Impressive White at an even more IMPRESSIVE Value

Colombard is a variety originally from the South-West of France where it has been grown for hundreds of years. Yannick made his first Colombard in 1996 in the heart of Gascony. It was once the most widely planted white grape in California. Yannick makes this Colombard using the French traditional winemaking techniques he learned in France.

FYI: Colombard is one of the blending grapes used to make Cognac

Y. Rousseau 2018 Old Vine Colombard, Green Valley
GGWC 24.99
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The Rousseau Colombard is a complex, aromatic, scintillating white wine. Offering up a bright nose with pure and bright aromas of lemongrass, white stone fruits, citrus notes, ripe Anjou pear, and wet pebbles. On the palate, this youngster displays layers of citrus, green apple, grapefruit, and jasmine.  A medium body, this showing an excellent texture, minerality and long finish. The wine is lush and mouth-watering.

Food pairing: Oysters, seafood, sushi, and grilled white fish. If you feel a little adventurous, try this Colombard with Asian food.

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THE BEST NAPA SAUV BLANC EVER!!

Celia Welch can easily be voted as one of the best winemakers in the world. That said, give this lady some of the best fruit and you have some of the best wine in the world.

The 2018 Rewa Sauvignon Blanc (Second release) is flat out stunning!  Remarkable, a MUST HAVE! Very limited production wine. Only 168 cases were produced

Rewa 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, Estate Coombsville Napa Valley
GGWC 64.99
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On the nose bright floral aromatics meld seamlessly into a core of generous orchard fruit as this ample, richly-textured white that shows off its considerable personality.  It is 100% Sauvignon Blanc, and the wine has a spectacular bouquet of caramelized citrus, honeysuckle, orange blossom and brioche. It is amazingly rich and dense, with the bold, yet very elegant texture.  If you wouldn’t know you are drinking a Napa white, you might believe it to be  o a great Grand Cru White Burgundy!

Celia Welch Notes: “The lively and complex aromas of the 2018 vintage of Rewa Sauvignon Blanc include citrus, wild gooseberry, guava, green apple peel, kiwi and white flowers. On the palate, the wine is bright and lifted by notes of fresh pineapple and lemon curd combined with a stony minerality. This wine was crafted from Sauvignon Blanc clone 1 from Rewa Vineyard fermented, and then aged in neutral oak and stainless barrels.”

Make sure to check out the stunning Rewa 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate” Coombsville, Napa Valley

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Academy Award Cabernet by Karate Kid Writer!

Professor, turned Screenplay writer, turned Vineyard and Winery owner Robert Kamen has done it again. His ace winemaker Mark Herold (Kobalt, Herold) has been making consistent 94+ Point rated wine from their Sonoma property. For 13 straight vintages the wine has received 93-96 Points, this is the most solid A rating ever. Talking about “A” ratings, check out Robert’s movie portfolio: Taps,The Karate Kid (1,2 & 3), The Punisher, Lethal Weapon 3,  A Walk in the Clouds , The Fifth Element , Kiss of the Dragon, The Transporter (1,2 & 3), Bandidos, Taken (1 & 2) and many others.Robert Kamen purchased his  280 acre property in 1980 with the proceeds of his first screenplay, and the rest is history. The certified biodynamic vineyards were planted by another vineyard entrepreneur, Phillip Coturri. Mark Herold (Merus, Kobalt, Herold etc.) has been his winemaker since 2001. Robert Kamen and I go back to the very first vintage, so I am proud to be a part of this great run!

Kamen 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate
GGWC 99.99
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What a vibrant and expressive vintage! Radiant with perfectly ripe aromas of blackberries, cassis, strawberry, roasted nuts and perfumed plums. Hints of marzipan, espresso, black Indian spices, dried wildflowers, ripe passion fruit and the hallmark notes of stony minerality add incredible complexity. A powerhouse of flavors both sweet and savory. Black and purple fruit flavors wind through wild sage and chaparral. The synchrony of balance and power make for an intriguing and complex wine with a long-lasting finish. Enjoy now and cellar over the next 25 years.

