A Philippe Melka gem… 15% OFF & FREE SHIPPING ~ HURRY WON’T LAST LONG!

What do you get when you put two of the very players on a team? A Winning formula!.
Winemaker Extraordinaire Philippe Melka & Vineyard Manager “Par Excellence“ David Abreu make up the duo powering the Vineyard 29 engine.  Moreover, you take two of the very best in the industry and offer them one of the best growing seasons in 20 years…. End result… stellar wine!

This week, call it generosity….  15% OFF and FREE SHIPPING on this amazing wine that over-delivers for its price tag.

Vineyard 29 2018 Cabernet Cru, Napa Valley
Retail 80.00, NOW ONLY 69.99!
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code CRU during checkout

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points: “Plums, Asian spices, tobacco, and lead pencil notes emerge from the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Cru, which hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, a beautifully polished, elegant texture, and outstanding length. This is another gorgeous 2018 displaying notable purity, balance, and length as well as richness. It can be drunk any time over the coming 15+ years.”

Winemaker Notes: “The 2018 CRU Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon holds nothing back upon opening. Grilled meat, cocoa and Bing cherry perfume a beautifully expressive nose. Pulling from multiple vineyards throughout Napa Valley, this wine truly encompasses the incredible diversity that our valley has to offer. Firm tannins and structure house notes of cassis, plums, black peppercorns and fresh tobacco leaf. This wine finishes with a long, weighty finish that never loses its focus and remains pure throughout.”
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Call 415-337-4083 or email frank@goldengatewinecellars.com for availability and priority allocation

Inaugural Pinot Release from Cali “Premier Cru” Vineyard – Very Limited!

A childhood dream, let’s hook up when we are all grown up and start a winery together. That is the story of two brothers (John & Steve Dragonette) and their good buddy Brandon Sparks-Gillis. They teamed up to pursue their live-long dream to make wine. While working at wineries like Sine Qua Non, Torbreck, Fiddlehead Cellars before they gained valuable experiences in order to start this grand venture. Over the past decade the press has been (rightfully so) generous to these three great guys. They source from some of the most sought after vineyards in Santa Barbara, Santa Rita Hills & Santa Ynez.

Dragonette 2019 Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara
GGWC 79.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more!
Use code DRAGONETTE during checkout

Mix & match OK with all Dragonette wines

A Premiere Release for Dragonette, their first Sanford & Benedict bottling from this renowned vineyard, and it arrived with a bang!

The Dragonette Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict is just radiant. The wine is bold, yet translucent and exquisitely layered. Stunning notes of black cherry, plum, spice, lavender all come together in the glass. Fleshy on the palate with sweet red fruit, blood orange and a touch of spice make for a heady and sumptuous wine.  This first release is a home-run!  Well-balanced, gorgeously textured from start to finish. Well Done!


Dragonette Virtual Wine Tasting March 26, 4 PM PST 
with Winemaker & Partner Brandon Sparks-Gillis

Also check out these other great Dragonette Wines:
(Assort for free shipping!)
Dragonette Cellars 2018 “Grimm’s Bluff” Sauvignon Blanc ~ 95 Points
Dragonette Cellars 2018 Grassini Sauvignon Blanc ~ 95 Points
Dragonette Cellars 2018 “Vogelzang” Sauvignon Blanc ~ 95 Points!
Dragonette 2019 Pinot Noir “Sanford & Benedict” Inaugural Release
Dragonette 2018 Syrah “Seven” ~ 94 Points

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

HOT FROM THE PRESS: A Casual (Wine) Encounter…

Herman Syrah is the “story” of tall tales, Wrangler Jeans, and bold wines crafted by Russell P. From. This winery has become a real head-turner since it was created a little over a decade ago. Russell is a real “Rhone Ranger” and that has not escaped the notice of numerous publications garnering many 94-97 point ratings and creating a real “cult-like” following.

Casual Encounters takes its name from the orgiastic nature of its origins as a blend of small co- fermented lots. By giving up control and embracing game-day decisions during harvest, Casual Encounters best captures the lengths Russell will go in setting orthodoxy aside and letting flavor take full stage.

