An outstanding and UNDER $30 White Cuvée

Mike Trujillo has 40 vintages under his belt (Sequoia Grove, Karl Lawrence, Trujillo), and after so many years he decided to create some other non-Cabernet wines. He crafted the Madelyn White Cuveé, a wine that expresses the joy he experienced with his daughter, Sophia Madelyn Trujillo. The wine is a blend of 47% Sauvignon Blanc, 41% Gewurztraminer, and 12% Viognier all sourced from two great vineyards in Napa & Mendocino.

Trujillo 2020  “Madelyn White Wine Cuvée” Napa/Mendocino
GGWC 27.99
Use code MADELYN during checkout

The selection of grapes that go into creating this delicious white wine blend are grown in the cooler regions of Mendocino and Napa Valley. This wine is a unique and rousing blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Gewurztraminer, along with a touch of Viognier. The fruit is fermented to dryness, then blended together in perfect harmony. These varietals, not so commonly melded together, bring forth the crisp, fresh citrus of Sauvignon Blanc laced together with the fragrant tropical fruits of the Gewürztraminer and a splash of the exotic Viognier.    
This Madelyn white blend has its own unique personality. Within its aromatic expressiveness, there are the subtle hints of orange blossom, honey, melon, and a hint of anise. The flavors are expressive: crisp, sweet pink grapefruit, melon, star fruit, and a touch of sweet Meyer lemon. This balanced wine knits together perfectly with its vibrant acidity and complimenting minerality. It has a refreshing lift, with exhilarating brightness, that generously rolls out to a lingering, delightful, and satisfying finish. This 2020 Madelyn White Cuvée is a fun and refreshing white wine that is meant to be enjoyed in all casual settings. Definitely a great summer wine! Believe us, you will not be able to drink just one glass!

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This “Familiar Air” MMXIX Cabernet is a real WAW (What A Wine)

Familiar Air is the former Passenger winery. The Passenger label is dead, but long live Familiar Air. After an amicable separation the lady got to keep the vineyard source and the winemaker, but not the name of the label. They decided to bury the hatchet and the “Passenger” name all together. The Winemaker Tony Biagi (Vineyardist, Patria, Hourglass, Spottswoode, Cade, Plumpjack) made an amazing wine from an incredible, but “secret” St. Helena Vineyard. This is a fun project that has created a great following since its inaugural 2008 release. The 2019 Familiar Air release is a mere 168 cases of stunning Cabernet. 

Familiar Air 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley MMXIX
GGWC 94.99
Use code FAMILIAR  upon checkout

The MMXIX Familiar Air Cabernet Sauvignon (92% Cabernet , 8% Malbec) has an amazing aroma that jumps out of the glass. Balance and elegance, yet structure, power and complexity. The owners were not interested in a high alcohol, over ripe, dessert wine of a Cabernet, yet instead, a wine that had the typicity of the Valley and specifically of the Saint Helena AVA. Dark cherry and blackberry, cocoa and mocha with a slight dusty quality that represented the vineyard. This combined with moderate alcohol and tannins, 25% new French oak for 2 years in barrel and an intensity in the mouth, structured, round and finishing long with each of these elements.

Their winemaker, Tony Biagi, was named “Winemaker of the Year”.

Winemaker Notes: ”From a brilliant vintage, the 2019 familiar air offers primary aromas of spiced black fruit, cedar box and Chambord. Flavors of black cherry, mixed berries, and Asian spice are followed by rich lush tannins and a lingering silky finish. Although it is drinking well now, it will open up more with two to three years in the cellar and continue to evolve over the next 15 years.”

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Contributed by Dwight Furrow 

Wine tastes good and contains alcohol. But lots of beverages taste good and contain alcohol. None have the deep cultural meaning and resonance that wine enjoys. Why?