Vinous 95 Points: The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is racy, powerful and explosive, as the wines always are. Dark red cherry jam, iron,tobacco, smoke and rose petal all race out of the glass as this inky, plush Cabernet Sauvignon shows off its curves. Even though it is made in a rich, super-concentrated style, the Kamen Cabernet Sauvignon typically needs the better part of a decade to be at its very best. What a wine.

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Zinfandel of the Year!


Scarlett 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 and rebranded in 2015 in honor of its flagship wine, Scarlett, which is named after the founder’s daughter.

Mike Smith became a self-taught winemaker early in his career by making wine as a side project in Oregon. He decided to leave his desk job in 1999 to purse wine full-time, and worked numerous crushes (for free) in Napa Valley. Mike ended up spending seven years working with Thomas Rivers Brown, who’s the genius behind the likes of Schrader, Rivers Marie, Outpost, Maybach and others. In 2006, Mike decided to branch out on his own. Today, Mike is and has been the winemaker for an incredible number of estates in the Valley, Including Carter Cellars, Becklyn, Maybach Family, Bench, Scarlett, and 12c, among others.

Scarlett 2017 “Estate” Zinfandel, Rutherford Napa Valley
GGWC 49.99
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Winemaker Notes: “Dark and opulent ruby hues greet the eye as a classic Zin nose flush with red fruit, licorice root, bramble berry take center stage. Glass coating glycerin, a natural acidity lift, and a medium plus weight frame this garnet beauty throughout. The mid palate is loaded with mixed dark fruits, spice cake and root beer. An undeniable streak of anise right down the middle glides into to a 20 second plus finish. Full bodied and structured, a 1 hour decant works magic with this wine or lay it down for a few years to uncover hidden layers and complexities.”

Also check out:
SCARLETT 2016 CABERNET SAUVIGNON "ESTATE" RUTHERFORD, NAPA VALLEY
SCARLETT 2016 CABERNET SAUVIGNON "RESERVE ~ ESTATE" RUTHERFORD, NAPA VALLEY
SCARLETT 2017 “ESTATE” ZINFANDEL, RUTHERFORD NAPA VALLEY

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An under $60 Napa Cabernet Blend that will rock your world!

Hourglass was created by Ned Smith in 1976, who loved making Zinfandel from this property.  In 1992 his son Jeff Smith took over the land and business and enlisted Robert Foley as his winemaker.  They started Hourglass 2.0. by making Cabernet, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc from this amazing property.  Jeff purchased what is now the Blueline Vineyard as well.  As of a couple of years, Tony Biagi (formerly with Spottswoode) has taken over the winemaking reins at the winery.

Hourglass HG III 2017 Estate Napa Valley
GGWC 54.99
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The Hourglass HG III is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petite Sirah. It offers up a deep purple-black color that opens with notions of warm black plums, mulberries and Black Forest cake with touches of fallen leaves, baking spices and hoisin plus a waft of wild sage. The wine is full-bodied with loads of spiced plums flavors on offer in the mouth, it has a plush texture and long, spicy finish

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points: “Moving to the barrel samples, the 2017 HG3 is a fruity, forward, total charmer that gives up medium to full-bodied notes of blue and black fruits and leafy herbs. It’s well-made and already hard to resist, yet I suspect it will keep for more than a decade.”

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Want Your Wine To Taste Better? Add Salt, Pepper and Fat!

Want Your Wine To Taste Better? Add Salt, Pepper and Fat

By John Mariani
in Forbes.com

It was an epiphany, though not the first of its kind, when I happened to taste a grain or two of coarse salt on some softshell crabs before I had a sip of Vermentino, which, tasted on its own, would have been a pleasant example of its kind. But those two grains of coarse salt  sparked my palate and increased the flow of juices so that when the wine washed in over my tongue, it seemed to burst with flavor, definitely enhancing the wine and, of course, the meaty softshell crabs.

There’s an old saying that salt makes its presence felt only in its absence, which is not to say, the more salt the better. Of recent discovery is how a pinch of salt in caramel or chocolate boosts flavor immensely, so that it’s almost become ubiquitous in such confections.

The same thing happened years ago when I served my younger son a thick ribeye that I’d seasoned with coarse salt then charred on a charcoal grill to a beautiful crust while retaining its medium-rare redness within. He took a sip of a big California Cabernet, put down his fork and exclaimed, “Dad, this steak is fantastic! What did you do to it?” It was a very good piece of beef, to be sure, but the addition of that coarse salt before cooking and a dash afterwards had a vivid effect on its bloody minerality and sweet fat that really was worthy of my son’s exclamation.

