Frank’s Birthday ALL WINES 10% OFF!!

 

It is my Birthday today! As a THANK YOU to everyone who supported me during these tough times, I want to offer you 10% OFF our entire inventory.  

Use code FRANK10 during checkout for your 10% discount!


Feel free to call or email me your orders as well.
415-337-4083
frank@goldengatewinecellars.com

A GORGEOUS WINE AT A GORGEOUS PRICE

For 3 generations the Holtermann Family has been one of the premier importers of wines, varying from hard-to-find, leading wineries to very large producers from all over the world.  Their longtime relationships with growers, enolgists, winemakers and vineyard managers provided them with a unique perspective of the wine industry. So the next step was panting their own vineyards, which they did in the remote ridge tops of Annapolis on the Sonoma Coast.  Add winemaker Carroll Kemp to the mix and you’ll wind up with great quality estate-grown wines at a great price point!

Alma Fria 2018 “Plural” Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
GGWC44.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code ALMAFRIA during checkout

The 2018 Alma Fria “Plural” Pinot Noir is a  blend of the best barrels from three amazing West Sonoma Coast vineyards – Holtermann, Dona Margarita and Zephyr Farms. The wine offers up gorgeous black raspberry and wild plum flavors, combined with highlights of Gravenstein apple peel, clay, and a hint of spice to form a medium-bodied wine with refreshing acidity and smooth texture. Aged in 10% new French oak. 13.4% alcohol. Only 195 cases were produced.
 

Click here or on the links above to order!
Call 415-337-4083 or email frank@GoldenGateWineCellars.com for priority allocation

10% OFF FRENCH LAUNDRY’S FAVORITE

“Site” is the venture of  Jeremy Weintraub (longtime Seavey winemaker). He sources from the best “Sites” in California.  This latest Red Rhone Blend  is just a good example. The 2016 Site Red blend is sourced from the Larner Vineyard. The Larner Vineyard would be considered a “Grand Cru” designation if it was located in France.

Site 2016 Proprietary Red Blend “Larner Vineyard” Santa Barbara
RETAIL 54.99 – GGWC 49.99
FREE SHIPPING on 12
Use code SITE during checkout

The 2016 Site Red Rhone Blend is composed of Syrah 75%, Grenache 20% and Viognier 5%. The Syrah and Viognier portions were co-fermented and aged for 18 months in small French oak barrels. The Grenache fermented separately and aged for 18 months in puncheon. The wine shows blue and red fruits, as well as spices and lavender. The mouth is delicate and voluptuous, with a long finish. 100 cases produced.

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.”

Vinous 94 Points: “The 2016 Red Wine Larner Vineyard is another wine in this range that just dazzles with personality and character. Vibrant inky blue/purplish fruit, grilled herbs, lavender and spice all develop effortlessly. I especially admire the wine’s freshness and energy. The 2016 is a blend of mostly Syrah, with some Grenache and Viognier.”

Parker 94 Points: “Comprised of 75% Syrah, 20% Grenache and 5% Viognier, the 2016 Red Wine Larner Vineyard has an opaque ruby-purple color and scents of eucalyptus, potting soil, red and black currants, bacon fat, blueberry and boysenberry preserves plus fried herbs, roasted lamb and cracked pepper. Full-bodied, dense and intense, it packs in the black and blue fruit preserves with very plush, rounded tannins and good freshness to lift the very long, dense finish.”

Also check out:
SITE 2017 VIOGNIER “LARNER VINEYARD” 94 POINTS
SITE 2016 SYRAH, BIEN NACIDO SANTA BARBARA (3 X 95 POINTS!!)

ALL SITE WINES ASSORT FOR FREE SHIPPING!!

Click here or on the links above to order!
Call 415-337-4083 or email frank@goldengatewinecellars.com for priority allocation.

Frank’s NEW Cabernet from the famed Beckstoffer Vineyard is here!

I am very proud to release our third Melis Family G3 Cabernet bottling. The grapes were sourced from the famed Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard in Rutherford, Napa Valley. The 2018 vintage might be the one we have produced to date. Our Melis Family 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Vineyard Georges III offers intense aromatic notes of chocolate, black currant and a touch of licorice. The wine is full in body with remarkable richness, great length and a complex long but silky grained finish. This is a wine that will cellar well for 10+ years. Those who like to enjoy it now, I highly recommend decanting a few hours in advance.

