Frank’s Own Melis Family “Reserve” Cabernet just arrived 


I am starting off with some very exciting and less exciting news…The 2019 Melis Family Reserve 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 Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon G3 Rutherford Napa Valley
GGWC 125.00 – THIS WEEK ONLY 109.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code MELISFAMILY during checkout

Our Melis Family 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon offers a deep purple color. It leaps from the glass with intense blackcurrant and blackberry notes. On the palate, this youngster offers intense aromatic notes of chocolate, mocha, hints of anise, and loads of black stone fruit. The wine is full in body and offers gorgeous fruit and intense concentration. The wine is lively and well-balanced with the right amount of acid/fruit ratios, which leads to a beautiful, long, and intense but silky finish. The 2019 Reserve is a blend of 96.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Cabernet Franc, 1.5% Petit Verdot, and 1% Merlot.

Vineyard: I am very proud to release our 2019 Melis Family Reserve Cabernet 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. Sadly we did not make a 2020 vintage, and the 2021 vintage will not be released till 2024.


Also check out this other Melis Family wine:
Melis Family 2021 Rose of Pinot (by Paul Lato) Santa Rita Hills
(OK to mix & match for free shipping)

Click here or on the links above to order!
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A Russell Bevan wine that will Rock your World, but still please your wallet!


Russell Bevan and Victoria De Crescenzo knew they were on to something special way back in the late 90′s when impromptu blind tastings with friends and trips to Napa became a regular part of their life. Over the next several years, they met with and were inspired by some of the greatest winemakers and viticulturists of the time. Robert Foley, Phil Togni, Greg La Follette, and others imparted bits of wisdom and wine lore that shaped their approach even before the first batch of wine was an idea. It was not long before they acquired eight acres of land in the Bennett Valley and with a ton of grapes from the best block in Kal Showket’s vineyard, Bevan Cellars was born.

The Bevan legacy continues to this day and every year continues to impress. Multiple 95-100 point ratings are a testament to the quality, dedication, and attention that they give to each one of their wines.

Bevan Cellars 2021 Pinot Noir Petaluma Gap, Sonoma
GGWC $82.50 

The Bevan Petaluma Gap is a rich, powerful Pinot that delivers exactly what you’d expect from Bevan, tons of fruit in a balanced, seamless package. Black cherries, blackcurrants, graphite, and roasted herb notes all emerge from this full-bodied, powerful effort that has good acidity and length.

Russell Bevan notes: “What makes the 2021 Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir so unique is its textures. The mid-palate is round, luxurious, and pulls you in, but the tannins are so supple that you keep sipping it to experience them again and again. Dark blue fruits come from the Calera clone, then beautiful orange rind and spice fill out this complex, enthralling Pinot Noir.”

Also, check out these other very limited-produced Bevan wines (FYI, NO
2020 Cabernets produced, 2021 vintage will be released in 2024):

Bevan 2019 Ontogeny Proprietary Red, Napa Valley – 99 Points
Bevan 2019 Tench EE Red (Cabernet Blend) Napa Valley – 99 Points 
Bevan 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Tench Vineyard Oakville Napa Valley – 99+ Points 
Bevan 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Sugarloaf Napa Valley – 100 Points

Bevan 2021 Sauvignon Blanc “Dry Stack” Bennett Valley Sonoma

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No Matter How Big the Bubbles, Size Isn’t Everything

Is it true that the finer the bubbles, the higher the quality of sparkling wine?
Story By David W. Brown 

IIllustration by Jess Cruickshank
Sparkling wines have long been judged by drinkers and critics, at least in part, by the size of their bubbles. Fine bubbles, coarse bubbles, persistent bubbles — from the finest sparklers, say some, emerge a million pinpricks of air, offering more foam or mousse than a gurgling fish tank.  

The cheap stuff manages only miserable and pathetic lumpen orbs, so large as to bring Atlas to his knees.

Or maybe it’s all nonsense.

Age before beauty

“The size of bubbles provides precious information about the age of the wine — not its quality,” says Professor Gérard Liger-Belair, a chemical physicist at the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne, who specializes in bubbling phenomena in sparkling beverages. He is the author of Uncorked: The Science of Champagne.

He explains that the growth rate of bubbles ascending a wine glass is directly correlated with the amount of dissolved carbon dioxide found in the wine. The more carbon dioxide that is dissolved in a wine, the higher the growth rate, and therefore the bigger the bubbles. The lower the dissolved CO2, the smaller the bubbles.  

Young Champagnes or sparkling wines hold about eleven grams per liter of dissolved carbon dioxide, says Professor Liger-Belair.

During the aging process, he explains, which can last several years or even several decades for the most prestigious cuvées, carbon dioxide escapes from the sealed bottles, either through the cork or through the cap used to seal the bottle. In other words, the amount of dissolved CO2 progressively decreases over time.

This means when a drinker uncorks an old Champagne or sparkling wine, bubbles will be smaller simply because there is less dissolved carbon dioxide in the wine, whatever the wine’s intrinsic quality. “If you buy a very poor quality, three-dollar bottle of sparkling wine, and if you forget it in your cellar for 10 years, the bubbles will be fine and elegant in your glass, but the wine will be evidently undrinkable,” he says.