Herman Story 2018 GSM “Casual Encounters” Paso Robles
GGWC 54.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code Herman Story during checkout

Winemaker Notes: “After years of scouring grainy photos and peering through binoculars, you’ve found it: Bigfoot’s cave, deep in the Oregon woods. In you go, brandishing a Maglite and Glock 45. And there’s Sasquatch himself, seated in a Tuscan leather wingback chair, clawed feet on a matching ottoman, reading Wordsworth. He fetches a fresh blackberry pie, drizzles raw honey over the top, and offers a slice. You spend the night gnawing thyme-laden venison jerky over granite countertops and swapping hunting stories. Before you go, be sure to snap a selfie. Maybe no one will notice the zipper on his chest. 

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points: More inky colored, the Casual Encounters checks in as 40% Syrah, 35% Mourvèdre, 19% Grenache, and tiny amounts of Carignan and Tannat. Lots of mulled black fruits, smoked meat, barbecue, and peppery notes emerge from the glass. It’s full-bodied, super-rich, and concentrated, yet still stays light on its feet and beautifully balanced. It’s a classic, sweetly fruited, sexy wine to enjoy over the coming 5-7 years or so.


Herman Story Virtual Wine Tasting April 23, 4 PM PST 
with Winemaker & CEO (Chief Entertainment Officer) Russell From

Also check out these other great Herman Story Wines:
Herman Story 2018 Petite Sirah “First Time Caller” Paso Robles Highlands – 94 Points
Herman Story 2018 Viognier “Tomboy” Santa Barbara – 94 Points
Herman Story 2017 Grenache “On the Road” – 96 Points!
Herman Story 2018 Syrah “Nuts and Bolts” Santa Barbara – 96 Points

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

Addicting, layered & stunning under $50, 96 Point rated beauty

Walter Hansel has been synonymous with great quality at a great price!  Year after year these wines impress me and my clientele alike.  The first vines were planted in 1978 just up the block from Kistler!  The first vintage they produced 3 barrels of Pinot Noir and 10 barrels of Chardonnay, and the rest as they say, is history!  Stephen Hansel (Walter’s son) had one of the best winemakers as his tutor (Tom Rochiolli) so it is no surprise that they are still putting out great wines decades later.  Year after year this winery produces amazing “Dollar Cost Average” under-priced & over-delivered in quality wines!

Walter Hansel 2018 Cuvee Alyce Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
GGWC 49.99
Sorry, 6 bottle limit per person!

The 2018 Pinot Noir Cuvée Alyce is bright, floral and super-finessed. This mid-weight, focused Pinot has so much to offer. Red/purplish fruit, blood orange, lavender and spice are all finely-knit Pinot from Hansel. Time in the glass brings out the wine’s textural depth and resonance. I would give the 2018 vintage at least a year or two in the bottle before consuming.

Robert Parker 96 Points: “Medium ruby-purple in color, the 2018 Pinot Noir Cuvée Alyce opens slowly to alluring aromas of smoked cranberries, red cherries and black raspberries laced with licorice, bergamot and dried lavender. The palate is medium-bodied and super silky with addicting freshness, absolutely packed with layered, detailed flavors, and it finishes very long and elegant. Wow!“

Also check out these other great Walter Hansel wines:
Walter Hansel 2018 Chardonnay Cahill Lane Russian River Valley 94 Points
Walter Hansel 2018 Chardonnay Cuvee Alyce Russian River Valley – 95 Point
Walter Hansel 2018 “Estate” Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley – 94 Points
Walter Hansel 2018 North Slope Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley – 95 Points

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

A book review of “Wine for Normal People”

A book review of “Wine for Normal People”

Contributed by Miquel Hudin

Writing an introductory text on wine is no small feat. A book that takes someone from, “Sure, I like wine, top me off!” to “Lemme break down the Médoc for you.” is a journey spanning two pretty distant points from one another and is why so few people to take on this Herculean task.

But I would say the hardest aspect in all of this is actually getting people to pick up and read such a book. I refer to my baseline in all such things, my mom. She was happy to churn through the pages of “Buddhism for Dummies” but when I suggested she look into “Wine for Dummies” to get a better handle on things, she passed on the opportunity.

