Celia Welch’s blind tasting winner!

At the recent blind tasting of 2013 Cabernet and Cabernet Blends a Celia Welch made wine wowed the crowd.  My group of 12 “tasting judges” tasted the following 10 wines:

  • Bevan “McGagh” (98 RP)
  • 12C “G3 (98 RP)
  • Aiken “Rutherford” (95 Points)
  • Quivet “Beckstoffer Las Piedras” (97 RP)
  • Altamura (93 RP)
  • Mark Herold “Mastodon” (98 RP)
  • Chappellet “Signature” (96 RP)
  • Forman (95 RP)
  • Skipstone “Oliver’s Blend” (94 RP)
  • Keever “Inspirado”

The Winner: Keever “Inspirado” with 7 First, 2 Second, 2 Third and 1 Fourth place votes, Bevan received 3 First, 3 Second and 3 Third place votes, followed by Quivet with 1 First, 3 Second and 4 Third place votes. Mark Herold received 1 first place vote.

Keever 2013 Cabernet “Inspirado” Napa Valley
REGULAR 79.99 – TODAY 15% OFF = 67.99 on 6 with FREE SHIPPING
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The 2013 Keever offers up stunning aromas of dark purple berries, chocolate, spice, toasted hazelnuts and wild anise that waft from the glass when one swirls this ripe, lush, succulent, complex Bordeaux-style blend.  The wine is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot and 2% Malbec.

Click here or on the links above to order.

Scientists Have Identified A Yeast Gene That Gives Wine And Beer Special Flavors

Scientists Have Identified A Yeast Gene That
Gives Wine And Beer Special Flavors

Thomas Pellechia
Forbes Magazine

When you taste a wine or beer that calls up the flavor of rose or honey think phenylethyl acetate; it’s a by-product of the yeast cells that turn sugar into alcohol to make wine and beer. Now, says Belgium microbiologists in a research paper, those flavors and more can be purposely developed in yeast strains using the latest gene-swapping scientific method.

The paper was published by mBio, a peer-reviewed journal of the century-old American Society for Microbiology (ASM). ASM covers a wide spectrum of individual microbiological research mainly for scientists to peruse. mBio is focused on more cutting-edge research of broader interest, and since winemaking has been a branch of microbiology ever since Louis Pasteur’s nineteenth century discovery that yeast is responsible for wine’s fermentation, the microbiology of wine is logically one of the areas for mBio to cover.

This particular study was led by Johan Thevelein working with Maria R. Foulquié-Moreno, each at the Center For Microbiology at VIB a Flanders-based life science institute. They applied high-throughput genomic analysis to study a hybrid strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the yeast that ferments wine (and beer).
The researchers found “swaths of DNA” containing multiple genes with one causative gene linked to high production of the flavor compound phenylethyl acetate. They also identified the part of genes that are responsible for intense production of the flavor.

Commercial yeast breeding has given winemakers a measure of control over what used to be an often unreliable process. There are commercial yeasts to facilitate cool fermentation, to bring out fruitiness, to thrive in hostile pH environments, and so on. Yeast plays a critical flavor role in flavoring beer but in wine, the grapes are responsible for most of its flavor. Yet, when yeasts metabolize they alter grape flavors by adding secondary flavors of their own. Hence, after their gene discovery they set out to create yeast strains that produce desirable flavors.

Thevelein claims it’s already possible for microbiologists to create desirable flavors by selecting hybrid strains, but it is a time-consuming process. It’s also a risky process that works in the lab but doesn’t always work in the winery or brewery, where it can produce an off-fermentation. His research proves to him that the best way to engineer desirable traits in yeasts is to use the gene-swapping process known as CRSPR/Cas9.

Using CRSPR/Cas9 Thevelein and Foulquié were also able to increase the phenylethyl acetate flavor compound production in the parents of the hybrid genes they used for their experiment. They say the process creates indistinguishable yeast strains from other methods of yeast breeding, and it is expected to allow yeast breeders to pinpoint breeds that can be used to create certain flavor profiles from which wine and beer producers can select.

Who knows, the step might be that wine buyers can tell winemakers what flavors they would like in their wines when ordering on the futures market. Or maybe wine club members will be allowed to specify which flavors they would like when they place an order. Or maybe it’s nice to know about the genes but there might be no practicality in knowing.