Melis Family 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Beckstoffer G3 Vineyard Napa Valley
Regularly $119.99 NOW $99.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more!
Use code MELIS during checkout

Historical records show that a portion of this vineyard was planted in 1895 by Mrs. Thomas Rutherford. This 300-acre parcel first purchased by Beaulieu founder Georges de Latour in 1928 and called Beaulieu Vineyard Number 3, was the home to BV’s Rutherford Cabernets made by the renowned winemaker Andre Tchelistcheff. These wines achieved wide acclaim in the 1960s and ’70s, establishing BV’s pre-eminence in the making of fine Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Purchased by Beckstoffer Vineyards in 1988, the vineyard has since been replanted using new Cabernet Sauvignon clones with tighter spacing and advanced trellising systems, enhancing both quality and grape tonnage. In 2009 181 acres were placed under a land conservation easement that forever prohibits non-agricultural development.  Vineyard Georges III is today home to the main offices of Beckstoffer Vineyards. 
 
Also, check out :
MELIS FAMILY 2019 ROSE OF PINOT NOIR, SANTA RITA HILLS (assorts for free shipping)

Click here or on the links above to order!
Call 415-337-4083 or email frank@goldengatewinecellars.com for priority allocation.

Great New Coho (2016) Cabernet Release

I am excited to introduce the new Coho Cabernet Sauvignon from the very (small) 2016 vintage. The wine is sourced from two boutique, family-owned vineyards located in the Napa Valley (Sugarloaf East, Perata & Michael Black). Winemaker Phil Titus (longtime “star” at Chappellet winery) produced an amazing, crowd-pleasing wine! 

As always, the Coho production is limited and only 258 cases were produced of this great vintage – so don’t wait too long to jump on this wine!

Coho 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
RETAIL 69.99, NOW 62.99
FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more
OK to mix & match with other COHO

Use code COHO during checkout.

The majority of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in this wine was grown on the prestigious Sugarloaf East Vineyard on a hillside southeast of downtown Napa. The Petit Verdot and the remaining Cabernet Sauvignon are from two small family run vineyards in Coombsville. These fog cooled sites instill aromas of anise, dark berries, and sweet peas into the intriguing nose. Entry to the vibrant palate is noted by rich plum, cassis, and licorice flavors, supported by silky tannins. The wine is lush and full in body, yet flavorful and bright while very well-balanced. Too bad only 258 cases were produced.

Varietal Composition: 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Petit Verdot, 10% Merlot

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points: “The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is a terrific little Napa Cabernet that has plenty of gamey blueberry fruits, earth, iron, and underbrush notes in its plump, rounded, sexy profile. Drink it over the coming 7-8 years. This wine is 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Petit Verdot, and 10% Merlot, all aged 21 months in 50% new French oak.”

Antonio Galloni wrote in Vinous: “This is one of the more open-knit, voluptuous wine(s) of the year… Readers looking for immediate gratification will find plenty of that here. Coho’s 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) offers quite a bit of immediacy and overall impact, with plenty of blackberry jam, chocolate, sweet spices and leather flavors.”

Also Check Out these other great Coho wines:
COHO 2013 “OLD POODLE DOG” CABERNET, NAPA VALLEY MAGNUM
COHO 2015 HEADWATERS PROPRIETARY RED, NAPA VALLEY
COHO 2015 MERLOT “MICHAEL BLACK” COOMBSVILLE, NAPA VALLEY
COHO 2016 PINOT NOIR “STANLY RANCH” CARNEROS NAPA VALLEY
COHO 2017 “PREMIERE NAPA VALLEY AUCTION LOT” CABERNET SAUVIGNON, NAPA (A GGWC EXCLUSIVE!)

Click here or on the links above to order!
Call 415-337-4083 or email frank@goldengatewinecellars.com for priority allocation.

An Under $100 Napa Sensation by Bevan’s Right Hand

Kimberly Hatcher is the longtime assistant to Russell Bevan and has kept her eyes and ears wide open. She is on a roll as of late! Robert Parker and Jeb Dunnuck have noticed her and the press is out! That said, Kimberly’s wines are very small productions, and with high scores… they will sell out fast! She makes the wines at the Tench Caves, and I suspect Russell Bevan might be looking over her shoulder once in awhile (… or maybe not).

