98+ Rated 2016 Carter Cabernets have arrived!

Late fall is always a time of excitement, many great Cabernets reach the “shores” of Golden Gate Wine Cellars. Among them Carter Cellars, crafted by my friend and ace-winemaker Mike Smith. The current “stash” of 2016 although amazing in quality, are unfortunately very small in the quantity department. I came up with some “mixed offer packs” of these stunning wines.  I know I will not make everyone happy, but I try my hardest. Please don’t take it out on the messenger! Mother nature yielded way less for Carter, so I got less! Most of the 2016 Carter wines scored 96-98 points, a few 95, so not a bad run!

We have 3 different FOUR-PACKS and 3 SIX-PACK to select from (sorry, cannot change the “blend” of these boxes)

CARTER CELLARS 2016 CABERNET “FOUR-PACK A”
$599.99
FREE SHIPPING – use code 500shipfree at checkout

Consists of 1 bottle each of:

  • To-Kalon Grand Daddy  98+ Pts
  • To-Kalon The Three Kings  97+ Pts
  • Weitz  95 Pts
  • Hossfeld Coliseum  95 Pts

Average score 96.50/100

CARTER CELLARS 2016 CABERNET “FOUR-PACK B”
$624.99
FREE SHIPPING – use code 500shipfree  at checkout

Consists of 1 bottle each of:

  • To-Kalon Grand Daddy  98+ Pts
  • To-Kalon The Three Kings  97+ Pts
  • Carter  97+ Pts
  • Fortuna  96 Pts

Average score 97.5 /100

CARTER CELLARS 2016 CABERNET “FOUR-PACK C”
$619.99
FREE SHIPPING – use code 500shipfree at checkout

Consists of 1 bottle each of:

  • To-Kalon The Grand-Daddy  98+ Pts
  • To-Kalon The Three Kings  97+ Pts
  • Weitz  95 Pts
  • Carter  97+ Pts

Average score 97.25/100

CARTER CELLARS 2016 CABERNET “SIX-PACK A”
$849.99
FREE SHIPPING – use code 500shipfree at checkout

Consists of 1 bottle each of:

  • To-Kalon Grand Daddy  98+ Pts
  • To-Kalon The Three Kings   97+ Pts
  • Weitz   95 Pts
  • Carter  97 Pts
  • Fortuna  96 Pts
  • Hossfeld Coliseum 95 Pts

Average score 96.5/100

CARTER CELLARS 2016 CABERNET “SIX-PACK B”
849.99
FREE SHIPPING – use code 500shipfree at checkou
t
Consists of

  • To-Kalon Grand Daddy  98+ Pts
  • Weitz   95 Pts
  • Carter  97 Pts  (2 bottles)
  • Hossfeld Coliseum 95 Pts  (2 bottles)

Average score 96.5/100

CARTER CELLARS 2016 CABERNET “SIX-PACK C”
799.99
FREE SHIPPING – use code 500shipfree at checkout

Consists of

  • To-Kalon Three Kings  97+ Pts
  • Fortuna   96 Pts
  • Carter  97 Pts  (2 bottles)
  • Hossfeld Coliseum 95 Pts  (2 bottles)

Average score 96.5/100

TASTING NOTES / REVIEWS FOR ALL THE CARTER WINES:

Robert Parker – Grand Daddy 98+ Points: “Very deep purple-black in color, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard The Grand Daddy comes charging out of the glass with gregarious scents of blackberry pie, warm cassis, black raspberries and Black Forest cake plus hints of camphor, cigar box, pencil lead and incense. Full-bodied, super intense and opulently fruited in the mouth, it delivers a powerful black fruit core with a firm yet plush frame and very long, multilayered finish.”

Robert Parker “Three Kings” 97+ Points: “The very deep purple-black colored 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To Kalon Three Kings features compelling black cherries, warm black berries and crème de cassis notes with nuances of plum pudding, mincemeat pie, sautéed herbs, charcuterie, tapenade and Indian spices. Full-bodied, rich and opulent in the mouth, it fills the palate with exotic spices and black fruit preserves, framed by approachable grainy tannins and finishing very long and very spicy.”