I suggest it has to do with wine’s power as an artistic symbol. To be an artistic symbol, an object must refer to what it symbolizes and also exemplify—show or highlight—what it refers to. Picasso’s Guernica is a symbol of the horrors of war–it refers to the horrors of war and also shows and highlights them in its colors and lines.

What does wine symbolize?

It, first of all, symbolizes a form of excellence achieved by a type of fruit. This is peculiar when you think about it. No one thinks of Scotch as the highest expression of barley. Bourbon is not corn’s quintessence. But wine is routinely thought of as an ideal expression of an agricultural product—grapes. Arguably, it is that transformation of a commonplace commodity into a glorious work of art that has captivated wine lovers for centuries.

Striving for an aesthetic ideal through the skillful use of raw material and then symbolically referring to and exemplifying that ideal is surely one characteristic of art; and it characterizes winemaking as well.
Wine also symbolizes a plot of land under a sweep of sky, both of which have unique characteristics in each place where quality wine is produced. A wine bears witness to the origin of its distinctive sensory identity and thus stands as a symbol of that particular plot of land and sky.

But wine doesn’t make itself. That distinctive sensory identity is also a product of a winemaking tradition that developed that sensory identity over many years. A wine stands as a symbol of the people who made it, their practices and their sensibility, which are both referred to and exemplified in the aromas, flavors, and textures of the wine.

More controversially a wine points to and exemplifies the winemaker’s sensibility. It is after all the winemaker who must decide how terroir is expressed. Furthermore, we know that some quality wines are not primarily about terroir. Non-grower Champagnes are complex blends exemplifying a house-style rather than vineyard or vintage expression. The first-growth wines of Bordeaux are not primarily terroir-driven although they do express a regional identity. They are blends of more than one grape variety from various vineyards that are often not contiguous and may not share the same characteristics of terroir, especially after undergoing filtration, fining, and aging in oak. The result is not a pure expression of a vineyard, but a product of a winemaker’s vision of what those grapes can be.

Wine of course also symbolizes the ideal of a good life—a life of refinement, sophistication, and know how—which is exemplified in the refinement and sophistication of the wine.

And, for a different cohort, wine symbolizes a different social ideal—the ideal of community, conviviality, and authenticity—of people sharing a honestly made beverage in an atmosphere of fun and good cheer.

Wine, made from a lowly fruit, remains a cultural force because it embodies all these meanings. It is a most remarkable transformation


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98 Point Rated Dumol running low

Time flies, as this is the 24th release of DUMOL! I remember meeting Kerry Murphy (who sadly passed away last year in July) way back when he started DuMOL and tasting through the first bottles of what has now turned into a real success story. Andy Smith, his longtime winemaker, rolled up his sleeves and produced what can turn into the best vintage for Dumol ever!

With still lower than normal production levels this vintage will sell out in no time! The 2019 DuMol releases are turning out to be quite spectacular! I would say that several of these may be the best ever from this winery. Look for some rave reviews from the wine critics! As you know DuMOL is always in high demand, you can bet that this means the allocation will sell out quickly.

Dumol 2019 Chardonnay “Wester Reach” Russian River Valley 98 Points!!      
Retail 65.00 –  NOW 59.99  
Use code DUMOL19 during checkout

The Dumol 2019 Chardonnay Wester Reach comes from various great vineyards in the Russian River Valley, it has terrific notes of citrus and Meyer lemon, and hints of tart pineapple as well a medium-bodied, fresh, focused, incredibly pretty style on the palate. With bright acidity and plenty of vibrancy, it’s slightly more forward and fruit-driven compared to some of the other releases here. It’s a great introduction into the wines of this terrific estate.

Winemaker Notes: “Aromas are rich with oily intensity: white peach, tangerine, crystallized ginger, and hazelnut underpinned by an edge of steely mineral freshness. Stone fruits and deep citrus oil dominate the palate, broad and layered, full of intricate nuances. Tangy lemon curd and grapefruit notes combine with fresh acidity to bring energy and focus to the long, vibrant finish. Drink between Summer 2021 and 2025.”

