The Last C-Beck Ever!

Corey Beck grew up in the Napa Valley in and around the vineyards his grandfather planted at Chateau Montelena.  He started his winemaking career under Scott McLeod at Rubicon (Francis Ford Copolla).  His own Cabernet Sauvignon is an amazing wine sourced from one of the most sought after vineyards in the Napa Valley nearby the Hourglass, 3 Palms and Switchback Ridge vineyards. This wine’s quality is much higher than its price tag!  Sadly this is the last vintage of C-Beck ever.  Corey is now the CEO for Francis Ford Copolla’s entire winery venture and has no time for his own brand anymore, which is very sad to see this one go. Another reason to jump on this wine and stock up!  It is value & quality in a bottle!

C-Beck 2015  Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Retail 53.00- GGWC 49.99
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The wine’s aromas jump out of the glass upon impact.  Gobs of black stone fruit with hints of sweet vanilla greet you on the gorgeous nose.  This full-bodied wine is big and bold, yet silky and luscious loaded with extremely well-balanced black stone fruits (black currant, dark plum and blackberry) and the right touch of acid that will allow this wine to age nicely.  The wine finishes long with soft and supple tannins.  Only 264 cases of this great wine were produced.

Click here or on the links above to order!

BEST WINE OFFERING TO DATE!

Owner and Winemaker Curt Schalchlin has been producing high-quality Rhone blends at a very respectable price level for years. Curt worked for some of the best winemakers in industry and went solo about over a decade ago, and the rest is history. Today Sans Liege has a worldwide fan base among my clients, as far as Japan, Europe and South America. The 2017 Sans Liege “The Offering” is by far the best release to date!

Sans Liege 2017 “The Offering” Santa Barbara
GGWC 32.00
FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more!
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The Sans Liege 2017 “The Offering” (a blend of of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and 1% Viognier) is a wine that captures the imagination and challenges expectations, it displays a beautiful purity and depth that is reminiscent of having a summer picnic in an ancient church. Resinous scents of black cherry cola, frankincense, fresh-peeled Clementine orange and vanilla extract lead to a well-structured and balanced palate of curried mix-berry cobbler, turmeric, dark chocolate cocoa nibs and black pepper with rocky, persistent tannins.

Winemaker Notes: “When you arrive the celebration is raging, much like the huge bonfire in the center of the crowd. You are met with scents of anise, mulling spices, kirsch and leather. A friend claps you on the back and hands you a bowl crafted from juniper proclaiming “wassail!” “Drink hail” you chorus with the rest of the group, taking a gulp and passing it on. Treats of olive tapenade and plums with cinnamon are shared as the merriment continues into the night.

FYI: The 2017 Offering was sourced from some of the most amazing vineyards —  Alta Colina, Larner, Alta Mesa, Derby, John Sebastiano and Zotovich.

Also check out these other great Sans Liege wines:
SANS LIEGE 2017 COTES DU COAST, WHITE BLEND
SANS LIEGE 2016 PICKPOCKET TEMPELTON GAP, PASO ROBLES

Click here or on the links above to order!

Wine Color

How important is the color of red wine?

By Toni Paterson MW
In The Real Review

 

Color can sway our sensory perceptions of a wine.
(Photo: Pxhere)

Color can be an indicator of many things about a wine though it needs to be considered in parallel with other parameters to draw the appropriate conclusions about wine quality.

It is essential to view color in the context of the grape variety, age, and style of the wine.

For example, a red/brown tinge is to be expected with a very old red wine, though it could be a sign of oxidation on a young new release.

People often use color as a sign of quality; however, it is essential to view color in the context of the grape variety, age and style of the wine.

For example, Nebbiolo is comparatively light in color compared with other red grape varieties, and it has a characteristic orange-red hue. This color is entirely appropriate for a Nebbiolo but would be worrying in a young Shiraz.

Color is a rather poor indicator of Pinot Noir’s quality. This is because people often associate light-colored wines with low flavor. But this is an incorrect assumption with pinot noir as it can be pale and highly flavorsome at the same time.

In high-colored varieties such as Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, I look for good color depth and intensity. In a young wine, purple hues are generally a good sign. Though the darkest wines are not necessarily the highest in quality; there is no absolute correlation.

Fashion also plays a role in what we consider acceptable in wine color. Just look at Australian Rosé. It was once praised for its bright crimson hue, though today the fashion is pink and pale, with rose-gold shades an acceptable variation rather than a sign of development.

