95 Point, Value & Finessed Pinot

Gary and Rosella Franscioni started ROAR Wines with the knowledge that Pinot Noir had a shining future in the Santa Lucia Highlands, and a dream that their farming know-how would translate amazing grapes into amazing wines. Rosella’s Vineyard was planted on their home ranch in 1996, followed by Garys’ Vineyard in 1997 in partnership with the Pisoni family. The first vintage of ROAR was released in 2001, made from these two vineyards. From the beginning, Gary and Rosella’s mission was to make wines that they themselves would love to drink. Their approach was met with critical recognition almost immediately. Two more beautiful vineyards were planted about a decade later: Sierra Mar and Soberanes. Today, Gary and his sons continue to improve and innovate in the vineyards and winery to produce the best quality their land can create.

Roar 2018 Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands
GGWC 47.99
FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more
Use code ROAR during checkout

The Roar SLH is a great blend of all the vineyards they farm Rosella, Garys’, Sierra Mar. Soberanes and Pisoni.  The 2018 SLH is exquisite, and possibly one of their best releases to date!  Dollar-cost-average this is value in the glass (and savings in your wallet).

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points: ”Always a great value, the 2018 Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands reveals a vibrant ruby hue as well as ripe cherry and strawberry fruit intermixed with notes of shiitake mushroom, dried herbs, and some meaty, earthy notes. It’s a slightly more finesse-driven wine than some of the single vineyards and is beautifully balanced, has good acidity, and unquestionably plays in the same qualitative ballpark as all of these releases” 

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

Jonata = Screaming Eagle 2.0, but at a fraction the cost!! 98 POINTS & FREE SHIPPING

Stan Kroenke owner of Screaming Eagle, and various sports teams (Arsenal FC, Rams, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rapids etc,) has really put the next CULT winery on the map just a few hours south of the bay area! Stan is the mastermind behind many other great ventures. So purchasing the land that is now Jonata winery is just peanuts…  All joking aside it still takes a good mind, lots of money and a great team to make great wine and I believe they have achieved this at Jonata!

Andy Erickson (former Screaming Eagle winemaker, and Matt Dees) made the first vintages together, then Matt took full control, and has not skipped a beat either!

I am very excited about the latest 3 releases from the Jonata winery:

Jonata 2017 El Desafio Cabernet, Ballard Canyon Santa Ynez – 98 Points
GGWC 154.99 net item 
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code JONATA17 at checkout

Mix & match with other Jonata wines OK

Jeb Dunnuck 98 Points: “The Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated cuvée is the 2017 El Desafio De Jonata, which includes 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Franc. It’s another inky colored wine from this team and offers a brilliant bouquet of crème de cassis, tobacco leaf, cedar, bay leaf, and crushed rocks. Beautifully concentrated and balanced, with a Bordeaux-like structure and regal style, it’s a magical Cabernet Sauvignon that’s going to benefit from 7-8 years of bottle age yet keep for 20-30 years.”
Vinous 97 Points: “The 2017 El Desafio de Jonata is another positively stellar wine in this range. Two thousand seventeen is one of the few years in which Cabernet is so dominant. Rich and explosive, with tremendous vertical thrust, the 2017 oozes with class and intensity. Crème de cassis, new leather, licorice, sweet spice and menthol are some of the many notes that build as this statuesque, alluring wine shows off its pedigree. In 2017, the blend is 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. Wow…!”
Matt Dees, Winemaker: “Absolute essence of cassis and mint. Scorched earth, grilled bread, porcini and bay leaf. Blueberry and ripe tobacco. Explodes on the palate with tremendous quantities of black, dense fruit. Layer after layer. Stays focused and poised with good tension and acid backbone. Gently coating silky tannins. Perfect balance and pedigree and a heightened level of elegance and clarity. Shows the huge potential of cabernet sauvignon from the 17-year old vines on our sandy soils. A Desafio of exceptional precision and understated power.”

Jonata 2017 El Alma, Ballard Canyon Santa Ynez – 96 Points
GGWC 154.99 net item 
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code JONATA17 at checkout

Mix & match with other Jonata wines OK

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points: “The 300 case 2017 El Alma De Jonata is the Cabernet Franc-dominated cuvée, a blend of 86% Cabernet Franc, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon. Bright cherry, blackberry, ground herbs, lead pencil, and crushed violet notes all emerge from the glass, and this beauty is incredibly seamless, pure, and polished on the palate. With ultra-fine tannins, a great mid-palate, and plenty of structure, it’s a more fresh, focused, classic example of this cuvée. Hide bottles for 4-5 years and enjoy over the following two decades.”

