The Best Quality to Value Ratio California Pinot Noir

Byron Kosuge has been making wine for over 3 decades now.  He honed his skills at various great wineries in California and France.  While working in Carneros he befriended two guys who ran a vineyard management company.  When they planted a small vineyard next to their work shop, Byron came up with the name “The Shop” and the rest (15 years later) is history.  Byron has created a good following for his brand, and so have many of my customers. But his Chardonnay making goes back 30 years and has been his big passion, although he did not add this to his portfolio till 2008.  The 2015 is truly amazing and a great wine for your Buck!

B Kosuge 2015 Pinot Noir The Shop, Carneros
Retail 38.00 – GGWC 34.99
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The wine emerges from the glass with dark red stone fruit a hint of spice, nuttiness and licorice. This is lush and  fleshy, Pinot Noir that is loaded with class and pedigree. The wine is medium to full in body and flavor and finishes long and strong!

Winemaker notes: The 2015 Shop, like the 2014, is pretty ripe and open. The 2015 is pretty, sweet and alluring and have been from the beginning. And although 2015 was an early, warm vintage, the wines are fresh and fairly modest in alcohol. The Shop is always one of the biggest and fleshiest of my offerings and the 2015 is no different; a bit of tannin on the finish gives it a pleasing lift and persistence. The combination of spice and fruit signals that the wine is from Carneros.

Also check out these other B. Kosuge wines:
B. KOSUGE 2015 CHARDONNAY, SONOMA COAST
B. KOSUGE 2013 PINOT NOIR HABITAT SONOMA

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Two Knock-Out Cabernets by Mike Smith 2.0

 

Scarlett Wines is a family operation owned by the McGah family, who are most notably known for co-founding the Oakland Raiders. Representing over four generations of wine growers, the family’s personal touch can be felt from the soil to the glass. The winery previously operated under the name McGah Family Cellars and rebranded in 2015 in honor of its flagship wine, Scarlett, which is named after the founder’s daughter.

Scarlett 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Rutherford Napa Valley
GGWC 69.99
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The wine’s aroma is AMAZING! The color STUNNING! The flavors MINDBOGGLING! The wine is loaded with black stone fruit and chocolate aromas. On the palate the wine gushes with more chocolate, black currant, jam and some delicate Rutherford dust. The wine is full in body, yet elegant and refined! Gorgeous from start to finish Only 200 cases of this gem were produced, so better jump on this now! Massively scaled for a Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon.  Great effort from Mike Smith!

Scarlett 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Estate Rutherford Napa Valley
GGWC 129.99
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A total knock-out, stunner Cab.  The wine is loaded with dark, black stone fruit, offering up hints of licorice, a touch of smoke a good whiff of spice. Offering an extraordinary equilibrium between acidity, alcohol, tannin and wood, stunning purity, a finish that goes on for close to a minute, and a dazzling palate presence from what appears to be an incredible terroir make this an amazing effort in Cabernet Sauvignon Very well balanced with the right acid/fruit ratios.  This is a wine for the ages.  VERY LIMITED

Also check out:
SCARLETT 2016 SAUVIGNON BLANC, RUTHERFORD NAPA VALLEY
SCARLETT 2015 PETIT VERDOT ESTATE RUTHERFORD NAPA VALLEY
SCARLETT 2016 ZINFANDEL “ESTATE” RUTHERFORD

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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:
SWITCHBACK RIDGE 2015 PETITE SIRAH “ESTATE” NAPA VALLEY
SWITCHBACK RIDGE 2015 CABERNET “ESTATE” NAPA VALLEY

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20% OFF Napa Cabernet Gem & FREE SHIPPING TOO!

 

Ilaria 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
– SPECIAL PRICING –
20% OFF & FREE SHIPPING on FULL CASE

(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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DUMOL 2016 DESIGNATED VINEYARD RELEASES – 96 & 97 Points!


With still lower than normal production levels this vintage will sell out in no time! The 2016 DuMol releases are turning out to be quite spectacular! I would say that several of these may the best ever from this winery. Look for some rave reviews from the wine critics! As you know DuMOL is always in high-demand, you can bet that this means the allocation will sell out quickly.

DuMOL 2016 Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard “Chloe” Russian River Valley – 97 Points
GGWC 71.99
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Jeb Dunnuck (formerly with Robert Parker) 97 Points: “The 2016 Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard comes from one of the top terroirs in the Russian River, and Andy has been working with two parcels from this vineyard since 2001. David Ramey and Mark Aubert also source fruit from these same parcels. This crazy good effort is a match for a Grand Cru White Burgundy and has a reductive, complex, layered style as well as sensational minerality, spice, white flowers, and orchard fruits. It needs 2-3 years of bottle age (I’m not sure bottles would last that long at my house) and will keep for 10-15 years.”

