Coffee is more like wine than you think!

Coffee is more like wine than you think!

A parallel can easily be drawn between the worlds of wine and coffee. The cheaper versions of each are widely available and economical, and can easily be separated due to their lack of quality. At some point, people tend to evolve from “it all tastes the same” to “I’m craving that same flavor experience”, and finally “I can’t ever go back, and now I’m ruined”. It’s hopeless when you reach this last point, and each day without what you crave is like a day without sunshine. But it’s not all subjective and trivial—there are discernible differences and tangible reasons for the variances in taste and quality.

The flavors of properly roasted coffees do not hide behind a smoky mask. All roasts can taste like burnt ash when pushed too far, aka over-roasted. But the beans can also show off their true flavors when prepared properly. As specialty coffee becomes more mainstream, everyday drinkers are being overwhelmed with fruit bomb full natural Ethiopians, sparkling jasmine Latin Americans, and pencil lead and leathery Sumatrans. Once one has a taste of the other side, it is depressing to settle for a lesser experience. Wine from the bargain bin will have a physiological effect, just like cheap coffee—but you’re missing out on a huge component of the experience!

There are around 10,000 varieties of wine grapes grown around the world. Each yields a certain flavor and behaves a particular way during processing and fermentation. In the same way, coffee plant varieties number at around 100 different species. Add in the crucial step of processing, the possible flavor profiles are nearly endless. Processing is essentially how you choose to remove coffee seeds from the fruit, an optional fermentation step, and drying. These parameters can be manipulated to deliver unbelievably diverse results. There are similar steps in the winemaking process.

An Ethiopian coffee given the chance to ferment for weeks inside the fruit yields a heavy-bodied “fruit bomb”, often reminiscent of a Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon. This process also mirrors some aspects of sweeter wine production, and the all-important noble rot, or Botrytis. But that same Ethiopian coffee given the faster, washed method of processing will provide a light-bodied, almost tea-like brew with less pronounced fruit notes and flavors of honey. When communicating these flavors, both in wine and coffee, certain rules need to apply.

Tasting notes should be simple, communicable, and specific. Three nouns are plenty, and they should be able to be discussed openly and without judgment. If I say I taste “wild blackberry grown from acre number four at my grandmother’s farm in October”, it doesn’t do anyone much good. Don’t be overly complex when simplicity will do. Instead, try “blackberry jam, dried leaves, floral”.

Finally, when tasting for the first time, incorporate oxygen in your mouth. This goes for wine and coffee. Slurp, swirl, and savor! Think about what you are consuming, and try to describe it. Paint a picture in your mind and translate that as best you can to compare with what others taste. This contemplation is what elevates the experience beyond the mundane, and we should savor these opportunities every chance we get.

Meet Ann Colgin

Meet the woman behind the Napa Valley wine
company that currently has a waitlist
for its coveted vintages

By Emily Rella,

In the modern world, careers tend to be defined by a 9-5 job that pertains to what you studied in school, what your skillset calls for and what you see as being a lucrative means to an end.

While we all have passions and hobbies outside of our day jobs, many people are scared to take the leap and make a career out of what they love.

But if you look at your chosen career path and the things that you find yourself having strong affinities to, you’ll realize there is a pattern of similarities that you may have missed, and an opportunity to fuse the two that can create a path that you never thought was possible.

This was the case for Ann Colgin, founder of COLGIN CELLARS

Holding an M.A. from New York University and a previous role as President of Fairchild’s Fine Art, Inc., Colgin spent a lot of time studying at Sotheby’s in London during her years in the fine art world.

It was there that she discovered her other love — Wine!

“While I was in London, I went to a couple of wine tastings and fell in love with wine. I thought that it was always going to be a passion and hobby for me. But I moved to New York and I was working in the auction world and having fun with wine and I started going out to Napa [Valley] on a more serious level for the auction … the thing that really drew me to it wasn’t just the wine, but the community out there. And I started a brand in 1992 — this will be my 28th harvest. Over the years, I have built upon the business that I started when I bought my first property in 1996.”

Today, Colgin Cellars vinifies fruit from three historic Napa Valley vineyards — Tychson Hill Vineyard (which was originally planted by the first female vinter in Napa), Cariad Vineyard and breathtaking IX Estate Vineyard, which is responsible for the majority of Colgin Cellar bottles and home of the Colgin winery which was founded in 2002.

