HOT FROM THE PRESS: TODAY ONLY, 20% OFF – A  Sculpted White Gem, Only a few Barrels produced


Arbe Garbe (pron. Arbay Garbay), literally “bad weeds”, is what they call the cover crops on the Friulian Colli Orientali (“eastern hills”). It’s the mid-nineties, same scenery; two philosophy students are paying for tuition by picking grapes in the Jermann vineyards. Long hours of hard work and dream-sharing, they find one too many ideas in common. Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Kerouac, whispering incessantly in the back of their minds, they lift their deep roots and go. He picks up his guitar and she takes nothing but a flower in her hair and love in her eyes, and they come to California.  Those days are long gone, but they still have deep roots and their dreams. Never ceasing to work hard and with passion, they have eventually reconnected to their native culture through the winemaking tradition. All that they have seen and felt and envisioned they expressed in every step of the process that brings this wine to life. They’ve always been enamored with the big Friulian white blends, and wanted to pay homage to their heroes and their dreamy creations. With the same hedonistic approach, they have created an ever-changing blend that embraces the melting pot they’re in and love, California, and the one they’ve left behind.

Arbe Garbe 2020 Proprietary White, Russian River
Retail 39.99 – GGWC 31.99
FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more
Use code ARBE during checkout

The Arbe Garbe White Blend (70% Malvasia, 15% Chardonnay, and 15% Tocai Friulano.) is absolutely gorgeous. The wine is medium to full in body, offering bright, floral aromatics that lead to apricot, lemon confit, jasmine, and mint. Beautifully perfumed throughout, the wine shows a compelling interplay of exotic fruit, lifted aromatics, and pliant texture. Not surprisingly, it has much in common with the white blends of Friuli. The fruit was sourced from two venerable vineyards (Catie’s Corner, and Pagani Ranch). This latest 2020 Arbe Garbe White is all class.

Winemarker Notes: “The White Wine from Arbe Garbe is an unusual—and fabulous—blend of 70% Malvasia, 15% Chardonnay, and 15% Tocai Friulano, what winemaker Enrico Maria Bertoz calls “the Holy Trinity of Friuli,” where he was raised. The Malvasia is split into portions, with one whole-cluster pressed portion, a second portion on the skins for 12 hours, and the third on the skins for 24 hours. These lots are then blind-tasted to create the final blend. The nose explodes with musk, lychee, warm peaches, charcuterie, and beeswax with high-toned notes of fresh green herbs. The medium to full-bodied palate has a gorgeous silken texture, ever-so-slightly creamy, with kaleidoscopic bursts of ripe fruit in the mouth. It’s concentrated while still incredibly light on its feet, addicting in its freshness and long, textured finish. What a gorgeous vintage for this wine!”

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Scientists have revealed the composition of ancient Roman wine

 Scientists have revealed the composition of ancient Roman wine

Contributed by Petar Gramatikov (European Times)
Photo: © Pixabay

Scientists from Italy and France examined the wall coverings of three amphorae in July and found that ancient Roman winemakers used local grapes and their flowers while importing resin and spices from other regions of Europe, the PlosOne electronic library reported.

Experts led by Donatella Magri of the Sapienza University of Rome have examined amphorae used to store red and white wines with mass spectrometry and paleobotanical data on the pollen and tissues of the wild Vitis grape and its flowers. Their goal was to find out how the ancient Romans produced wine and where they got raw materials from.

The characteristic shape of the grape pollen, as well as the chemical composition of the walls of the amphorae, testify to the fact that local wild or cultivated grapes were used for the production of wine. In addition, there are traces of resins and aromatic substances, which were probably imported by winemakers from Calabria or Sicily.

Scientists have studied three amphorae that were discovered a few years ago on the coast near the Italian village of San Felice Circeo, in the Lazio region. According to experts, the vessels fell to the bottom of the Tyrrhenian Sea after the wreck of one or more ships, and the amphorae were subsequently washed ashore.

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A MUST HAVE this Dollar/Cost Average Pinot Sensation


For 3 generations the Holtermann Family has been one of the premier importers of wines from all over the world. Their longtime relationships with growers, enologists, winemakers and vineyard managers provided them with a unique perspective of the wine industry. So the next step was planting their own vineyards, which they did in the remote ridge tops of Annapolis on the Sonoma Coast. Add winemaker Carroll Kemp (founder & winemaker Red Car) to the mix and you’ll wind up with great quality estate-grown wines at a great price point!  Carroll Kemp just became the owner of the winery, starting with the upcoming harvest (2022 vintage)

Alma Fria 2021 Plural Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
GGWC 44.99
Use code ALMAFRIA during checkout,

The 2021 Alma Fria “Plural” Pinot Noir is a  blend of the best barrels from three amazing West Sonoma Coast vineyards – Holtermann, Dona Margarita and Zephyr Farms. The wine offers up gorgeous black raspberry and wild plum flavors, combined with highlights of Gravenstein apple peel, clay, and a hint of spice to form a medium-bodied wine with refreshing acidity and smooth texture. Aged in 10% new French oak. 13.4% alcohol. Only 290 cases were produced.

Red raspberry, black cherry, and tangerine pith flavors merge like tributaries forming a larger, more iconic river. Aromas are reminiscent of young Douglas fir needles that were harvested early and damp. The mouthfeel is seamless, persistent, and transparent. Tasting this wine quickly becomes a wonderful memory as it almost evaporates in the mouth.