Morgado 2017 (SLM) Sugarloaf Red, Napa Valley
GGWC 99.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code MORG17SLM during checkout

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points: “Deeply colored, the 2017 Sugarloaf Mountain Red Wine checks in as 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Franc that spent 22 months in new French oak. It has a killer bouquet of black cherries, currants, ground herbs, Asian spice and chocolate. Deep, full-bodied, and opulent on the palate, it displays beautiful fruit, some meaty, iron notes, no hard edges, and a great finish.”

Tasting Notes: The heart of the Morgado SLM Red Wine is deep and reverent, with ripe fresh fruit at its core, wrapped with sweet tobacco and kissed with cacao. The aromas of summer nectarines and tree ripened Bing cherries reach for you with elegance as you swirl this wine in the glass. Your mouth will water with anticipation at the thought of your first taste, and as the wine touches your tongue, you are rewarded with rich silky textures and a core of fruit that is fresh and luxurious.

Also check out:

MORGADO 2017 PINOT NOIR, RITA’S CROWN SANTA RITA HILLS – 95 POINTS
Mogado Pinot assorts for FREE SHIPPING

Click here or on the links above to order!
Call 415-337-4083 or email frank@GoldenGateWineCellars.com for availability and priority allocation!

 

Paul Lato Virtual Tasting & New Releases

July 10 is “D-DAY” at Golden Gate Wine Cellars, our Virtual Wine Tasting with Wine Virtuoso Paul Lato. We’ll ship you THREE bottles of his new releases for the 7/10 VIRTUAL WINE TASTING, click on this link: PAUL LATO VIRTUAL WINE TASTING to order your Virtual Tasting package. You can also call or email me your Virtual Tasting order and/or other Paul Lato wines. (You can mix & match Virtual Tasting & Regular Wines)

The 2018 vintage is probably one of the best, if not “THE” best ever! Astonishing quality, but as always very small quantities.  I am very excited about the ADDITIONS of some new Chardonnay and Pinot Noirs to Paul’s ever-expanding portfolio!

As always, Paul’s wines are first-come, first served.

A little bit about the winemaker:

Paul Lato was born in Poland. He worked as a certified Sommelier in one of Toronto’s most exclusive restaurants and visited California for the first time in the early 1990s.  Jim Clendenen (owner of ABC winery & Clendenen wines) told Paul to just pack up and move here, and he would show him the ropes –  a decade later he did make the move and took a job at Bien Nacido vineyards for just $10.00 per hour, he did get free “lodging” at the bunkhouse in the vineyard. The Bien Nacido owner pushed Paul to make his own wine. With some tutoring (he observed the best in the business for some years, asked a lot of questions and experimented a lot) he made his first wines and by chance met Robert Parker.  Parker asked him if “he” was the Polish Sommelier that makes wine and said that he wanted to taste it.  Parker told him that he would tell him immediately if the wine was the real McCoy or …. (slang for excrement) Parker was blown away and gave Paul Lato a rave review. From then on, Paul’s new career was born.

I met Paul in 2002 and have been a big fan since day one, and could say that we have become good friends along the way.  Paul is also the winemaker for my Melis Family wines.
 

PLEASE CALL/EMAIL ME DIRECTLY WITH YOUR ORDER REQUESTS!

THE WINES ARE IN LIMITED SUPPLY!

AS YOU KNOW PAUL LATO WINES SELL OUT FAST
~ FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED! ~

Place your order by calling 415-337-4083
or email
frank@GGWC.com
 

1) Paul Lato 2018 Chardonnay “It’s All Good” Talley – Oliver’s Vineyard ~~ GGWC 72.99 

The “It’s All Good” is the second release from a special block on the Talley vineyard. Growing in sandy clay loam in the Edna Valley, these 28-year-old vines produce Chardonnay of great balance and complexity. Opening with youthful aromas of white peach, river rock, and almond flowers on the nose. Its lively, caressing palate is a seamless balance of crisp Fuji apple and salted caramel. With its smooth and refreshing finish, this Chardonnay will charm you into saying, “It’s all good…”

I’d say that the 2018 is a mere image of the 2017!