People just want to drink wine and not think about it, which I really can’t blame them for. It seems to be the case that those who write a successful introductory wine text (whether that means financially, creating something of merit, or hopefully both) have established a following of people who enjoy their approach to taking on such an onerous, yet delicious topic as wine. History has shown that learning about wine proves to revolve more around a cult of personality than anything else whether that’s a classic example such as Jancis Robinson, newer media like Gary V, or then whatever “influencer” may be the flash in the pan at the moment.

And so we come to Elizabeth Schneider, who, along with her husband “MC Ice” have been doing the Wine for Normal People Podcast for exactly 10 years now although the accompanying blog started in 2009. That means Elizabeth has been doing a podcast loooong before all these others decided that people wanted to hear what they have to say in a rambling, unedited fashion due to confinement during the pandemic.

In having been such a stalwart, she’s amassed a loyal following. Why? If you listen to any of her podcasts, you can immediately see why as she talks about wine in a friendly, conversational manner that people can relate to. Sounds easy and there have been others who started off this way, but then fell head deep into the cesspool of wine twattery quite quickly. Elizabeth has not succumbed to this (probably as she finds release in her aptly-labeled “geek” podcasts) and, as often happens with such ventures she created a book, unsurprisingly titled, “Wine for Normal People” that was released in 2019.

Obviously shifting from the 45-50 minute podcast format that people can listen to in the background to a text wherein people have to actively read to gain information is a big shift up in terms of format. I have to tell you that I’ve read a lot of texts that purport to do what Elizabeth has taken on here and many of them fail. Elizabeth’s simply does not.

She’s managed to keep a conversational tone throughout the text, embodying her podcasts remarkably well. For example in a brief mention about biodynamic farming she says, “I know biodynamic farming sounds kind of out there.” to show she knows what people are thinking when they hear about burying cow horns packed with manure in the field.

She also has great little pullout quotes and sidebars to keep people interested. For example she says that in general, the lighter the color of wines in both red and white, the lighter in alcohol they’ll be. To be honest, I’d never really thought about this, but she’s very much right and it’s one of these great nuggets that gives people something to grab on to whilst traversing the vast chasm of wine knowledge intake.

But I think more than anything else, it’s the fact that the book looks sharp. It’s well designed to be clean without being cutesy. It rivals another text that intends to simplify wine learning and which people always applaud for the design. In the case of Wine for Normal People, it not only looks good but actually has accurate information which is something that the other text is vastly deficient in.

Is it a quick read? No, because it can’t be. But it does overall excel in brevity as much as possible and I like the fact that in the Germany section Elizabeth flat-out says that German wines are difficult. She tries to cover it in as much detail as makes sense just so that people are aware of them and have some text as reference, but by acknowledging they’re not easy has probably helped many readers to breathe easier.

I’d say that if Elizabeth were to publish a newer edition at some point, she could perhaps work to slow down how fast the knowledge ramps up. This is difficult as it is too slow and people get bored but too fast and people get overwhelmed. As it sits, it flirts with being a bit much on the latter but just a little and I say this with full admonition this is an extremely hard thing to pull off. About the only text I’ve ever seen do this perfectly was “The 24-hour Wine Expert” by Jancis Robinson and that’s only due to massive amounts of information being left out in order to give a very slim, quick overview of things.

The only final item I would put up for critique are the pronunciations. Being American myself, I know that we have a massive phobia of saying words incorrectly. But the word pronunciations used in the book aren’t based upon the International Phonetic Alphabet (which is what Wikipedia uses, for instance), and a number of them are actually approximations and thus in strict terms incorrect such as sommelier which has been written as “sum-uhl-yay” after dismissing the actual French pronunciation which is one of my pet peeves – it drives me as crazy much like when Spaniards call Facebook, “Fah-the-book”.

Of course, you can just skip these bits and in fact, this is designed to be a reference book so you can easily take away from it whatever parts you want, whenever you want and for that, it’s easily one of the best introductory wine texts available today.

