95 Point, Grand-Cru Syrah from California’s Best Single Vineyard Site

“Site” is a new venture from  Jeremy Weintraub (longtime Seavey winemaker).  He sources from the best “Sites” in California.  This latest Syrah is just a good example.  The 2015 Site  is sourced from the Bien Nacido Vineyard.  Bien Nacido Vineyard would be considered “Grand Cru” if they were located in France.

Accolades: “Top Grand Cru Vineyards in California by Wine Spectator ~ Top Five California Vineyards by Wall Street Journal ~ Top 25 Vineyards in the World by Wine & Spirits ~ California’s Best Single Vineyards by Wine Enthusiast ~ Top 5 Vineyards You Can Trust by Pinot Report ~ Ten Best Vineyardsby Food & Wine, etc.”

Site 2015 Syrah, Bien Nacido Santa Barbara
GGWC 54.99
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Winemaker Notes: “The 2015 Site Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyards was fermented and aged in a combination of puncheons and hogheads. The wine features a nose of blackberries, blueberries, crushed white peppercorns, cocoa and flowers. The mouth is full-bodied, with ample soft tannin and juicy acidity.”

Robert Parker 95 Points: “Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2015 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard has a chocolate covered cherries and violets-scented nose with suggestions of licorice, garrigue and menthol. The palate is rich and full-bodied, chock full of black fruit and spicy goodness and is well-supported by ripe, rounded tannins, finishing with great length and harmony.”

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97 Point Rock Star Red

Matthias Pippig is not your everyday mainstream winemaker. He’s an “artist” in the true sense of the worth.  A creator, a dreamer, a visionary, a poet, a chef, a scientist.  Mix this all together and you have Sanguis.  Matthias moved here from Germany some 30 years ago with plans to make it big in the Rock & Roll scene.  Life took a different turn, as he had to make a living and  he eventually stumbled onto the L.A. food scene.  He worked as a waiter, and in time met Manfred Krankl, of La Brea Bakery fame, which whom he’d partner and work for several years.  Krankl, created the infamous Sine Qua Non label and that inspired Matthias to go a similar route and the rest is history.  Sanguis is not a quaffing wine, but complex and sophisticated.

Sanguis 2016 Syrah “Bossman” Santa Barbara
Retail 85.00 – GGWC 79.99
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Winemaker Notes: “An eccentric gentleman, like the men of early car racing – Confidently humble, determined and patient, smart, beautiful (but not in the Hollywood or GQ sort of way), generous…probably in his mid-fifties but not the sort of 50’s that we’d find in a Viagra commercial and also not the Dos Equisman (though I like him very much).  As a wine, this just about has it all – a dark brooding core enrobed by bright and vibrant energy and an incredibly generous    manner.  It is as pure and lively an expression of Syrah as we’ve been able to coax from nature and put in a bottle – beautiful now and promising a long interesting life ahead.”

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points: “One of the gems in the lineup as well as in the vintage is the Bossman. Made from a mix of Syrah, Grenache, Viognier, and Petite Sirah aged 25 months in 60% new oak, its vivid ruby/purple color is followed by a huge perfume of blueberries, bacon fat, black olives, and smoked herbs. It’s deep, full-bodied, layered, and multi-dimensional on the palate, with no hard edges and a sensational finish. Hats off to winemaker Matthias Pippig for this awesome Santa Barbara County blend!

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Robert Parker: Farewell to the Emperor

Robert Parker: Farewell to the Emperor

© The Wine Advocate
Robert Parker has finally hung up his tasting glass and pen.

Wine’s most influential writer of the past 40 years has retired.
W. Blake Gray pays tribute to a legend.

I come to praise Robert Parker, not to bury him, because this is not quite an obit.

The most important critic in the history of the world officially retired this week, leaving yours truly as the best-known active wine writer from the Baltimore area. (Thanks Bob, and go Orioles!)

Parker single-handedly changed the wine world. There have been theater critics who had the power to close shows overnight, but they couldn’t change the style of drama presented.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown, editor-in-chief of the Wine Advocate, writes that the “Parkerization of wine” is a lie; that wines were becoming riper and more fruit-forward anyway, because of improved viticulture and winemaking as well as global warming. Perrotti-Brown also writes that Parker didn’t force these styles of wines on anyone; that he succeeded because people like these wines.