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points: “Coming from the cooler Edna Valley just south of San Luis Obispo, the 2017 Chardonnay It’s All Good Talley Oliver’s Vineyard was whole cluster pressed into the barrel and spent 15 months in 70% new French oak. It has a wonderfully pure, classy bouquet of sautéed orchard fruits, white peach, white flowers, spice box, and honeysuckle. With a layered, medium to full-bodied texture, subtle oak, integrated acidity, and flawless balance, it’s a thrilling California Chardonnay from an incredible winemaker. Drink it over the coming 4-5 years.”

2) Paul Lato 2018 Chardonnay “Done & Done” Talley – Rincon Vineyard ~~ 72.99 

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

Jeb Dunnuck 95+ Points: “The 2017 Chardonnay Done & Done Talley Rincon Vineyard is slightly more masculine and chiseled, showing more caramelized stone fruits, crushed citrus, honeyed toast, and subtle minerality. It too has subtle background oak, a layered, medium to full-bodied, vibrant texture, and a great finish. It’s going to keep for upwards of a decade.”

3) Paul Lato 2018 Chardonnay “Souvenir” Sierra Madre Vineyard ~~ GGWC 79.99

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

This wine is probably any bit as good, if not better compared to the 2017 vintage!

Jeb Dunnuck 98 Points: “From a site in the Santa Maria Valley and aged 15 months in 60% new French oak, the Lato Chardonnay Le Souvenir Sierra Madre Vineyard from Lato offers a vivid gold color as well as a rocking bouquet of lemon curd, crushed rocks, white currants, spice box, and white flowers. Rich, powerful, and layered, yet also vibrant and racy, with beautiful purity and precision on the palate, it’s one of the most seamless, flawlessly balanced wines in the lineup. It’s brilliant today yet should evolve effortlessly.”

 
4) Paul Lato 2018 Chardonnay “Belle de Jour” Duravita Vineyard ~~ GGWC 79.99

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

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

Robert Parker 96 Points: “This is the second vintage of this wine for Paul Lato, made using biodynamically farmed grapes and aged for 15 months in 55% new French oak. Youthfully coiled, the 2017 Chardonnay Belle de Jour Duvarita Vineyard features oodles of latent layers on the nose: warm pie spice, baked quince, Golden Delicious apples, Meyer lemon peel, dried hay, dusty earth, crushed stone and mushroom with warm white peach, jasmine and spring honey nuances. Medium to full-bodied with that signature Lato texture, it has intense flavor layers swelling in the mouth, with juicy acidity and a very long, layered, lively finish. Give this more time in the bottle if you can keep your paws off.”

5) Paul Lato 2018 Chardonnay “East of Eden” Pisoni Vineyard ~~ GGWC 84.99

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

I’d say that this wine is very similar to the great 2017 vintage, which received 98 Points!

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

Jeb Dunnuck 98 Points: “Always one of my favorites in the lineup, the brilliant Chardonnay East Of Eden Pisoni Vineyard comes from a Grand Cru site on the southern end of the Santa Lucia Highlands and was barrel fermented and aged 15 months in 60% new French oak. It reveals a medium gold color as well as a liquid rock-like minerality in its crushed citrus, lemon curd, toasted spice, and grilled bread aromas and flavors. Deep, rich, concentrated, medium to full-bodied, and just sensationally textured, it’s another magical wine from Paul Lato.”

6) Paul Lato 2018 Pinot Noir “Seabiscuit” ~~ GGWC 84.99

This latest Zotovich “Seabiscuit” bottling is by far Paul’s best effort to date! I would say that it will rival his 97 Point rated 2016 & 17 versions!  As it is the case with all of Paul’s wines, I get limited amounts of this great gems, so I can only remind you how great and limited they are!

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

This wine is very much a big brother to the great 2016 & 2017 vintages!

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

7) Paul Lato 2018 Pinot Noir “Suerte” Solomon Hills ~~ GGWC 86.99

Paul is not slowing down one bit, and this workhorse “Suerte” will amaze many Pinot lovers alike! It shows gorgeously young, and will even improve a lot more in the years to come!  Only a few barrels produced! This 2018 is any bit as good as the 96+ point rated 2014,15,16 & 17 vintages!