Winemaker Notes: “This wine offers balance, nuance and structure alongside the flavors of the rugged, cold West Sonoma Coast that we love so much.  It opens with notes of black cherry and blood orange, then reveals hints of juniper, redwood spice and cardamon, as its smooth natural acidity lingers on the palate.

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Under $50, 95 Point Pinot Gem

Waits Mast is a husband and wife Pinot Noir venture that started in 2000 when two Pinotphiles decided to start their own venture. Under the guidance of their winemaker Shalini Shekhar (Roar, William Selyem)  and the staff at Roar they started production of their own label, and the rest as they say…. is history.

Waits Mast 2018 Pinot Noir Mariah Vineyard Mendocino  Ridge 95 Points
GGWC 49.99
Use code WAITSMAST during checko

WS 95 POINTS: "Quite flavorful and nicely structured, this well-concentrated wine grown at 2,300 feet in elevation is worth keeping to enjoy how it develops over time. Engaging raspberry, red cherry, and redwood aromas are followed by mouth-filling, ripe black fruit flavors on a full body braced by moderate, fine-grained tannins. Best from 2026"

Vineyard: Set high above Anderson Valley at 2300' elevation, Mariah Vineyard is in the Mendocino Ridge appellation. Above the fog layer, Mariah sees more sunlight throughout the day and nights tend to be warmer than down in the Valley. The combination of this high elevation and sustainable, dry-farming practices make this wine truly expressive of mountain fruit.

Winemaker's tasting notes: "The 2018 Mariah shows a density not typical of the vineyard in other vintages. Dark and brooding on the nose, even the color is more intense. Dark cherry, cola nut, and clove are layered on a medium-bodied frame with fine-grained tannins. This wine positively sings right out of the bottle but is sure to continue to develop over the next 5-7 years. Pair with anything with mushrooms from a chanterelle risotto to a porcini-crusted steak."

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Compelling, 96 Point Rated Red Gem

Piedrasassi 2019 "Rim Rock Vineyard" Arroyo Grande Valley Syrah
GGWC 57.99 

Vinous 95 Points: The 2019 Syrah Rim Rock is compelling, as the wine so often is. Bright acids and a touch of whole cluster savoriness lend energy to decidedly tout, nervy coastal Syrah.  Blood orange, exotic spice, lavender, black pepper, and grilled herbs build into the long, articulate finish.

WE 96 Points: Lively aromas of lavender, peppercorn, and smashed black raspberry steadily pick up more fresh and floral elements on the nose of this bottling from a vineyard near Highway 101. Flavors of black peppercorn and lavender ride strong acidity into a vanilla-kissed finish.

Winery Notes: “On the nose, the 2019 Rim Rock offers aromas of dark fruits, potpourri, and violets. This leads to a palate laden with savory flavors of licorice, worn leather, cracked black pepper, and hints of smoked meat. Prominent, palate-coating tannins create a rustic and robust finish. We generally recommend cellaring our Rim Rock Syrah for several years prior to opening; should you wish to enjoy it now, we advise serving it slightly cool alongside a nice hunk of protein. In 2019, only 259 cases of Rim Rock Syrah were produced.”

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Winemaker of the Year’s stunning NEW Pinot Noir releases

Bibiana González Rave is the founder and winemaker of Cattleya Wines. She is also the wife of star winemaker Jeff Pisoni. Born and raised in Colombia and trained as a winemaker in France, she moved to California in 2007 to settle into making extraordinary wines. In her words: “Since my early teenage years, my dream has been to make wine. At a very young age, I was fortunate enough to begin learning how to make wine in France. I trained myself while working with some amazing winemakers who showed me the importance of loving the land, how to respect the farming itself, and to focus on the many details that go into making each drop of wine in each and every bottle.” She  also made the wines at Pahlmeyer, and produces “Shared Notes” wines with her husband Jeff Pisoni. All those ingredients together and you have one of the best winemakers in the country!

Cattleya 2021 “Cuvee Number One” Pinot Noir,
Russian River Valley

GGWC 69.99 
Use code CATTLEYA during checkout (OK to mix & match with #8)

A very opulent, broad-shouldered wine that is loaded from start to finish with lush fruit. Stunning aromas and a lush body loaded with red cherry jam and a touch of licorice, exotic spices, tangerine, and dried flowers. The wine is Medium to full in body, layered with bright and forward fruit, leading into a long and very elegant finish. The Russian River Valley exemplified in a single bottling, this Pinot Noir packs incredibly perfumed notes of macerated dark berries, fresh rhubarb, and baking spice into its deeply ruby-hued core. Built upon pillars of vibrant acidity and soft tannins, supple flavors of blackberry tart and Bing cherry lead the way into a voluminous, velvety, and distinctly concentrated finish.

Winemaker Notes: “Cuvée Number One delicately balances the finest attributes of two distinct areas within the Russian River appellation: Green Valley and Santa Rosa Plain. This cuvée is comprised of small, individual row selections of two Russian River Valley vineyards, each influenced by their own unique relationship with the cool, maritime microclimate of this hallowed AVA. Clusters ripen slowly, allowing them to achieve perfect ripeness, intense aromatics, velvet-like tannins, and an array of red fruits of earthy characters.”