She’s not wrong, on any of these counts. But to downplay Parker’s role is disingenuous. Fifteen years ago Parker was the hardest-working critic in the world, weighing in on regions he knew well and some he didn’t. The height of his influence corresponded with the height of overripeness, rather than ripeness, in wine.

Parker pulled back gradually from one region after another, and as other critics like Antonio Galloni and his team at Vinous have come to the forefront, the high-end wine world has taken a step back from low-acid caricatures. Nobody is going back to the 1970s and Cabernet at 12 percent alcohol, and fruit-forward wines are here to stay. But it’s no coincidence that California cult Cabs, for example, are seeking balance more than they were a decade ago.

There is actually a company in California, Enologix, that made its money by predicting what scores Parker would give to wines. In 2004 this mattered immensely, because a 98 could make a winery’s fortunes while an 85 could break them. Today, there is no single critic with anywhere near Parker’s influence, and there likely never will be again. Wineries are forced to make wines that they think are good, rather than wines they think Parker will think are good. That has been better for everyone.

But I said up top that I come to praise Parker, and that is true. For all the vitriol heaped on Parker in the latter part of his career,he was overall a net positive for wine. There are certain basic tenets that he has espoused throughout his career that are at odds with a traditionalist’s view of wine, and he was right about almost all of them.

Most importantly, Parker always believed each wine should be evaluated on its own merits. Before Parker, people believed that top estates’ wines were always better than everybody else’s. I’ve met people who still believe it, but it’s hogwash. Great estates can and do have vintages that are only OK, while unknown wineries can achieve greatness. Without Parker, we might not have had a wave of overripe and overrated Barossa Shirazes, it’s true. But we also might not be as open-minded toward Central Otago Pinot Noirs or Uco Valley Malbecs.

Parker also had impeccable personal ethics in an industry that never experienced such before. Parker mostly bought his own wines and paid his own way. His organization has had certain ethical lapses, both before and after its sale in 2012. But Parker himself has always conducted his business honorably.

Here is an unappreciated thing about Parker: the man really loves wine. A lot of critics sound clinical in their writing. Parker’s enthusiasm always comes through. Especially early in his career, he didn’t just love Napa Cabs and Bordeaux and Rhône reds. His affection for small producers trying new things was palpable.

Some people mock Parker’s writing style, but I admire and even envy it. Take a close look at his notes. Wine isn’t a passive noun in Parker’s mouth, languidly sloughing off adjectives. Wine explodes, it bursts, it lingers. Parker’s wine tasting is full of action verbs. He makes wine not an object but a protagonist. Parker gave wine a hero’s journey, and he rooted for every wine that completed it.

I have attended writing seminars where people try to tell us the “right” way to write tasting notes. Robert Parker is the most successful critic by an enormous margin and his notes – his self-taught style – are a major part of the reason. So go ahead, tell me some other style is “right”. Me, I tell aspiring critics to follow the money.

That leads to what I most admire about Parker. Today, under different owners, the Wine Advocate is doing what brands do: monetizing. They have expensive tastings and seminars and I won’t be surprised if they introduce a line of logo goods; they wouldn’t be the first wine publication to do so. Parker lived large, eating a lot of great food and drinking a lot of great wine, but he didn’t really “monetize,” not as he could have.

Parker was, as Elin McCoy called him in her book, The Emperor of Wine. Whether his reign was benevolent or malevolent might depend on whether you’re in Châteauneuf-du-Pape or Beaujolais. But even his detractors should look on the bright side – if Parker had loved lighter wines, we wouldn’t be able to afford them now.

There will never be another Parker, and that’s a good thing, but that doesn’t mean the one who just retired wasn’t a great man whose life is worth celebrating. I think I’ll go find the highest-alcohol wine in my cellar and open it tonight to toast a great fellow Marylander. And then I’ll probably open something else.

A $40s Napa Cabernet Gem – ONLY 3 BARRELS PRODUCED

Who says that it needs to cost a bundle to be very good?  Our friends from Playground Cellars proved it with their latest St. Helena AVA Cabernet release.

