Diamond Creek’s neighbor at 1/3 the Price!

Michael Klopka purchased the 150 acre estate in 1998 atop Diamond Mountain, but it wasn’t a palatial estate – even a “Diamond in the rough” was an understatement.  It was densely forested, nearly inaccessible woodland tract that choked sunlight.  It took a while to clear, and create 2 parcels (Cori and Sophie) totaling six acres of Bordeaux varietals.  Most of the fruit is sold, but a special section is kept for the SVR wines – only 150 cases are produced! The first harvest was in 2004 (they sold it all to Coho for 10 years), and  the Inaugural Summit Vine Ranch offering was the 2013 vintage.

FYI: Diamond Creek is next door to Michael’s SummitVine Ranch vineyard, and at this low $70s price, you have yourself a real bargain from this mountaintop estate!

SummitVine Cabernet “Estate” Diamond Mountain District, Napa Valley
GGWC 71.99 net
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Wine Spectator 94 Pts: “Pure, rich, juicy and supple, offering a wonderful core of black cherry, blackberry, plum and licorice flavors, with graceful tannins that invite early consumption. Drink now through 2032. 149 cases made.”

Winemaker Notes: “Our 2015 Cabernet catches your eye right away with its deep garnet red color and the nose is classic Diamond Mountain with red fruits, some zing and caramel. In tasting the wine, it is rich and complex with great depth of flavors. Along with spice, this wine has notes of blackberry, cassis, black cherry, rhubarb and a hint of Diamond Mountain earth. With its wonderful mouth feel, It has a long, lingering finish that ends with a touch of caramel. The plush, beautifully integrated tannins make this wine so approachable now and will provide pleasure through 2032. Still in its youth, we recommend opening one hour before serving.”

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Taste is Expensive… Price Tag is very Inexpensive!

Walter Hansel has become synonymous with great quality at a great price!  Year after year these wines seem to impress me and my clientele alike.  The first vines were planted in 1978 just a up the block from Kistler!  The actual winery did not start till 1996 when they produced 3 barrels of Pinot Noir and 10 barrels of Chardonnay, and the rest as they say, is history!  Stephen Hansel (Walter’s son) had one of the best winemakers as his tutor (Tom Rochiolli) so it is no surprise that they are still putting out great wines decades later.  Year after this winery has produced amazing “Dollar Cost Average” under priced wines!

Walter Hansel 2016 “Estate” Chardonnay, Russian River Valley
GGWC 29.99
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The 2016 Walter Hansel “Estate” Chardonnay is pretty, understated and polished, with all of the signatures that make the these wines distinctive.  Medium to full in body and very gracious, with lovely aromatic lift and balanced from start to finish.  The grapes from the estate part that was planted between 1976 and 1988 and is a blend of Dijon Clones 95 & 97 and a Hanzell clone.

Robert Parker 92 Pts:  “The 2016 Chardonnay Estate offers up notes of white peaches, apple pir and green guava with hints of lightly browned toast and allspice.  Medium to full-bodied, it is beautifuly silky in the mouth with great vivacity and a long, pure citrus and stone-fruit layered finish.”

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Merlot of the Month!

I know what you are thinking, another wimpy merlot, soft and silky – WRONG!!  The 2015 Switchback Ridge (produced by Robert Foley), is a big, bold red blend of Merlot and Cabernet. Switchback Ridge wines are sourced exclusively from the Peterson Family Vineyard in Calistoga. The rich, rocky soils of this beautiful vineyard property consistently produce low yields of intensely flavored fruit, resulting in extremely concentrated, fruit driven wines that are the hallmark of Switchback Ridge.

Switchback Ridge 2015 Estate Merlot, Napa Valey
GGWC 61.99
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The 2015 Merlot is a rich, mutli-layered and well-structured wine.  On the nose you’ll encounter floral red currant, black cherry and anise aromas.  On the palate this wine is bold and complex with luscious flavors of blackstone fruits, chocolate, anise and a hint of spice that lead to big but silky tannin finish. Drink now through 2025

Winemaker Notes: “A rich and powerful Merlot with dark cherries, blackberry compote and exotic spice. Juicy, ripe and lush on the palate, framed by ample tannin structure and a long, elegant finish with a hint of chocolate and vanilla bean on the end.”

Also check out their other great offerings:

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20% OFF Napa Cabernet Gem & FREE SHIPPING TOO!


