Vibrant, Complex & Elegant 95 Point Pinot Noir – A real gem and real “pretty”

The Maggy Hawk Vineyard has been Family owned since 1994, and planted in 2000, the estate vineyard is tucked away in what locals call “The Deep End” of Anderson Valley, northwest of Philo. Here, coastal fog and redwoods frame the steep vineyard slopes where the vines root deeply to survive. The decomposed sandstone soils offer few nutrients but excellent drainage, resulting in small yields of well-structured fruit that can go the distance in the cellar.

FYI: Jolie = Pretty 

Maggy Hawk 2017 “Jolie” Pinot Noir (Estate) Anderson Valley
GGWC 69.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code JOLIE at checkout

Expressive, silky, and refined. Jolie is an elegantly transparent Pinot Noir – sharing the beauty of Block 9’s hillsides in every bottle. The wine opens with light-footed red fruit and rhubarb, then blooms into bright raspberry, strawberry, and oral notes. A perfectly balanced acidity accompanies the delicate fruit notes across the palate and into a soft finish.

Wine Spectator 95 Points: “Fine-grained red fruit and berry flavors are refined and etched with rich spice and sandalwood accents. The juicy finish lingers with vibrant minerality and hot stone notes. Complex and elegant, exhibiting a vibrant balance. Drink now through 2025.”

Winemaker Notes: “Our 2017 Jolie Pinot Noir is crafted only from Block 9 and clone 115. The exceptional quality and style of the fruit from this vintage were a perfect fit for Jolie, and worthy of standing alone. Block 9’s north-facing and south-facing slopes were harvested and vinified separately on parallel tracks. After an initial five-day soak, the fruit fermented in three-ton fermenters with pump-overs twice daily. The grapes were pressed after fermentation was complete, and aged in 45% new French oak before the final blend was assembled. Unrefined and unfiltered.”

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VALUE CABERNET OF THE MONTH

Winery Notes: “Always showing its Cabernet Sauvignon pedigree, the wine delivers a Bordeaux-like statement due to its final blending with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petite Verdot. The wine has an approachable suppleness, full of ripe black cherry fruitness combined with flashes of dark chocolate shavings lightly dusted with mild paprika spice. Immediately engaging, the wine is meant for current drinking with a 5-year continuing window of enjoyment.”

Adelaida is a Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing Winery and Vineyard

Adelaida 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles
GGWC 34.99
FREE SHIPPING on 12
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Intense aroma of perfectly ripe black cherries, and toasty vanilla.  On the palate, the wine is medium to full in body with lush flavors of black currants, dark chocolate shavings, paprika spice.

Pair with warm fennel and radicchio greens sliced, lightly grilled beef tenderloin with parmesan shavings, cast iron skillet seared strip steak with caramelized shallots and herb butter, triple bacon burger basted with Guinness.

Robert Parker 93 Points: “The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon has a medium to deep ruby color with spicy wild blackberries, blackcurrants, kirsch, pepper and cedar on the nose plus touches of tobacco, dried herbs, potpourri and red fruit sparks. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is classically styled with restrained red and black fruits and loads of flavor. It has a firm, fine-grained frame and seamless freshness on the long, nuanced finish.”
 

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Thomas Rivers Brown is on a roll, another Cabernet Stunner

The farmer works to produce the best crop possible, knowing once it leaves their hands, they no longer have control. The winemaker, regardless of skill and ability, can only work with what comes through the winery doors.

Matt Hardin, a 6th generation Napa resident and farmer, is a partner in Barbour Vineyards, one of the most renowned vineyard management companies in Northern California.

Thomas Rivers Brown, winemaker for some of Napa and Sonoma’s most iconic labels (Schrader Cellars, Outpost and his own Rivers-Marie), has more than 20+ 100-point wines to his resume.

Working together for many years on many different projects, a friendship was developed. Out of that friendship the idea of working together to make a wine, utilizing the strengths of the other, Caterwaul was born.