Playground Cellars 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena Napa Valley
GGWC 41.99
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A smashing wine, my British friends would say. Yummy good! On the nose, you are greeted by black stone fruit that jumps out of the glass.  On the palate, this medium to a full-bodied youngster is loaded with ripe black currants, a hint of spice, chocolate and licorice that emerge from this ripe, intense, focused beauty.  The flavors linger into the long, elegant and silky finish.  Sadly only 3 barrels (70 cases) were produced! 

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Coho … A Cab worth reeling in

I am thrilled to introduce the new Coho Cabernet Sauvignon from the very (small) 2015 vintage. The wine is sourced from two family-owned vineyards located in the Napa Valley (Sugarloaf East 88% & Perata 12%). Winemaker Phil Titus (longtime “star” at Chappellet) produced an amazing, crowd-pleasing wine! As always the Coho production is limited, only 208 cases produced of this vintage were made – so don’t wait too long to jump on this wine!

Coho 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
GGWC 64.99
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The 2015 kicks of with bright aromatics of licorice and mocha that  lead to a rich palate of cassis and black currant flavors on the big bold palate. The wine is full and lush in body, loaded with bold and bright black stone fruit and a touch of lively acidity that will support the flavors for years of exceptional enjoyment. However you won’t have to wait as it is already eminently enjoyable.

Antonio Galloni wrote in Vinous: “This is one of the more open-knit, voluptuous wine(s) of the year… Readers looking for immediate gratification will find plenty of that here”.

Also Check Out these other great Coho wines:

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How Did Wine Change the Course of History?

How Did Wine Change the Course of History?

By Josh Friedland
New Jersey Monthly

In a new book, Atlantic County oenophile John Mahoney
posits that fermented grapes led to the birth of Western civilization.


Illustration by Victor Jurasz

Around 9,000 years ago, a band of nomadic humans roaming around Western Asia stumbled across wild grapes that had fallen into a crack in a rock and fermented. They tasted the cloudy, purple liquid that had oozed out. We’ll never know whether they grunted primordial tasting notes, but the encounter would change the course of human history.

That, at least, is the theory of wine’s origins presented by wine expert John Mahoney in his new book, Wine: The Source of Civilization. Mahoney, a resident of Atlantic County and a former professor of English literature, argues that wine not only predated ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, but was the catalyst that led to the birth of Western civilization.

He suggests that after the last Ice Age ended, humans got their first taste of wine in its crudest, natural form and were so taken with it that it contributed to them putting down roots, literally and figuratively. Central to his claims are recent chemical analyses of Neolithic pottery, unearthed from archaeological sites in Georgia in the South Caucasus, which found that the pottery, dating from 6,000 BC, contained residues of acids consistent with wine made from grapes.

If the people of ancient Georgia were able to make wine 8,000 years ago, Mahoney speculates, then they must have first encountered naturally fermented grape juice much earlier. He cites evidence of winemaking in Çatal Hüyük, considered the world’s first city, dating to about 7,500 BC, in what is now Turkey. Çatal Hüyük was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012.

While some scholars contend beer was discovered even earlier, perhaps even as long as 15,000 years ago, Mahoney maintains that wine came first by at least 4,000 years. That debate has yet to be resolved.

Mahoney, who calls himself a wine missionary, is the author of six books, including Wine for Intellectualsand Every Bottle Has a Story. He has taught courses on wine at Stockton University and Montclair State University and serves as chancellor of the North American chapter of the Dionysian Society, an international organization devoted to wine appreciation.

“After I wrote Wine for Intellectuals,” he says, “I got into conversations with people about where wine comes from. I found it fascinating that we just assume it came from the Greeks. But research shows that it was much, much older.”

The Phoenicians, he writes, an early maritime civilization, prospered by trading both wine and grape vines, as did the ancient Greeks and Romans. He asserts that societies that made wine, sold it as a commodity, and drank it in moderation were able to amass wealth, expand their political power, and make historic social, economic and cultural advances.

Mahoney argues that the origins of the Christian ritual of the Eucharist can be traced back more than a thousand years before Jesus, when the Greeks drank wine as a symbol of the blood of their gods in a sacrificial rite called eucharista. He notes that drama was invented in ancient Greece as a ritual performed for Dionysus, the god of wine.