Ilaria 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

(NOW $56.00 per bottle INSTEAD OF $70.00)
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The 2015 Ilaria Cabernet Sauvignon possesses gorgeous aromas of black current liqueur, blackberries and huckleberry compote and is complemented by notes of scorched volcanic earth, roasted herbs and charcoal. This wine coats the palate with seductive viscosity. The velvety tannins dance on the palate and contribute to the enduring finish.  The wine is a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon 12% Cabernet Franc 6% Merlot

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points: ” Checking in as a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc and the rest Merlot, from a mix of Atlas Peak, Howell Mountain and St. Helena, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley from Anna Monticelli is a rich, full-bodied, opulent 2015 that shows the sexy, ripe, sweet character of the vintage beautifully. Cassis, tobacco leaf, graphite, and hints of minerality all emerge from this beauty and it’s balanced, pure, and long. Drink it over the coming 15+ years.”

Robert Parker 92+ Points: “Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon (a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc and 6% Merlot coming mainly from the Atlas Peak foothills with some Howell Mountain and St. Helena fruit) gives up notes of crème de cassis, dried herbs and black soil with hints of cardamom and rare beef. Full-bodied and packed with plenty of expressive black fruits and herbal accents, it has nice, ripe, approachable tannins and a spicy finish.”

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100 Pointer Luc Morlet does it again!

The 2014 growing season was easygoing.  Grapevines found their happy place quickly, as warm spring soils brought an early budbreak, and the rest of the season was mild and relaxed, with high temperatures dancing in the mid 80’s.  The vines and grapes developed smoothly, soaking up the dreamy vacation-like weather.  Wine country got a little shaken in late August by an impressive earthquake, but the vineyards only felt a tickle on their roots and harvest proceeded with the same mellow vibe as the rest of the vintage.


Linked 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate” Knight’s Valley
GGWC 124.99
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Robert Parker wrote: “Luc Morlet is not only a fabulous winemaking talent, he knows how to bring the French savoir faire of complexity, elegance and precision to the ripe, concentrated, intense fruit of California.” No sense arguing with Bob, he captured this vintage to a tee. A swirl of the glass reveals aromatics of red and black cherries mingled with cedar. The palate is teased by impeccable tannins, round and soft, with notes of blackberry, leather and cocoa, and the finish boasts a captivating yet laid back character.”

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The crown jewel of La Sirena, Cabernet Sauvignon is Heidi’s favorite varietal to work with, and the wine she is best-known for throughout her career. This Cabernet has all the makings of Heidi’s classic, elegant and balanced style, produced from some of the finest vineyards in Napa Valley.

La Sirena 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
GGWC 179.99
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The 2015 Cabernet is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon from Calistoga/St. Helena, blended with 9% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 3% Cab Franc and 3% Malbec. Only 388 cases were  produced

Suggested drinking range: Delicious upon release, cellaring for 5-10 years is great, but also has potential to last 20+ years stored properly. This wine ages beautifully.

Suggested pairings: Filet Mignon, Prime Rib, Kobe/Wagyu beef (any high quality red meat), roast duck with pomegranate sauce, ribs, veal chops, portobello mushrooms, grilled summer vegetables, Caprese salad.

Heidi Barrett Notes: “This gorgeous 2015 Cabernet is dense and concentrated, starting with very dark ruby color in the glass. Aromas are Napa Valley at its best – layers of ripe berries, cherries, red currants, and toasty refined French oak accents. Open and expressive, with velvety and explosive flavors across the palate. Blackberry-like ripe Cab flavors with amazing silky textural tannins and a persistent long finish. Power packed concentration from this low production vintage. Already delicious upon release, and will surely be an appealing wine for collectors – its powerful structure and rich flavors ensure this wine will be a favorite for years to come.”

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Jeff Pisoni making Cabernet… Yes, it is true.  Jeff has produced amazing Pinot, Chardonnay & Syrah for many years now, so why not try to dabble a little with Cabernet…

J Finn 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon
GGWC 27.99
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The 2017 J Finn Cabernet is a blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Petit Verdot and somewhat of a sleeper. This youngster offers up a nice aroma of black stone fruit on the nose. The wine is medium in body loaded with blackcurrant and black cherry fruit with a touch of licorice and underbrush. The wine finishes pleasantly with sweet silky tannins and a refreshing mouthfeel.

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100 Point Winemaker’s 290 case producer wins BLIND TASTING against the big ones!

In one of our last tasting group meetings we blind tasted Domestic Rhone Varietal and Rhone Blends. The lineup included:

The WINNER Was Keplinger “SUMO”, followed by DUMOL “Eddie’s Patch” Halcon “Elevación” and Keplinger “LITHIC” –  Our tasting group of 15 tasters voted as follows:

Keplinger Sumo 8 first, 3 second and 3 third place votes
Dumol “Eddie’s Patch”  2 first, 5 second, 2 third place votes
Halcon “Elevación”  2 first,  3 second, 2 third place votes
Keplinger Lithic 2 first, 2 second, 2 third place votes 

Keplinger 2016 “Sumo”
Retail 80.00 – GGWC 76.99
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Parker: “The 2016 Sumo is blended of 93% Petite Sirah and 7% Viognier, aged 16 months in 66% new French oak. It is very deep purple-black in color and a little closed, revealing notes of crushed raspberries, black cherries and warm plums plus hints of wild blueberries, spice box and roses. The palate is full-bodied with a firm frame of very ripe, plush tannins and oodles of freshness lifting the red and black berry flavors to a long perfumed finish. 295 cases produced.”