Color can also sway our sensory perceptions of a wine. To test this out, try distinguishing between red and white wines using a black glass to mask the color. You may discover that some red wines smell like nectarines and white wines of strawberries. This is counter-intuitive to what you might have expected should you have seen the color beforehand.

So, when you are assessing a red wine, by all means, observe the color. But use it to confirm what your palate is telling you rather than allowing it to bias your overall view of the wine before tasting it.


Want some more tasting tips? Please join us every Saturday from 1-5 PM at our in-store tasting room where we will sample some of the best wines that Napa has to offer! Check out the full tasting schedule below or at GoldenGateWineCellars.com.

SORRY…. LAST CALL 4 DuMOL 2017 releases!

The much-anticipated release of the 2017 DuMOL
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Syrah are finally here and SELLING FAST!

2017 Wester Reach Chardonnay
GGWC 61.99 net
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The 2017 Chardonnay Wester Reach comes from the Russian River Valley, it has terrific notes of citrus and Meyer lemon, and hints of tart pineapple as well a medium-bodied, fresh, focused, incredibly pretty style on the palate. With bright acidity and plenty of vibrancy, it’s slightly more forward and fruit-driven compared to some of the other releases here. It’s a great introduction into the wines of this terrific estate.

Winemaker Notes: “From the lowest-yielding vintage in twenty years, there’s inherent concentration here, a depth of flavor coming from the vines themselves rather than winemaking artifice. But there’s also a firmness and seriousness that offsets this mid-palate weight and extends its citrus-oil-infused finish.  The wine has great lines: focused, driven, mineral-laden and pithy, with a level of cool-climate fruit intensity that is very rare. This level of quality and distinctive character is hard to achieve in a larger-production blended wine, but is a testament to our pedigreed vineyards, precise farming, twenty years’ experience, and patient, sensitive craftsmanship.”

Vineyard sources: 32% Dutton-Hansen, 24% Dumol Estate, 20% Dutton Ranch “Jentoft”, 12% Charles Heintz, 12% Lorenzo

DuMol 2017 Wester Reach Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
GGWC 72.99 net
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Incredibly aromatic and complex, the 2017 Pinot Noir Wester Reach offers loads of spiced red fruits, incense, wood smoke, and forest floor notes as well as a medium-bodied, fresh, focused, yet still pleasure bent style. It’s a classic DuMol Pinot Noir to drink over the coming 5-7 years. This cuvée comes all from the Russian River Valley, from multiple clones, and spent a year in 40% new French oak.

Winemaker Notes: “The wine is dynamic, alive and precise. It begins in a coastal style–sleek, focused and linear. The deep entry expands along strong lines with good drive and detail to its red and black fruit flavors. As it fully opens, natural Russian River textures and volume takes hold – broad, supple and layered. Savory elements steer the wine toward complexity that will continue to build in bottle.”

Vineyard sources: 34% DuMOL Estate, 24% Dutton-Upp Road, 22% Widdoes, and 20% Occidental Road.

2017 Wild Mountainside Syrah,  Russian River Valley
GGWC 62.99 net
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Black cherry, boysenberry, lavender, violet and green peppercorn are all present in the aroma. There’s lovely clarity of flavor and purity of cool climate fruit: cassis and blackberry offset by thyme, tobacco and cocoa nib. A lushness of texture takes over with lingering black fruits and lilac on the peppery, extended finish. Drink this soon after release or enjoy the reward of 10+ years of aging.

Vineyard Sources:  57% Hoppe-Kelly, 36% Timbervine Ranche & 7% Greywackle

Winemaker Notes: “Black cherry, boysenberry, lavender, violet and green peppercorn are all present in the aroma. There’s lovely clarity of flavor and purity of cool climate fruit: cassis and blackberry offset by thyme, tobacco and cocoa nib. A lushness of texture takes over with lingering black fruits and lilac on the peppery, extended finish. Drink this soon after release or enjoy the reward of 10+ years of aging.”

94 Points Jeb Dunnuck: “There are three Syrahs from Smith. His 2017 Syrah Wild Mountainside comes from a handful of sites in the Russian River and spent 15 months in a mix of one-third new French oak, 20% amphora, and the balance in used barrels. This rocking effort offers classic cool-climate notes of blue fruits, violets, ground pepper, and game. With medium to full body, beautiful tannins, and a seamless texture, it’s going to keep for over a decade.”

Click here or on the links above to order!