Vineyard Sources: 30% Dumol Estate, 22% Morelli, 16% Flax estate 16% Charles Heintz, 16% Ritchie

Dumol 2019 Pinot Noir “Wester Reach” Russian River Valley 96 Points!!
Retail 80.00 –  NOW 74.99  
Use code DUMOL19 during checkout

Incredibly aromatic and complex, the 2019 Pinot Noir Wester Reach offers loads of spiced red fruits, incense, wood smoke, and forest floor notes as well as a medium-bodied, fresh, focused, yet still pleasure bent style. It’s a classic DuMol Pinot Noir to drink over the coming 5-7 years. This cuvée comes all from the Russian River Valley, from multiple clones, and spent a year in 40% new French oak.

Winemaker Notes: ”This beautiful, lilting, dynamic wine is the essence of coastal Russian River Pinot Noir. The wine’s aromas and flavors encompass the entire spectrum of red and black fruits, savory spices, and earthy undertones: black cherry, wild berries, dried thyme, orange zest, sandalwood, and black tea. The palate is supple, broad, and lively, flowing seamlessly to a crunchy vibrant finish with rising red-mineral lift and silky structure. Drink from Summer 2021 to 2030.”

Vineyard Sources: 26% Dumol Estate, 22% Flax Estate, 20% Widdoes, 16% Upp Road & 16% Hanna

Dumol 2019 Syrah “Mountainside” Russian River Valley 96 Points!!      
Retail 65.00 –  NOW 59.99  
Use code DUMOL19 during checkout

Black cherry, boysenberry, lavender, violet and green peppercorn are all present in the aroma. There’s lovely clarity of flavor and purity of cool climate fruit: cassis and blackberry offset by thyme, tobacco and cocoa nib. A lushness of texture takes over with lingering black fruits and lilac on the peppery, extended finish. Drink this soon after release or enjoy the reward of 10+ years of aging.

Winemaker Notes: “Complex aromatics soar from the glass: blueberry and cherry, violet and graphite, cocoa and lavender. Flavors of boysenberry and cassis dominate as the wine flows to a broad, supple center, with notes of anise, sweet tobacco, and cracked black peppercorn throughout. Tannins are chewy, broad and fine, framing the lovely interplay between brightness and power, the wine finishing with lingering notes of licorice and floral lift. Drink between late 2021 and 2030. As this is an incredibly versatile wine, I recommend pairing it with rich stews or grilled meats. In its youth, the wine is best when decanted for an hour, and it is delicious the next day from a partially re-corked bottle.“

Vineyard Sources:  53% GVR Estate & 47% Hoppe-Kelly

Also check out these other great DuMOL wines:

DuMOL 2018 Chardonnay “Chloe” Ritchie Vineyard, 96 Points                          
DuMOL 2018 Chardonnay “Isobel” Charles Heintz Vineyard, 96 Points                
DuMOL 2018 Chardonnay “Estate” Russian River Valley, 96 Points                    
DuMOL 2018 Syrah “Eddie’s Patch” Russian River Valley, 96 Points

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Former Spottswoode winemaker brings Spain to California – 25% OFF

Rosemary Cakebread is among the seasoned winemakers who have been instrumental in bringing Napa Valley Cabernet to prominence. After earning a degree in Viticulture and Enology from the University of California, Davis in 1979, she was introduced to Cabernet Sauvignon at the historic Inglenook Winery, where she took her first winery job right after college. She has enjoyed varied experiences during her many years of experience in the production of wines, which include harvests in Bordeaux and with some Champagne producers. A love for Cabernet Sauvignon was nurtured as winemaker for Spottswoode from 1997 through the 2005 vintage, where she divided her time between winemaking and overseeing the organically farmed estate vineyard. Rosemary celebrated her thirtieth vintage in 2009, which coincided with the bottling of her first release under her own label: the 2007 Gallica Cabernet Sauvignon. A few years ago she expanded the portfolio to include a fun Albarino, and I have to say it created a real following.