Winemaker Andy Smith: “Certainly, the richest and most forward Chardonnay of the vintage, this is the designate to drink first; sometime in late 2018 is a good start date. The wine brims with yellow peach, nectarine and honeysuckle flavors, offset by more savory mint leaf, fresh thyme and sweet hay characters. While possessing a restrained power at its core, it is fruit-driven and layered with a broad textural range perfectly balanced by a lively acidic backbone that provides an element of tension to buffer all the natural richness. Drink between 2019 and 2022.”

DuMOL 2016 Chardonnay Charles Heintz “Isobel” Sonoma Coast – 96 Points
GGWC 71.99
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Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points: “From a cooler, foggy site just east of Occidental, on the edge of the Green Valley portion of the Russian River, the 2016 Chardonnay Charles Heintz comes from 35-year-old vines, was barrel fermented and aged, and bottled unfined. This deeper, richer, more powerful Chardonnay boasts sensational notes of honeyed orchard fruits, brioche, and salty minerality. With integrated acidity, a big, rich mid-palate and a great finish, it’s a quintessential Sonoma Coast Chardonnay to drink over the coming decade or more.

Winemaker Andy Smith: ” This Chardonnay is infused with incredibly intense lemongrass and citrus oil notes that extend to the very final echo of flavor. Deeply pitched, it has broad viscosity, carrying honeycomb and truffle notes, offset by vibrant coastal acidity. The wine possesses so many changing dimensions that, each time you return to the glass, there’s something new to discover. I recommend you wait to drink until after Spring 2019 to give the wine time to unfold its many nuances. Drink between 2019 and 2023.”

DuMol 2016 Syrah Greywacke Vineyard “Eddie’s Patch” – 96+ Points
GGWC 94.99
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Jeb Dunnuck  96+ Points: “From the Greywacke Vineyard (this is a new vineyard for this cuvée), the 2016 Syrah Greywacke Vineyard Eddie’s Patch is reminiscent of a release from the Côte Brune side of Côte-Rôtie. Ample crushed rocks, smoked meats, ozone, pepper, and ripe back fruits give way to a full-bodied, seamless and elegant Syrah that continued to gain in stature and depth as it sat in the glass. Perfectly ripe, impeccably balanced, and long, give it a year or two and enjoy over the following decade or more.

Winemaker Andy Smith: “Greywacke’s iron-rich soils confer an extremely ferrous character to the wine that we see every vintage (terroir!), a trait I describe as mineral/red vapor. This distinctly ferrous note interweaves with spicy dark fruits (tart and savory), mint and a soy-like meatiness. On the palate, the wine is immediately fruit-driven—a slight surprise given the savory nature of its aromatics—with a sense of tiny wild berries, intense, potent and spicy. The wine possesses prodigious structure and deep texture from ultra-low yields due to such unforgiving soils. While you can sample your allocation soon after release (frankly, this wine could outlive most of us), I think it will be best enjoyed between 2020 and 2030. Our finest Eddie’s Patch since the 2013 vintage, and one of our greatest efforts ever.”

DuMOL 2016 Pinot Noir Widdoes Vineyard “Ryan” Russian RIver Valley – 95 Points
GGWC 94.99
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Vinous 95 Points: “The 2016 Pinot Noir Ryan Widdoes Vineyard is one of the highlights in this range of Pinots. Bright, floral notes and punch, red-toned fruit give the 2016 presence and vivacity. A rush of pomegranate, red cherry, blood orange and star anise build into the voluptuous, racy finish. There is so much to like here. The Widdoes emerges from a dry farmed parcel planted with Martini clone Pinot, which is always so distinctive.”

Winemaker Andy Smith: “Vivid flavors of tiny wild berry fruits, bursting with intensity, are supported by vibrant pinpoint acidity that ensures all elements flow to the last lingering echo of flavor. Black pepper and cedar box aromas co-mingle with pure dark cherry compote flavors as beautiful floral notes are found throughout, the texture deep and layered. For me, the quality and personality align with the 2015 vintage, a wine I particularly love. I’m also reminded of the 2012 vintage, a deep, showy wine that is drinking wonderfully right now. Drink between 2019 and 2026.”

DuMOL 2016 Pinot Noir Estate Russian River Valley 95 Points
GGWC 99.99
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Galloni 95 Points: “The 2016 Pinot Noir Estate Vineyard is a potent, brooding wine that expresses all the natural structural intensity of this site. Black cherry, plum, gravel, graphite, smoke and dark spice notes add to the wine’s virile personality. The 2016 is not at all subtle, but it packs a serious punch. It should also age nicely for a number of years. Today, the tannins definitely make themselves felt.”