Black pepper, though a more pungent palate piercer, has much the same effect, though more so with red wines, which is why the French classic steak au poivre, with a lot of coarsely ground pepper in a cream sauce, is such a powerful carrier of flavor with a sturdy red wine like Cahors. The same goes for the Roman pasta dish cacio e pepe, in which the pasta is coated (not really sauced) with coarsely ground pecorino cheese and black pepper, which gives a tremendous boost to both a modest red Italian wine like Valpolicella or Bardolino, as well as enriching the complexity of a Southern Italian red like Taurasi or Nero d’Avola. The salt and fat of the cheese and the punch of the black pepper marry in an elemental way.

Which brings me to the subject of fat and wine drinking. Some years ago I was giving a tasting of expensive Tuscan red wines like Ornellaia and Sassicaia, at a wine exposition in Florida to be held at one o’clock. I had driven three hours from another city, without benefit of breakfast, and was ravenous when I got to my hotel, just minutes from the expo. I immediately ordered a rare hamburger and French fries, and when they arrived, I wolfed them down and dashed to the tent where I was leading the tasting.

The flavors of my quick lunch were still on my palate, not least the fat of the beef and the oil of the fries, in addition to the salt and pepper I added. And when I began tasting those wines, all of which I knew well from drinking them over many years, the flavors exploded in my mouth—a reaction I told my audience about. It was as if I’d never really tasted these wines before! The simple gustatory fact is, fat carries flavors, especially those of wine grapes.

As everyone knows, the sense of smell is the one that allows one to appreciate myriad sweet, salty, sour and bitter flavors, and fat and pepper have their own olfactory stimulants. So the combinations build upon one another.

And what about red peppers in various forms, whole, dried or powdered? I certainly consume them all the time with all sorts of cuisines—Mexican and Asian, certainly—but I always prefer beer. Reams have been written about pairing wines with Indian vindaloo or Sichuan beef or Yucatan chile, but the very characteristic that makes such pepper condiments so attractive—their heat—in such dishes, along with distinct added spices and seasonings as varied as cumin, coriander, ginger, soy sauce, fish sauce and hoisin are too strong to marry well with any white wine, however refreshing, while most red wines’ flavors are blasted into the background under the assault of a habanero pepper. Tabasco is not kind to wine. (Incidentally, I swabbed a little very hot harissa condiment on those softshells, which not only ruined the wine but detracted from any delicacy the crustaceans had.)

The reason I wish to emphasize these elements of mutual enhancement is because far too many wine tastings take place in offices, winery labs or homes without any accompanying food besides a cracker. (If you’re going to serve a cracker make it a Saltine.)

Such exercises insist on tasting the wines purely on their own to detect their virtues and defects, which is fair enough. But without fat, salt and pepper, they are nothing more than exercises, like testing out a new car by running it in a garage rather than out on the road, where one can appreciate its ability to give pleasure and manifest where there might be problems.

Were I to hold a wine tasting, at the very least there would be some mild cheeses on the table, along with salt and pepper grinders of small, individual dishes containing coarse salt and ground pepper that my guests can put their fingers in, then on their tongues. It makes a world of difference, not least because drinking wine without food is like learning the tango and never going out to dance with someone.


Why not join us at our next tasting? Let’s talk wine and taste some of Napa’s best! Most Saturdays from 1-5 pm in our tasting room at 2337 Ocean Avenue in San Francisco. See the full tasting schedule at GoldenGateWineCellars.com

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
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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
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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
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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.”

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4 Barrel, 95 Point “Sleeper” Cabernet

Chuy Ordaz has hand tended the Montecillo Vineyard for over 40 years. These old Cabernet Sauvignon vines seem to nod in respect towards Chuy when he walks by them or when he stops to tuck a shoot or remove a leaf. Chuy remarked about the 2016 vintage, “2016 is classic Montecillo – very good year, very good wine”.