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

Robert Parker 96+ Points: “The Solomon Hills vineyard is the most westerly—and thus the coolest—vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley AVA. Vines are 17 years old, planted in ocean floor sandy loam, and the wine was aged for 17 months in 65% new French oak. Pale to medium ruby-purple colored, the Paul Lato Pinot Noir Solomon Hills Vineyard Suerte features pure aromas of redcurrant, red licorice, shaved nutmeg and warm cinnamon on the nose with spiced cranberry sauce, black cherry, rose petal, pink peppercorn and autumn leaves. The medium-bodied palate is silky with layer after layer of spice, earth, and fruit, wonderfully pixelated, grainy tannins and seamless acidity, finishing very long and very spicy. Paul Lato says, “If Santa Maria were Musigny, this would be Bonnes Mares.”
 
Only 240 cases produced.

8) Paul Lato 2018 Pinot Noir “Lancelot” Pisoni Vineyard ~~ GGWC 99.99

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

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

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points: “From a site located in the southern part of the Santa Lucia Highlands consisting of broken granite soils, the Paul Lato Pinot Noir Lancelot Pisoni Vineyard was all destemmed and spent 15 months in 70% new French oak. Ripe raspberries, strawberries, rose petals, sappy herbs, and crushed rock-like minerality all emerge from the glass, and it hits the palate with medium to full body, bright, integrated acidity, building tannins, and a great, great finish. Despite seeming to be the most seamless and elegant texturally.”

 
9)  Paul Lato 2018 Pinot Noir “C’est La Vie” Drumm Canyon ~~ GGWC 84.99

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

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

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points: “Another Sta. Rita Hills release, the Pinot Noir C’est la vie Drum Canyon Vineyard (15 months in 50% new French oak) is more spice-driven and pretty, with an incredibly balanced, layered, seamless style. Notes of ripe strawberries, raspberries, white flowers, vanilla cream, spice, and hints of forest floor all give way to a gorgeously elegant, ethereal effort that has ultra-fine tannins, no hard edges, and a great finish. It’s great today and will be great in 7-8 years as well.”

Robert Parker – 97 Points: “The Drum Canyon comes from 14-year-old vines planted in sandy loam, with the wine aged for 15 months in 60% new French oak. Pale to medium ruby-purple, the 2017 Pinot Noir C’est la Vie Drum Canyon has a youthfully coiled nose slowly unfurling to fresh sage, rose petal, lilac, orange peel, autumn leaves, dust, perfumed earth and black tea leaves with a core of raspberry preserves, black cherries and berries, blueberries and charcuterie hints—this is so perfumed! It’s medium-bodied with slowly blossoming fruit, earth, and spice flavor layers, with firm but elegant, wonderfully pixelated tannins and seamless freshness, finishing very long and packed full of perfume and spice. Wow! So elegant. So refined. 150 cases were made.”

10)  Paul Lato 2018 Pinot Noir “Atticus” John Sebastiano Vyd, Santa Barbara — GGWC 84.99

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

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

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

11)  Paul Lato 2018 Pinot Noir “Duende” Gold Coast ~~ GGWC 84.99

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

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

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

12)  Melis Family 2019 Rose of Pinot Noir by Paul Lato ~~  GGWC 31.99

This wine is not an afterthought, but a serious contender.  The 2019 Melis Family Rose of Pinot Noir (a blend of 2 great Santa Rita Hills vineyards) offers up ample and layered fruit on both nose and palate.  On the nose, you’ll encounter crushed flowers, cranberry, and bright red cherry notes which continue on the pleasant palate laced with a touch of bright acidity.  The wine is nicely polished and finishing gorgeously (my winemaker, Paul Lato would not have it any other way).   A crowd-pleasing limited production rose!!
 

Quantities are extremely limited!
CALL 415-337-4083 or email frank@goldengatewinecellars.com for availability and priority allocation!

Sauvignon of the Year by Scarecrow winemaker… A must have!

Celia has earned many great accolades as the winemaker of Scarecrow, Corra, Rewa, Castiel, Barbour, Keever and many other wineries. This latest Sauvignon Blanc, the Keever 2019 vintage is probably the best to come from this estate ever.  Unfortunately a very small production!

Keever 2019 Sauvignon Blanc “Estate” Napa Valley   
GGWC 37.99
FREE SHIPPING on 12
Use code KEEVERSB during checkout

The fruit for this Sauvignon Blanc was grown both on the Keever Estate Vineyard in Yountville’s western hills and on the Jonquil Ranch, located in the dry eastern soils of Napa Valley. The fruit was hand-harvested and gently pressed, then fermented in a combination of French oak and stainless steel barrels.