Gallica 2019 Albariño “Rorick Heritage Vineyard”
Retail 39.99 NOW 29.99
Use code GALLICA during checkout

Gallica’s only white wine emphasizes the sublime limestone signature found on this high elevation site. Tropical fruit and white flowers emerge from the mineral backbone. Summer is a time of relaxed days and spontaneous occasions- the ease of creating a meal right off the boat or just picked from the garden. We love Albariño for its purity, complementing a vast array of summer foods. A faithful companion to shellfish, curries, sushi, and anything saffron. Fermented in a combination of stainless and neutral oak barrels, we practice low intervention winemaking with the goal of accurately representing the beauty of this white grape in California. Almost weightless, we find lime peel, white rose, even a hint of savory in the glass. Partial malo-lactic fermentation polish the crisp acidity so noted in Albariño.

Winery Notes: “We picked Albariño early in 2019 to retain the gorgeous attributes of this lovely varietal. Hailing from Rorick Heritage Vineyard, the wine is entirely Albariño fermented in a combination of large stainless barrels and neutral oak cooperage. The cooperage choices are made so the fruit shines without nary a trace of oak. Dry and round, showing off mineral notes, beeswax, salt air, and notes of green melon. Albariño remains a house favorite when it comes to choosing food pairings- really anything goes. The epitome of summer, we appreciate most when served just cool enough to enjoy the compelling aromatics. 12.5% alcohol.”

Vinous 93 Points: “The Gallica Albariño is such a pretty, expressive white with lovely textural depth to balance the natural acidity of Albariño. Citrus peel, jasmine, mint and almond notes all grace this exquisite, refreshing white from Gallica and Rosemary Cakebread.”

Food pairing: Oysters, Fresh white crab, Fresh prawns or shrimp, Mixed shellfish platters, Steamed mussels or clams, Simply grilled fish such as sea bass, squid or sardines, Ceviche (marinated raw fish), Sushi and sashimi

Also, check out their  96 Point Rated Cabernet : GALLICA 2017 CABERNET SAUVIGNON, OAKVILLE NAPA VALLEY

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LAST CHANCE TO GET 15% OFF this Hidden Napa Gem that will not break the bank!

This ONE acre vineyard is located next to venerable and highly regarded Grace Family Vineyard in St. Helena. They have been producing some amazing wine over the past decade. All courtesy of a 100-Point winemaker who turned this little piece of dirt in a pile of gold flakes! The winery is owned by four friends and neighbors – the Martin and Croshaw families, thus the name MC4!

The 2018 vintage marks the ninth release from this great venture and I am proud to serve it up! As always, it’s a tiny production (less than 150 cases), so don’t wait too long…

MC4 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate” St. Helena Napa Valley
Retail 80.00 – NOW 69.99
FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more
Use code MC4 during checkout

I was happily surprised how well this youngster showed from the get-go. Bold and bright flavors on the nose and on the palate – black stone fruit, chocolate and espresso beans jump out of the glass and tease the palate. Great density, yet well-balanced and elegant showcasing the intensity of a linebacker and the elegance of a ballerina – translated bold flavors, great body and an elegant long-fine-grained finish. The wine crescendos with silky tannins.  Another great achievement from one of Napa’s smallest vineyards.

Parker 94 Points: The MC4 sports a medium to deep garnet-purple color and nose of crushed wild blueberries, black cherries and mulberries with slight touches of baking spices and dark chocolate plus a waft of sage. Medium to full-bodied, the palate features appealing restraint, with taut, muscular fruit and fantastic tension, finishing long and softly textured.”