Cattleya 2021 “Cuvee Number Eight” Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast “Inaugural Vintage”
GGWC 69.99
Use code CATTLEYA during checkout (OK to mix & match with #1)

The vineyard is at a high elevation on Sonoma Coast. The wine offers a deep ruby-purple color. Gorgeously perfumed aromas, with notes of red roses and red cherries, jump out of the glass. The palate is lush and silky textured. Loaded with nicely balanced fruit and the right amount of acidity. Flavors of pomegranate, black raspberries, and wild strawberries are beautifully balanced within this full-bodied Pinot, which offers very generous fruit and enough freshness. The wine has a long silky finish.
Winemaker Notes: “Sporting shades of deep purple not normally seen from this thin-skinned varietal, this Pinot Noir from the high elevation slopes of the Sonoma Coast opens with restrained notes of sweet spice and sandalwood before adding layers of dark berry compote and toasted vanilla. Dense and immensely concentrated, the palate offers superb structure surrounded by youthful notes of juicy blackberry, black tea, and Sous-Bois.”
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 97 Point – 4 barrel MUST HAVE Chardonnay

The winemaker/owner is a big fan of Joni Mitchell ~ “We are stardust. We are golden. And we’ve got to get ourselves. Back to the garden” that is how the name Stars & Dust came about.

The Hilltop Vineyard Vines were planted in 1973, so these vines are almost 50 years old!

Stars & Dust 2020 Chardonnay Hilltop Vineyard, Santa Rita Hills
GGWC 54.99
Use code STARS20CHD during checkout

Winemaker Notes: “Transports you straight to the sea (only several miles away as the crow flies) with a distinct saltiness and salinity that I so love about this AVA. Raw hazelnut and lemon curd abound on the extremely intoxicating and highly expressive nose. On the palate this wine is glossy to start with a gorgeous middle mouthfeel, the salinity persists with a bit more of that lemon curd but lemon rind as well. Crazy long finish. This is a wine that I can best describe in a nutshell as bright and sassy yet entirely serious. These vines are an incredible 48 years old! Drinking beautifully now but will age like a goddess. I am smitten. Only 100 cases were produced”

FMW 97 Points: This might be one of the great undiscovered wines I have come across in a while. The wine is very well composed and extremely well-balanced. The aromas of peach, lime, and hazelnut jump out of the glass on impact. The wine offers an excellent mid-palate and body loaded with bright fruit, a touch of citrus sparks, and minerality along with nicely roasted peach flavors. The finish is pleasant and long. Gorgeous wine! Too bad that only 4 barrels were produced!

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Paul Lato’s “Rhône” releases are now in stock.  BIG SCORES = VERY LIMITED

The much-anticipated releases of Paul Lato’s Rhône releases (Syrah & Grenache) have arrived, and they are stunning!  As always, Paul Lato’s “Rhône” releases are the smallest productions of his portfolio and sell out even faster than his highly-rated “Burgundy” offerings a.k.a Chardonnay & Pinot Noirs.

Paul Lato 2020 Syrah IL Padrino Bien Nacido 98 Points
Retail $110.00 GGWC $99.99 

This has been one of the best California Syrahs for years in a row. This wine will put many of the big Rhone names to shame! I only get a few cases of this gem, so jump on it NOW, as this will sell out fast! This wine gets an average of 96-100 points every release!

Jeb Dunnuck 98 Points: “The 2020 Syrah Il Padrino Bien Nacido Vineyard also saw a touch of stems (5%) and was aged 19 months in two-thirds new French oak. Coming from a cooler site, it has a deep ruby/plum color and a great nose of ripe blackberry and mulberry fruits, notes of charred meat, iron, and baking spices, full-bodied richness, ripe and integrated tannins, and a great, great finish. Out of the two Syrahs, this beauty is a touch more balanced and elegant and has slightly more mid-palate density. Regardless, both are brilliant, singular wines that readers will love.”

Vinous 96 Points: “The 2020 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard Il Padrino is a brute. Most of the wines in this range are quite racy, but the Padrino is simply impenetrable at this stage. Blue/purplish fruit, lavender, mocha, gravel, dried fruit herbs, and menthol are some of the many notes that develop. There is some whole cluster influence, which adds complexity”

Paul Lato says: “Once again, Bien Nacido Syrah produces one of our most complex and intriguing wines, creating harmony between many worlds of flavor. Ripe blueberry, lavender, incense, and leather all emerge as a symphony of aromas from this full-bodied, structured wine. Deep, rich, fabulously concentrated, and pure on the palate, it stays tight and compact, with notable precision and length. Whether it’s a few minutes in the glass or several years in the cellar, this wine becomes increasingly layered with time.”

Paul Lato 2020 Syrah “Cinematique” Larner Vineyard, Santa Ynez 97 Points
Retail $110.00 GGWC $99.99 

This is in my book one of “THE” best Cinematique to date bar-none! I firmly believe that this wine is equal to all of Paul’s great previous releases, if not better!

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points: “Moving to the two Syrah releases, the 2020 Syrah Cinematique Larner Vineyard comes from a site in Ballard Canyon and was 95% destemmed and brought up in 40% new French oak. It's one ripe, sexy Syrah, with tons of ripe blackberries and black raspberry-like fruit as well as ground herbs, pepper, violets, and spicy aromas and flavors. These carry to a full-bodied red with beautiful purity of fruit, a layered, ripe, opulent mouthfeel, some firmer underlying tannins, and a big finish. It needs plenty of air if drinking any time soon and is another magical, balanced, opulent wine from Lato to drink over the coming decade.”

Vinous 96 Points: “The 2020 Syrah Larner Vineyard CInematique is so alluring. A touch of Viognier and a dollop of whole clusters bring out a striking aromatic presence to play off a host of dark blueberry, lavender, menthol, and spice. This is one of the most complex, riveting wines I have ever tasted from Paul Lato. Impressive!”