Robert Parker “Carter” 97+ Points: Very deep purple-black in color, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Carter begins just a little closed and youthfully reticent before revealing loads of black fruit and earth-inspired notes, including baked black cherries, cassis, blackberry pie and tilled soil with hints of fungi, underbrush, scorched earth and mossy bark. Full-bodied and densely packed with black fruit and earth layers, it has a firm backbone of grainy tannins and a lively line, finishing long and mineral laced. This needs at least 5-7 years and then should drink for the next 30+ years.”

Robert Parker “Fortuna” 96 Points: “The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Fortuna Vineyard has a very deep purple-black color and reveals a drop-dead gorgeous nose of baked plums, blackcurrant cordial, blackberry tart and kirsch with nuances of Chinese five spice, dusty soil, wild sage and truffles. Full-bodied and sporting bags of black fruit and earthy layers, it has a fantastic burst of freshness in the plushly textured mid-palate, continuing onto a compelling herbal lift on the finish..”

Robert Parker “Weitz” 95 Points: “Very deep purple-black in color, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Weitz Vineyard opens with notions of baked blackcurrants, preserved plums, blackberry compote and licorice plus touches of tar, chargrill, pan fried herbs and iron ore. Full-bodied and laden with taut, muscular fruit, it has a solid line of grainy tannins and just enough freshness, finishing with an herbal lift.”

Robert Parker “Hossfeld Coliseum” 95 Points: “Composed of 80% Merlot blended with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2016 Hossfeld Coliseum Proprietary Red is very deep purple-black in color and gives up a very pretty perfume of potpourri, dried lavender, aniseed and cinnamon stick over a core of warm plums and blueberry preserves plus a touch of garrigue. Full-bodied, softly textured, seductive and with bags of spicy black fruit preserves, it finishes long and perfumed.”

Click here or on the links above to order!

California Wine Country Meets Spain…

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.

Villa Creek 2015 Garnacha “Denner Vineyard”
GGWC 57.99
FREE SHIPPING on SIX
Use code SHIPFREE6 during checkout

94 Point Galloni: ”Brilliant ruby. Heady, spice-laced raspberry liqueur, spicecake and rose pastille scents are complemented by white pepper and smoky mineral nuances. Fleshy and concentrated but surprisingly graceful as well, offering intense red berry, cherry and floral flavors and suggestions of licorice and allspice. Finishes creamy, seamless and very long, with supple tannins building slowly.”

Winemaker notes: “This year’s Garnacha is composed solely of Denner Grenache brought up in 500 liter French puncheons. Deep ruby in color, the sensual berry aromas transcend to a juicy palate of mountain berries, anise, and spice. Layers of sweet fine tannins, pure fruit, and glycerin make for a beautiful wine that is delicious now but will evolve nicely in the cellar. Enjoy with braised short ribs or aromatic white bean ragout drizzled with olive oil. Drink now – 2027”

Click here or on the links above to order!

2018 Holiday Specials!

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2018’s Top 25 Wines!

  

It has been an amazing year of tasting, smelling & swishing wines. We tasted over 2700 wines this year, so to come up with our “own” Top 25 wines that are “the greatest” is not easy. But as always, we try to do our best! My tasting group of 16 wine swishers, wine smellers, wine “evaluators”, and my friends of Bacchus carefully evaluated the wines and came up with the following final list – For the first we could not decide on the Number 1 wine – we looked at all the criteria (Quality, Availabitliy, Dollar Cost Average) and each time our scores were the same. So we decided to award the “Wine Of the Year” to 3 Finalists! (PAUL LATO ,CARTE BLANCHE YOUNT RIDGE )

Order $500.00 or more and we’ll pay the shipping – Enter code 500shipfree during checkout