Armies such as those led by Alexander the Great were successful in military campaigns, he proposes, because they carried wine, which they mixed with water. The wine served as a disinfectant, preventing fighters from getting sick as they conquered new territories.

“The more we know about wine,” he writes, “the more we will know about ourselves.”


I am very sorry, but this release came and went very fast! Inventory is very limited.



Paul Lato 2017 Chardonnay “It’s All Good” Talley – Oliver’s Vineyard 

The “It’s All Good” is the Premier Release from a special block on the Talley vineyard. Growing in sandy clay loam in the Edna Valley, these 27-year-old vines produce Chardonnay of great balance and complexity. Opening with youthful aromas of white peach, river rock, and almond flowers on the nose. Its lively, caressing palate is a seamless balance of crisp Fuji apple and salted caramel. With its smooth and refreshing finish, this Chardonnay will charm you into saying, “It’s all good…”

Paul Lato 2017 Chardonnay “Done & Done” Talley – Rincon Vineyard

The “Done & Done” is another Premier Release for Paul Lato from a unique corner of the Rincon Vineyard from Brian Talley. The inaugural vintage of this vineyard is a classic California Chardonnay. It offers intriguing aromas of honeysuckle, apricot, and river rock. It will seductively draw you in with flavors of bright peach, honey, pear, and creamy marshmallow. This medium-bodied wine is balanced with good acidity—making it lovely on its own or perfect with food. The rich and delicious finish provides the perfect end to this delightful wine.

Paul Lato 2017 Chardonnay “Souvenir” Sierra Madre Vineyard
GGWC 79.99

Paul Lato Notes: ”This wine possesses a powerful and exuberant nose of brioche and lemon zest, with nuances of vanilla and spice. It is dry, yet plenty rich in its taste, with medium plus body, voluptuous and round texture, and nuances of minerals. The seamless integration of new French oak provides plenty of structure, and leads into a gracefully dry finish, inviting you to take another sip. It will drink wonderfully on its own with great conversation or while reading your favorite novel. One of our favorite dishes to pair is a creamy Lobster risotto in light saffron spice.”

Parker 95 Points (2016): “From one of the oldest vineyards in the Santa Maria Valley, Paul Lato’s superb 2016 Chardonnay le Souvenir Sierra Madre Vineyard reveals attractive aromas of yellow orchard fruit, citrus zest, peach and honeycomb. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, with more textural glossiness than the Belle de Jour, underpinned by bright acids and concluding with an intense, chalky finish. This is quite structurally tight-knit right now and will need a couple of years in the cellar to blossom."

Paul Lato 2017 Chardonnay “Belle de Jour” Duravita Vineyard
GGWC 79.99

This bottling has created a real following.  I would be hard pressed, but I can tell you that this one is every bit as good as his previous Belle de Jour bottlings, maybe a touch more focused and more elegant! A real “skilled” winemaker gem! Due to the success with the previous vintages I have a lot of demand for this bottling and it will be sold out well before it arrives at my store!

Paul Lato Notes: “Very sleek and elegant chardonnay from the Biodynamic Duvarita vineyard, it is a classic example of the intriguing depth and complexity Biodynamic wines exhibit. It is intensely aromatic, with acacia flowers and seabreeze-like mineral notes on the nose. Medium bodied, long in the mouth, clean, and very well balanced on the palate, finishing with the contrasting flavors of lemon zest and butterscotch. It is lively enough to be an aperitif; however, it will greatly compliment seafood like shrimp, scallop, or pair well with traditional French cuisine..”

Jeb Dunnuck (formerly with Robert Parker) 2016 Review 96 Points:  “Buttered orchard fruits, creamed corn, spice box, toasted bread, and white flower notes all emerge from the 2016 Chardonnay Belle du Jour Duvarita Vineyard, a sensational Chardonnay that's up with the gems in this report. Possessing remarkable purity, medium body, nicely integrated acidity, and a great finish, it's already impossible to resist yet should evolve gracefully on its balance and purity. This cuvée comes from a vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills and spent 15 months in 55% new French oak.”