Paul Lato says: “This Blockbuster Syrah has a larger-than-life presence in the glass. Plums, blackberries, blueberries, ground pepper, and olive notes all flow to a powerful, full-bodied Syrah that has a luxurious, layered character. Fine and elegant tannins lead to a long, seamless finish, a true expression of the beautiful 2019 vintage. After you finish this bottle, you’ll be asking for an encore.”

Paul Lato 2020 Grenache “Ora Labore” Bien Nacido 94 Points
Retail $85.00 GGWC $79.99

This is a big, bold Grenache that offers lots of cassis and black raspberry fruit to go with underlying notes of wet gravel, peppery herbs, licorice, and pepper. Full in body, seamless, elegant and multi-dimensional on the palate, with a weightless mouthfeel, its acidity is nicely integrated and it never puts a foot wrong. Given its balance and overall purity, it’s a killer drink today, but it will evolve beautifully.
Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points: The Grenache Ora et Labora Bien Nacido Vineyard isn’t far off the Lumiere Larner Vineyard and certainly has a similar level of polish and elegance. However, there’s more minerality and marine-like influence. Black cherries, peppery herbs, crushed stone, and floral notes all show on the nose, and it’s medium to full-bodied, structured, and concentrated. Where the Larner is up-front and ready to go, this is going to benefit from a year or two of bottle age. It should still be drinking nicely at age 10 as well.

Paul Lato says: “This wine has a seductive nose of kirsch, potpourri, and white pepper with touches of garrigue and dried lavender. The palate is full-bodied, rich, and concentrated with notes of blackberry preserves and layers of spice. With a focused style and a structured backbone, this wine finishes with smooth flavors of cranberry and vanilla. Lay this bottle down for 2 to 3 years and it will truly shine.”

Paul Lato 2020 Space Cadet Syrah/Grenache Blend Larner Vineyard 97 Points
Retail $99.99 GGWC $94.99 

Vinous 97 Points: The 2020 Space Cadet is the star in this range from Paul Lato. Silky and aromatic, the 2020 is hauntingly beautiful from the get-go. Inky red/purplish fruit, sage, cedar, tobacco, incense, and dried flowers are some of the many notes that race across the palate. All the elements are so well balanced. Space Cadet is mostly Syrah, but the Grenache really seems to drive the profile today.

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points: “A 65/35 split of Syrah and Grenache, the Space Cadet is a rich, structured, beautifully textured red from Lato that offers classic Syrah notes of masculine dark fruits, crushed stone, iodine, and ground pepper, with just hints of flowers and rose petal in the background. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, it’s beautifully textured, with building tannins, plenty of freshness, and a great finish.”

The wine was aged for 24 months in 20% new French oak. Still youthfully coiled and with lots of latent layers, the Syrah/Grenache Space Cadet has a medium to deep ruby-purple color and scents of cassis, blueberry jam, warm chocolate, baked blackberries, black cherries, and grilled meats with nuances of crushed stone, warm baking spice, cracked pepper, flowers, and red fruit sparks. Full-bodied, dense, rich, and hedonistic in the mouth, it gives up luscious fruits, spices, and chocolate box notions, with substantial, finely pixelated tannins and seamless freshness, finishing very long and flavorful. Yowza! This is only made in exceptional years.
Also, check out these other Paul Lato wines we still have in stock:

Paul Lato 2020 Pinot Noir “Duende” Gold Coast Santa Maria Valley 
Paul Lato 2020 Pinot Noir “Victor Francis” Santa Rita Hills  
Paul Lato 2020 Pinot Noir “Stand By Me” Drumm Canyon Santa Rita 
Paul Lato 2020 Pinot Noir “Suerte” Solomon Hills Santa Maria 
Paul Lato 2020 Chardonnay “Souvenir” Sierra Madre Vineyard Santa Barbara
Paul Lato 2020 Chardonnay "Done and Done” Talley – Rincon Vineyard Retail
Paul Lato 2020 Chardonnay “East of Eden” Pisoni Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands
Paul Lato 2020 Chardonnay “It’s All Good” Talley’s Oliver Vineyard Edna Valley 
Melis Family 2021 Rose of Pinot (by Paul Lato) Santa Rita Hills 
Paul Lato 2020 Chardonnay “Goldberg Variations” Hyde Vineyard, Napa Valley
Paul Lato 2020 Pinot Noir “Magic Moment” Hyde Vineyard, Napa Valley 

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The gentle art of spitting

 The gentle art of spitting

By Bob Campbell MW

Spitting is an essential part of professional wine tasting. Most Australasian wine competitions involve tasting more than 120 wines a day. The judges would clearly be in all sorts of trouble if they swallowed rather than spat their tasting wines.

The researchers calculated that if we tasted 180 wines in one day, we are likely to have absorbed three-quarters of a bottle of wine.

I recall being part of a study by the Otago Dental School. They wanted to assess the dental damage incurred by professional wine tasters and were surprised to see us tasting 180 wines in a single day.
There are no taste receptors in our throat so
nothing gained by swallowing a wine sample.


No matter how carefully we spit, they reminded the judges, you will absorb some alcohol through the membranes of the mouth and are also likely to swallow a small amount of wine. The researchers calculated that if we tasted 180 wines in one day, we are likely to have absorbed three-quarters of a bottle of wine.

They tested that theory by taking blood samples from the judges at periodic intervals during a tasting. The judges had measurable blood alcohol for the first hour then non-measurable blood alcohol after that.