Colgin’s vintages are selectively sold nationally and internationally, with about 65 percent going direct to consumer — and there’s currently a waitlist to be on the receiving end of Colgin’s mailing list.

AOL Finance caught up with Ann Colgin to discuss her journey from art to wine, what she wishes she knew before becoming an entrepreneur and of course, all things wine:

How were you able to make the jump from the art world to the wine world?

“Quite honestly, I was young and if I probably knew too much more about it, I wouldn’t have done it. Ignorance can be bliss in some ways … I hired a lot of great people to help me and I understood the business to a degree, but I’ve learned so much over the years. I think wine is something that’s incredibly complicated, just because everything is constantly new and different. Every year is a little bit different with the weather conditions that occur and even if you can say some vintages are like other vintages, every year is still unique. The challenges that mother nature brings to the table every year are opportunities to learn more with each vintage. It’s a constant learning situation … there are so many new wines around the world every year, it’s very hard to keep up with everything that’s happening. We’re constantly searching for how we can make our wines the best that they can be, looking at new vineyard techniques, new technology.”

Did you plan to make the jump and make this your full-time career or was it more of a gradual transition?

“I kept my day job in that I was in the art world for a while when I started this. But at a certain point, I realized that I needed to give my all to the wine business because that’s how you really develop a business. I think if you talk to any entrepreneur they’re going to tell you that you have to be all in. Art for me is still a passion and a hobby and I spend time in the field — I’m on the board of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) so I do a lot of things in the art world still but from a business standpoint, it’s all about the wine.”

What does your typical day-to-day schedule look like these days?

“Every day is different for me. I have a great team that works with me … I have a fantastic winemaker who spends as much time in the vineyard as she does in the winery (I am out in the vineyards with her sometimes, too.) I have a great COO who runs the business end of things, but I still am very involved in a lot of the winemaking decisions at harvest, a lot of the branding that we do, the selection process and what barrels actually make the final blends … every day is different.”

You run the company with your husband — was wine always a passion of his as well?

“I brought him into this and he only was interested in drinking and collecting it! We met at a wine dinner in Beverly Hills — he was a big wine lover, French wine especially. It was fun to meet someone at an event where he had a passion for what I had a passion for but he never expected his life to be involved in the farming side of this and the creation … but I think he loves it now.”

Have you taken any courses professionally in the wine world since starting Colgin Cellars or did you operate it based on experience?

“I did take some courses but the most valuable thing that I have done over these many years is getting to taste a number of wines from around the world … I’m a very fortunate to have friends that are very generous with their cellars and my husband and I have collected wines for a very long time now and we have special bottles that you share with friends and with our team. We’ll do comparative tastings … I think tasting is really one of the most valuable things you can do to really learn about wine.

A great bottle of wine evokes emotion. It makes you stop and think about it. And I think in the lives the we all lead today, when we’re always on our devices and we’re always racing from meeting to meeting — time is such a valuable asset. To sit down at a table over a meal with your family or with your friends over a bottle of wine, really slow down and take in the color and the aromas and really talk about the wine. It’s such a great aspect of life, to bring people together and create a memorable moment for them. But that’s the greatest joy that I get for doing what I do.”

What’s something you wish you would’ve done differently when starting Colgin?

“I wish I would’ve known that land is your most valuable asset and that some of the lands that we chose at a time, I wish we would’ve bought more acreage when it was more possible to do that. That’s the one thing that I look back on that I would’ve done differently.

There is a leap of faith that you have to take. You can do all kinds of studies on soil type, rockiness, water — there’s a lot to do, but you don’t really know until you get that first fruit, so it’s scary in a lot of ways. But the wine business is a type of business that involves a lot of patience. When you buy a piece of land and you develop it … it’s 7-10 years minimum doing red wine at the level we’re doing from the time you begin until the time you sell a bottle.”

Do you have a favorite vintage?

“It depends on the day and the vintage and what time eating and who I’m with but i love all our wines quite frankly .. what we really aim for is to celebrate the sunny climate that we have in California, so the wines are ripe and luscious but they still have freshness, perfume and minerality which is very important to us. And they each kind show their site which is in some ways a more Burgundian model than a Bordeaux model where in Bordeaux the chateaus are different, the wine production is bigger … for us, we’re really emphasizing these different sites and the different personalities that we can draw out from the terroir.”


Click here or on the links above for tasting notes or to place an order 

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 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.