It’s only wine, but it’s so good …

Remember to visit us at www.ggwc.com or call Frank @ 415.337.4083 to get some…

Master Sommelier’s Stunning new Pinot Project

Within a few months of becoming the ninth Master Sommelier in the United States, Larry Stone became the first American to win the prestigious Best International Sommelier in a French Wines competition in Paris. He continued as a restaurateur and sommelier at the Four Seasons, Charlie Trotter’s, and Rubicon Restaurants. After leaving the restaurant scene Larry worked on various wine ventures, before settling in Oregon and creating “Lingua Franca”.  Larry hired one of the most amazing winemakers in the world – Dominic Lafon as his consulting winemaker and you have the makings of a winning team!

Lingua Franca 2016 Estate Pinot Noir
GGWC 54.99
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Winery Notes: ”The vintage marks the first release from our Estate, a vineyard site that has been coveted for decades and finally planted by Larry Stone. It is beautifully located in the heart of the Eola-Amity Hills, dry farmed organically on Jory and Nekia soils. The wine is medium intense, complex with floral, mineral, flint and red cherry, black plum fruit tones, and a long finish. The fruit is sorted in the vineyard, then sorted by hand, finally by a special destemmer/sorter, handled so as to preserve the terroir of this remarkable site. elegant finish.”

Click here or on the links above to order!


Cinco de Mayo
Wine Tasting Extravaganza and Fundraiser!

On Saturday May 5, I am hosting a benefit wine tasting for my daughter’s High School. The kids don’t have a gymnasium and have been raising money to have one built! However, they are short some funds for the final stretch.

Construction is set to start June 1, so I want to do my share.

I am donating the proceeds of this event back to the school!

To sweeten the deal, if you place an order TODAY or TOMORROW, at Golden Gate Wine Cellars I will enter you in a drawing for FREE TICKETS.

I am giving away 10 tickets, so your chances are pretty good to win a duo ticket (5 x 2 giveways). And even if you don’t win, please join us to support this worthy cause!


 “Bringing Wine Country to the City”
Saturday May 5, 2018
5 to 8 PM

ONLINE $50.00
AT THE DOOR $70.00

RSVP and Purchase Tickets by calling 415-337-4083
or visiting:

Meet the owners/winemakers of the following wineries:

  • Paul Lato
  • Sanguis
  • Coho
  • Halcon
  • MC4
  • Luli
  • Bella
  • Bridesmaid
  • Seabiscuit
  • Solitude
  • Amici
  • Sans Liege
  • Herman Story
  • Pied-A-Terre
  • Teeter-Totter
  • Arbe Garbe
  • Melis Family Winery
  • Green & Red
  • Mi Sueno
  • Monthuys Champagne
  • Paloma
  • Yount Ridge
  • and others TBA

Great wine and generous hors d’oeuvres will be served.

ALL proceeds of this event go to the Waldorf High School Home Court Campaign!!! 


You say: “Old Chardonnay”, I say that you are wrong! Edit Subject

You’d say: “Old Chardonnay”, I say that you are wrong.

The Vigneron profession first appears in the Terrien family tree in the 1700s when they lived in the Loire Valley of France. “Bêcheur” was also one of their occupations, which is to say they shoveled dirt for a living. As bêche is a spade and terre means earth, winemaking just seems inevitable. Adding to the destiny of it all, Bêcheur also means pretentious arrogant snob. Perfect…

Terrien 2012 Chardonnay
GGWC Price $44.99
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Terrien Chardonnay comes from an Old Wente planting at Kiser Vineyard in Sonoma Valley. Wente, a California heirloom traced from France at the turn of the 19th Century, has a tendency to produce many small berries. The juice ferments with the addition of Montrachet yeast, which, like Old Wente, is itself a throwback to earlier California winemaking. In September  2012 four tons of good-looking large clusters were fermented with Montrachet yeast and remained for 8 months in a stainless steel tank. During this time the wine cold-settled and malo-lactic was arrested to keep the brightness which is so critical to the vitality of the wine as it ages.  In late April 2013 it was racked into 9 used barrels as it allows a wine to become rich without boosting oak flavor; it’s about slow oxygenation. A year later 218 cases were bottled. Not much happened in between.  But without a reputation like Chassagne-Montrachet, it makes sense to allow the wine to become complex with bottle age before introducing it to the market. That is why the 2012 is just being released in 2018!

This wine is rich yet weightless! On the nose you are greeted by beautiful aromas of chamomile, linden, lemon and melon come to mind, and a faint spicy-floral narcissus scent The wine is full in body without being heavy or creamy!  Very well-polished and harmonius. The bright acidity has yielded somewhat to the effects of bottle age and the palate weight is now tensioned in good balance. Nicely polished and harmonious wine with a long, textured finish.

Click here or on the links above to order!

20% OFF Amazing TWO Barrel Cab Franc Surprise!

This 2013 Crauford bottling might be the smallest Cabernet Franc production in the Napa Valley to date.  Sourced from their single estate vineyard in the Oak Knoll district of the Napa Valley.