Caterwaul 2017 REGUSCI Cabernet Sauvignon, Stag’s Leap Napa Valley
GGWC 99.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
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Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points: “More cassis, violets, and flowers emerge from the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Regusci Vineyard, which has a more focused, ageworthy, elegant style. Medium to full-bodied and beautifully textured as well as balanced, it has remarkably polished, sweet tannins, which can be hard to find in the 2017 vintage. Drink it any time over the coming 15 years or so.”

Vinous 95 Points: “The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Regusci Vineyard is a dense, powerful wine. Black cherry, plum, graphite, incense, bittersweet chocolate, lavender and cloves infuse the 2017 with tons of complexity and Stags Leap character. Readers should expect a dense, hedonistically opulent Napa Valley Cabernet. This is just superb.”

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BEST VALUE SAUV BLANC IN THE WEST, by the Winemaker of the Year!

Winemaker of the Year, Bibiana Gonzales Rave writes: “This Sauvignon Blanc is a true expression of the influence of the Pacific Ocean breezes in Sonoma County’s grape-growing region. Zesty and bright, the exceptional intensity of lemon zest, grapefruit, verbena and citrus blossoms aromatics are an impressive aperture to a gorgeous mouthfeel with centered acidity and a luscious finish. Enjoy now and for years to come.”

Cattleya 2019 “Alma de Cattleya” Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma Coast
GGWC 24.99

Medium intensity, light yellow with a greenish hue.  Complex nose of kiwi and guava with wet stone and gun powder after tones. A touch of champagne-like yeastiness finishing with nuances of exotic tropical fruit. Pure and intense on the pallet with a little flinty touch. Fully dry with a medium body. Diamond-like purity and intensity. The finish is zesty and full of minerals. 
 
Also check out these other amazing wines from her portfolio
CATTLEYA “ALMA DE CATTLEYA” 2017 PINOT NOIR
CATTLEYA 2016 SYRAH “SOBERANES” SANTA LUCIA HIGHLANDS
– 98 POINTS! VERY LIMITED
CATTLEYA 2017 CHARDONNAY CALL TO ADVENTURE, SONOMA COAST – 97 POINTS VERY LIMITED
CATTLEYA 2017 PINOT NOIR BELLY OF THE WHALE – RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY – 96 POINTS VERY LIMITED
SHARED NOTES 18 SAUVIGNON BLANC LES LEÇONS DES MAÎTRES RUSSIAN RIVER – 96 POINTS

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50 Vintages and he’s not slowing down, yet!

Veteran winemaker Ric Forman, who is celebrated his 50th vintage last year, has just turned out one of his riper and richer Chardonnays in memory, but who is complaining?

Forman 2017 Chardonnay, Napa Valley
GGWC 49.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6
Use code FORCHD during checkout 

The 2017 Chardonnay is a gorgeous wine. In this warm, early harvest year, the Forman Chardonnay is a bit more tropical and racy than it usually is, but that just makes it easier to drink and enjoy over the next handful of years. Lemon peel, apple, apricot and mint are all generous in the glass, but there is a terrific sense of plushness that runs through the Chardonnay.
 

Ric Forman Notes: “While I always like to see young white wine with some yellow background, it should be accompanied by a good greenish tinge. Fresh and somewhat exotic fruit aromas blend beautifully with the more earthy lees and barrel scents. It is complex and powerful while also lively and fresh. The palate echoes the aromatic style. Cool mouthwatering tart fruit flavors balance some of the strength. Such lovely harmony ensures that some cellaring will soften and round out this already deliciously beautiful wine. This is classic Forman Chardonnay; a tradition now for 25 years.” 

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Moderate Wine Consumption Linked to Lower Risk of Lung Disease

Moderate Wine Consumption Linked to
Lower Risk of Lung Disease

By Douglas De Jesus

 

A recent study found that men who drank moderately had a lower rate of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

When it comes to respiratory illnesses, there are few studies exploring the link between alcohol consumption and lung health. However, new research from Sweden appears to breathe life into this field: Its findings suggest that moderate alcohol consumption may lower the risk of lung disease in men.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a respiratory illness that restricts airflow into and out of the lungs, making breathing difficult. The illness advances over time, increasingly diminishing pulmonary performance, often with fatal results.