Vinous 96 Points: “The 2017 El Alma de Jonata, the estate’s Cabernet Franc-based wine, is bright, aromatically explosive and just striking in its beauty. Bright red fruit, blood orange, menthol and plum race out of the glass in a wine endowed with tremendous energy, tension and pure class. Medium in body, with tremendous aromatic intensity and drive, the Alma is positively striking. The 2017 is one of the very finest editions I can remember tasting. In a word: dazzling.”

Matt Dees, Winemaker: “Sophisticated and lifted nose of fresh herbs, dried roses and ripe fig. Tart raspberry, bay leaf, dark Gaviota strawberry and red currants lead the attack. Freshly turned soil, chalk dust and cacao nibs lend a textural counterpoint to the suave fruit. Beetroot, blood orange, pencil shavings and cedar. A cooling, vibrant and immensely soulful Alma. Finishes with a big push of dark fruit, cacao, green mint and grilled meat. An ethereal and poignant cabernet franc blend. One can sense the maturity of the vines in the added layer of refinement and subtlety.” 

Jonata 2017 La Sangre Syrah Ballard Canyon Santa Ynez – 97 Points
GGWC 154.99 net item 
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code JONATA17 at checkout

Mix & match with other Jonata wines OK

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points: “Incorporating 2% Viognier, the Syrah-dominated 2017 La Sangre De Jonata reveals a saturated purple color as well as a heavenly bouquet of cassis, blueberries, crushed violets, spring flowers, and ground pepper. Full-bodied, concentrated, beautifully balanced, and seamless on the palate, it has polished tannins, no hard edges, and just awesome purity of fruit. While it shows the more focused, elegant style of the vintage, its tannins are beautifully managed, giving it more upfront charm than some past vintages (which is a good thing).”

Vinous 95 Points: “The 2017 La Sangre de Jonata has really come together over the last year. Today, it is aromatically explosive, rich and hedonistic. Grilled herbs, menthol, plum, black cherry, lavender and sage are some of the many notes that develop in this extravagantly beautiful, expressive wine from Jonata. In 2017, La Sangre is marked by more of a red fruit profile than in the past, along with silkier tannins that will make it easy to drink and enjoy with minimal cellaring.”

Matt Dees, Winemaker: “Driven by a floral and powdered nose with a striking element of violets. Towering aromatics. Elderberry-like. Supple and sleek on the palate with characteristic black and blue Sangre fruit, black pepper, white truffle and an overall sense of Luxardo cherries. Finishes with freshness and a push of dark fruit that doesn’t want to stop. By far the most elegant and approachable Sangre to date. No need for a decade in the cellar, but this will also certainly repay those with patience. Pop and pour today. One of the most expressive and evocative bottles we’ve ever produced.” 

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

COHO’S NEW Pinot & Headwaters Cabernet Blend just arrived

Founded in 2002, Coho is the aspiration of vintner Gary Lipp to produce flavorful, balanced wines. Grown in select cool-climate vineyards, Coho wines emphasize fruit purity and vitality. Gary has worked  for California wineries for almost thirty-five years: involved in all aspects of the craft, acquiring the skills to bottle his passion.

The choice of Coho as the name of the brand might seem curious as it doesn’t invoke images of vineyards or wine, but to us the salmon embodies an innate wisdom so essential to understanding ourselves and our environment. As stewards of the land winemakers must strive to sustain our habitat and the species that share it. And like the salmon we need the steadfast will to keep going no matter how difficult the journey.

Coho 2016 Headwaters “Bordeaux Blend” Napa Valley
GGWC 57.99 
FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more
Use code COHO during checkout

Mix & match OK with other Coho wines

On the nose this wine shows gorgeous aromas of black and red stone fruit.  On the palate one encounters a well-balanced, cohesive wine that is flashy and opulent showcasing stellar black and red stone fruit with a touch of chocolate and a whiff of toastiness, it has great vibrancy and an amazing balance of beautiful fruit and subtle acidity.  This is a wine that will age nicely.  The finish is gorgeous and lasts a good thirty seconds. This wine is drinking well now, and will age well for 7-10 years.
Wine Spectator 93 Points: “Aromatic, with warm espresso, sage and worn leather notes leading off, backed by a core of slightly chewy mulled currant, fig and huckleberry flavors. Keeps an old-school bent through the finish, revealing a flash of cast iron. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Best from 2021 through”
Winemaker Notes: “Rich, and fruit forward, the blackberry and plum flavors announce themselves upon palate entry, while nuances of lightly roasted coffee beans and baking spices are revealed as the wine is drawn in. The long, balanced finish is a good indication of a delicious wine that will be enjoyable upon release and for an additional decade.”
Coho 2017 Pinot Noir Stanly Ranch Carneros, Napa Valley
GGWC 44.99 
FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more
Use code COHO during checkout