Tofanelli Winery, burned in 2020 fire NEEDS (Y)OUR SUPPORT

Dear Friends,
You might know that many wineries and vineyards were lost in the 2020 fire, but one winery is very dear to my heart. It has been family owned for almost 100 years, and the vineyard is still tended to by the same family members (i.e. Vince Tofanelli) Sadly, the property burned down in 2020 – see video/link — (https://abc7news.com/glass-fire-calistoga-home-destroyed-napa-county-calistoga-properties-by/6725689/

Vince Tofanelli grew up in an Italian family – LOTS of food and WINE!  His grandfather introduced him at a very young age to wine (he would pour a little vino in his water), and that led to an early introduction, and later education as winemaker crafting great wines and tending to this amazing vineyard.  The historical vineyard stands as one of the last examples of pre-World War II grape growing. The methods Vince still uses were once prevalent throughout the valley; no irrigation (not even a drip line to be seen, with an organic philosophy – he never jumped on the ‘bandwagon’ of post-war pesticides).

Tofanelli 2017 Zinfandel “Estate” Calistoga, Napa
GGWC 49.99
Use code TOFANELLI during checkout

Partial good news… 2017, 2018 and 2019 were stored off-site so we have some to sell, so let’s help Vince and his family!! Beautiful blue fruits, white flowers, and graphite notes all flow to a medium to full-bodied red that has fabulous elegance and class. With fine tannins and terrific balance, it’s a great wine, and I suspect it will keep for over a decade.

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points: “Coming from vines in Calistoga and a blend of 90% Zinfandel, 6% Petite Sirah, and 4% Grenache, the 2017 Zinfandel Tofanelli Family Vineyard boasts a big, boisterous bouquet of wild strawberries, dried flowers, cedarwood, and spice. These carry to a medium-bodied, elegant Zinfandel that has terrific balance, light tannins, and a silky texture. Made in a more elegant, lightly textured yet beautifully balanced style, drink bottles over the coming 7-8 years or so.”

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

Vibrant, Complex 96 Point Pinot Gem


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 “Rosella’s” Santa Lucia Highlands
GGWC 67.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more!
Use code ROAR during checkout

Deep, glistening red. Expressive, spice-accented red and blue fruit, cola and floral qualities on the highly perfumed nose. Sweet and seamless in texture, offering energetic raspberry, cherry cola and rose pastille flavors plus an alluring spicy flourish. Shows an impressive blend of depth and vivacity and finishes with solid thrust and silky, slow-building tannins that fold seamlessly into the intensely persistent fruit.

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points: “From one of the cooler sites they work with, the 2018 Pinot Noir Rosella’s Vineyard shines for its vibrant, pure yet complex style. Giving up lots of mulberry and black cherry fruit as well as ample sappy flower and spice notes, this beauty is medium to full-bodied, has a juicy, elegant texture, perfectly integrated acidity, and a great finish. Drink it over the coming decade as well.”
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Call 415-337-4083 or email frank@goldengatewinecellars.com for availability and priority allocation!

Superb, Powerful, & Resonating 96 Point Red!


Chris and his wife JoAnn Cherry moved to Paso Robles in 1996 to open a restaurant, partake in the burgeoning wine scene and raise their children in the country. In 2001 they purchased their first grapes to make wine for their restaurant. And so began Villa Creek Cellars, a real expression of west Paso Robles’ Rhone grape varieties. A sort of “farm-to-table” i.e farm-to-bottle venture.

The James Berry Vineyard from Saxum fame is a little bit the Chateau Margaux of Paso Robles – Chris said:  ”If you cannot make spectacular wine from this source, you should stay out of the kitchen.”

Villa Creek  2018 GSM High Road – James Berry Vineyard 96 Points
GGWC 84.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code VILLA during checkout

Vinous 96 Points: “Deep, bright-rimmed ruby. Powerful, mineral-accented black/blue fruit and floral oil aromas pick up exotic spice and pipe tobacco nuances with air. Fleshy, juicy and impressively concentrated, offering ripe boysenberry, black raspberry, cherry liqueur and violet pastille flavors that tighten up steadily on the back half. Densely packed yet energetic as well, finishing with resonating florality, gently gripping tannins and superb persistence.”