Winemaker Notes: “With a slow-and-steady path to full flavor maturity in the vineyards, the 2019 vintage allowed Napa Valley winemakers to evaluate the nearly-perfect clusters again and again, until the flavors were exactly perfect.  You’ll experience this in the 2019 Keever Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, which displays an exquisite, very broad array of aromas.  Somewhat deeper in tone than the norm for this varietal, the lifted notes of bright tangerine, grilled pineapple, rose petal, and fresh almonds are supported by deeper, darker hints of chai tea, vanilla, and a faint whiff of river rocks. Consistent with prior vintages, the palate on this Keever Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc is broad and bright, with a lovely creaminess from the sur-lie aging.   The signature fresh citrus and pineapple flavors abound in the mid-palate and carry through to the finish.   While this very complex Sauvignon Blanc is delicious on its own, it has the weight and structure to pair beautifully with lighter fare (salads, lemony seafoods) and even with slightly richer plates.”

Tasting Notes: Keever’s Sauvignon Blanc is a bold, luscious wine with terrific richness and tons of varietal   character. An oak regimen with lees aging helps bring out textural layers, and yet the wine remains bright, focused and absolutely impeccable in its balance. Only 400 cases produced!

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Call 415-337-4083 or email frank@goldengatewinecellars.com for availability and priority allocation!

A Sculpted White Gem, Only 2 Barrels produced

Arbe Garbe (pron. Arbay Garbay), literally “bad weeds”, is what they call the cover crops on the Friulian Colli Orientali (“eastern hills”). It’s the mid-nineties, same scenery; two philosophy students are paying for tuition by picking grapes in the Jermann vineyards. Long hours of hard work and dream-sharing, they find one too many ideas in common. Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Kerouac, whispering incessantly in the back of their minds, they lift their deep roots and go. He picks up his guitar and she takes nothing but a flower in her hair and love in her eyes, and they come to California.

Arbe Garbe “Benandants” Malvasia 2018 “Catie’s Corner” Russian River Valley
GGWC 41.99
FREE SHIPPING on 12
Use code ARBEGARBE during checkout

Tasting Notes: “The Malvasia Bianca Benandants Catie’s Corner Vineyard is a wine of pure and total distinction. Brilliant mineral notes play off varietal aromas and flavors in this beautifully sculpted, expressive white from Arbe Garbe. Clean, refreshing and absolutely crystalline, this wine has a ton to offer. What a gorgeous wine it is.”

Winemaker Notes: “The Benandants Malvasia Bianca, from Catie’s Corner vineyard in the Russian River Valley, offers a very pretty perfume of honey oats, sliced quince, elderflower and a rocky undercurrent with touches of waxed apples and Meyer lemon peel. The palate is light to medium-bodied, fresh and clean with an uplifted, gently textured finish.”

Also check out:
ARBE GARBE 2018 PROPRIETARY WHITE, RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY (assorts for FREE SHIPPING)

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Call 415-337-4083 or email frank@goldengatewinecellars.com for priority allocation.

125 years of history at Larkmead Vineyards

Firebelles and research vineyards:
125 years of history at Larkmead Vineyards

By Jess Lander
In NapaWineTaste.com
 
For a Napa Valley winery, making it to 125 years is no small feat. And yet, despite predating many of the region’s most iconic estates, Larkmead Vineyards in Calistoga has managed to fly somewhat under-the-radar for over a century.

In anticipation of this momentous milestone, proprietors Kate Solari Baker and Cam Baker, working alongside winemaker-turned-historian Dan Petroski, have spent the past few years digging deep into their past.

What they discovered was a colorful cast of characters that each had a significant influence not only on Larkmead but also on the evolution of Napa Valley and the wine industry that we know today. Inspired by the marks that each person left, Larkmead has woven their spirits into the winery’s present and future.
 

Firebelle Lil’
One of the most fascinating players in Larkmead’s history was a firecracker named Lillie Hitchcock-Coit (San Francisco’s Coit tower was named in her honor, but that’s another story). She was only around Larkmead for 20 years in the late 1800s but made a lasting impression. “She packed a gun, she rode a horse, and apparently took herself to the Bohemian Grove dressed as a man and got in. In those days, she was out there big time,” said Solari Baker.

