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! ~
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.”
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.”
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!!