1 (TIED) – PAUL LATO 2016 PINOT NOIR “SUERTE” SOLOMON HILLS  – 96+ POINTS

1 (TIED) – CARTE BLANCHE 2015 CABERNET SAUVIGNON, NAPA VALLEY – 100 POINTS

1 (TIED) – YOUNT RIDGE 2017 “ESTATE” SAUVIGNON BLANC, NAPA VALLEY

4 – DuMOL 2016 CHARDONNAY RITCHIE VINEYARD “CHLOE” RUSSIAN RIVER – 97 Points

5 – HUDSON 2016 CHARDONNAY “ESTATE” CARNEROS NAPA VALLEY 96 Points

6 – HALCON 2016 PETITE SIRAH “TIERRA”– 96 Points

7 – TEXTBOOK 2016 CABERNET SAUVIGNON “MISE EN PLACE” NAPA VALLEY – 95 Points

8 – CROCKER STARR 2015 PRORIETARY RED “BRIDESMAID” NAPA VALLEY– 94 Points

9 – ARBE GARBE 2017 PROPRIETARY WHITE BLEND, RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY – 94 Points

10 – CATTLEYA 2016 Pinot Noir “Donum Vineyard” 96 POINTS

11 – BEVAN TENCH 2016 CABERNET SAUVIGNON NAPA  ~ 98-100 Points

12 – REWA 2015 CABERNET SAUVIGNON “ESTATE” COOMBSVILLE, NAPA  – 96 Points

13 – BOOKER “MY FAVORITE NEIGHBOR” CAB BLEND 97 Points

14 – CASTIEL 2015 “CABERNET SAUVIGNON, NAPA (CELIA WELCH WINEMAKER) – 96 Points

15 – FOXTROT 2015 PINOT NOIR “ESTATE – FOXTROT VINEYARD” – 94 Points

16 PAUL LATO 2016 CHARDONNAY “BELLE DE JOUR” ~ 96 Points

17 – MC4 2015 CABERNET SAUVIGNON“Estate” NAPA VALLEY 94 Points

18 – GB CRANE 2016 “EL COCO” PROPRIETARY RED NAPA VALLEY 95 Points

19 – WALTER HANSEL 2015 CHARDONNAY “NORTH SLOPE” RUSSIANRIVER VALLEY

20– SCARLETT 2016 CABERNET SAUVIGNON ESTATE RUTHERFORD NAPA VALLEY

21 – 12c “G3” CABERNET SAUVIGNON BECKSTOFFER VINEYARD NAPA VALLEY

22 – MIKE & MOLLY 2015 “R.W. MOORE” ZINFANDEL, NAPA VALLEY

23 – SANS LIEGE XIV/XV PROPHETESS, SANTA BARBARA – 94 Points

24 – LA SIRENA 2017 MOSCATO AZUL (DRY), NAPA VALLEY

25 – LIMERICK LANE 2016 “ESTATE” ZINFANDEL RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY95 Points

A Holiday Book Suggestion

Kevin Zraly ~ Windows on the World Complete Wine Course’s Latest Edition

My old friend Kevin Zraly has a new book out, just in time for the holidays! Jo Diaz of Wine-Blog.org wrote this wonderful review:

Wine is infinitely more intriguing than most other balls in the air we juggle during life, especially for the curious. Much of our inquisitiveness will be addressed within the pages of Kevin Zraly‘s 2018 edition of his Windows on the World Complete Wine Course. This is most especially true for us when we have more curiosity and less time to travel, when we could be weaving our own tapestries. Just step onto his pages and travel into the depths of how we taste and what we taste in reds, whites, and rosés, with Kevin Zraly.

I caught up with Kevin Zraly at Castello di Meleto in Gaiole, in the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany, where we were their guests for he castle’s five-course lunch, with copious wines.  I hadn’t seen him since 2006, when he was honored by the former Wine Appreciation Guild in San Francisco. Kevin Zraly was the recipient of their prestigious author for the 2006 Wine Literary Award. I was sitting next to him during lunch, which I knew was pretty exciting. Now, 12 years later, we were in Chianti sharing food and wine.