When we ingest even a small sample of alcohol we trigger off the production of an enzyme called dehydrogenase, which metabolises the alcohol. It takes a short while for the enzyme to get up to speed, hence the initial detection of alcohol.

The most wines I have tasted in a short period was at the International Wine Challenge in London where I sipped and spat 400 wines a day for 10 days.

I was judging wine at a Concours Mondial wine competition in Brussels when I noticed that the judge opposite me, a diminutive Italian, was swallowing every drop. I studied him closely at the morning tea break and he appeared to be as sober as a judge. Others also noticed, and he was shown a provision in the rule book which stated that all judges must spit.

There are no taste receptors in our throat so nothing is gained by swallowing a wine sample. When tasting beer it is necessary to assess bitterness. Our bitterness receptors are at the back of the tongue which is why beer judges swallow a little beer. Whenever I have judged beer the workload has been limited to just 20 samples.

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LAST CALL for this 3-Barrel, Limited Production Pinot Gem =  96 POINTS

The Story: It may have been a bit of romanticism at the start, but Côtière's founders, Shala and Kyle Loudon, were hooked the first day they worked at a small winery. Shala, whose family has a history with wine in Italy, and Kyle, a lifelong foodie, envisioned a future inspired by their pasts. Plenty of points test your resolve when you create a winery from scratch, but the spiritual sway of the land and wine are strong in California. These feelings run deep. In 2006 opportunities arose, and the first official and commercial release for Côtière began, and the rest as they say is …

Côtière Pinot Noir 2018 Sanford & Benedict Santa Rita Hills
GGWC 64.99
Use code COTIERE during checkout

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points: “Another gorgeous wine. Ripe raspberries, mulberries, violets, and assorted sappy flower notes. Incredibly pure, elegant, and seamless on the palate. Balance, tannin quality and texture are gorgeous. Anchor to the AVA, this vineyard is revered for unsurpassed quality. The oldest vines in the county, planted first in 1971 on sloping, mineral-rich soils, 25% new French oak, unfined and unfiltered. Only 124 six-packs were produced.”

The Vineyard: The Sanford & Benedict Vineyard is renowned for both its historical significance and the unsurpassed quality of the fruit it produces. First planted in 1971, this sustainably farmed vineyard is home to the oldest Pinot Noir vines in Santa Barbara County. This vineyard is rich with calcium enriched clay loam soils, fractured shale and chert. This complex array of alluvial soils have accumulated over millions of years at the base of these foothills, an extension of the Santa Ynez Mountains which run west towards the Ocean.

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WINE ALERT!!!  A MUST HAVE  97 Point “Rockstar” limited production TRB made Chardonnay

Senses Wines is the dream of three childhood friends. Chris, Max and Myles partnered with celebrity winemaker, Thomas Rivers Brown, to produce world-class wines from renowned vineyards owned by their families. Since founding, Senses production has grown to include many coveted vineyard sites throughout Sonoma County.

Planted in the early 2000’s by vineyard manager Ulises Valdez, El Diablo vineyard sits on a ridge above Eastside Road in Russian River Valley. Early in their relationship, he told the Senses team that “when you work hard, the fruit always tastes better.” That holds very true for El Diablo.

Senses 2019 “UV-El Diablo” Chardonnay, Russian River Valley
GGWC $79.99
FREE SHIPPING on 12  or more
Use code SENSES during checkout

The 2019 Chardonnay UV – El Diablo Vineyard is one of the most opulent wines in the Senses lineup. Apricot, tangerine oil, crème brûlée, crushed rocks and sage lend tremendous depth throughout. Tropical accents appear later, adding very pretty aromatic breadth. This heady, potent Chardonnay oozes character.

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points: Another rock star of a Chardonnay is the 2019 Chardonnay UV – El Diablo. From a site that’s partially named after the renowned grower Ulises Valdez, it’s also known as Eastside Vineyard (Aubert) and just El Diablo by others (Arista, KB, etc). As with the other Chardonnay here, it was barrel fermented and spent 14 months in 25%-40% new French oak. Beautiful buttered orchard fruits, honeysuckle, green almond, pear, and crushed stone notes are just some of the nuances here, and this complex, full-bodied Chardonnay has nicely integrated acidity, a layered, multi-dimensional texture, flawless balance, and a great finish. This is another magical Chardonnay from the team that does everything right. Enjoy bottles over the coming 5-7 years.

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In case you missed it – 96+ Point,  Inaugural 100 case Napa Cabernet

I found another little gem in the valley.  While visiting my friends at Caldwell (Rocket Science), I drove past a small vineyard, and asked John about it… He told me, it is a new venture called Aubry. So I contacted the owner and the rest as they say is history. Very proud to have this wine into my portfolio. Saldy, only 100 cases were produced of this great new Cabernet, that I would say is could be reminiscent of some old-world Bordeaux (…13% alcohol).

About the vigneron: Aubry wines are singularly farmed and made by Dylan Lundstrom. Since 2010, Dylan has worked, traveled and studied the wine industry. Completing a Master of Viticulture and Enology in France and working with  winegrowers throughout France's Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone and Loire valley he landed in Napa Valley to complete thesis work with Napa's top consulting firm. His work in Napa centered on the most prestigious vineyards (Dana Estate, Harlan, Ovid, Colgin Cellars to name a few.), using advanced technologies and scientific methodologies to improve vineyard quality. He worked with all of these great wineries and gained valuable experience along the way also working with Steve Matthiasson.

