of charitable organizations who are operating in the area and could use your assistance. I have tried to find the ones where your contribution will go the farthest, but if you know of others we should add, please let me know and I will put them on my blog FrankMelisWine.com as well.

In addition, Golden Gate Wine Cellars will be donating 15% of all sales over the next week to support the relief effort. Visit http://www.goldengatewinecellars.com for more info.

All of these organizations are also in need of volunteers who can help out, both in Texas and working from other states to support the relief effort. Click on any of the links above and call to find out how you can help.

100 Point Vineyard’s Alluring Red

Chris and his wife JoAnn Cherry moved to Paso Robles in 1996 to open a restaurant, partake in the burgeoning wine scene and raise their children in the country. In 2001 they purchased their first grapes to make wine for their restaurant. And so began Villa Creek Cellars, a real expression of west Paso Robles’ Rhone grape varieties. A sort of “farm-to-table” i.e farm-to-bottle venture.

The James Berry Vineyard from Saxum fame is a little bit the “Chateau Margaux of Paso Robles” – If you cannot make spectacular wine from this source, you should stay out of the kitchen.

Villa Creek 2014 “High Road” GSM – James Berry Vineyard, Paso Robles 
Retail 80.00 – GGWC 76.99
Use code HIGHROAD during checkout

The Villa Creek High Road is a blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre and 20% Grenache sourced from this meticulisly farmed vineyard source.

Anthony Galloni 95 Points: “Inky ruby. Ripe cherry, dark berry preserves, incense and candied licorice on the deeply perfumed nose; a smoky mineral quality adds vivacity. Broad, sweet and seamless in texture, offering deeply concentrated black and blue fruit, rose pastille and spicecake flavors and a subtle touch of cola. Shows outstanding energy and focus on the endless, alluringly sweet finish, which is given shape by slow-building tannins and sharpened by a jolt of juicy acidity. The marriage of power to finesse is really impressive.”

Click here or on the links above to order!

Ancient Brews: Rediscovered & Re-created

Have you ever wondered who it was that struck up on the idea of making alcohol from fruit or grains? Have you ever wondered what the first wines and beers might have tasted like? Here’s an interesting book that I stumbled across recently that addresses some of those very interesting questions. I thought you might want to hear about it too.

So pull up a cozy chair and a glass of wine

Ancient Brews: Rediscovered & Re-created

(W.W. Norton & Co. pubs)
by Patrick E. McGovern

AP News Book Review

It’s easy to find cold brews on summer days, but here’s a twist: a journey back to the alcoholic beverages that people drank thousands of years ago.

Patrick McGovern, a renowned scientist and passionate lover of fermented beverages, brings the history of ancient brewing alive with this fun, tempting and thought-provoking book. McGovern is director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Project at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. For more than three decades he’s been a pioneer in archaeological chemistry — a field that combines old-school fieldwork with cutting-edge technology such as mass spectrometry and DNA analysis.

The new lab tools are able to identify the chemical makeup of astonishingly small beverage traces that remain on ancient artifacts, such as the stains on beverage containers found in the Egyptian pyramids. McGovern and other researchers then match the chemical fingerprints to various grains, fruits and spices, and come up with a kind of reverse recipe, brought to life thousands of years after the original beverage was originally consumed.

“Ancient Brews” is a geeky and tasty way to learn about ancient history, and the science of booze. McGovern explains the chemistry of fermentation, the molecular components of alcohol (two carbon atoms, six hydrogen, one oxygen) and how our love of alcohol probably originated more than 100 million years ago in the Cretaceous Period, when flowering plants appeared and fruit flies developed specific genes to process alcohol. (Humans still have some of those same genes, by the way.)

But McGovern isn’t entrenched in the past. The book contains numerous recipes for home brewers, created in collaboration with Sam Calagione, founder of Delaware’s Dogfish Head Brewery. There are also food suggestions based on archaeological findings, such as a lamb and lentil stew that was consumed around 800 B.C. at what was probably King Midas’ funeral feast in what is now Turkey.