When we both returned to our home states, he sent his latest copy of Windows on the World to me, as a review sample. I have Zraly’s 2006, his 2011 editions, and now his 2018 Edition. “What’s going to be the difference?” I wondered.

So, the book…

I was genuinely stuck by Kevin Zraly’s touching dedication.

“This book is called Windows on the World Complete Wine Course for a reason. Windows on the World was a restaurant atop One World Trade Center in New York City. I worked there from the day it opened in 1976 and for the next 25 years, until September 11, 2001. I continue to title this book with the same name of the restaurant to continue its legacy.

“I dedicate this edition to all those who worked at Windows on the World, celebrated their birthdays, anniversaries, or bar mitzvahs there, dined there, or just had a glass of wine at the bar…”

(You’ll read further in your copy…)

The regions of wine covered in the 2018 edition, have immeasurably expanded in a continuing anthology of wine grape varieties, bottles and glasses, how to read a label, wine aromas and tastes, and a 60-second wine expert, for instance.

Here’s a nugget of wisdom:

Kevin’s new book (the one to the left in this photo) is massively expanded and really well done. I was immediately relieved in by his explanation of “Kinds of Tasters.” He references Janet Zimmerman’s article “Science of the Kitchen: Taste and Texture…” I never knew about Janet’s SCIENCE OF THE KITCHEN: TASTE AND TEXTURE article (so, now I know the original source of explanation for my palate). Finally we can all understand the specifics of tasters, from non-tasters to super tasters… I’m a super taster, and that’s not a bragging right. It’s a curse. I eat very little as a result. Kevin has condensed Janet’s taster types:

  • Non-tasters ~ Average taster = 96 taste buds per square centimeters ~ far from picky and less engaged with what they eat and drink
  • Half-tasters ~ 184 taste buds per square centimeters ~ Tend to enjoy a wild array of food and drink
  • Super Tasters ~ 425 taste buds per square centimeters ~ Tend to taste everything more intensely (so, less is more, from my personal experiences)

Kevin Zraly is an exceptional scholar; and, academics love to not only learn, but they also love to teach. And, whenever possible, teachers like Kevin love to record what they’ve learned, so it lives on… Taking his wine courses is the difference of gliding along like a Cessna 172, or actually taking off with him in a Sukhoi Superjet 100super jet.

When the opportunity arises to get into one of his classes, it’s a chance of a lifetime. It will deepen your knowledge of wine and expand your appreciation. For the rest of us, until we can get into one of his classes, just buy his latest Windows on the World (2018) Complete Wine Course. Begin your journey, one chapter at a time. The pleasure you derive from wine will grow exponentially, through the amount of knowledge in Kevin’s sharing. Kevin Zraly’s life experiences of wine tasting and traveling to wine regions… the understanding of wine’s structure, historical developments, and the relationships he’s nurtured along the way are yours to also explore via Kevin’s written pages.


If you would like to get a copy of Kevin’s book for yourself, you can find it hereon Amazon.com.

Black Friday comes Early!

 

Why wait until Friday?

We were feeling a little festive this year here at Golden Gate Wine Cellars, and wanted to share the love with you too! As a token of appreciation we wanted to start Black Friday a few days early.

Receive 10% OFF all of our wines Today, Thursday & Friday

Use code BLACKFRIDAY during checkout
at GoldenGateWineCellars.com

Robert Parker: The Man Becomes the Brand

Robert Parker: The Man Becomes the Brand

By W. Blake Gray 

Robert Parker used to be a person. He was a man of strong appetites; he loved wine of course, but also rye whiskey, soft-shell crabs and oysters. He liked horror movies, especially grotesque ones, and the Baltimore Ravens. He was devoted to his wife and posted photos of her on every anniversary.

This sounds like an obit, but don’t worry Parker fans: Robert M. Parker Jr. isn’t dead yet. In fact, for $4000 you can have dinner with Parker on Nov 8 in New York at Daniel restaurant. Tickets are still available as of this writing.