Mix & match OK with other Coho wines

The 2017 Coho is made from three distinct Dijon clones (115, 667, 777) and fermented with a Romanee-Conti yeast selection.  The wine offers ripe aromas of black cherry, wild berry and enticing ripe plum aromas mingle with floral violet scents with a toasted almond and vanilla-infused bouquet. Rich and mouth-filling on entry, where the opulent texture reveals layered black cherry, plum and red currant flavors and fine-grained tannins which build finesse on the elegant finish. Only 433 six-pack cases were produced.

Winery Notes:Stanly Ranch is the easternmost vineyard in the Los Carneros appellation. Originally planted with Pinot Noir in the 1870s, the vineyard borders the wetlands of the Napa River/San Pablo Bay watershed. Proximity to the cool foggy marine climate of the bay imparts spicy aromatics in the wine, while the clay and clay loam soils contribute an earthy complexity to the blackcherry fruit flavors.”
Also check out:

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

Brix: the sweet spot for grape harvest

Brix: the sweet spot for grape harvest

by Lee Allen
in Western Farm Press
Grapes grow to their proper maturity on a vine in Sonoma County, Calif.

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines ‘sweet spot’ as “the situation or combination of things that is the best or most effective possible.”

Grape growers have a slightly different definition of that same achievement apex and that is — when Brix hits its optimum, it signifies the height of harvest time.

Writing for Lodi Wine Growers, viticulturist Stan Grant puts it this way: “Soluble solids, i.e., sugars, are the principle criteria for scheduling harvest because fructose and glucose are at their most plentiful.”

Grape sugar development is an important phase in the reproductive life cycle of the vine, according to Calwineries Inc. who note: “Grape seeds contain the vines genetic material and its reproductive success is dependent on the survival of the seeds. Sugars are transported from the vine into the grape to make sure the seed has enough energy to live.”

Or as Grant writes: “Normally, a portion of the sugars produced each growing season is stored in woody vine tissues to support next season’s growth and sometimes these reserves contribute to accumulating berry sugars during fruit maturation.”

“As berries are developing,” according to the Calwineries explanation: “Sucrose (a glucose and fructose molecule bonded together) is transported into the grape to be metabolized. The availability of grape sugar, accumulated in the grape after veraison, provides the building blocks for alcoholic fermentation.

“Total sugar content of fully-ripened grapes is dependent on viticultural practices and environmental conditions which can make sugar content at maturity range from 12% to 28%.”

Which leads us to Brix — and how grape sugar content is measured.

Brix, determined at harvest time, is a measure of soluble solids content in grapes, mostly as sucrose, determined by the use of a refractometer, a hand-held instrument that measures dissolved sugar in a small juice sample in the field. Refractometers make it possible to determine ideal harvesting times of grapes.

Brix correlates to the potential alcohol content of a dry wine with each gram of sugar fermented turning into about half a gram of alcohol.

Brix measures sugar by weight

The Brix scale measures percentage of sugar by weight, giving vineyard managers an objective number to evaluate their crop conditions. At 25 degrees Brix, a grape has approximately 25 grams of sugar for each 100 grams of liquid.

While each vineyard block will have an optimum sugar level signifying the peak of harvest, as a generalization, a range of 19 to 25 degrees Brix is the target for sugar concentration coinciding with harvest time. Each degree of Brix equals 1 gram of sugar per 100 grams of grape juice.
As in all other aspects of growing, there are right and wrong ways to produce ample sugar content, a goal achievable by growing sufficient leaves and preserving their function.

Grant recommends starting with vines that have been tested for pathogenic viruses that will inhibit sugar accumulation. He advises a spacing-training-trellising-pruning system that will promote balanced fruit and foliage growth and allow for complete canopy development with maximum exposure of leaves to sunlight. “Complete canopy development typically involves 14 to 20 leaves for a shoot with two clusters.”

Adequate soil moisture to minimize stress is a given as are leaves in full sunlight. Leaves on the canopy exterior absorb about 90% of sunlight meaning greater photosynthetic activity and sugar production. “Even well-designed vineyard canopies may require fine tuning through shoot thinning, shoot positioning, or lateral shoot removal,” he notes. “For sugar production, it’s nearly as important to maintain healthy leaves as it is to grow the proper number of leaves.”