CrauforD 2013 “Estate” Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley
Retail 88.00 – GGWC 69.99
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On the nose this wine greets you with a display of deep, dark berry fruit aromas, with undercurrents of vanilla, spice and a whiff of citrus.  On the palate, this medium to full bodied wine offers up dark black fruits, a suggestion of coffee, mocha and spice.  This extremely well-made, small production Cab Franc finishes with a light framework of silky grained tannins that result in a long lasting finish.

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Kata is the culmination of many years of combined experience and practice in the art of grape growing and winemaking.  In its creation, we have patiently employed highly selective artisanal farming and winemaking practices to produce a wine of balance and elegance. A wine that is worthy of the legacy of Napa Valley’s historic Beckstoffer Bourn Vineyard.

GGWC 199.99
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The 2015 Kata shows great concentration and volume. The rich texture is complemented by
abundant acidity that reveals nuances of mocha, blue fruit, licorice, spice and violets. This is a
full-bodied wine that rewards the palate with unusual complexity and a long finish.

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points: “The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Bourn Vineyard is a deep, inky-colored 2015 that has serious amounts of depth and density. Full-bodied, uber-concentrated, tight and backward, it’s going to need time, yet offers lots of smoked black currants, plums, smoked earth and dark chocolate. It’s a terrific wine that’s going to age beautifully.”

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Unique Rued-Z Clone Chardonnay

There was a man named Ernest. He was an entrepreneur, a risk-taker and a role model for his grandson, Todd Gottula, who founded the Ernest Winery with his wife, Erin Brooks, back in 2012.  Todd’s grandmother, Joanne, is The Artist in the family. Her path as an artist revealed itself later in life, but her talent shines through. Today her beautiful works grace their lives daily—she is the source of the portrait of Ernest that appears on all of the Ernest bottles.

Ernest 2014 Chardonnay “The Farmer” Sonoma Coast
Retail 50.00 – GGWC 47.99
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The Farmer Chardonnay showcases the unique character of the Chardonnay Rued Z clone, offering up aromatics of citrus, white flowers and celery salt. The palate is a very refined, with a subtle appearance of some toasty vanilla elements. The wine is full in body, yet extremely well balanced and NOT buttery.  This youngster offers up some focused acidity and a brightness of fruit making this wine one-of-a-kind. Only 298 cases produced!!!

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Marcassin Disciple’s extraordinary Chardonnay (only 125 cases produced)

Ferren is a winery dedicated to tiny lots of artisanally made single vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines from the Sonoma Coast. Each of the vineyards is a jewel of the true coast, and is farmed to the highest standards of sustainability and wine quality. Owner and winemaker Matt Courtney started Ferren after an eight-year apprenticeship with Helen Turley at Marcassin Vineyard. The wines are made using traditional Burgundian methods without fining or filtration, and native yeasts on the grapes from the vineyards perform the fermentations.

Ferren 2015 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast (Silver Eagle/Lancel Vineyards)
GGWC 62.99
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Nose of apple, pear, mango and white flowers. Layered flavors of stone fruits, honey, zesty citrus and lemon oil pair with a rich mouthfeel without being creamy or buttery. Shows good intensity, complexity, and minerality with a smooth midpalate and a finish that lingers on the palate. 125 cases produced.

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Exotic Howell Mountain Cab Blend

Cami was the fifth child for Tom & Laurie Shelton – a very small 5-acre Howell Mountain project they purchased in 2001.  The property is managed by vineyard “Guru” David Abreu, who said that this soil was real “Cabernet Dirt’.

The family sold the grapes for many years, until Tom’s untimely death in 2008. It was then that Laurie decided to make some of her own wine and dedicating it to Tom’s spirit, and naming it for their last child “Cami”  The total production is a whopping 150 cases and the wine is made by Thomas River Brown’s long time assistant John Giannini at the Outpost Winery.

Cami 2014 Proprietary Red, Howell Mountain Napa Valley
GGWC 129.99
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Opaque and garnet in color with a luscious bouquet of red and blue berries, balanced by rose petal and tobacco with a touch of smoke on the nose, this wine is rich, juicy, and dense in texture like chocolate and boysenberry pie with a hint of smoke and tarragon.

Parker 94 Points: “Composed of 53% Merlot and 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2014 Red Blend displays a deep garnet-purple color with slowly evolving red and black currants, mulberries and underbrush notes with hints of new leather, charcuterie and exotic spices plus a waft of potpourri. Full-bodied, with a firm backbone of lively acid and firm, chewy tannins, it finishes long.”

Click here or on the links above to order!