If I had $4000 to spare, I’d go: the dinner features 17 wines from Parker’s own cellar, including 1986 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, 1990 Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle and 2001 Shafer Hillside Select.

Most importantly, however, the dinner offers what may be one of the last chances to meet Robert Parker the man, before he moves completely into his next phase of existence as Robert Parker the brand.

The transition has already started. Robert Parker, as a brand shares no more charming pictures of his dog (which was famously outed as being flatulent in “Mondovino”). Instead he advises us about three cocktails for the end of summer. I miss Parker the person; he was cantankerous at times and would rage about wines with too much acidity, but he was passionate and 100 percent human.

The owners of the Wine Advocate, who bought the company from Parker in 2012, have muzzled Parker’s Twitter account. In July 2013 they started an account nicknamed “Robert Parker”, but it’s actually @Wine_Advocate. It’s a typical corporate social media account, directing you to click on stories published by the website, sans personality.

The real Parker maintained his own account (@RobertMParkerJr) for years, but on February 16, 2017, he posted his last tweet;: a photo of a bottle of wine. It’s a great last tweet, because the bottle in question is a $25 Napa Cabernet at just 14.2 percent alcohol (shut up Eurosnobs, that’s low for Napa Valley). Parker the man was always more interesting than the straw-man caricature who served as a whipping boy for sommeliers.

I’m surprised that the owners of the Wine Advocate haven’t convinced Parker to completely delete his account. What they want is for the wine industry to not notice that Parker has become a brand. So far, in the absence of an actual obit for Parker, it’s working beautifully.

Exhibit A: Mike Dunne, a veteran wine writer for the Sacramento Bee and a personal friend of mine (sorry about this, Mike) published a column this week about Adam Lee’s interesting new private-membership Pinot Noir company, Clarice. It’s a good column but there’s one error that has become commonplace in the wine industry.

Dunne writes that the first three Pinot Noirs under the Clarice label “drew high praise from wine critic Robert M. Parker Jr., who anointed each with between 93 and 96 points.”

But Parker has apparently retired from reviewing wines, and in fact those scores came from Lisa Perrotti-Brown, the Wine Advocate editor-in-chief.

It’s an easy mistake to make, because the Wine Advocate isn’t interested in boosting Perrotti-Brown’s profile as its lead critic, despite her credentials – she’s a Master of Wine (MW) and Parker is not. If you go to the RobertParker.com site to look at the Clarice ratings, you see the initials “RP” below the reviews. You have to click through to the reviews to see that Perrotti-Brown wrote them.

I could give hundreds of examples of this mistake, somebody saying “Robert Parker gave it a 93” when actually it was a different Wine Advocate critic. It’s like saying “Robert Mondavi’s best vintage may be 2016”, or “Carlo Rossi really makes a nice wine for the price”.

This is what the Wine Advocate owners bought: not just the Advocate title, but Robert Parker the brand. It’s possible that this brand will outlast its creator by centuries. This is not uncommon in wine.

For example, Pierre Pérignon was a brilliant innovator. In the 1600s, he started using corks instead of wood to seal wine bottles, and he used thicker glass to keep the bottles from exploding. We don’t remember Pierre the man, though, and whether he preferred boudin blanc or andouillette sausage is lost to time. We just remember him the way all Benedictine monks were called, by the honorific Dom.

Do you know the real name of François Clicquot’s bride by arranged marriage? It’s Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin. But you know her brand: widow in French is “Veuve.” She ran a Champagne house for 61 years at a time when few women worked in the wine industry. There’s a fine book about her business exploits, but her personality is lost to time: most of what we know about her comes from her accounting records, which survived.

We may forget his love of shellfish, but the good news is that it’s possible that Robert Parker has become immortal. Obviously drinking wine is good for your health!

A $100 Napa CAB at ½ the price!

The “Tether” wine is a Anna Monticelli & Kimberly Jones project.   This is real Napa Valley value in a bottle.  When I tasted the wine I figured, another $100, but I was wrong , it was ½ that price!  That said, the production is very limited, so you’ll have to act quick!

