Just in case you missed it … Paul Lato’s 2020 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir NEW RELEASES!

Great NEWS, the much anticipated wines from my friend and winemaker Paul Lato are on their way! The 2020 vintage is probably one of the best he produced to date, astonishing quality, but the smallest quantity ever. 

As always, Paul’s wines are first-come, first served, and sell out quickly

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.

Here is “the 2020 vintage” list: 

The 2020 “It’s All Good” is the fourth release from a special block on the Talley vineyard. Growing in sandy clay loam in the Edna Valley, these30-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. It's 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 2020 is a mirror image of the previous releases

Vinous 95 Points (2019): “The 2019 Chardonnay Talley Oliver's Vineyard It's All Good envelops the palate with its texture and creaminess. Apricot, ginger, dried flowers and light tropical notes all open in the glass. These 40 year-old vines at Brian Talley's Oliver Vineyard in San Luis Obispo confer notable depth and viscosity. In a word: superb.”

Paul Lato 2020 Chardonnay "Done & Done” Talley  – Rincon Vineyard               
Retail 80.00 GGWC 74.99  
6 bottle limit

The 2020 “Done & Done” is another great release for Paul Lato from a unique corner of the Rincon Vineyard from Brian Talley. The third vintage from 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 96 Points (2019): “Starting off a lineup of Chardonnay, the 2019 Chardonnay Done & Done Rincon Vineyard offers a gorgeous, classic bouquet of ripe orchard and peach fruits, toasted nuts, and flinty minerality. With a great sense of reduction, medium-bodied richness, and a layered, impeccably balanced mouthfeel, it's well worth seeking out and should keep for 4-6 years.

Paul Lato 2020 Chardonnay “Souvenir” Sierra Madre Vineyard
Retail 90.00 –  GGWC 84.99
8 bottle limit

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 a 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, 18 and 19 vintages!

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points (2019): “The 2019 Chardonnay Le Souvenir Sierra Madre Vineyard just about jumps out of the glass with its orchard and citrus fruits, spice, and rocky, mineral, marine-like aromas and flavors. Coming from a site outside of Santa Maria, it's medium to full-bodied, has wonderful purity and precision, integrated acidity, and a great finish. It's unquestionably up with the top Chardonnay in the vintage and will keep for 5-7 years, although I see no need to delay gratification.”

Paul Lato 2020 Chardonnay “East of Eden” Pisoni Vineyard
GGWC 99.99
3 bottle limit

This is the tenth 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 2018 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 (2019) “As usual, the 2019 Chardonnay East of Eden Pisoni Vineyard is more reserved and tight yet builds slowly with time in the glass. Crushed citrus, honeysuckle, flower oil, and honeyed minerality all emerge with air, and this beauty is medium to full-bodied, perfectly balanced, and has a liquid rock-like sense of minerality on the palate. Just beautiful on all accounts, it has integrated acidity, flawless balance, and a great finish. It's an incredible Chardonnay from the genius of Paul Lato that will keep for at least 7-8 years, if not a decade..”

Paul Lato 2020 Pinot Noir “Seabiscuit” Zotovich Vineyard Santa Rita Hills
Retail 90.00 –  GGWC 84.99
8 bottle limit

This latest 2020 Zotovich “Seabiscuit” bottling is by far one of Paul’s best efforts to date! I would say that it will rival his previously 96-97 point rated releases. As is the case with all of Paul’s wines, I get limited amounts of this great gem, 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 an image of the great 2017 & 2018 vintages!

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points (20019): “The 2019 Pinot Noir Seabiscuit Zotovich Vineyard comes from the Sta. Rita Hills and was brought up in 65% new French oak. It shows the spicy, savory, salty style of the appellation, yet all with restraint, and it's the purity of fruit that leads, with gorgeous ripe raspberries, cherries, and mulberries all front and center. More medium-bodied, elegant, and impeccably balanced, it's already impossible to resist yet has a good 7-8 years of prime drinking ahead of it.”

Paul Lato 2020 Pinot Noir “Suerte” Solomon Hills Santa Maria
Retail 95.00  GGWC 89.99
6 bottle limit

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 were produced! This 2020 is any bit as good as the 97 point rated 2019 vintage! Only 240 cases were produced.

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.”

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points (2019): “The 2019 Pinot Noir Suerte Solomon Hills Vineyard, which comes from a sandy site in Santa Maria, was all destemmed and spent 17 months in 62% new French oak. Lots of ripe raspberry and wild strawberry fruit is the name of the game here, and it has classic forest floor, spice, and floral nuances as well as some marine-like sea breeze with time in the glass. With moderate acidity, a round, lush texture, and ripe tannins, it's another ready-to-go, sexy, seamless wine in the lineup that does everything right. Drink it over the coming 5-7 years.”

Paul Lato 2020 Pinot Noir “Stand By Me*” Drumm Canyon, Santa Rita Hills
Retail 95.00 GGWC 89.99
6 bottle limit

This might be the very best Drum Canyon bottling to date! This rendition from the Drum Canyon Vineyard 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 (2019): “Black cherries, raspberry, exotic flowers, spicy herbs, and subtle marine-like nuances emerge from the 2019 Pinot Noir Stand By Me Drum Canyon Vineyard, a medium to full-bodied, focused, nicely structured Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir. With good mid-palate depth, a savory, complex, Gevrey-like character, ripe tannins, and outstanding length, this beauty will benefit from a year of bottle age and cruise for 7-8 years, if not a decade. It's one of the more focused, structured Pinot Noirs in the lineup in 2019.”

*formerly known as C’est La Vie

Paul Lato 2020 Pinot Noir “Victor Francis” Peake Ranch, Santa Rita Hills
Retail 85.00 – GGWC 79.99
6 bottle limit 

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: “This vineyard has a 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 97 Points (2019): “The 2019 Pinot Noir Victor Francis Peake Ranch Vineyard is classic Sta. Rita Hills with its savory, salty, spicy, and even meaty aromas and flavors, which turn more floral and exotic with time in the glass. It shows some olive and brine as well, yet its core of ripe red and black fruits is always present, and it's textured, medium to full-bodied, flawlessly balanced, and lengthy on the palate.”

Paul Lato 2020 PInot Noir “Duende” Gold Coast Santa Maria
Retail 86.99 – GGWC 81.99  
4 bottle limit

This is Burgundy made in California! The Gold Coast Vineyard is 30+ year-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 be 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 long time customers.”

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points (previous vintage): “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.

The Magic Moment Pinot Noir and Goldberg Variations will be released this fall with the Syrah and Grenache.

 Also check out
 Melis Family 2021 Rose of Pinot Noir
 Melis Family 2019 Cabernet

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