The leading cause of COPD is smoking, followed by asthma and environmental factors. Symptoms of COPD include a cough that produces a lot of mucus, shortness of breath, especially during physical activity, wheezing and chest tightness, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. The disease impacts an estimated 16 million people yearly in the U.S. alone. “According to investigators in the Global Burden of Disease Study, COPD was the third leading cause of loss of life in the United States and the fourth leading cause in the United Kingdom in 2016,” the study authors write.

The study, conducted by a team from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute and the U.K.’s University of the West of England, Bristol, and published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, involved over 44,000 men between the ages of 45 to 79. Researchers began tracking the men, starting in 1998, to the moment they were diagnosed with COPD or until the end of 2014. The study took into account the subjects’ health, age, weight, body mass index, level of education, economic class and various other factors.

The median age of the participants was 60. Of those, 24.4 percent were smokers, 38.5 percent were ex-smokers, and 35.8 percent had never smoked. Participants were also asked how much they drank per week. The researchers defined 1 standard drink as 12 grams of ethanol, approximately 5 ounces of wine. (That’s slightly lower than the 14 grams defined as a standard glass of wine by the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.)

The study found that moderate drinkers had a lower incidence of COPD than both abstainers and heavy drinkers. In fact, the individuals who didn’t consume alcohol had a 21 percent higher incidence of the disease than individuals who drank moderately, roughly 7 to 14 drinks per week. Heavy drinkers (those consuming more than 20 drinks per week) had a 34 percent higher incidence of COPD than moderate drinkers.

The researchers were careful to make sure they adjusted their results to take into account possible confounding factors. The data revealed that wine drinkers are more likely to have higher incomes as opposed to liquor drinkers, and liquor drinkers are also more likely to be smokers. Also, those who consumed one or more glasses of wine per week tended to have a college education. Income and smoking are both factors that affect health outcomes and the incidence of COPD. However, even after adjusting for these confounding factors, the researchers still found that moderate drinkers had lower risk factors for COPD than non-drinkers and heavy drinkers.

“We can hypothesize that the protective association for moderate alcohol consumption, especially beer and wine consumption, relates to the antioxidant impact of polyphenols present in alcoholic beverages,” the authors write. However, because the researchers had little information on other COPD causes (like chemical fumes, pollution, etc.), aside from smoking, they were not able to conclusively say that moderate drinking alone was the only factor in these positive outcomes. Further research on the antioxidant qualities of wine and beer may help bolster these findings.
 

Stunning 97 Point Cabernet by Winemaker of the Year!



 

Francoise Peschon winemaker for Cornell, Vine Hill Ranch (100 points), Drinkward- Peschon, Heimark, Araujo (1993 – 2013) etc. has been crafting wine in the Napa Valley for decades now.  With 34 harvests under her belt, Peschon’s scope of influence is just as great as big-name consultants like Philippe Melka, Celia Welch and Helen Turley, but she’s uninterested in being a celebrity winemaker. “That’s such an American phenomenon, that winemakers are like movie stars,” says Peschon, the daughter of Luxembourg expats. “I just think it’s a) ridiculous and b) boring.”  She just wants to make great wine and stay out of the limelight….  This is until she was voted Winemaker of the Year in 2019!

I am so proud to have some of her wines in my inventory including this latest release from Cornell 2016.

Cornell 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate
GGWC 154.99
FREE SHIPPING on 4 or more
Use code CORNELL during checkout

Vinous 97 Points: “The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon continues to become more and more refined with time in bottle. Silky, wonderfully perfumed and nuanced, the 2016 is exceptionally beautiful. This is such a striking and vivid wine with tons of mountain character and pedigree to burn.”

James Suckling 97 Points: “The tightness and linear nature to this balanced and beautiful wine are so attractive. Bright and dense with lots of cabernet focus. Love the tannin and fruit balance. Drink after 2022, but already a beauty.”