Camino 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon “Montecillo Vineyard”
GGWC 64.99 net
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Winemaker Notes: “The character of these 55-year-old vines will not be deterred. Clinging to the hillside terraces high in the hills of Sonoma, the wild mountain personality and regal nature beg your attention. Concentrated and brooding in the glass, the wine is perfumy with lavender, violets, and graphite. The bold, dark fruit is emboldened by the fine, chalky tannins and the persistent mineral finish. Always bottled unfined and unfiltered after nearly 2 years in barrel.”

Robert Parker 95 Points: “The Camino Cabernet Sauvignon Montecillo from Moon Mountain emerges from a vineyard planted in 1964 on St. George rootstock, hence it was never prone to phylloxera. The vineyard is planted between 800 and 2,000 feet in elevation. This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon has a fabulous nose of charcoal, barbecue smoke, blackberry and cassis with some forest floor and underbrush. It is a big, juicy, concentrated and beautifully textured Cabernet. It is a major sleeper of the vintage, and can be drunk over the next 20-25 years.”

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Screaming Eagle Winemaker’s Stunning White!

Winery Notes: “The Arietta White Wine “On the White Keys” is a blend of hillside Sauvignon Blanc and old vine Semillon. We ferment and age the White Keys for nine months in a combination of new and second-use oak and stainless steel barrels. The label incorporates the manuscript of the Arietta movement from Beethoven’s last piano sonata, Opus 111. The key to the name “On the White Keys” is the melody of the Arietta theme, which is played in its entirety on the white keys of the piano.

Arietta 2017 “On the White Keys” Proprietary White Blend
GGWC 69.99
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Tasting Notes by winemaker Andy Erickson:On the White Keys is crafted in tribute to our favorite white wines from Graves and Entre-Deux-Mers, the goal to produce a wine with great structure, depth, and ageability. The 2017 vintage is no exception. A blend of 64% Sauvignon Blanc, 25% Sauvignon Musque, and 11% Semillon, the wine presents a vivid spectrum of aromas and flavors, delivered in high definition. Candied citrus peel, flint, lemon grass and Thai basil are only a few of the descriptors that come to mind as the wine opens in the glass. This aromatic intensity is matched by the wine’s brilliant gold color. On the palate, the wine is nothing if not incredibly generous, fresh and energetic, having a near-electric quality. Flavors of bergamot, lemon curd, and vanilla bean are held together by an impressive lattice of phenolic strength and complex oak tannin and toast.”

Vinous 95 Points:Arietta’s 2017 On the White Keys is ample and creamy in the glass, yet also has quite a bit of supporting structure and overall freshness as well. Lemon confit, white flowers, apricot and chamomile add nuance to a host of Sauvignon Blanc-driven varietal flavors. The interplay of richness and vibrancy is simply compelling. In 2017, the blend is 89% Sauvignon Blanc and 11% Semillon from Farina, Sonoma Mountain and Hyde, all done in a mix of stainless steel and neutral oak.

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Grand-Cru from one of California’s Best Single Vineyard Sites!

“Site” is a new venture from  Jeremy Weintraub (longtime Seavey winemaker).  He sources from the best “Sites” in California.  This latest Grenache is just a good example.  The 2015 Site is sourced from the Larner Vineyard.  The Larner Vineyard would be considered a “Grand Cru” if it was 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 Vineyards by Food & Wine, etc.”

Site 2015 “Larner Vineyard” Grenache, Santa Barbara
GGWC 54.99
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Brilliant ruby. Ripe red berries, candied flowers and Asian spices on the highly fragrant nose. Juicy and expansive on the palate, offering alluringly sweet raspberry, cherry and boysenberry flavors that show a refreshingly spicy edge on the back half. Rich yet energetic in style, featuring seamless texture and very good focus. Closes on an emphatic red fruit note, delivering soft, rounded tannins and outstanding persistence.

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points: “I always love the Grenache from this team and the 2015 Grenache Larner Vineyard is no exception. Youthful, backward and concentrated, it’s going to require patience, but has tons of potential in its darker fruits, black raspberry, spice and licorice. Medium to full-bodied, concentrated and structured, forget bottles for 3-4 years and enjoy over the following decade. This cuvée is 100% Grenache that saw 15% whole clusters and 18 months in 500-Liter neutral puncheons.”

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