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 2017 “Rocket Science” Red Napa Valley
GGWC 71.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code SHIPFREE6 during checkout

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 give way to a long finish of chocolate-covered strawberries.

The 2017 Rocket Science is a blend of 57% Syrah, 14% Tannat, 11% Malbec, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petite Sirah, 2% Merlot

Winemaker’s 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 or on the links above to order!

Another 98 Point Rated Thomas Rivers Brown Gem

Pulido-Walker is the culmination of a patient journey toward the possible. Under the watchful eye of  ace winemaker, Thomas Rivers Brown, they chose two remarkable vineyard sites where the natural alchemy of geography, soil, climate, and clone combine to yield a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon greater than the sum of its parts.

Pritchard Hill’s Melanson Vineyard immediately captivated Thomas’ attention as he and Mark drove its steep and rugged, boulder-strewn ground.  Located on a rocky, gentle knoll along the old Napa River bed wash in St. Helena, the Panek Vineyard possessed all the characteristics to yield superb fruit and is Thomas’ personal selection for his own vineyard designate.

Pulido-Walker 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Melanson Vineyard, Napa Valley
GGWC 229.99
use code SHIPFREE3 during checkout

Robert Parker 98 Points: “Produced from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon coming from Melanson Vineyard on Pritchard Hill, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Melanson Vineyard offers a deep garnet-purple color and delicate, slightly subdued black cherries and wild sage notions to begin, soon unfurling to show its multilayered glory: cassis, kirsch, lilacs and warm plums over forest floor, truffles, grilled meats and marmite toast nuances plus a hint of cardamom. Medium to full-bodied, solidly built and beautifully taut, it is packed with layered nuances and textured by superbly ripe, fine-grained tannins, finishing with great length with an invigorating lift. 210 cases were produced.”

Jeb Dunnuck 98 Points: “From a site in the same area as Colgin and vines planted in 1998, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Melanson Vineyard offers a rocking bouquet of chocolaty black and blue fruits, truffle, charcoal embers, and earthy nuances. This full-bodied beauty has a ripe, layered, seamless texture and is perfectly balanced. It’s another gem from the genius of Thomas Rivers Brown. It’s also worth pointing out that the farm at this site, which has lagged in the past, is now being handled by Josh Clark, who handles the farming for Outpost and Mending Wall.”

Click here or on the links above to order!

White Burgundy meet…. The Santa Lucia Higlands

After graduating from college in Vermont, winemaker, owner and native New Englander Ian Brand found a job on the Alaskan Peninsula leading groups of tourists to see grizzly bears in the wild. He continued his adventures for five years, ski-bumming, surf-bumming, doing wildlife surveys in the canyons of Utah, and joining the Peace Corps in Ecuador, eventually ending up broke and homeless in Santa Cruz. He felt lucky to find a job at the Bonny Doon Vineyard, where his first harvest hooked him on winemaking. He joined Big Basin Vineyards, an acclaimed Santa Cruz Mountains producer, as vineyard manager and assistant winemaker for four years. In 2008, he and his wife Heather decided to move to Monterey County and strike out on their own – And the rest…. is history!

I-Brand Chardonnay 2017 Escolle Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands
GGWC 32.99
Use code SHIPFREE12 during check out

Amazing balance and roundness. Rich nuttiness, and fruit showcased upon the nose. Partial malolactic fermentation, allows bright acidity to shine, while the creamy characteristic follows upon the palate. Layers of fruit and baking spices envelope the mouth, providing a silky finish that lasts. Baked apples, and pineapple lead, with a slight clove finish. Enjoy now, or cellar for an optimal tasting experience.

Click here or on the links above to order!

Mike Smith and Jim Barbour’s “Bench Pressing” Cabernets!

Bench Vineyards is a family venture between husband and wife, Sam Sharp and Allison Steltzner. The Estate consists of 30 acres and sits next door to Odette and some other great Stag’s Leap vineyards. The name “Bench Vineyards” comes from its unique topography – a true “benchland” vineyard located on the eastern side of the Napa Valley, directly below the Stag’s Leap Palisades.

The vineyard was planted in 1964.  Fast forward to 2011. The family hires two of Napa’s most sought after individuals – Vineyardist extraordinaire Jim Barbour and his team to “recultivate” the vineyard, and 100 point winemaker Mike Smith (Myriad, Carter, 12c, Scarlett, Quivet, etc.). Mike and Jim were very impressed with the potential and after trial blends in 2012 and 13 they officially released the first “commercial” wine in 2014.   The 2016 wines will really impress you, as the team has 3 years under its belt now!