Anthony Galloni 97 Points: “The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon shows just how far the estate has progressed in just the last few years. Powerful and explosive, with tremendous aromatic intensity, the 2016 is a rapturously beautiful wine. Dark cherry, mocha, bittersweet chocolate, new leather, spice, sage, and lavender add layers of understated nuance and complexity in this riveting, stunningly dramatic mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2016 shuts down quickly after opening, which is probably a very good thing for its aging prospects. The 2016 is an extraordinary and deeply moving wine from Cornell.”

Winemaker Notes: “The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon begins with a deep garnet color that leads to aromas of dark and red fruits and underlying forest floor. On the palate, blackberry and tart blueberry integrate with dark chocolate, dried sage and fresh herbs. Balance is achieved between the energy and fine tannins and the deep, powerful, age-worthy nature of this wine. The wine is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 5% Malbec & 2% Cabernet Franc.”

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Great Quality-Price Ratio Napa Cabernet

 

I’ll spare you the extra details and keep this intro short and sweet, except to say that you’ll want to give this one a try! Behrens Family Winery produces small lots of six or seven wines a year at its winery perched high on top of Spring Mountain in Napa Valley. Only 257 cases were produced of their 2015 “Spare Me” Cabernet. The wine is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon and 13% Petit Verdot.

Behrens 2015 “Spare Me” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
GGWC 64.99
FREE SHIPPING on six
Use code SPAREME during checkout

Robert Parker 94 Points: “A blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon and 13% Petit Verdot, the deep purple-black colored 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Spare Me has a nose of dark chocolate and meat with hints of underbrush and crushed rocks. The full-bodied mouth is rich, expressive and pure-fruited with firm, grainy tannins and a long finish.”

Winemaker Notes: “When it comes to Quality-Price Ratio, this wine is a champion. Striking flavors of cherry pie, cinnamon and earthy notes follow the intriguing aromas of raspberry and mint. Beautifully balanced with loads of dark fruit, the mouthfeel is juicy with fine grained tannins and a lively finish of earthy notes and blackberries. Score!  

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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
FREE SHIPPING on 12
Use code SCARZIN during checkout

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.

Winemaker Notes: “The Scarlett Zinfandel Heritage Vineyard is a perennial favorite in our portfolio. Packed with cherry compote, white flowers, black pepper, licorice, and dried lavender, this deep ruby Zinfandel elicits excitement from the get-go. Full-bodied and fresh with a gorgeous purity of fruit, it is buttressed by deceivingly silky but substantial tannins and equally substantial alcohol that lurks in the background. This wine has such a great mid-palate density and length there’s no doubting its outstanding quality. This handcrafted beauty shows off until the very end with a layered finish that effortlessly carries on for hours. Because this wine is fairly heady, I would favor drinking it over the next couple of years to provide enough time for all the hidden components to weave together.”

Also check out these other great Scarlett wines:
SCARLETT 2017 CABERNET SAUVIGNON “ESTATE” RUTHERFORD, NAPA VALLEY
SCARLETT 2016 CABERNET SAUVIGNON “RESERVE ~ ESTATE” RUTHERFORD, NAPA VALLEY

People to know… Andy Erickson

by Karen McNeil

 

Andy Erickson is the consulting winemaker for Dalla Valle, Arietta, Dancing Hares Vineyard, Mayacamas and Ovid and is the co-owner and winemaker for Favia Wines and Leviathan. After working his first harvest at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Andy went on to study enology at the University of California, Davis, while working at Spottswoode and Saintsbury wineries. He then spent ten years working for three of Napa Valley’s most prestigious estates: Harlan Estate, Staglin Family Vineyards and Screaming Eagle.

Karen MacNeil: What was the first wine that truly inspired you?
Andy Erickson: I’ll have to say it was Dalla Valle’s 1991 “Maya”.  It was an eye-opening wine, and something that for me stood out from a lot of the other wines in Napa Valley.  It is probably what sent me down the path of searching for great cabernet franc.
 