BEVAN’S HOT NEW CABERNET RELEASES ARE FINALLY HERE!

I just tasted the latest Bevan wines last week, and was speechless how good they were, this young!  The wines were opened (and decanted) at 11 AM, and I tasted them at 1 PM. One after another they were a WAW (What A Wine)!  Unfortunately production levels are as always small, so not a large amount was allocated to me, but I am very excited to share that the following highly rated wines from Bevan Cellars arrived in my warehouse.

Bevan 2017 Ontogeny  Proprietary Red, Napa Valley – 99 Points
104.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6
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Mix & match with other BEVAN wines OK

Jeb Dunnuck 99 Points: “While the 2017 Ontogeny Red Wine is the least expensive wine in the lineup, it comes from all the single vineyards and in 2017, it doesn’t give an inch with regard to quality. In fact, it might be my favorite in the lineup. Awesome notes of blueberries, cranberries, blood orange, white flowers, and liquid violets all flow to a full-bodied 2017 that has purity, richness, balance, and length in spades. It’s another sexy, straight-up heavenly wine from Russell Bevans that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face.”

Winemaker Notes: “Ontogeny is pure bloody hell, showcasing the best each of the vineyards has to offer. A fruit profile that everyone can appreciate, with massive density and supple tannins. It is a blend from my big boy vineyards.  The wine is absolutely dynamic, with linear intensity, great balance and good acidity making it very food-friendly offering great power and concentration – a classic Ontogeny.

Bevan 2017 Tench EE Red (Cabernet Blend) – 99 Points
204.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6
Use code SHIPFREE6 during checkout

Mix & match with other BEVAN wines OK

Jeb Dunnuck 99 Points: “The 2017 Tench Vineyard EE Red Wine one of the few wines that has the potential to match what was achieved in 2016. A total thriller, it has awesome notes of plums, blueberries, earth, chocolate, and espresso, with even a hint of truffle developing with time in the glass. Deep, dense, shockingly powerful and layered, yet still light and balanced on the palate, with sweet tannins, it should drink nicely right out of the gate yet age well.”

Winemaker Notes: “The Tench Vineyard, EE, Red Wine is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, and the blend gives us another layer of complexity and sophistication. This wine is suave and dapper… think Mr. Darcy in a bottle.

Bevan 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Tench Vineyard Oakville, Napa Valley 97 Points
204.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6
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Mix & match with other BEVAN wines OK

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points: “The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Tench Vineyard, which was tasted as a barrel sample, is a lifted, sexy wine that has exotic notes of blueberries, spring flowers, peach pit, and liquid violets. With a touch of chocolaty oak, full-body, terrific tannin quality, and a great finish, it’s going to match 2016,  it’s a thrilling 2017 barrel sample that’s loaded with charm.”

Winemaker Notes: “The Tench Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is the most massive of our Tench wines. It is truly a beast! Massive but seductive, this wine is perfect for a day when you need to treat yourself to something with hips and curves.”

Click here or on the links above to order!

A Bride and … Free Shipping as a Wedding Present

After many years the Bridesmaid wines are being rebranded of sorts.  Pam Starr (fomer Spottswoode winemaker) has been producing the Crocker & Starr/Bridesmaid wines for many years now.  Crocker & Starr was always estate grown, Bridesmaid only partially.  That has changed and so has the pacakaging. Gorgeous new labels and the same stunning wines, sort of a new (married) life for the Bridesmaid…

Crocker & Starr 2018 “Bridesmaid” Proprietary White Blend Napa Valley
GGWC 27.99
FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more
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This brilliant Sauvignon Blanc blend is pale straw yellow in the glass and the aroma is loaded with honeysuckle, lychee, lime leaves, and laced with the slight salinity of oyster shell. Mouthwatering flavors of lemon meringue pie, key lime, honeydew melon, and white peach gleam on the palate. And the Semillon adds jelly richness to the wine’s medium-bodied, perfectly balanced center. The wine shines all the way through the savory finish, which is lined with crushed seashell. You will love this so much that a case simply won’t be enough!

Also check out:
CROCKER STARR 16 ESTATE CABERNET FRANC 96 Points (Best Cab Franc in the world)
CROCKER STARR “BRIDESMAID”  PROPRIETARY RED NAPA VALLEY

Click here or on the links above to order!