Aubry 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon “Les Belles Filles” Coombsville Napa Valley
GGWC 129.99
Use code AUBRY during checkout

SFWP 96+ Points: “Elegant and beautifully focused, the nose of this fine debut Cabernet melds scents of dark red cherry, pomegranate, dark boysenberry, red plum, cedar, clove, baking spice and a hint of dark rose into graceful, slightly old-fashioned harmony. It is racy and focused on the palate, where tannin and zest join notes of cherry pit, mace, cedar and hazelnut to stiffen the texture and counterpoint the delicious flavor. Beautifully food-balanced and lingering, it finishes with lots of cherry-berry fruit and spice. Expect several years of steady improvement. Only 100 cases were produced.”

Winemaker Notes: “Aubry Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from a single 1-acre vineyard in the Coombsville appellation of the Napa Valley. It is meticulously hand-farmed using regenerative practices. Fermentation is completed using 100% native yeast and the wine is aged for 24 months in French oak barrels.”

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Elegant & Gorgeous hard-to-find 95 Point Rated Napa Zin

This winery has quietly been the under-the-radar-gem that we almost forgot about, and you shouldn’t. The wines are amazing and very limited. This latest “Aida” release is a real head-turner

Vineyard 29 “Aida” 2019  Zinfandel, Napa Valley
GGWC 99.99
Use code AIDA during checkout

Winery Notes: Our Aida Estate Vineyard has confirmed our initial belief that this site would be the ideal location for growing Bordeaux varietals as well as Zinfandel. Just north of the pinch in the hourglass of the Napa Valley, the Zinfandel grapes from our Aida Estate provide the bold, structured backbone for this immensely enjoyable wine.

Winemakers Notes: ‘White floral notes, strawberry rhubarb pie, and freshly zested orange rind provide the opening introduction to the 20th vintage of the Aida Estate Zinfandel. Further swirling exhibits floral and fruit notes that quickly and seamlessly give way to savory meaty notes of grilled venison and pork loin. Medium to full-bodied in weight, this wine provides a succulent mouthfeel while never losing its great acid structure and polished demeanor. On the palate, ripe blackberries, all-spice, and cassis delight and lead to a never-ending, spice-driven finish.”

WE 95 Points: “This deep but elegant wine blends gorgeous, ripe black fruit flavors with subtle cinnamon, toast, and black pepper nuances for a complex and satisfying expression of the grape variety. It is packed with blackberry, black cherry, and raspberry flavors and backed by well-integrated tannins and a full body. Best through at least 2029.”

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Another (96 Points) Phoenix Rising in Napa a la Château Angélus but MUCH MUCH CHEAPER!

Ace winemaker Clayton Kirchoff did it again! Only a few hundred cases of the stunning, very Bordeaux-like Hudson Phoenix Bordeaux Red Blend were produced! If this vineyard would be in Bordeaux, it would have the First-Growth designation! Lee Hudson is probably one of the best winegrowers in the valley. Many great wineries (Aubert, Kongsgaard, Kistler, etc.) have been sourcing from this vineyard for decades! This wine is in the style of famous Bordeaux Chateau Angélus, but for the price of 1 bottle, you can buy 6 bottles of Hudson Phoenix!

Hudson 2019 Phoenix “Bordeaux-Blend” Estate, Carneros Napa
GGWC 89.99

Vinous 96 points: “The 2019 Phoenix is a blend of 64% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon and 18% Cabernet Franc. It offers up soaring aromatics and pliant red-toned fruit, all in a mid-weight style that is hugely appealing. This beautifully balanced wine from Lee Hudson and his team is an absolute winner.”

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points: “The Merlot-dominated 2019 Phoenix (there’s 18% each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc) offers a great nose of ripe black cherries, tobacco, chocolate, and damp earth, and it’s medium to full-bodied, ripe, and incredibly polished on the palate. It’s one hell of a Merlot, especially at the price. Drink this beauty over the coming 8-10 years.”

FMW 96 Points: “Composed of 64% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon and 18% Cabernet Franc, the Phoenix has a medium to deep garnet-purple color and springs from the glass with vivacious black cherries, black raspberries and plum preserves notes plus wafts of red currants, garrigue, menthol, pencil shavings and wild sage. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has lovely freshness and soft tannins supporting the red and black fruit layers, finishing with a minty kick.”

Winery Notes: The 2019 Hudson Phoenix checks in as 64% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon and 18% Cabernet Franc, all from the estate Hudson Vineyard and aged 20 months in 90% new French oak before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. It offers a deep purple color as well as an old-school vibe in its black cherry, currant, dried earth, pine, and chocolate-driven aromas and flavors. It has sweet tannins, a great texture, and should continue drinking nicely for another decade or more.
Also, check out these other Hudson wines:
Hudson 2020 Chardonnay “Estate” Carneros Napa Valley 95 Points
Hudson 2019 White Study # 2 Proprietary White Blend Napa

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A French Laundry White Favorite

When Sommeliers recommend and drink Sauvignon Blanc they often prefer the dry, earthy, mineral, floral whites of Sancerre, Pouilly-Fume, and Graves. This is the inspiration for Somm Blanc, a blend of Old Vines Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon “Remixed” in California. When a great Master sommelier friend of mine, Will Sherrer, got the opportunity to use the oldest Sauvignon Blanc vines in California, which were planted in 1942, he jumped on it. The Lolonis Vineyard brings these old vines' flavors to the “REMIX.” Old Vines are much like people in that they are simple yet powerful when young (1 to 21yrs), powerful and complex in mid-age (22 to 50yrs), and less powerful but very complex when old (50 to 100yrs).