Paul Lato 2017 Chardonnay “East of Eden” Pisoni Vineyard
GGWC 84.99

This is the Seventh release of the “East of Eden” Chardonnay from the famed Pisoni Vineyard. Only a few barrels were produced, and I was lucky to get a few cases from Paul as they were all earmarked for his mailing list and for restaurants like French Laundry, Per Se, Gary Danko, etc.  This is probably the best rendition of a 1er Cru Montrachet produced in California.  As you are aware of Paul’s meticulous wine-making skills and strategy, nothing escapes this guru of precision! I’d say that this wine is very similar to the great 2015 vintage, which received 97 Points from Parker!

Paul Lato notes: “Powerful yet controlled nose, with aromas of flint, lily, and Crème Brulee, California meets Burgundy. The body is long and powerful with marine-influenced salinity and a fresh boisterous finish. This wine has a larger-than-life personality, much like the man growing the grapes, Gary Pisoni. This wine will pair well with lighter dishes of seafood or chicken, but also has the potential to compliment a steak..”

Jeb Dunnuck (formerly with Robert Parker) 2016 – 98 Points: “Coming from a terrific site located at the southern end of the Santa Lucia Highlands, the 2016 Chardonnay East of Eden Pisoni Vineyard boasts phenomenal notes of ripe citrus and white peach fruits, white flowers, and freshly crushed rocks. It's clean, incredibly pure, and elegant on the palate, with a level of tension and vibrancy you don't find too often in the vintage. I followed this bottle for two days and it only improved with air. It's a brilliant Chardonnay from Lato that’s going to benefit from a year or two of bottle age and age gracefully for a decade or more. Don’t miss it!.”

Paul Lato 2017 Pinot Noir “Seabiscuit”
GGWC 84.99

This latest Zotovich “Seabiscuit” bottling is by far Paul’s best effort to date! I would say that it will rival his 97 Point rated 2015 & 16 versions!  As it is the case with all of Paul’s wines, I get limited amounts of this great gems, so I can only remind you how great and limited they are!

Paul Lato Notes: “Located toward the center of Highway 246 on a gentle, even slope with northern exposure, Zotovich Vineyard has proven capable of making extraordinary wine with great aromatics and fine structure. Dark pleasant red, with rose, bing cherry, raspberry cake, and a hint of wood aromatics. It is mid-bodied, zesty and smooth on the texture with a bit of spice on the finish. The tannins are gentle but persistent and will allow this wine to age gracefully with time and will be ready to drink within a couple of years.”

Jeb Dunnuck (formerly with Robert Parker) 2016 – 97 Points: “From a site in the northern part of the Sta. Rita Hills, the 2016 Pinot Noir Seabiscuit Zotovich Vineyard (60% new French oak) reveals a medium ruby/translucent color as well as a classic bouquet of ripe red and black fruits, forest floor, white flowers, and spice. It picks up a lovely floral quality with time in the glass and is seamless, silky, and perfectly balanced on the palate, with ultra-fine tannins. I almost always find the Zotovich to be one of the most compelling wines in the lineup from Lato and the 2016 is no exception. It's as classic and balanced as it gets. Give bottles 2-3 years in the cellar and it's going to evolve for 10-15 years.” 

Paul Lato 2017 Pinot Noir “Suerte” Solomon Hills
GGWC 86.99

Paul is not slowing down one bit, and this workhorse “Suerte” will amaze many Pinot lovers alike! It shows gorgeously young, and will even improve a lot more in the years to come!  Only a few barrels produced! This 2017 is any bit as good as the 96+ point rated 2014, 15 & 16 vintages!

Paul Lato Notes: “Solomon Hills is the most westerly vineyard in the appellation, making it the coolest due to its proximity to the ocean. Suerte is a favorite of some of my most loyal supporters, including Thomas Keller and Wolfgang Puck. Dark color with a shiny hue. Pronounced brooding nose with darker fruit nuances of blueberry pie and cherry with a hint of clove and light smoke. On the body, the wine is well defined possessing zesty flavors with balanced structure and bright acidity. While the tannins are quite firm on the finish, the wine delivers plenty of pleasure and intensity. Classic Santa Maria Pinot at its best. Decant one half hour prior to service.”