The Challenge of Hybrid Grape Varietals

The Challenge of Hybrid Grape Varietals

by Dwight Furrow
in foodandwineaesthetics.com

A recent article by Jamie Goode on the need for the wine community to embrace hybrid grape varietals raises an important set of issues. Most of the wines we drink are made from the grape species Vitis vinifera. But these varietals cannot survive cold winter temperatures and they are subject to a variety of diseases such as downy mildew and powdery mildew which require heavy applications of fungicides. As Jamie points out, these fungicides are not sustainable.  Copper sulfate is especially harmful to the long-term health of the soil.

One solution is to grow hybrid grape varieties made by crossing of European Vitis vinifera vines, American Vitis labrusca and Vitis riparia grapes. These hybrids not only survive cold winters but are resistant to mildew, requiring significantly fewer applications of chemicals throughout the growing season. Most Californians have never tasted these hybrids and they have been banned from many European appellations because they were deemed inferior to vinifera. Yet they are common throughout the Midwest and East Coast.

The challenge is taste. For those of us accustomed to the flavors and structure of vinifera varieties, these hybrids taste odd to say the least. I’ve tasted my share of Marquette, Norton, Frontenac, Chambourcin, Traminette, La Crescent and many others. Some were quite good; others quite dreadful. As with all winemaking it’s a matter of matching varietal, location and wine making technique. As everyday drinking wines most have potential (although I think Frontenac Red has a future only as a port-style wine). Can these wines reach the heights of the very best vinifera? Will we see a 100 point Marquette in the near future? It’s hard to say in part because it’s a matter of adjusting our taste sensibilities to include flavors that don’t quite fit our conventional categories.

The challenge then is not all on the grape growers, viticulturalists, and winemakers. It’s on those of us who taste seriously as well. We at least need to be open-minded about hybrids and adjust our concepts of what wines should taste like. Tasting the new is always a challenge but it is how we make progress.

As Jamie concludes:

“It may take some time for the wine world to open its mind to resistant varieties, but the current situation isn’t sustainable. Our longtime addiction to Vitis vinifera grapes — used in the vast majority of today’s wines — with its attendant spray regimes, is simply no longer justifiable. It’s time to recognize the progress made by the grape breeders, and to get behind these new resistant varieties.”

Philippe Melka’s Hidden Napa Cabernet Gem


A classic Bordeaux-style blend (90% Cabernet Sauvignon & 10% Petit Verdot) sourced from premier Napa Valley sites, Double Eagle Red is treated to site specific winemaking focused on expressing the rich, fruit-driven style of the valley floor vineyards.  It was aged for 20 months in 60% new French oak. The wine shows a  garnet-purple color.  Bright aromas of  red and black currants, and subtle cordial notes with touches of red roses, violets, spice box jump out of the glass.  The wine is medium to full-bodied, bold and with silky grained tannins.  The wine is complex and offers bright freshness and depth, finishing long. Only 400 cases were produced!

Double Eagle 2016 Proprietary Red, Napa Valley
GGWC 94.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code EAGLE during checkout

Mix & match with Double Eagle Sauvignon Blanc

Also check out their small production Sauvignon Blanc

Double Eagle 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley  
GGWC 49.99
FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more
use code EAGLE during checkout

Mix & match with Double Eagle Red

The 2018 Sauvignon Blanc greets you with lively  notes of lemon tart, key lime pie and orange blossoms, a touch of fresh grapefruit and a whiff of minerality. The wine is medium-bodied, and the palate has beautiful elegance and freshness with bright citrus and mineral notes, framed by a great refreshing backbone and silky  texture.  The wine serenades you with a nice long perfumy finish.

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

Screaming Eagle winemaker locates a wine from the “Lost & Found” Department


The 2018 Vin Perdu label features esteemed winemaker, Heidi Barrett, lifting off from the vineyard — and taking the wine with her! If you do not get your hands on this wine now, it will be long gone; your eternal “lost wine”!

Vin Perdu 2018 Proprietary Red, Napa Valley
GGWC 94.99
FREE SHIPPING on six or more!
Use code VINPERDU during checkout

Vin Perdu is racy and voluptuous, not to mention incredibly delicious. Succulent red cherry, rose petal, mocha, plum and spice are all given an extra kick of textural richness. Plush, opulent and creamy, this wine is an absolutely joyous wine to enjoy over the next decade or so.

Winery Notes: “The Vin Perdu 2018 is composed of estate grown grapes from the Amuse Bouche, La Sirena and Fantesca properties. For this vintage, Heidi masterfully blended 33% Cabernet Sauvignon with 12% Petit Verdot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 38% Syrah and 6% Merlot.”


Click here for tickets!