The inspiration for Remix Wines comes from selecting grape varieties and styles of the old world and “Remixing” them by using the soils and winemaking of America. The grapes are sourced from a wide selection of California vineyards with an emphasis on Old Vines and the mineral expression of the site. These “Remixed” versions of classic Bordeaux wines are meant to be a fun and drinkable take on those classics. Master Sommelier turned winemaker Willi Sherer turns his restaurant experience to make these food-friendly wines.

Remix 2019 Proprietary “Old Vines” White Blend
GGWC 31.99
Use code REMIX during checkout

The 2019 Remix White is a blend of  65% Sauvignon Blanc and 35%  old vine Semillon. His idea was to treat these grapes to an “old world” style of fermentation to maximize the earthy, floral tones of Sauvignon Blanc without as much of the fruity, grassy elements of new world styles. The Semillon was fermented to bring out the varietal earthy, spice unique to Semillon. The grapes were neutral barrel fermented with partial skin contact and good lees stirring. The flavors begin with earthy and mineral with slight musk notes. Fruit flavors are grapefruit and sweet lime zest with a finish of quince and dried papaya. White flowers and slight spice reminiscent of mild yellow curry.  Altogether, a very well-made, complex, and flavorful wine that will please many palates

Winemaker Notes: “Sauvignon Blanc mixed with Semillon is the classic combination of dry citrus and quince fruit with earthy, savory notes of beeswax and a refreshing minerality. This old vines style is especially at home with seafood and spicy cuisine. These flavors are best expressed without a full chill.”

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Wisdom of Wine and Food pairing

 Wisdom of Wine and Food pairing

By Dwight Furrow

I think we’re finally gaining some wisdom about wine and food pairings. After witnessing a demonstration in which the Napa Cabernet didn’t taste better with steak, and the fish and white wine produced “muddled flavors and definitely no fireworks,” Remy Charest endorses Jancis Robinson’s advice from 20 years ago

“Maybe the time has come to tear up traditional food and wine advice,” wrote Jancis Robinson MW, in an article written in 2001. As far as pairings go, she wisely added “that (a) it is very difficult to get it completely wrong and that (b) it is very, very rare to get it completely right.” Loose translation: relax.
It really is time to get rid of the rules. There are too many exceptions to them and too many contexts in which they aren’t relevant. They really aren’t serving a purpose.

An excellent wine and food pairing is an aesthetic experience and aesthetics is not a rule-guided activity. To think you could have a remarkable food and wine pairing experience by following a rule is akin to thinking you could create a work of art by painting by numbers. When pairing food and wine we’re dealing with individuals—individual wines, individual dishes, individual diners in a unique situation. Generalizations will seldom be helpful Charest quotes Marc Almert, winner of the 2019 Best Sommelier of the World competition:

He says he prefers not to lecture guests about whether wines are an unsuitable match, “but rather go with the flow of the evening. I like to call it wine-guest-situation-food pairing rather than just wine-food pairing.” This is not to say there are no great pairings. There are, but it’s a complex matter to get them right. It requires a detailed knowledge of the flavors, aromas, and the chemical compounds you’re working with. There are a couple of shortcuts he mentions: use acid and salt in a dish to get it to cohere with a wine or pair for texture and weight.

But the bottom line is that if you’re looking for that magical pairing you have to know what you’re doing and work at it. Even for experts there are as many misses as successes. In my experience with tasting menus and wine pairings at Michelin-starred restaurants only about 50% of the pairings are extraordinary.

But this is exactly what we should expect from a complex, aesthetically-rich experience. Some works of art are successful, many are not.

For us non-experts, it’s something to have fun with. Experiment, try the unexpected, and be thrilled when you find a new combination that works.

And Charest is right. It’s pointless to have anxiety about something that should be fun.

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 In case you missed it …  Frank’s OWN Melis Family 2019 Cabernet is here, and it’s yummy!

Frank Melis

I am starting off with some very exciting and less exciting news…The 2019 Melis Family Cabernet is one of my best efforts to date, sadly… there is not much of it! Then the real bad news…There is NO 2020 vintage due to the Napa fire. That said, this release will sell very quickly!

Melis Family 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon G3 Rutherford
Napa Valley

FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code MELISFAMILY during checkout

The Wine: I am very proud to release our 2019 Melis Family Cabernet sourced from the G3 vineyard. The grapes were sourced from this famed vineyard in Rutherford at optimum ripeness and under amazing conditions. The 2019 vintage might be the BEST one we have produced to date. Our Melis Family 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon offers intense aromatic notes of chocolate, black currant and a touch of licorice. The wine is dense and full in body with remarkable richness, great length and a complex long but silky grained finish. This is a wine that should cellar well for 10+ years. Those who like to enjoy it now, I highly recommend decanting a few hours in advance. The 2019 Melis Family Cabernet is a blend of 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1.5% Cabernet  Franc, 1.5% Petit Verdot, and 1% Merlot

Also check out: Melis Family 2021 Rose Of Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills, made by Paul Lato

The Melis 2021 Rosé is not an afterthought, but a serious contender. The new Melis Rosé 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 champagne like. The wine is nicely polished and finishing gorgeously (my winemaker, Paul Lato would not have it any other way). A crowd-pleasing limited production Rosé!! 

Notes by Paul Lato: “Delightfully pink in color, this lively and vivacious Rosé opens with aromas of lilac, cranberry, and pomegranate. Dry on the palate with champagne-like acidity, it exhibits a unique balance of grapefruit zest, light spice, and a smooth raspberry finish. Rosé of Pinot Noir is one of the most versatile food wines. It pairs well with a variety of vegetarian dishes, as well as pasta, chicken, and fresh Californian cuisine. This is a great wine for celebrations like birthdays, weddings, sipping on a nice Spring or Summer day, and especially  on the Fourth of July.”