Jeb Dunnuck (formerly with Robert Parker) 2016 – 96+ Points: “Lato always makes the most of this great vineyard, which is located in the cooler, Pacific Ocean-influenced Santa Maria Valley. Black raspberries, red plums, violets, and hints of scorched earth all emerge from the 2016 Pinot Noir Suerte Solomon Hills Vineyard and it’s one of the more masculine, mineral-laced wines in the lineup. Nevertheless, it has beautiful purity and an undeniable elegance. Aged 15 months in 65% new French oak, give bottles a year or so and enjoy over the following decade.”

Paul Lato 2017 Pinot Noir “Lancelot” Pisoni Vineyard
GGWC 99.99

The “flagship” wine of Paul’s Portfolio!  I don’t need to tell you that the Pisoni vineyard is often compared to the best (1er Cru) vineyards in Burgundy, and Paul puts a real Burgundian twist on this source!  This wine equals the best of the previous Lancelot bottlings and could even surpass it! 

Paul Lato Notes: “This is another special vintage from Pisoni Vineyard.  Vibrant and deep, dark cherry color.  Booming aromatics out of the glass, with blueberry pie-like notes. Power and grace in the mouth with plenty of fruit, oak, and vanilla nuances that blend seamlessly. Touch of spice and abundance of minerality. Long finish, very impressive now and full of aging potential and evolution in the bottle. Our Grand Cru from Santa Lucia Highlands.”

Jeb Dunnuck (formerly with Robert Parker) 2016 – 97 Points: “More black fruits, plums, crushed rocks, and spice emerge from the 2016 Pinot Noir Lancelot Pisoni Vineyard, and as always, it's one of the bigger, richer wines in this lineup. Possessing medium to full-bodied richness, good acidity, and ample tannic grip, it needs 2-3 years of bottle age but is nevertheless a beautiful wine. The Pisoni Vineyard is located in the southern end of the Santa Lucia Highlands, a slightly warmer terroir of granite soils, and this wine always sees a touch more new oak than the other cuvées, spending 15 months in 70% new barrels.”

Paul Lato 2017 Pinot Noir “C’est La Vie” Drumm Canyon
GGWC 84.99

This might be the very best C’est La Vie bottling to date (formerly Contender)!  This rendition of the Drumm Canyon Vineyard “C’est La Vie” will make you (happily) dream of a 1er Cru Pommard at a much lower price point!  This latest release is Paul’s best effort to-date and I have only 5 cases of this wine to offer!

Paul Lato Notes: “Our parcel at Drum Canyon Vineyard is on a severely steep hillside graced with beautiful southern exposure. Attractive, dark red. Boysenberry and cassis notes. Full of energy, wired with fine tannin and a long spicy finish. Made from two Burgundy suitcase clones, and would easily fit as a ringer wine in a Burgundy tasting. Decant one hour prior to service.”

Jeb Dunnuck (Formerly with Robert Parker) 2016 – 96 Points: “The 2016 Pinot Noir Drum Canyon Vineyard comes from a site in Sta. Rita Hills and is a relatively new cuvée from Lato that was first made in 2013. From a mix of two suitcase clones (Swan and Calera) and aged 15 months in 50% new French oak, it's a larger scaled, darker fruited effort that has ample cassis and black raspberry fruits, subtle oak, notes of lavender, violets, and spice, medium to full body, and building structure that emerges with time in the glass. It's a beautifully complete wine that will benefit from a year in bottle and keep for over a decade.”

Paul Lato 2017 Pinot Noir “Atticus” John Sebastiano Vyd, Santa Barbara
GGWC 84.99

This might be one of Paul’s best interpretations of this great vineyard.  Intensely aromatic, lush fruit, medium to full in body, but extremely well-balanced.  Bright red stone fruit on the mid-palate with a hint of spice leading into a long silky finish.

Paul Lato Notes: “John Sebastiano is my most eastern vineyard in the appellation with a stunning south facing hillside topography.  Combined with its relatively windy locale, this vineyard produces wines of high concentration.  This wine has pronounced notes of raspberry and tart blueberry.  It has smooth texture, fine structure, and a zesty long finish with a hint of spice. Needs three years in the bottle but will last 12+ years.  Atticus has been an international favorite from its very first vintage.”