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The Côtes du Coast offers more exotic pineapple, tangerine, marmalade, and honeyed notes, with a pure, medium to full-bodied, elegant, incredibly pure style on the palate. This is a sensational white that is underpriced in today’s market. The wine is aged in 26% New French oak, 54% neutral French oak, and 20% stainless steel.

Sans Liege 2020 Côtes du Coast, White Blend Paso Robles
GGWC $31.99
FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more
Use code SANSLIEGE during checkout

Winery Notes: “Returning from a stroll in the early ocean air you smell the honeysuckle and lilac which delicately climb the front wall of the cottage. White strawberries emerge from their calyxes along the pathway made of river rock which leads you to the door. You are met with aromas of vanilla bean, melon, lime zest & guava as you approach and take pause, beholden to this wonderful space on the coast.”

Vineyard Sources: The Cotes du Coast is a blend of 45% Viognier, 33% Marsanne, 13% Roussanne, 6% Grenache Blanc, 3% Clairette and were sourced from the Bien Nacido, White Hawk, Alta Colina, Last Frontier, Watch Hill and Kopack vineyards.

Also check out these other great Sans Liege wines:                                          

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Don’t Miss Out on this Exotic, Energetic 95 Point GSM

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.

Villa Creek 2018 Rhone Blend “ Avenger” Paso Robles
GGWC 64.99
Use code VILLA during checkout

Vinous 95 Points: “Inky violet. Highly perfumed, mineral-accented black/blue fruit liqueur, incense and potpourri scents take on exotic spice and licorice notes with aeration. Deeply concentrated but energetic as well, offering sappy blueberry, cassis, candied violet and fruitcake flavors that are sharpened by smoky mineral and spice flourishes. The spicy note drives an impressively long, energetic finish, and chewy tannins provide shape and firming grip.”

Winemaker Notes: “2018 Avenger is comprised of Syrah from G2 Vineyard and Luna Matta Vineyard, and Petite Sirah, Grenache, Carignan and Mourvèdre from our MAHA Estate Vineyard. This wine offers purity, power, and precision. The vivid ruby/purple color catches your eye as you pour it into your glass. Aromas of black fruits, smoked meats, earth and spice let you know you are in for a ride. The palate is insane; mouth filling and rich while not being over the top. It really hits the sweet spot of fruit and complexity. The tannins are fine and the length goes on for miles. On day one it was delish but day two took it to another level proving it will go the long haul and give pleasure for years to come. This one goes to 11 Baby….Drink 2020-2032”

Also check out: 
Villa Creek 2018 GSM Rock & Flowers, Paso Robles 94 Points
Villa Creek  2018 GSM High Road – James Berry Vineyard 96 Points 

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Scarecrow Winemaker pulls another BIG gem out of her hat , 95+ Points

It was 1993 when Dave Decesaris, gazed into his crystal and spied Freemark Abbey, as Mesopotamian mythology’s controller of karma and time, he saw an opportunity and slyly orchestrated a chance meeting of Kathleen. Over a tasting of fine wine. They bonded and eventually married. Years later and after a lifetime of equally serendipitous moments, Dave and Kathleen discovered a property on Howell Mountain filled with promise but in need of tender loving care. They envisioned a winegrowing estate and began restoration to return the land to natural habitat and develop a vineyard to serve as inspiration for future vintages of Castiel Estate (pron. Cast-ee-all). They assembled a team to realize their vision, including winemaker Celia Welch (Scarecrow, Corra, Barbour, Keever, Rewa, etc) and ace and “guru” viticulturist Jim Barbour.

Castiel 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Howell Mountain
GGWC 179.99/bottle
FREE SHIPPING on 4 or more
Use code CASTIEL during checkout

Robert Parker 95+ Points: Deep garnet-purple, the Castiel Cabernet Sauvignon has a beguiling nose of baked blackcurrants, warm black plums and mulberries with touches of spice cake, forest floor, candied violets and dark chocolate. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is chock-full of earth-laced black fruits, with a firm, grainy frame and bags of freshness, finishing long and minerally. Impressive!”