Winemaker Andy Smith: “We harvested a strict selection from our three favorite micro-parcels within the wider Estate Vineyard: higher-elevation areas where the soils transition from fluffy/sandy to richer clay. As such, the wine balances sandy soil aromatic intensity—tart fruits, floral and spice notes, and an herbal vein—with richer, deeper clay-derived body and depth—cherry compote, dark fruits and obvious texture. There’s gorgeous elemental Pinot flavor throughout: zesty, linear and focused with a long granular structure that offers extended aging potential of 10 to 12 years. Start drinking your allocation sometime in mid-2019 but know the wine’s fullest expression will likely emerge between 2020 and 2024.”

SMALL AMOUNTS OF THE 2016 WESTER REACH WINES ARE STILL AVAILABLE
DUMOL 2016 “WESTER REACH”  PINOT NOIR “RUSSIAN RIVER” 93 POINTS
DUMOL 2016  “WILD MOUNTAIN SIDE”  SYRAH “RUSSIAN RIVER” 95 POINTS
DUMOL 2016 “WESTER REACH” CHARDONNAY, RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY – 93 POINTS

GORGEOUS WINE AT A GORGEOUS PRICE

For 3 generations the Holtermann Family has been one of the premier importers of wines, varying from hard-to-find, leading wineries to very large producers from all over the world.  Their longtime relationships with growers, enolgists, winemakers and vineyard managers provided them with a unique perspective of the wine industry. So the next step was panting their own vineyards, which they did in the remote ridge tops of Annapolis on the Sonoma Coast.  Add winemaker Carroll Kemp to the mix and you’ll wind up with great quality estate-grown wines at a great price point!

Alma Fria 2016 “Plural” Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
GGWC 44.99
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The 2016 Alma Fria “Plural” Pinot Noir is a  blend of the best barrels from three amazing West Sonoma Coast vineyards – Holtermann, Dona Margarita and Zephyr Farms.

The wine offers up gorgeous black raspberry and wild plum flavors, combined with highlights of Gravenstein apple peel, clay, and a hint of spice to form a medium-bodied wine with refreshing acidity and smooth texture. Aged in 10% new French oak. 13.4% alcohol. Only 195 cases were produced.

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French Laundry’s Top Rated Chardonnay = Our Chardonnay of the year for 2018!

What do the French Laundry & Golden Gate Wine Cellars have in common… Hudson Chardonnay.

The French Laundry pours the Hudson Chardonnay by the glass and pairs it with a butter-poached Lobster Tail – mouthwatering, delectable, scrumptious – MUST HAVE!

Winemakers John Kongsgaard and Christopher Vandendriesche did it again! Only a few hundred cases of the stunning, very Burgundian-like Hudson Chardonnay were produced! If this vineyard would be in Burgundy, it would have the Premier-Cru designation! Lee Hudson is probably one of the best winegrowers in the valley.  Many great wineries (Kongsgaard, Kistler, etc.) have been sourcing from this vineyard for decades!

Hudson 2016 Chardonnay “Estate” Carneros Napa Valley
GGWC 69.99
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96+ Points Robert Parker:  “Produced from the “Shot Wente” heritage selection clone and all naturally fermented in French oak, 85% new, where it was aged for 12 months, the Chardonnay Hudson Vineyardreveals intense grapefruit, pineapple and honeysuckle notes with hints of brioche, ginger and shaved almonds. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is bursting with spicy, tropical fruit flavors, framed by plenty of freshness and a satiny texture, finishing with great length and depth…This famous vineyard in Carneros was first started by the Hudson family in 1981. These are some of the strongest wines I have yet tasted from them, thanks to winemaker Christopher Vandendriessche and Ace consultant John Kongsgaard.”

Winemaker Notes: “We experienced ideal growing conditions for our Chardonnay block. Cool summer temperatures extended the growing season culminating in exceptional phenolic ripeness. A total of 5 blocks were independently harvested from late August into early September. Upon arriving to the winery, the lots are individually whole cluster pressed and barreled down for fermentation. Our standard Chardonnay protocol employs a slow primary fermentation process that uses only native yeasts and lasts 12 to 14 months. This extended fermentation process produces cerebral Chardonnay that stands up to our naturally concentrated shot-Wente selections. The barrels are topped and stirred once a week during élevage and racked for the first time after 16 months.”

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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.

REMEMBER ONLY 125 CASES PRODUCED OF THIS LITTLE GEM!!

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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