Jeb Dunnuck (Formerly with Robert Parker) 95+ Points: “From a site on the eastern edge of the Sta. Rita Hills, the Atticus John Sebastiano Vineyard spent 15 months in 75% new French oak. It’s vibrant ruby color is followed by notes of blackberries, raspberries, smoked earth, ground herbs and hints of minerality. It’s one of the larger framed, riper wines from Paul, yet in this vintage, it stays beautifully focused, tight and pure. It has the balance and texture to shine today, but it will be better with a year or two of bottle age.”

Paul Lato 2017 Pinot Noir “Duende” Gold Coast
GGWC 84.99

This is Burgundy made in California!  The Gold Coast Vineyard is 30 years old and is own rooted (no rootstock)!  Intensely perfumed aromatics jump out of the glass. Medium to full in body, this wine offers gobs of red stone fruit, a touch of underbrush and spice in its medium to full-bodied shell.  The wine lingers for a longtime into a gorgeous, lengthy finish.

Paul Lato Notes: “This may very well by my finest vintage of Duende to date. Delicate, medium red color and fantastic perfume. Stewed strawberry and raspberry notes with very pleasant red fruit nuances from the nearly 30 year old vines at Gold Coast Vineyard. Silky texture on the tongue from the intermingling of the fruit with the finest new French oak – refreshing acidity and light tannins on the finish.  Duende is a perennial favorite of many of my longest customers.”

Jeb Dunnuck (Formerly with Robert Parker) 2016 – 96 Points: “Moving to the Pinot Noirs, the 2016 Pinot Noir Duende Gold Coast Vineyard comes from a site in the Santa Maria Valley and spent 15 months in 50% new French oak. Black cherry and raspberry fruits as well as lovely notes of underbrush, forest floor, white flowers, and hints of vanilla all emerge from this elegant, multidimensional Pinot Noir that has awesome purity and length

Paul Lato 2017 Pinot Noir “Prospect” Sierra Madre
GGWC 89.99

The 2017 Pinot Noir “The Prospect” is polished and sensual from the very first taste. Plump and juicy, but also light on its feet, it has a level of finesse and subtlety that is quite rare in this vintage. Bright, saline notes infuse the tightly wound finish. I would prefer to cellar the 2017 for a year or two.

Paul Lato notes: “We source the best of the best grapes from Sierra Madre, the prime property in the middle of the valley; Sierra Madre and Pisoni are the only two vineyards that I make both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  Medium dark color, pretty and translucent with a nose of fresh strawberry and bing cherry. It has well defined mineral structure and finishes zesty and delicious.”

Jeb Dunnuck (Formerly with Robert Parker) 2016 – 96 Points: Brought up in 50% new French oak as well, the 2016 Pinot Noir The Prospect Sierra Madre Vineyard offers more underbrush and stem/earthy notes. It has rocking purity of fruit on the palate, a silky texture, ultra-fine tannins, and a clean, crisp finish. This Burgundian beauty just glides across the palate and is another brilliant wine from Lato. Give bottles a year or two.”

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CALL 415-337-4085 for availability and priority allocation!

98 Point Syrah Sensation

Bibiana González Rave is the founder and winemaker of Cattleya Wines. She is also the wife of star winemaker Jeff Pisoni.  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 is the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay winemaker at Pahlmeyer and produces “Shared Notes” wines with her husband Jeff Pisoni.  All those ingredients together and you have one of the best winemakers in the country!

Cattleya 2016 Syrah “Soberanes” Santa Lucia Highlands
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
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The wine offers up an amazing bouquet of exotic fruit that jumps out of the glass. The color is bold and intense and the flavors on the palate just reflect the same – intense black stone fruit, a touch for floral quality and a hint of meaty-bacon fat.  Densely concentrated, yet incredibly elegant at the same time.  The flavors go on and on into a gorgeously long finish with silky tannins!

Jeff Dunnuck 98 Points: “I think one of the best Syrahs coming out of California today is the Soberanes Vineyard from Bibiana. Sporting a vibrant purple color as well La Landonne-like notes of currants, bacon fat, white pepper, and cedar, the 2016 hits the palate with full-bodied richness, awesome purity of fruit, and a huge finish. More dry-aged beef and assorted meatiness develop with time in the glass, and while it was aged in 100% new French oak, it’s absorbed every trace of it. It’s an awesome Syrah to drink over the coming 10-15 years.”