Celia Welch Notes: “Hailing entirely from the rocky, elevated slopes of Howell Mountain, this 2018 Castiel Cabernet Sauvignon shows aromas of dark blackberry briars, espreso, earth, and just a very slight base note of sweet vanilla. On the palate, the immense structure of this wine is immediately apparent. Bright fruit combines with a core that shows density and strength. The tannins are plentiful but rounded, adding a sense of juiciness to the finish. This wine is clearly made to last. Three separate clones of Cabernet were harvested between October 1 and 6, 2017, and were kept separate through fermentation and for the first year of maturation in French oak barrels. The wines were carefully blended and returned to barrel for additional maturation prior to bottling in 2020.“

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Put some Sparkle in your life, and some savings in your wallet

Laherte Frères was founded in 1889 by Jean-Baptiste Laherte, although the Laherte family sold grapes to the local cooperative for many years. Michel Laherte, the father of current proprietors Thierry and Christian Laherte, began to bottle champagne under his own label, and when brothers Thierry and Christian took over the estate, they appropriately changed the name back to Laherte Frères. Since 2002, they have been assisted by Thierry’s son Aurélien, who represents the seventh generation of his family to grow vines in this area.  

The Lahertes own ten hectares of vines, spread over an astonishing 75 parcels in ten different villages. Needless to say, some of these parcels are quite small, and fortunately much of the estate’s holdings lie in areas not too far away, in communes such as Chavot, Courcourt, Moussy, Vaudancourt, Mancy and Epernay. Aurélien Laherte is particularly interested in natural viticulture, and since 2005, five hectares of the estate have been farmed biodynamically. The other five are essentially organic, worked without any chemical pesticides or herbicides, and while Laherte would like to expand his biodynamic treatments to include more parcels, the main difficulty right now is distance, as some plots, such as those in Vertus or Voipreux, for example, are simply too far away from Chavot to effectively manage the intense labor required for biodynamic viticulture.

Laherte Frères NV Champagne Ultradition Brut, France
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code LAHERTE during checkout

90% organically grown grapes with a small portion coming from a non-certified but practicing organic grower. This bottling is a blend of 60% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir grown around the estate in Chavot and from sourced vineyards in the Vallée de la Marne. Clay and chalky clay top soils over limestone chalk bedrock. This is a blend of 60% current vintage and 40% reserve wines from the two previous harvests. Hand harvested and pressed in a traditional vertical Champagne press. Alcoholic fermentation takes place in a combination of vats and burgundy barrels according to grape variety and vineyard provenance. Partial malolactic fermentation is the norm but varies with harvest. Aged 6 months prior to bottling and prise de mousse in the springtime following harvest. Dosage is 4.5g/L or Extra Brut.

Although a great value, this is serious wine with excellent mineral cut, showing a chalky texture coated with lovely citrus, apricot, floral and honeyed pear aromatics. Very persistent showing nice tension and breed.

Vinous 92 Points: “The NV Brut Ultradition is similar to the Extra Brut bottling, but with a bit more reserve wines and naturally higher dosage. Interestingly, that mix results in a wine with more tension and brightness than the Extra Brut version. White flowers, mint and orchard fruit are some of the notes that take shape in the glass. Finely sculpted and full of energy, the Ultradition Brut is flat-out delicious. The blend is 60% Meunier, 30% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir, 50% 2016 and 50% reserve wines from 2015 and 2014.”

Robert Parker 92 Points: “Based on the 2016 vintage—complemented by reserve wines from 2015 and 2014—and disgorged in April 2019 with five grams per liter dosage, the NV Brut Blanc de Blancs Ultradition unwinds in the glass with notes of warm bread, green apple, citrus oil and peach. Medium to full-bodied, bright and incisive, with a fleshy core of lively fruit, a pinpoint mousse and racy spine of acidity, it’s already drinking well.”

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