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LAST CALL 4 Lacuna by Morgan Twain Peterson (Bedrock winemaker)

Everyone’s dream is to make great wine. That said, when these two friends created Lacuna and set out to do so, they had one problem – they had no winemaker! When they hooked up with ace winemaker Morgan Twain Peterson (Bedrock) their problem was solved and their 10-year dream came to fruition. This is the seventh release and it has created a great following among many of our clients. I’d be surprised not to see another high (95 points) rating, as this is on par with the Bedrock wines that have garnered 95-100 Point ratings regularly!

Lacuna 2019 Syrah, Sonoma Valley
GGWC 39.99
Use code LACUNA during checkout

I am proud to introduce another release of Lacuna. This 200 case production was sourced from several revered vineyards in Northern California. Morgan Twain Peterson blended  90% Syrah, 4% Viognier and  3% Carignan and 3% Mourvedre (co-fermented) into a synergy of amazing aromas and flavors. The wine is high-toned with savory and bold aromas of white pepper, rosemary, and black stone fruit that are nestled in the warming embrace of currant and blackberry. This wine has an amazing, lush body with bold black stone fruit flavors that linger on the palate. This wine is well-balanced, although young, shows tremendous potential. I would suggest either decanting, and let it breathe for a good 2 hours, or put it in the cellar for a year or two.ned style.“

Winery Notes: “We continue to quietly source from some of the most accomplished growers of Syrah in California. These cool sites where Syrah is neighbored by Pinot Noir, give the varietal a rare depth and complexity. For each vintage we blend small amounts of complementary varietals from Old Vines to complete the wine. These savory characters are so important to us and really shape the philosophy of our wine. Fine, lignified tannins offer a framework that keeps this vintage’s generous nature-focused and texturally balanced. Every harvest presents us with a unique set of flavors. The character of Lacuna pivots slightly to highlight the attributes of the vintage without straying from our philosophy. We are genuinely excited about the results this year and hope you enjoy them too.

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In case you missed it …. Stunning and Extremely limited bubbly!

Maison Jussiame 2018 Blanc de Blanc Brut, Rogue Valley

Maison is the French word for house, and the Maison de Champagne have been producing sparkling wine since the 18th century. Winemaker Jean-Michel Jussiaume inherited his passion for the art and craft of winemaking on his family’s estate in the Loire Valley of FRANCE. In 2005, he arrived in the USA with the dream of sharing these artisanal family traditions, and establishing his own “Maison.” This quest ultimately led to Southern Oregon, where he found grapes uniquely suited for the production of Handcrafted Sparkling Wine.

Maison Jussiame 2018 Blanc de Blanc Brut,
Rogue Valley

GGWC 69.99

The Brut Blancs de Blancs 2018 is a handcrafted wine replete with freshness, elegance and complexity. Lovely white blossoms open on the nose, layered with citrus, hints of tropical fruit and a wet stone character. Delightful fruit flavors dance across the palate—green apple, Meyer lemon, a little apricot—delivered with appealing tension and textures. Extremely limited release.

Winemaker Jean-Michel Jussiaume: ”This sparkling wine is produced entirely from Chardonnay sourced from the Del Rio Vineyard. It offers concentrated lemon, grapefruit and pineapple flavors, with a fine bead and impeccable overall balance. This makes an important statement about the potential for Southern Oregon méthode Traditionelle bubbly. It’s exceptional in every way, from the delicate mousse to the aromatics of citrus and clover and into a penetrating palate with terrific length and finesse. The fruitiness of New World sparkling wines is tamped down, and the expressive delicacy and lightly toasty flavors of true Champagne come immediately to mind.”

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We hooked a real Coho … this one tastes even better in a glass… SADLY, this is the VERY LAST Coho EVER, so JUMP IT NOW!

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.

Founded in 2002, COHO makes wines that are easy to enjoy, full of flavor and reasonably priced. COHO has garnered recognition from the press, wine trade, and wine lovers for the quality and value of unique and well-priced wines.

Coho 2018 Headwaters “Bordeaux Blend” Napa Valley
GGWC 64.99 
Use code COHO during checkout

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.

James Suckling 94 Points: “Dark plums, mulberries, cloves and earthy undertones. It’s full-bodied with fine-grained tannins. Full and fruity with structure and freshness on the palate. Long finish. Very polished.”
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. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2030.”

Winery Notes: “Most vintages of COHO Headwaters, our Bordeaux-style blend, have leaned towards a Left-Bank approach to varietal composition, more Cabernet Sauvignon than Merlot. The exception was 2005, the first vintage of Headwaters, which was predominately Merlot. For our 2018 offering the stylistics are again inspired by the Right-Bank of the Gironde, with Merlot comprising the majority of the blend. However, all the fruit for this wine was grown on the right bank of the Napa River, from vineyards in Coombsville, South Napa, and Sage Canyon. This is a wine that delivers a most pleasant surprise. The nose greets you with aromas of just ripe black cherries and sweet vanillin notes. Upon entry the palate is treated to the succulent character of fine Merlot: cherries, blackberries, and black olives. Rich and supple, the wine lingers through the finish revealing velvety tannins. Once a sip or two has been enjoyed, what at first seemed to be a very enjoyable wine expands to be almost profound. Lots here to love.”

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