The recipe for the accompanying beverage (also available bottled through Dogfish Head as Midas Touch) has some familiar beer ingredients (malt extract, honey and hops) but also twists: saffron threads and grape juice. That’s a theme in the book: McGovern shows that people had exotic tastes thousands of years ago, all over the world. They weren’t just chugging alcohol for the buzz, though that was certainly appreciated, perhaps originally in religious ceremonies.

Numerous archaeological sites now reveal that ancient people often combined what we call beer (fermented grains) with wine (fermented grapes), and also experimented by adding a vast range of local herbs and flavorings.

“Ancient Brews” includes history, science and recipes for several other drinks: Kvasir, inspired by evidence from a 3,500-year-old Danish tomb, uses meadowsweet (or mead wort), yarrow, birch bark and lingonberry.

Ta Henket, inspired by ancient African beverages, includes crushed wheat, flour, hops, dried dates, Irish moss, chamomile, Za’atar (a Middle Eastern spice) and a touch of salt.

Theobroma, suggested by Olmec sites in Honduras dating to 1200 B.C., is made with fermented corn, coffee malt, cocoa, dried ancho chile, annatto seeds and honey.

Chateau Jiahu goes farthest back in time, to 9,000 years ago in northern China, where people made a beverage that combined fermented rice, grape juice, honey, hawthorne and orange peel.

McGovern’s mix of gee-wiz science and thoughtful historical context makes “Ancient Brews” a refreshing read, for the summer or any other season.

Bevan Cellars 2015 “Big Reds/Big Scores” are now in stock!

The much anticipated and highly rated Bevan Cellars
“Big Napa Cabernet/Cabernet Blends” have finally arrived!

The 2015 vintage was outrageously good in the quality department but o-so-small in the quantity department.  2016 is anticipated to be (almost) back to normal quantities!

Here is the scoop:

Because of the extremely limited availability, we are offering the Bevan “Big Reds” in mixed 4 or 6 bottle cases.

A. Bevan A – mixed ½ case ~ 1 EE, 2 Sugarloaf and 3 Ontogeny
B. Bevan B – mixed ½ case ~ 2 EE, 1 Sugarloaf and 3 Ontogeny
C. Bevan C – mixed 4 pack ~ 1 EE, 1 Sugarloaf and 2 Ontogeny
FREE SHIPPING ON 4-6 Bottle mixed-packs

(Ontogeny, Chardonnay and Pinot Noirs can also be ordered separately in any quantity.)

Below are the tasting notes of the wines:

Bevan 2015 “EE” Proprietary Cab Blend (98-100 Points Parker)  199.99

Robert Parker 98-100: “As for the 2015 Proprietary Red EE, this is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Cabernet Franc. The wine looks like a candidate for perfection, with a black/purple color, striking nose of spring flowers intermixed with forest floor, blackberry and cassis. The wine is opulent with a voluptuous texture, loads of sucrosity from this vintage’s small yields and a killer finish of more than a minute. It should drink well for 20-25 years.”

Russell Bevan notes: “The new vintage of EE from the Tench Vineyard is the most powerful we have created. It shows more Cabernet Sauvignon characteristics than previous vintages. Cabernet Franc in the blend is incredibly fruit driven and pumps out aromatics like never before.”

Bevan 2015 Sugarloaf Proprietary Cab Blend (96-100 Points Parker) 199.99

Robert Parker 96-100 Points: “The 2015 Sugarloaf Mountain Proprietary Red that began as an equal-part blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot seems to be an equal follow-up to the perfect 2014. Incredible aromatics of spring flowers and blue and black fruits are followed by a long, deep, skyscraper-like wine with explosive fruit intensity, loads of glycerin and a wonderfully, fleshy, succulent mouthfeel, which is certainly a characteristic of the top 2015s. This should drink nicely for 15-20 years.”

Russell Bevan Notes:Sugarloaf Mountain Proprietary Red Wine can be described in one word, consistent. Vintage to vintage the wines are so similar. Looking back on my last years notes, the descriptions have not changed much; Cocoa, Espresso, flowers and blackberry. Super round and complex, opulent with an incredible finish.”