Bench Vineyards 2016 “Circa 64” Estate Proprietary Red, Stag’s Leap
GGWC 124.99
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Mix & match with Bench Cabernet

Winery Notes: “A luxurious blend of three components from the Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. Our inaugural release of this wine was in 2014, led by second-generation vintner Allison Steltzner and her husband Sam Sharp. They drew inspiration from the landscape of the property in creating Bench Vineyards project.  This wine provides amazing texture with lovely blue and red fruits, with a long elegant finish.  The aromas are complex with notes of dark fruit, violets, ripe plums and a hint of toasted cedar.  On the palate, this wine has flavors of rich and smokey pipe tobacco and a slight hint of cedar.  It is wine is well balanced with a beautiful structure and manages to glide smoothly across the palate, finishing with a long lingering finish.”

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points: “The 2016 Circa 64 is juicy, forward, and undeniably delicious. A blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% each of Petit Verdot and Malbec. Cassis, bay leaf, violets, and spice all flow to a plump, opulent red that has excellent freshness and purity.”

Vinous 93 Points: “The 2016 Circa 64, Bench’s Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec/Petit Verdot blend, is gorgeous. Succulent dark cherry, lavender, spice, mint, and chocolate all run through this racy yet mid-weight Stags Leap red. The 2016 is pure class through and through.”

Bench Vineyards 2016 “Estate” Cabernet Sauvignon, Stag’s Leap
GGWC 149.99
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Mix & match with Bench Circa

Mike Smith crafted a Cabernet Sauvignon that is a masculine in style, yet maintains the elegance of the Stag’s Leap region hallmark.  The fruit is sourced from the estate’s older Martini Clone that was planted 30+ years ago. It offers striking aromas that jump out of the glass on impact.  The wine, although very full in body and loaded with lush blue and black stone fruits show great roundness and elegance not seen in many Napa Cabernets of this caliber.  The is an over-abundance of richness, purity and complexity in this wine leading to a long and elegant, fine-grained tannin finish. Limited production!

Vinous 94 Points: “The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is a big step up from the 2015. Deep and wonderfully nuanced, while retaining a mid-weight sense of structure, the 2016 delivers tons of Stags Leap character. Inky blue/purplish fruit, licorice, lavender and spice are all strikingly delineated. The firm tannins need time to soften, but that should not be an issue. In this vintage, all of the lots were fermented in barrel. More importantly, the 2016 points to a very bright future for Bench Vineyards. Winemaker Mike Smith has done a brilliant job with this super-expressive Cabernet.”

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points: “The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon comes from a vineyard selection of the best blocks of Cabernet on the Steltzner Vineyard. Smoke tobacco, cassis, licorice, scorched earth and hints of toasty oak give way to a plump, rounded, opulent and beautifully pure Cabernet Sauvignon that’s going to be hard to resist on release.”

Winery Notes: “This stunning Cabernet comes from our southern most block of our Estate.  The vineyard was planted with cuttings acquired in the late 1960s from Louis Martini senior’s backyard in Saint Helena.   The second vintage produced of this wine, the aromas are intense and complex with rich cassis, blackberries, and cedar notes.There are juniper berries and notes of spice with good weight and structure.  A silky texture, and a clean, long finish provide ample tannins for aging.”

Click here or on the links above to order!


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

J Finn 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon
GGWC 27.99
Use code SHIPFREE12 during checkout

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

Click here or on the links above to order!

Food and Wine Pairing in Less Than 500 Words

Food and Wine Pairing in Less Than 500 Words

by my friend Tim Gaiser MW

Recently I had lunch with a colleague. At some point during our conversation he bemoaned the complexity of food and wine pairing and how difficult it was to get the right match, much less explain the concepts. I countered saying it was a lot easier than he thought and offered to prove it. He challenged me to do just that. I upped the ante by saying I could do it in less than five hundred words. You are now the benefactor—or the victim—of that challenge. Read on.

Disclaimer: the following is in no way intended to be the ne plus ultra—the last word—on food and wine pairing. Like many other things in life, the basics are straightforward but the potential to go down a rabbit hole, drop into an abyss, or be sucked into the vortex is always possible. All nonsense aside, I have to humbly submit that good friend Evan Goldstein’s two books on food and wine pairing, “Perfect Pairings” and “Daring Pairings,” are nigh untouchable. If you don’t own them, you should. Now to business.