Make sure to check out the other highly rated Cattleya wines:

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Why Drinking The Right Amount Of Red Wine Is Actually Good For You.

Why Drinking The Right Amount Of Red Wine
Is Actually Good For You

in The Richest

Drinking red wine can actually have a lot of health benefits, studies show. Be sure to drink it in moderation, though.

We currently live in a time where it feels like everything and anything is bad for us. Yes, we know smoking and processed food are likely doing us damage, but even things we would do and eat in an attempt to be healthy are bad for us now. The sugar content of fruit, for example. We’d feel pretty good about ourselves in the past for choosing a banana over a Kit Kat. Now, not so much.

We kid, of course. We know fruit is still better for you than chocolate, regardless of a banana’s sugar content. The key to everything we do, eat, and drink is moderation. Which brings us to the topic of this article, red wine. Many of us enjoy kicking back with a glass of vino after a hard day at work, and it turns out you might be doing your body more good than bad by doing so.

An article recently published by Cosmopolitan highlighted some of the benefits of drinking a five-ounce glass of red wine every night. We must stress that if you drink more than that on a regular basis, the bad may start to outweigh the good. On to those benefits though, and believe it or not, red wine actually helps fight cavities. Your teeth might be stained purple initially, but red wine has been found to kill cavity-causing bacteria.

It’s not only your teeth it’s keeping healthy either. One of the antioxidants found in red wine is commonly associated with fighting off allergy and asthma symptoms. Even more promising is the research into red wine’s relationship with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. The metabolites formed in your gut by red wine have been successfully used by scientists to prevent neurological cells from dying. Pretty cool.

Moving on. Despite alcohol consumption often being linked to depression, a 2013 study found that those who drink between two and seven glasses a week actually stand less chance of becoming depressed. And last but not least, diabetes. Extensive research into wine consumption found that those who drink it with dinner instead of water stood less chance of developing type two diabetes. We knew Jesus was on to something when he turned water into wine.

Wine is NOT Rocket Science… or is it?

John Caldwell grew up in Napa into a family that ran a shoe business. John eventually turned the one business into many more.  Living in Napa and making money, he purchased 54 acres of land and had plans to develop some homes.  Unfortunately that backfired and now he was “stuck” with 54 acres of dirt.  He had been on trips to France, and one thing let to another that he was going to start a vineyard.  On one of his trips he decided that the only way to get vines from France was to smuggle them into the country.  With the help of some friends in New York and Canada he started to bring in vines from Haut Brion.  Unfortunately on his last of 5 trips he got caught by customs agents.  They wound up confiscating his last load, but John got lucky that via a lawyer friend he was released with a warning and a fine.  His 4300 vines were in a barn in Napa and that started the success story that Caldwell Vineyard would become years later.

Part II: In the mid-late 90’s I met John and we tasted through some barrels, when he said, you know this is not “Rocket Science”!  At that time, Philippe Melka was his winemaker, and the next day Melka asked him what that “blend” was all about that he made the day before.  That said, John created “Rocket Science” under my eyes and a new brand was born. So many years later, I am still a big fan of this wine, and his first retail account

Caldwell 2016 “Rocket Science” Red Napa Valley
GGWC 71.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
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A voluptuous nose is dominated by black raspberry, black currant, ripe blueberries, black olive, cassis, clove and white pepper. A raspberry attack leads into a full, juicy mouth of ripe plum and cherry. The structured cocoa tannins gives way to a long finish of chocolate covered strawberries.

The 2016 Rocket Science is a blend of 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petit Verdot, 12% Syrah, 10% Malbec, 5% Tannat, 5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Carménère, 5% Merlot

Winemaker Notes: “The only sure way to know you’ve got a supernova in your sights is to do a diagnostic… fragrant spices, explosive fruit, finish like a long-tail comet… check. This high-octane vintage draws you in with inviting aromas of raspberry, plum, anise, and rose petals lighting up the red spectrum. Cocoa, leather, and fresh black tea fill in the darker side. Fluid dynamics take over with a full-throttle cherry attack. Mellow, sweet tannins carry the day while this wine’s long, pomegranate finish streaks across the sky with nothing to stop it but another sip.”

Click here, call 415-337-4083 or email frank@goldengatewinecellars.com to order!