Her family owned 1,000 acres that stretched from the Mayacamas Mountains to the Silverado Trail and from Sterling Vineyards to Larkmead Lane. Sent to Napa Valley to quiet down from her oft-controversial, free-spirited ways, Hitchcock-Coit lived in a house set on what’s famously known today as Duckhorn’s Three Palms Vineyard. She was the one who planted that famous trio of palm trees and she also had a train stop built on Larkmead Lane (which she named after the local meadowlarks), enabling her artist and intellectual friends to come in from the city for lively salons that she would host.

“Early on, [her story] was very important to our identity,” said Solari-Baker. “She named Larkmead Larkmead and I think we are very fortunate to have that name. I think it’s very special and it just sings to people. Calling it the Baker Winery just doesn’t have the same thing going that Larkmead does and it has all this history.”

Larkmead has named three of their wines after her and they’ve recently started hosting salons again. There have been book events, art exhibits—often featuring Solari Baker’s own creations—and open conversations about the future of Cabernet Sauvignon in the face of climate change, hosted by Petroski.

“When I started here in 2006, Napa Valley was a world-class wine region, but it was still a very rural town. During that period of 2006 and moving into the ‘10s, it was more of just getting together with people and talking about a lot of what was going on and why it was happening and exchanging ideas,” said Petroski. “We wanted to kick off with some kind of communal event that felt like we would exchange ideas and talk about the future or the current. We played off the term The Salon at Larkmead because that’s what was happening in France, the salon-style lifestyle, and it had a reference to Lily and our history, so it was really nice to tie it back.”
 

The Salminas and Dr. Olmo
Hitchcock-Coit fled to France at the turn of the century, and Larkmead’s wine-making history truly began when the Salmina family, who had arrived from Switzerland and had been making wine at Conn Creek, settled at Larkmead in 1895. By 1915, their wine won gold at the Panama–Pacific International Exposition, a world’s fair held in San Francisco.

The Salminas struggled through Prohibition (and the Great Depression) but managed to stay afloat by selling fruit and making sacramental wine. When Prohibition was lifted, they got right back to making wine, and today at Larkmead, visitors will see a frame showcasing more than 50 faded ribbons from the California State Fair, awarded between 1936 and 1941.

A 1943 article in the St. Helena Star read, “The story of Larkmead follows closely the development of the great dry wine industry here, in which Larkmead products played their prominent part in bringing to this district a fame not surpassed by French wines in their heyday.”

Just a year later, founder Felix Salmina became a founding member of the Napa Valley Vintners alongside wine greats like Robert Mondavi, Louis M. Martini, and Mrs. George de Latour.

But perhaps the most significant figure at Larkmead during this era wasn’t part of the Salmina family. It was Dr. Harold Olmo, one of the most distinguished viticulturalists in history who developed the Oakville clones that helped put Napa Valley on the map.

In 1939, the Salminas invited Dr. Olmo to plant a research vineyard at Larkmead. He planted Cabernet grape varieties — decades before Cabernet became king in Napa — and also several Italian varieties for the Salminas. One of these was Sangiovese, which wasn’t commercially-planted in Napa Valley until 1982. From this vineyard, he selected the Cabernet clones he eventually brought to the Oakville Station.

In honor of their 125th anniversary, the Bakers gave $200,000 to the UC Davis Research Library to help digitize and preserve Olmo’s work. They have about 80 boxes of files to sift through and Olmo certainly didn’t make it easy for them.

“Olmo was a very private man in his research, so he did a lot of weird coding,” said Petroski. “When you look at some of his documents, the way he wrote his notes on Larkmead, there’s like four numbers. There are no clones with four numbers in Cabernet, so it’s pretty mysterious. We have to crack the code.”

Olmo’s work at Larkmead has come full circle with Petroski’s planting of a new research vineyard — coincidentally, exactly 80 years later — this one to test different grape varieties that may be able to withstand climate change.

“It’s been quite shocking and fascinating how the tide has turned, to see how things have been moving and starting to question why Cabernet acts and reacts the way it does on our property,” he said. “If it continues to get warmer, and we are in a very warm, stressful site, will Cabernet continue to play an important role in our property?”
 

The Solaris
A few years after World War II ended, Solari Baker’s parents, Larry and Polly Solari purchased Larkmead in 1948. It’s been in the family ever since. An Italian immigrant, Larry Solari was a lesser-known pioneer of California’s wine industry. He leased and then bought the property through the Italian Swiss Colony, where he was working as a sales manager. His job: convince Americans to drink wine with dinner.