Food and Wine Pairing in Less Than 500 Words

Elements in Wine:
Acidity: the single most flexible element in wine for pairing with food. Higher acid wines are more versatile.
Tannin and oak: the least flexible elements—both dictate a narrow range of dishes that pair well.
Alcohol: higher alcohol in a wine requires more intensity in the dish. Lower alcohol wines are more versatile.
Sweetness: white wines with residual sugar are chameleons—they work with a wide range of dishes with the exception of red meat.
Dessert: the wine must always be sweeter than the dessert or both will taste lousy.

Elements in Food:
Salt: takes the edge off acidity but exacerbates tannin in red wines.
Butter/animal fat: takes the edge off tannin and needs acidity for contrast.
Fish oil: needs dry, high acid white wines or bubbles. Avoid tannin in red wine.
Sugar: makes dry wines taste more austere; needs wines with residual sugar.
Spicy heat: needs residual sugar–avoid tannin!
Umami-earthy-savory elements: need higher acidity, less tannin, and possible earthiness in aged red wines.

A Few Apparent Truisms:
Matching the intensity of the wine to the dish is usually key.
If the dish is too spicy-intense it will dominate the wine.
Likewise, if the wine is too powerful/tannic it will overwhelm the dish.
With any dish, the sauce, condiments, or method of preparation can dictate the kind of wine.
For example, take chicken: it can be boiled, sautéed, roasted, or grilled. The intensity of the preparation will usually dictate the kind of wine paired—unless the sauce or sides on the plate are more intensely flavored.

Complement vs. Contrast
To complement or contrast: that is the question.
Trying to find similarity/same flavors between the wine and the dish is usually pointless.
Finding contrast between the wine and the dish–a high acid wine with a rich sauce–is usually the way to go.

The Almost Golden Rules
The most versatile wines: unoaked high acid whites with moderate alcohol or medium-bodied red wines with moderate tannins and less oak.
The least versatile wines: high alcohol, oaked whites and high alcohol reds with high tannin and new oak.
Versatile white wines: Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño, lighter Grüner Veltliner, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, and unoaked Chardonnay.
Versatile red wines: Pinot Noir, Gamay, Sangiovese, Barbera, Tempranillo, and lighter Grenache blends.
Bubbles: dry sparkling wine and Champagne are brilliant with a wide range of dishes.
Rosé: dry rosés from any number of different grapes and places are among the most versatile wines of all.

Context: despite everything I’ve just written, some will end up drinking whatever they like to drink, which might be the oakiest Chardonnays and Cabernets on the face of the earth—regardless of what’s on the plate. C’est la vie.

Advice: when handed the list at a restaurant for a party of 10 ordering everything possible, go for unoaked Sauvignon Blanc for white and Pinot Noir for red. The two will cover practically everything.


98 Point, Paul Lato’s “Rhone” Selections JUST ARRIVED – THEY ARE STUNNING & LIMITED!

The much-anticipated releases of Paul Lato’s fall “Rhone” releases (Syrah & Grenache) have arrived. As always, this is the smallest part of Paul’s Portfolio and sell out even faster than his “Burgundy” offering (a.k.a. Chardonnay & Pinot Noir)

Paul Lato 2017 “Il Padrino” Syrah, Bien Nacido, Santa Maria Valley
GGWC 94.99
Use code SHIPFREE6 during checkout

Mix & match with other Lato OK

This has been one of the best California Syrahs for years in a row.  If Paul Lato was located in the Rhone Valley, he would put many of the big names to shame!  In a recent tasting Paul’s Il Padrino bottling beat out 100 point wines like Alban’s Reva, and others!  I only get 5 cases of this gem, so jump on it NOW, as this might be the year of a 100 Point Syrah from Lato! This wine gets  an average 95-98 points every release!

Jeb Dunnuck – 98 Points: “The Paul Lato Syrah il Padrino Bien Nacido Vineyard is also inky colored and has a distinct marine-like character in its smoked black fruits, crushed rock, iodine, and peppery herb aromas and flavors. It’s deep, rich and concentrated, yet stays fresh and balanced. As always, it’s in the same qualitative ballpark as the Larner Vineyard yet has a singular, distinctive character.”