Bevan 2015 Ontogney Proprietary Cab Blend (NYR – STUNNNING!)  97.00

Russell Bevan Notes: “Ontogeny! In 2015, the Ontogeny blend has more Tench Cabernet as its major component than ever before. This ratcheted up the red fruit profile and the aromatics. Like all of the Tench wines, this is fruit driven, but the Cabernet Franc and Merlot deliver hints of Cigar and Dark Chocolate. Powerful, but Graceful”

Robert Parker 96 Points (2014): “There are 700 cases of the Ontogeny Proprietary Red, a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Petit Verdot and 10% Cabernet Franc. Totally dry, even though there is a wonderful sucrosity to the fruit. The wine has stunning blackberry and cassis notes, spring flowers, supple tannins and a long, multidimensional mouthfeel. It is a sexy beast for sure and best drunk over the next 15 or so years.”

Bevan 2015 Rita’s Crown Pinot Noir 96 Points

Robert Parker 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.”

Russell Bevan Notes: “This years Rita’s Crown Pinot Noir is almost as dark as our Syrah’s have been. It has ample acidity, but the power and richness are just so darn dominant here. Pomegranate, Raspberry and Santa Rosa Plum lead the charge, but tea and spice quickly make themselves known. The day after bottling I gave my Doctor, who is a huge Cabernet drinker, a bottle of this wine and a week later his wife called asking if she could get a case for his birthday. She said it was “the best wine they had ever had”. This wine will have that effect on people. It wants to age for another six months or so, but if you have to try it right off the bat, decant it for an hour and watch her go. She puts on a show.

Bevan 2015 Ritchie Chardonnay

Russell Bevan  Notes: “The Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay is, as always, incredibly seductive and opulent. The fruit profile ranges from tropical notes to stone fruit. This is a Cabernet Sauvignon drinker’s Chardonnay. If you tasted the wine in a black glass, it would be hard to identify as red or white because it is so concentrated and powerful.

The 2015 is any bit as good as the 2014, just a smaller production, so hurry and order now!

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 2015 Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir

Russell Bevan Notes: “The 2015 Petaluma Gap, referred to in house as the sex kitten, is true to her moniker. The wine is darker than any Sonoma County Pinot Noir we have made so far. Deep Cherry, Plum and Blackberry flavors pulse through this wine. Super rich and layered, with a high decadent quality, this is a wine that you will want to share with friends.”

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.”

Click here or on the links above to order!

The Second Coming of a Napa Legend

Vincent Arroyo purchased and transformed 23 acres of the Greenwood Ranch in 1974, and initially produced a few hundred cases of wine, and sold the rest to other wineries.  Over the years the winery grew into a great business with an amazing following.  He eventually retired, and passed on the winery to his daughter and son-in-law – they still run it, with great success! Vince could not sit still however, and “Once Again” wanted to make wine, and so “Otra Vez” was created.

Otra Vez 2014 Estate Cabernet Sauvigon, Calistoga Napa Valley
Retail 50.00 – GGWC 44.99
Use code OTRAVEZ at checkout

100% Estate grown Cabernet, was sourced from Vince’ two prime estate vineyards – each with its own defining character. One grows in the rich, heavy soils of the valley floor; the other thrives in a hillside vineyard called Rattlesnake acres. Blending the two, Vince creates a well–balanced wine for your pleasure.

The 2014 Otra Vez Cabernet opens with a gorgeous nose of bright black fruit and a touch of mocha. On the palate this medium-full bodied Napa Cab is loaded with copious amounts of red and black currants, a touch of bitter chocolate, crushed earth and spice with integrated, silky grained tannins. The wine finishes  with a clean, vibrant and lengthy black currant smooth finish. This is beautiful Napa Cabernet that is capable of aging.

Click here or on the links above to order!

LAST CALL for Pinot Noir blind tasting winner!

In a recent blind tasting of 2014 Pinot Noirs, Alma Fria beat out some big boys (and girls).  Our tasting group consisted of 13 wine professionals, and we meticulously (blind) tasted all the wines twice.

The lineup included:

The winner – ALMA FRIA with 7 First, 2 Second and 2 Third place votes, ahead of Paul Lato with 4 First, 4 Second and 3 Third place votes and lastly Argot with 2 First, 3 Second and 5 Third place votes.