Later, he became the president and CEO of United Vintners. “He was kind of a big deal in the wine industry during those days, but the wine industry wasn’t anything like what it is today,” said Solari-Baker, reminiscing about her father and a time when vermouth was what everyone was drinking. “People didn’t drink wine. They saved it for when the boss came to dinner and that was about it. It was a whole different scene.”

In the early years, Solari Baker said her parents opened up their old and “decrepit” facility to several wineries to crush their grapes because many others had shuttered during the war. But a couple of years after acquiring the property, Larry Solari, just shy of 40 years of age, was given devastating news: he had cancer and it was terminal. The Solaris decided to sell the winery building, which was located across the road where Frank Family Vineyards is now and keep the land. In 1960, they entered a 20-year exclusive contract with Inglenook for their fruit.

Larry Solari commuted to the city every day, which left Solari Baker’s mother running most of the day-to-day business operations, a rarity for women back then. “She tried to join the Vintners and they said no. Men only. But she pretty much held the fort,” said Solari Baker, who has since repurposed her mother’s handwritten ledger papers into a series of artistic Napa Valley maps titled “Keeping Accounts.”

Her father eventually got a second opinion and learned he didn’t have cancer after all. He went on to live more than three decades past that initial diagnosis, but his dream of running a winery was never realized, at least not during his lifetime.

“I think he sort of lost heart after he sold the winery. When he retired in the ‘70s, it was his plan to actually build a winery, but then he really did get cancer,” said Kate Solari-Baker. “I think he just lost his mojo to keep going.”
 

The present … and future
When her mother passed away in 1992, the family’s assets were divided up between the three children. “We ended up with Larkmead, my brother ended up with Bennett Lane and my sister ended up with money,” said Solari Baker. She and her husband Cam dove right into the vineyard in 1993, but it wasn’t exactly an immediate success.

“We had a pretty steep learning curve. We had a couple of people advise us who weren’t terribly knowledgeable, or maybe they didn’t really understand this property as opposed to other properties in the valley,” she said. “So we did some planting and we got something called Black Goo that infected a lot of the vines. We had a pretty rocky start. We had to replant a couple of times and it was very expensive.”

Over time, they pulled out several white varieties, including Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Vert, replacing them with red grape varieties. They even began to make a small amount of their own wine, which they custom crushed, and hired their first winemaking consultant, Paul Hobbs, in 1997.

Andy Smith, Hobbs’ former assistant, took over Larkmead winemaking in 2000. “That’s when things really started to turn around,” said Solari Baker, insisting that they had planned to keep things low key. “We were living in Marin, my husband was a practicing attorney, I had three little kids and was starting my art career. We had our hands full.”

But as they reinforced their commitment to the wine quality, they realized the next logical step was to produce it in-house. And so began the process of honoring her father’s lifetime dream of building a winery. The first phase was finished in 2005, just in time for harvest, and in 2006, they completed their hospitality center and tasting room. Both were later expanded and renovated, finishing in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

Naturally, this commitment to excellence extended to the vineyard, too. “It wasn’t really until the mid-2000s that we started to look at the vineyard from the ground up. Once we did that, it really opened their eyes to the greatness of the site,” said Petroski, adding they’ve since divided their 110 planted acres into 56 distinct parcels. Come harvest, each is usually combed through several times. “We can continue to dig deeper and I think that is our goal. There comes a point where it’s a little too much, but I personally haven’t reached that tipping point and I’m super excited every time harvest comes around.”

The Solari Bakers have spent the last two decades growing, improving, and evolving Larkmead, and now, it’s time to take a moment to reflect and celebrate. Initially scheduled for April, their 125th anniversary party had to be postponed. But when the winery is able to reopen, they’ll have a new, by-appointment gallery set up, displaying roughly 50 photographs, letters, ribbons, news articles, and other relics of the past that have been collected over the years. They will also host a special 125th-anniversary virtual tasting for wine club members in May.

In the meantime, Larkmead is already looking ahead. Just shy of Solari Baker’s 80th birthday in March, the family sat down with the third and fourth generations to talk about a succession plan. “That’s the thing that’s really hard in family wineries is to keep it in the family,” she said. “But it’s our goal and we’re working very hard to do that.”