Paul Lato says: “Once again, Bien Nacido Syrah produces one of our most complex and intriguing wines, creating harmony between many worlds of flavor. Ripe blueberry, lavender, incense, and leather all emerge as a symphony of aromas from this full-bodied, structured wine. Deep, rich, fabulously concentrated, and pure on the palate, it stays tight and compact, with notable precision and length. Whether it’s a few minutes in the glass, or several years in the cellar, this wine becomes increasingly layered with time.”

Paul Lato 2017 Syrah “Cinematique” Larner Vineyard, Santa Ynez 97 Points
GGWC 89.99
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Mix & match with other Lato OK

This is in my book “THE” best Cinematique to-date bar-none! I believe strongly that is equal, to the great 2016, 2015, 2014, 2012, 2008 and 2007 vintages

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points: “The inky colored Paul Lato Syrah Cinematique Larner Vineyard checks in as 100% Syrah that spent 20 months in 60% new barrels. From a site in the Ballard Canyon AVA, its inky purple color is followed by fabulous notes of blackberries, melted licorice, smoked earth, and bacon fat. Deep, full-bodied, multi-dimensional, and layered, it’s going to benefit from short-term cellaring and shine for a decade or more. It’s certainly the sexier and more hedonistic of the two Syrahs.”

Paul Lato says: “This Blockbuster Syrah has a larger-than-life presence in the glass. Plums, blackberries, blueberries, ground pepper, and olive notes all flow to a powerful, full-bodied Syrah that has a luxurious, layered character. Fine and elegant tannins lead to a long, seamless finish, a true expression of the beautiful 2017 vintage. After you finish this bottle, you’ll be asking for an encore.”

Paul Lato 2017 Grenache “Ora Labore” Bien Nacido 97 Points
GGWC 74.99
Use code SHIPFREE6 during checkout

Mix & match with other Lato OK

Paul Lato says: “This wine has a seductive nose of kirsch, potpourri and white pepper with touches of garrigue and dried lavender. The palate is full-bodied, rich and concentrated with notes of blackberry preserves and layers of spice. With a focused style and a structured backbone, this wine finishes with smooth flavors of cranberry and vanilla. Lay this bottle down for 2 to 3 years and it will truly shine.”

Tasting Notes:  A big, bold Grenache that offers lots of cassis and black raspberry fruit to go with underlying notes of wet gravel, peppery herbs, licorice and pepper. Full in body, seamless, elegant and multi-dimensional on the palate, with a weightless mouthfeel, it’s acidity is nicely integrated and it never puts a foot wrong. Given its balance and overall purity, it’s a killer drink today, but it will evolve beautifully.



Click here or on the links above to order!

A White Bordeaux… from Sonoma by Ace Winemakers Jeff Pisoni & Bibiana Gonzalez Rave

Shared Notes is the winemaking joint-venture between wife and husband, Bibiana Gonzalez Rave (Pahlmeyer, Wayfarer winemaker) and Jeff Pisoni (Pisoni, Lucia, J. Finn, etc. winemaker). Both had early desires of making wine, and spent most of their lives doing so. The year 2012, however, marked the first vintage that they produced together. Previously, during the grape harvest, Bibiana and Jeff were like the proverbial ships passing in the night. Early grape picks and late nights at the winery left them rarely crossing paths. Now, Bibiana and Jeff do cross paths—to discuss ideas and taste samples. You can sometimes catch them in front of a grapevine, the press, a fermenting tank, or a barrel… most likely with a glass in hand.

Shared Notes 2018 Les Lecons de Maitres, Sonoma
GGWC 69.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code SHIPFREE6 during checkout

The Shared Notes Les Leçons des Maîtres blends the aromatic intensity of Sauvignon Blanc with the textural resonance of Semillon. Apple, pear, mint, almond and dried flowers are all woven together in this delicious, inviting Sonoma County white. The blend is 76% Sauvignon Blanc and 24% Semillon.

Vinous 96 Points: A blend Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, the Les Lecons Des Maitres reminds me of a Haut Brion Blanc (it really is that good) with its crushed citrus, tart pineapple, white flowers, and salty minerality. Racy and pure on the palate, with medium-bodied richness and depth, it has bright acidity, a terrific sense of tension and elegance, and a great finish. It needs 2-3 years of bottle age but will be very long-lived.

Click here or on the links above to order!