Tether 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
GGWC 54.99 net
FREE SHIPPING on six or more
Use code SHIPFREE6 during checkout


The 2015 Tether Cabernet Sauvignon explodes from the glass with abundant aromas of crème de cassis, huckleberry compote and blackberries. The intense dark fruits are followed up by layers of scorched earth, chocolate, spice box, crushed rock and toasty oak. The wine coats the palate with fantastic opulence and silkiness. This wine is full-bodied and dense with great richness and length on the finish.  The wine is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon 7% Cabernet Franc 5% Petit Verdot 2% Merlot 1% Malbec.

Click here or on the links above to order!

Screaming Eagle’s neighbor KNOCKOUT Cabernet at 1/20 the price

This close neighbor of Screaming Eagle has been producing some gems of their own. And remember … Two full cases of this “Textbook” perfect wine won’t even buy you a bottle of Screaming Eagle! The production of Textbook is about the same as it was last year, so it is equally limited, does not come in a fancy wood box and I have it available TODAY for you to buy and taste and enjoy. You can even buy cases of it!. This wine is loaded with black currant and chocolate from the start to the finish. The wine is opulent, full in body and has layers of elegant fruit. This stunning Cabernet has a multi-faceted finish that goes on forever. As its predecessor this release is limited and will sell out fast!Textbook 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon “Mise en Place” Napa Valley
Retail 85.00 – GGWC 79.99
FREE SHIPPING on SIX or more
Use code SHIPFREE6 during checkout
The 2016 Mise en Place garners a inky/purple hue. This wine, sourced from a Cabernet vineyard next door to Screaming Eagle shows of amazing aromas of bright black stone fruit with a  hint of anise, chocolate and espresso beans that jump out of the glass on impact.  On the palate this wine is loaded with black currant, chocolate, a hint of pencil shavings. The wine is powerful, lush & full bodied offering up a tremendous aging potential as it shows a good dose of silky grained tannins on the long complex finish.  If you want to enjoy this wine young, I suggest double decanting it a good 2-3 hours in advance to serving.  This youngster will only improve with time in the cellar.  If you give it a good 2 years you’ll be happily surprised., it should drink well for 10+ years!

Click here or on the links above to order!

97 Point Pinot Gem – Only 2 Barrels produced!

Bibiana González Rave is the founder and winemaker of Cattleya Wines. She is also the wife of star winemaker Jeff Pisonio.  Born and raised in Colombia and trained as a winemaker in France, she moved to California in 2007 to settle into making extraordinary wines.  In her words: “Since my early teenage years, my dream has been to make wine. At a very young age I was fortunate enough to begin learning how to make wine in France. I trained myself while working with some amazing winemakers who showed me the importance of loving the land, how to respect the farming itself, and to focus on the many details that go into making each drop of wine in each and every bottle.”  She also makes the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for Pahlmeyer and owns the “Shared Notes” wine venture with husband Jeff Pisoni.

Cattleya 2016 Pinot Noir “Donum Vineyard”
GGWC 74.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6
Use code SHIPFREE6 during checkout

Jeb Dunnuck (formerly with Robert Parker) 97 Points: “From the oldest vines in the vineyard, the 2016 Pinot Noir Donum Vineyard comes from a site in Carneros and spent 15 months in 65% new French oak. Beautiful black raspberry, sous bois, decayed flowers, and savory notes all flow to a medium to full-bodied, seamless Pinot Noir that has ripe tannin, a seamless texture, and a great, great finish. It’s another world-class effort from this estate that will compete with the best out there.” There’s a scant 50 cases made.”

Winemaker Notes: “Roederer clone was harvested on September 26th. Fruit was 100% destemmed. After a 10 day cold soaking, fermentation began and punch downs were done daily throughout maceration. The wine fermented on the skins for 16 days, then was drained and barrelled down for malolactic fermentation and aging. After 11 months in 33% new oak, the wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered.”

Click here or on the links above to order!