Winemaker: “The aromatics are incredibly vibrant, with layers of candied red fruit, lavender, gunmetal, garrigue, French violet candy, blackberry, and dried thyme. Broad, plush tannins frame the palate; savory notes laced with brambly blue and red fruit, dried herbs and heady floral notes carry the finish. 280 cases produced.”

Keplinger 2016 “Lithic”
Retail 80.00 – GGWC 76.99
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Parker: “The 2016 Lithic is a blend of 41% Grenache, 32% Mourvedre and 27% Syrah aged 16 months in 30% new French oak. Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, it delivers compelling lilacs, kirsch and redcurrant jelly notes with red licorice and hints of anise, cinnamon stick, tar and smoked meats. Medium to full-bodied, firm and with wonderful freshness, it has a fine-grained texture and very long, spicy finish. 280 cases produced.”

Winemaker: “The 16 Lithic has a complex, thrilling evolution. The aromatics are incredibly vibrant, with layers of candied red fruit, lavender, gunmetal, garrigue, French violet candy, blackberry & dried thyme. Broad, plush tannins frame the palate; savory notes laced with brambly blue & red fruit, dried herbs & heady floral notes carry the finish. 280 cases produced.”

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Graceful Pinot Noir by 100 Point Cab Producer


Located 1400 feet above sea level on the western slopes of Sonoma Mountain, the Sun Chase vineyard is one of the first to emerge from the daily intrusion of fog in the Petaulma Gap, allowing it to capture ample sunlight throughout the growing season. this translates into a pure, fruit driven wine that is densely packed, unctuous, and powerfully rich – the trademark of a great Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. Its crimson color is an entry into aromas of dark red cherry, bittersweet chocolate, and graphite.  Integrated sweet strawberry jam, plum, barrel spice and hints of lavender flowers meld together to form an opulent and juicy wine. Dark spices lace into a supple and pliant mid-palate, leading to silky yet open knit flowing finish.  while this wine is definitely approachable now, a couple years of bottle age will unveil hidden layers and additional complexity

Ancillary by Carter Cellars 2016 Pinot Noir “Sun Chase” Sonoma Coast
GGWC 54.99

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Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points: “I loved the 2016 Pinot Noir Sun Chase Vineyard and it comes from higher elevation site located above the Gap’s Crown vineyard in the Petaluma Gap. Destemmed and aged in 40% new oak, it offers a darker edge to its cherry and framboise fruits, forest floor, earth and spicy aromas and flavors. It’s ripe, textured, and nicely concentrated and has bright acidity and clean, chiseled finish, all pointing to it evolve gracefully for at least a decade.”

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A Massive, Intense, Seductive Napa Cab at its best!

Trespass is a small 5 acre all estate property in northwestern St. Helena at the base of Spring Mountain. The wines are hand-crafted by Kirk Venge who has been making wine since he was a little child under the tutelage of his dad Nils Vegne (the first 100 point winemaker in the US with his 1985 Groth Reserve Cabernet).  Kirk has wowed us with many great wines (Beau Vigne, Macauley, Honeycutt, Venge, etc). Nils told me that at pre-school age Kirk knew he was going to be winemaker.

Trespass 2015 Rendezvous Bordeaux Blend, Napa Valley
GGWC 124.99

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It is the epitome of sophistication in the glass.  Hailing from a spectacular vintage, this year’s Rendezvous begins with a beautiful, deep garnet color that clings to the interior of the glass.  As the bold blend opens up, notes of cocoa, clove and blackberry make themselves very apparent.  There was nothing left to be gained from the vineyard in this bottling; the density of this wine is huge.  Finely structured and well balanced, many savory and sweet flavors of blue berry and vanilla fill the mouth.

Winery Notes: “Massive, intense and seductive! We are very excited about this release of our 50-50 co-fermented blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cab Franc. (Always Donny and Kirk’s favorite) There are layers and layers that are generous and profound with purity of black fruit and exotic expressions. The aromatics are right! Light scorched herbs, barrel toast, black cherry jam and sweet plumbs. On the palate it is explosive and fills every corner of the palate with blackberry and vanilla, soft and round, but with firm tannins. This wine keeps evolving in the glass, showing great complexity, Wow!”

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