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

The Queen of the Valley delivers another great Cabernet


In case you didn’t know her yet, It all started in the late 80s when Heidi Barrett began working for Dalla Valle as an “independent winemaker”. She began to develop a tiny project called Screaming Eagle shortly afterwards, and from there, things escalated quickly. With 5 perfect 100-point scores for her wines in the span of just a few years, Heidi skyrocketed to international fame, setting a world record for the highest price ever paid for a single bottle of wine – $500,000 for a 6L of 1992 Screaming Eagle at the Napa Valley Wine Auction in 2000. Today, Heidi maintains a stable of ultra-premium client wineries, including Paradigm, Lamborn, Amuse Bouche, Au Sommet, Fantesca, and Kenzo, as well as her own brands La Sirena and Barrett & Barrett. She and Bo live among their vineyards in Calistoga. In her free time, she enjoys scuba diving, flying her helicopter, making art, and gardening.

Paradigm 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Oakville Napa Valley
GGWC 84.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code PARA16 during checkout

Silky, structured and subdued, this wine shines in black pepper, leather and tobacco, with a dash of underlying dark chocolate. More savory than fruit forward, it has lively acidity and integrated oak and plenty of structure for aging.

Winemaker Heidi Barrett Notes: “Dark Cabernet color with beautiful aromas of black cherry, cassis, plums, 5-spice, vanilla. Big, ripe and mouth-coating across the palate. The flavors are similar to the aromas with ripe fruit, berry/cherry pie, moderate tannins, and nice length. This wine shows enough structure to be age-worthy yet soft and balanced enough to enjoy upon release. Flavors linger in this tasty dense wine. Tastes like Oakville.”

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



In 2001, the Peirson and Meyer families brought more than 70 years of collective passion and experience in wine together to form what would become the Peirson Meyer vineyards. Now, nineteen years later they have an established reputation for highly acclaimed wines worth noticing.

Peirson Meyer 2017 Chardonnay Untitled # 12, Sonoma Coast
GGWC 79.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code PM17CHD during checkout

Winemaker Notes: ”Through the art of blending our Untitled #12 Chardonnay achieves a perfect balance of richness, acidity and elegance. The palate is full of ripe tropical notes and orange oil, laced with creamy sweet spices. The finish is long, seductive and persistent on the palate.”

Vinous 96 Points: “The 2017 Chardonnay Untitled #12 is stellar. The Untitled Chardonnay is meant to capture the essence of the vintage. I haven’t always found it to be materially more complex than the two vineyard designates, but there is no denying the sheer beauty of the 2017. Lemon confit, white flowers, orchard fruit and chamomile all grace this very pretty and expressive Chardonnay.”

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

FREE Virtual Wine Tasting Giveaway!

Dear Friends,

We are having fun with our Weekly Virtual Wine Tasting events. If you have not yet joined us, I highly recommend you do! Every Friday at 3 PM PST we meet with a winemaker/winery owner at his/her winery and taste 3 new releases. I provide some food pairing suggestions so you can make it a real Happy Hour!

This is a chance to visit California Wine Country from the comfort of your home, while enjoying the wines, meet and taste with the winemaker – So no travel, no hotel, no car rental – JUST order a 3-PACK of wine and we deliver it to your home in time for the session(s)!  Invite your friends, family and have a Social Distance Wine Tasting. I know that some of you have organized an entire dinner around the wines, others just S.I.P.ped and munched on finger foods, but everyone has had a great time.

PLEASE CALL ME DIRECTLY at 415.337.4083 to to receive your FREE VIRTUAL WINE TASTING*!

I look forward to seeing you on one of our future sessions!

A Humbled
St. Frank,
Your Patron Saint of (soft) Tannins


Virtual Wine Tasting Schedule

CLICK HERE to place your order

*To get your free tasting, you must CALL 415-337-4083.
*The free tasting will be the one lesser total price.


VIRTUAL CALENDAR (Every Friday at 3 PM PST, we will feature 3 or 4 wines)
~ wines need to be purchased by no later than the Monday before the tasting in order to participate ~
Sept 25

Coho with owner Gary Lipp

Three new releases and one GGWC exclusive wine!
~ wines need to be purchased by no later than Sept 21 in order to participate ~

Oct 2

La SIrena with Remi and/or Heidi Barrett

~ wines need to be purchased by no later than Sept 28 in order to participate ~

Oct 9

Walter Hansel with owner/winemaker Stephen Hansel

~ wines need to be purchased by no later than Oct 5 in order to participate ~

Oct 16

Shared Notes & Cattleya with Bibiana Gonzalez Rave Pisoni and Jeff Pisoni

~ wines need to be purchased by no later than Oct 12 in order to participate ~