Winemaker Notes:2018 High Road is our 16th vintage crafted with grapes from James Berry Vineyard. Justin Smith of Saxum fame grew up on the property and took the reins from his parents Pebble and Teri several years ago. This is a stunning family owned and farmed vineyard in west Paso Robles’ esteemed Willow Creek District. This wine has texture, finesse, and approachability along with weight, complexity and the ability to cellar. Deep garnet in color, it offers amazing aromatics of black and red fruits, cured meats, west Paso lupine and spice. Its palate is sexy, rich and textural with just enough verve to have you salivating for more. While enjoyable now it will deliver in spades with a few years of patience in your cellar. Drink 2021-2035.”

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

GOING ONCE, GOING TWICE … Stunningly great value 94 Point Rated Napa Cabernet


Tether is a collaboration between two great friends ~ Wine Guru Kimberly Jones and winemaker Anna Monticelli. Tether is an enticing wine that represents a blend of Kimberly and Anna’s talents. Their goal is to craft a delicious and affordable Napa Valley Cabernet.  This is REAL Napa Valley VALUE in a bottle.

When I tasted the wine I figured it would be another $100 wine, but I was wrong , it was ½ that price!  That said, this wine will sell out fast, so you’ll have to act quick!

Tether 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
GGWC 54.99
Use code TETHER during checkout

The 2018 Tether Cabernet Sauvignon bursts from the glass with luscious aromas of black currants, blackberries, black cherries and blueberry compote. The gorgeous dark fruit core is complemented by layers of volcanic rock, spring flowers, graphite, mocha and well-integrated French oak. The wine possesses a rich texture that coats the palate in velvety tannins, sweet ripe fruit and elegant toasty oak. This wine showcases dazzling finesse and leaves you with an enduring finish.

Robert Parker 94 Points: “A blend of 97% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Malbec, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is deep garnet-purple in color. It leaps from the glass with warm cassis, baked plums and wild blueberries scents,plus hints of clove oil and dark chocolate. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is chock-full of crunchy fruit, framed by plush tannins and tons of freshness, finishing with a spicy kick.“

Also check out:
Tether 2017 Chardonnay, Napa Valley (94 Points)

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

2 x 95 Point Superb Chardonnay by Ehren Jordan

Failla 2018 Chardonnay “Platt” Sonoma Coast
GGWC  59.99
Use code FAILLA during checkout

Vinous 95 Points: “ The 2018 Chardonnay Platt Vineyard shows just how magical this site is. Bright, lifted and wonderfully deep, the Platt has so much to offer. Green pear, mint, white flowers and sage open up in the glass, but it is the wine’s balance and exquisite harmony that elevate it into the realm of the truly sublime. A wine of crystalline tension and beauty, the Platt is impeccably refined from start to finish. Superb.”

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points: “Just as good, the 2018 Chardonnay Platt Vineyard, from a site in the Sonoma Coast, saw a similar élevage, spending 11 months in 15% new French oak. Rocking white peach, white currants, citrus, and floral notes all emerge from the glass, and while the Estate Vineyard is more mineral and savory, this leans more on its fruit and is medium to full-bodied, with wonderful purity, bright acidity, and a great finish. It’s another beautiful Chardonnay from this team.”

Winery Notes: “The Platt Vineyard is located in the western hills near Sebastopol, covering 31 acres ranging from 425-800 feet of elevation, and only five miles from the Pacific coastline. The climate is relatively mild, with cool marine weather passing through the region on its way to the Sacramento Delta. Fine, Goldridge sandy loams dominate the soil structure of the site’s southwestern-facing slope for Chardonnay vines to grow upon. The wine undergoes native yeast fermentation before full malolactic fermentation. The wine is left “sur-lie” for eleven months and aged in a combination of roughly 15% new French oak and 20% concrete egg. The wine was bottled without fining or filtering. Aromatically the wine has notes of barely bruised yellow apples, and a kiss of salinity. On the palate, there are flavors of fresh white peaches, candied lemon zest, as well as a full body that is balanced by a finishing note of bright acidity.“

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