Impressive & Gorgeous 96 Point Pinot Noir (…Tiny Production)

Set above the town of Occidental, Yu-ki Estate is located just five miles from the Pacific Ocean at an elevation of 1,000 feet. It was named for Akiko’s nephew in Japan. One translation of Yu-ki is “big tree,” which is a fitting name for a property surrounded by old-growth redwoods. It was planted with the Freeman heritage and Dijon Pinot Noir clones, and to preserve the property’s majestic redwoods – The Freemans donated 22 acres to the Bodega Land Trust.

Freeman 2016 “Yu-ki” Estate Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
GGWC 64.99
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A powerful, layered fruit character gives this medium- to full-bodied wine great focus, depth and length. Its core of black berry, currant and cherry is lightly accented by black tea and clove for an almost mysterious mix that is compelling to sip. A brisk texture of fine-grained tannins and nervy acidity completes this superbly balanced and well structured wine.

Vinous 95 Points: “The 2016 Pinot Noir Yu-ki Estate is absolutely gorgeous. Perfumed, textured and wonderfully inviting, this mid-weight, gracious wine nicely captures Akiko Freeman’s style. It is also one of the best wines I have tasted here.”

Wine Spectator 96 Points: “From an elevated (1000 ft.) coastal site, this is a super fine, fragrant and finely detailed pinot that has plenty of red cherries and strawberries with wild herbs and fresh, red-rose perfume. Really striking. The palate has ultrafine, layered and elegant tannins that deliver a superbly focused, fine, red-fruit impression with clarity, length and freshness. This is great pinot noir. Drink or hold.”

Click here or on the links above to order!

Best Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc to date!

Winery Notes:  “We approach the creation of our Sauvignon Blanc with the aim of crafting a wine that is as structured and cerebral as it is dynamic and tantalizing for the senses. This is an incredibly high bar for this noble grape, to which we give the greatest respect. To achieve this goal, our 2018 Sauvignon Blanc was sourced from iconic vineyards in Napa Valley including Stagecoach and Hyde Vineyards and from Farina Vineyard on Sonoma Mountain, along with fruit from Spottswoode Estate. To preserve the integrity and individuality of each site, the wines were fermented in a combination of oak and stainless steel barrels, a clay amphora and three different sizes of concrete egg. The result is a cellar-worthy treasure that is both stately and sublime, with dazzling aromas, effortless poise and remarkable complexity.”

Spottswoode 2018 Sauvignon Blanc Napa/Sonoma
GGWC 44.99
FREE SHIPPING on 12
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The Spottswoode Sauv Blanc opens with aromatic notes of white peaches, grapefruit and orange blossoms. The wine is medium-bodied with a radiant texture and delightful freshness, the palate chants of white peaches and citrus that are bright and focused, leading into along mineral-laced finish.

Winemaker Notes: “This 2018 is rich and powerful, built on a backbone of great acidity. The nose jumps out of the glass with vibrant Meyer lemon, pink grapefruit, white peach, pears, and nectarines. The mouth is taut yet nicely textured, with creamy guava, lemon curd, and a wonderful blend of fruitiness, wet stone minerality, and a structure that persists in a very long and salivating finish. This Sauvignon Blanc can be enjoyed both now and into the future.”

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Mirror Mirror on the Wall, which is the best Cabernet of all…

Rick Mirer, the former stand-out Quarterback at Notre Dame and NFL player with the Seahawks, 49ers, Raiders, Bears & Jets turned another longtime hobby into a profession – wine! This Mirror 2016 Howell Mountain Cabernet is his thirteenth release and I would say the best-effort yet-to-date! His friend Jeff Smith (owner of Hourglass winery) did not need to convince him that there was life after the NFL (New Found Love). He was already a big Hourglass fan, and when they hooked up to discuss his future, Mirror was born – the rest, as they say, is history. The wines are made by Kirk Venge.  The grapes were sourced from the venerable Cimarossa vineyard on Howell Mountain

Mirror 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain, Napa Valley
GGWC 124.99
FREE SHIPPING on 4 or more
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The aromas of this Cabernet Sauvignon are an ever-evolving blend of ripe blackberries, dark chocolate, and baking spices. The big, bold palate offers layers of complexity – a soft, ripe entry of dark cherry with hints of leather followed by a concentrated core of ripe plum, highlights of vanilla, cinnamon, and espresso beans.  The balanced acidity delivers a seamless harmony of fruit and rich tannins that integrate into a clean and long-lasting elegant finish.