Alma Fria 2014 “Holtermann Ranch” Sonoma Coast 
Retail $70.00 ~ GGWC $64.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code ALMAFRIA during checkout

The highlight among the Pinots, the 2014 Alma Fria Pinot Noir Holtermann Vineyard is the most powerful and punchy of these wines. A rush of cherry, red stone fruit, dried flowers, tea leaves, mint and anise run through this bold, expressive Pinot. The tannins are a bit burly and need time to soften, but there is good potential here, not to mention tons of pure personality. I highly recommend to decant this youngster 30-45 minutes prior to serving to get full enjoyment of this baby.

Click here or on any of the links above to order!

It is FINALLY HERE, A “different” White Blend

This is only the second vintage of Annia, here Ribolla Gialla takes the lead in the blend. There is a story that George Vare liked to tell us about Ribolla, according to the late, great Stanko Radikon, Ribolla is the consummate supporting actor when blended into a wine under the 50% threshold. at that minority level, the grape will truly morph into the background, providing the floors, the walls and the ceiling for the other grapes to adorn. in the 2016 Annia, the 60% of Ribolla in the wine is flattering; stone fruit and baked apple with green almond on the palate that plays off the Tocai’s citrus blossom and pear skin. the 9% of Hyde Chardonnay in the blend tightens the wine a bit, but in reality it just steps aside and gives the two Friulian varieties a stage to play on; however, expect the Chardonnay to get involved as the wine ages.

Only 3 barrels produced!

Massican 2016 “Annia” Proprietary White Blend, Napa Valley 
GGWC 35.99
Use code MASSICAN during checkout

This stunning blend of Tocai Friulano, Chardonnay and Ribolla Gialla, is lively, intense, and perfectly balanced. Medium to full in body with notes of nuttiness, Meyer lemon, a hint of spice on the nose.  On the elegant, lush palate you’ll encounter touches of honey, citrus and creaminess that synce together nicely in the glass. The flavors are well-balanced with nice richness but nothing overwhelming.  The wine was aged in mostly neutral barrel, some stainless and concrete egg.

Click here or on any of the links above to order!

Can’t dance the Foxtrot? Drink it instead!

The Foxtrot winery was created by Torsten and Kicki Allander who believe that the key to producing world class wine is total control over the grape growing and winemaking process from start to finish. To this day, both remain an integral part of the family business, with Kicki spending her days in the estate vineyard meticulously cultivating the vines, and Torsten overseeing quality control.

The Story behind the Label: Every year, just in time for harvest, Foxtrot has had a resident Black Bear around the vineyard. Sometimes he has been known to make an appearance at picking time and pickers would comment that it looked like he was dancing when standing up on his hind legs. At the winery they have come to affectionately call him Fred and he has graced the label ever since.

Foxtrot 2015 Chardonnay “Four Shadows” 
Retail 55.00 – GGWC 49.99
Use code FOXTROT during checkout

Mix & match OK with Foxtrot Pinot Noir

The wine has a medium to light lemon color with stunning aromas of citrus, stone fruits, a whiff of melon and subtle spice. These flavors continue on the palate with a complex minerality framed by a rich mid palate with subtle spice, tropical and citrus fruits, and lengthy finish. The crisp acidity in this wine serves as a refreshing counterpoint to balance the richness and roundness of the wine. This wine can be consumed in the near term or aged for 5 to 8 years.

Foxtrot 2014 Pinot Noir “Foxtrot Vineyard” 
Retail 62.00 – GGWC 59.99
Use code FOXTROT during checkout

Mix & match OK with Foxtrot Chardonnay

Sourced from the estate’ 20 year old self-rooted vines. The resulting wine is incredibly balanced with a stunning nose of bright red fruits, and a classic  oriental spice and slight earthy tones. The intensity of the fruit and earthiness continues on the palate and is wonderfully framed by the vibrant acidity and bold silky smooth tannins with a long lingering finish. The 2013 Foxtrot Vineyard Pinot Noir can easily be aged for up to 10+ years but can also be consumed in the near term with decanting.

Click here or on any of the links above to order!