KM: Did you have a mentor? Tell us about her/him.
AE: Even better, I’ll give you three.  I was extremely lucky early on in my career to work with John Kongsgaard when he was still at Newton Vineyard.  John really showed me a way of viewing wine as it relates to farming, nature and life.  His non-interventionist approach is something I still strive for.  David Abreu is someone I have worked with for many years, and his connection with the vineyards is inspiring.  That, and his pursuit of balance and precision in grape growing.  Also Michel Rolland, whom I continue to work with after more than 18 years, has helped me to fine tune my palate, and the way I look at blending to achieve great texture in wines.

 KM: What does your average day look like?
AE: It really depends on the time of year, which makes it exciting for me.  I work with several properties, all in the Napa Valley, and they are all different.  During the growing season I might be meeting with the vineyard team in the morning, working on final blends of the previous vintages’ wines, and maybe hosting a tasting in the afternoon.  Right now we have just finished our last bottlings, and are putting the final touches on vineyards, pre-harvest, and we’ve already harvested some sauvignon blanc for a client.  In the winter, I like to ski in Tahoe.
 
KM: If you couldn’t make wine in Napa Valley, where would your next choice be?
AE: I have always loved the wines from Saint Émilion in Bordeaux, and it would be a dream to work with those vineyards.  Bolgheri, on the Tuscan Coast, would also be pretty spectacular.  The funny thing is, way back when, when I decided to make wine, in my mind I thought, at the very least, even if it never leads to anything lucrative, at least I will live in a beautiful place, because everywhere I had ever been that grew grapes and made wine was amazing.  So you almost can’t go wrong.  But I would want there to be cabernet franc there.
 
KM: You are a consulting winemaker to some of most prestigious wineries. How is being a consulting winemaker different from being a regular winemaker?
AE: I’m lucky to work with proprietors who are one hundred percent committed to extracting the best that is possible from their vineyards, so it is very collaborative and vineyard-focused, and also small-scale.  With our own wines, Annie and I are similarly focused, so in terms of the nuts and bolts there is not too much difference in the actual work being done.  With consulting, I try to tune in to what the proprietor wants, since in the end, it is their winery, not mine.
 
KM: How often do you drink your own wine? Are you a hard critic of wines you’ve made?
AE: We drink our own wines fairly often because wine is meant to be shared, and we entertain quite a bit at our home and winery. Luckily I think, I can compartmentalize and enjoy our wines when we are just enjoying them, but then yes I can be a very hard critic when we are having a technical tasting or blending.  We always need to keep improving.
 
KM: I’m not going to ask what’s your favorite type of wine. But what wine or type of wine do you like the least?
AE: I like wines from all over the world, from many different varieties.  I see it as a great way to connect with different cultures and people from all over the globe.  The wines I like the least are flawed wines.  Unfortunately, there seems to be a movement to celebrate flawed wines, and I’ll be honest and say that I find it perplexing.  I can’t think of another industry where the success of some producers is predicated on the tearing down of what others in the same industry are doing.  I’d love to debate some of these people.  I’d say we’re as committed or more to organic, sustainable, and natural practices in what we do, but we are also committed to consistently bottling the best possible wine every year from every vineyard.
 
KM: What’s the last wine book you’ve read?
AE: I still think of The Billionaire’s Vinegar, by Benjamin Wallace, which I read a few years ago.  What a story, and a great read.  I also read quite a few technical journals, but won’t bore you with the details.
 
KM: What is it about wine that moves you?
AE:  I love tasting a wine that immediately makes me wonder where it is from, where the grapes are grown.  The concept of “wines of place” is an idea that I love.
 
KM: Tell us something about you that would surprise most people to learn.
AE: My daughter just left for college last week.  This still blows my mind.
 
KM: In addition to wine, what’s your other favorite beverage?
AE: Easy; beer.   It’s a great time to be a beer lover.
 
KM: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
AE: We have raised two amazing daughters, and I feel so proud every time I look at them or hear someone else talking about them.
 


Would you like to get to know Andy Erickson a little better? Sample a few of his wines, available now at GoldenGateWineCellars.com