Winemaker (Kirk Venge) Notes: “Concentration & focus… a star student, this wine has both. Austere mountain soil meets the abundant sunshine of this southwest-facing slope, its light crop proffering rich aromas of ripe stone fruit and blackberry bramble. Hints of cigar box compliment flavors of stewed cherry on the mid-palate and a long finish of clove and capsicum that will age superbly for 15-20 years.”

Click here or on the links above to order!

Five Ways Not to be a Wine Wanker

Five Ways Not to be a Wine Wanker

It has been a derogatory term bandied about for some time now. I am referring, of course, to “wine wanker”, two words referring to the type of person inhabiting the wine world who has a penchant for being snobbish, opinionated, sensitive, obsessive, manic and hysterical, as well as general holding a higher-than-thou’ attitude on the subject of wine.  Although many may be quite happy to fall in this category and proudly claim to belong to the tribe of unashamed wine wankers, some of us might prefer to be left out of this classification. Despite being partial to and fond of the greatest fermented fruit juice in the world.

So, here are five ways to avoid being labelled a wine wanker:

1. Admit to actually approving of wines made from Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. These are two varieties from which the most popular and best-loved wines in the world are produced. From USA to Britain, Russia to Germany, Japan to Argentina, everyone loves Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. Except if you are a wine wanker. A wine wanker is not allowed to like any wine variety that is not only consumed in vast quantities by many people from all countries, but is actually enjoyed by masses of folk, too. By stating that you not only gain pleasure from drinking Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot but that you actually think they make good wines, you will be looked upon with sniggers of non-accepting approval from the wine wankers and forever be disallowed entrance into their midst. Even when you switch to amphora-aged Assyrtiko and biodynamic Alicante Bouchet.

2. Refuse to give a wine a score. This is a dead cert. Anyone unable to attach a score out of 20pts or 100pts to a wine will never receive wine wanker accreditation. For this accreditation, you are obliged to offer an opinion about every wine you drink in point form, as this is the one language of the wine wanker. Being unable to hold an impassioned argument as to why your 92pts is more valid than another person’s 89pts makes one immediately irrelevant as a wine commentator. Interesting is that when wine wankers are done debating the scores accorded a certain wine, they turn to debating the merits of the various point-systems themselves as well as arguing about whose 90pts is more relevant than the others. It’s weird, I know, but not impossible to escape.

3. The other language of the wine wanker is the vocabulary. Although varied and used by commentators of all ilk, the narrative of wine allows one to distinguish between a normal wine drinker and a wine wanker with discernible ease. Descriptors such as “floral”, “berry” and “citrus” can only be used by average, everyday wine people. To be referred to as a wine wanker the more prosaic and intangible terms such as “energy” and “tension” must be cut loose, with the odd “engaging” and “intelligent” thrown in. Once this cerebral attachment between the wine and its drinker has been established to the extent where the imbiber actually admits to this in writing or talking, your wine wanker badge is being prepared for mailing, and there is no turning back. Avoiding these will spare you the pain and the tension. Save your energy.

4. Smile when tasting. There they are, the wine wankers assessing the glass before them. But why do they do so with the sour, frowned and suspicious expressions of a proctologist who has just encountered a mysterious-looking anal wart? Because wine wankers are not allowed to appear as though they are having a good time when tasting wine. Each wine must be scrutinised and interrogated for a possible fault, a de-linear composition or an off-putting edge. No time for doing what wine was created for, namely distracted, unperturbed drinking between bouts of relaxed conversation and the odd touting around of humour and bonhomie. If you thus chug back a glass of Chardonnay with a smile on your face, a sigh of contentment and a show of joy, wine wanker status will avoid you like a steely Riesling rejects malolactic fermentation.

5. Speak Afrikaans. English is God’s language when it comes to wine, especially in South Africa. Opinions on wine, whether in writing or communicated orally, are only relevant when done so with a hot-potato arch of the vowels or adoring alliterative bouts of noun-fuelled opining. Afrikaans is deemed the talk of the plebeian, a linguistic affront to the culture of wine which is made to be talked about with the same kind of haughty righteousness deployed to address a Corgi who has just done runny crap on the Royal rug. By entering a vinous environment and daring to engage in the staccato, guttural notes of Afrikaans, no wine wanker shall allow you into his or her midst without committing hara-kiri with a shard of freshly smashed Riedel.


Well, even if you can’t speak Afrikaans (I sure can’t), you can probably speak wine! Come join me every Saturday in our in-store tasting room and let’s speak wine while we sample some of the world’s best wines. See the full tasting calendar below or at GoldenGateWineCellars.com!