“If you buy a very poor quality, three-dollar bottle of sparkling wine, and if you forget it in your cellar for 10 years, the bubbles will be fine and elegant in your glass, but the wine will be evidently undrinkable,” he says.

Birth of bubbles 
Dissolved carbon dioxide comes from a wine’s second alcoholic fermentation.
Gérard Liger Belair studying bubbles. Photo by Emmanuel Goulet.

The traditional method — sometimes called the classic method or Champagne method, named for the region in which it was established and continues to be used — sees the second fermentation occurring in the very sealed bottles that a wine drinker will buy at the store. Yeast and sugar are added to the bottle of blended still wine. This triggers the second fermentation. Because the carbon dioxide byproduct of the second fermentation itrapped in the bottle, it dissolves in the wine until pouring, which happens much later; three years, minimum, from the Champagne region of France, but oftentimes double that or more.

Not all winemakers follow Méthode Champenoise.                                                                                                                                                                
Winemakers using the Charmat, or tank, method initiate the second fermentation in a large, pressurized tank. The wine is added to bottles after the fermentation is complete or halted.

Sparklers are also made using various other methods, some of which involve rebottling, multiple tanks, and even, in the case of pétillant naturel, bottling before the first fermentation is complete.

Very cheap sparkling wines can be given fizz in the same method as soda water. That method is called carbonation and involves an artificial infusion of carbon dioxide into a liquid using pressure; this is not a method used by any quality producer.

No matter the method, the interior forces of a Champagne bottle can be intense: about 90 pounds per square inch, or three times that of a car tire. Those forces are holding the carbon dioxide molecules dissolved in sparkling wine at bay.  

To make a cuvée with finer bubbles, says Professor Liger-Belair, “the simplest thing to do is to put less sugar in the bottle to promote the second alcoholic fermentation and therefore produce a reduced amount of dissolved CO2.” 

The glassware matters

The stemware used to drink a sparkling wine can also affect the experience.

The act of pouring Champagne generates turbulence. The taller the glass, the greater the turbulence, the more carbon dioxide bubbles produced. Those bubbles are blasting aroma compounds to the surface of the wine. 

Which brings up the problem with wine flutes: their shape, which is so perfect for showcasing bubbles on the march, also concentrates the carbon dioxide in the headspace above the glass. That can lead to an unpleasant carbonic bite on the nose. 

Alternately, the problem with coupes — those saucer-shaped glasses wielded by old-time stars in vintage movies — include both aesthetics and dilution. The aromatic compounds released from sparkling wine poured in a coupe are diffused and hard to capture. Research by Professor Liger-Belair, in which a gas chromatograph and an infrared imager were used on stemware bearing Champagne, confirms this.

His findings suggest the ideal stemware compromise is the tulip-shaped wine glass, which is curved inward and shorter than a traditional flute.

Musical bubbles

Researchers have also succeeded in empirically measuring the size of bubbles in sparkling wine. Dr. Kyle Spratt, a former researcher at the University of Texas at Austin, and presently an Austin-based independent contractor specializing in audio signal processing, performed experiments using a hydrophone — an underwater microphone — in glasses of sparkling wine and Champagne.
Photo by Pixabay

“When the bubbles that form in sparkling wine break off the glass and start to rise, they vibrate, and this vibration emits sound in the liquid,” he says. “The frequency of vibration — think of this as the musical pitch of the sound — is determined by the size of the bubble.” 

Larger bubbles emit lower pitches than smaller bubbles. By listening to the sounds present in sparkling wine using a special submerged microphone, Spratt was able to gather information about the size and quantity of the bubbles. 

He and fellow researchers used two wines: Moët & Chandon, and a bottle of Cook’s California Champagne.

“We wanted one to be an actual Champagne, and so Moët & Chandon seemed like the obvious choice. To contrast that with a less expensive sparkling wine, we ended up using Cook’s simply because it was sold at the convenience store across the street from the mechanical engineering department,” he explains.

Analysis of the acoustic recordings revealed that the bubbles in the Moët were smaller than in the Cook’s, and that bubble creation was also much more vigorous in the Champagne versus the California creation. 

“That information itself is clear enough just by looking at the two different glasses of sparkling wine,” says Dr. Spratt. “So in a sense it wasn’t telling us anything that we didn’t already know. But the results showed that a simple acoustic recording could be used as a means to conveniently gather quantitative information about the bubble size and quantity in these wines, which is really what we were looking for.”

The findings at the University of Texas are consistent with Professor Liger-Belair’s work in Reims. 

Bubbles are not a metric for measuring a wine’s quality, or lack thereof. The size of bubbles in sparkling wine can be an indicator of craftsmanship, but is not the cause or invariable result. Like glittering diamonds, towering mountains, and stars in the sky, fine, foamy bubbles are a function of time and pressure. It just so happens that some of the best wines require both.
Check out some bubbly suggestions:
A. Margaine Champagne Premier Cru “Le Brut” 93 Points

Andre Robert Champagne “Extra Brut” Grand Cru, Blanc de Blancs, Le Mesnil

Billecart Salmon “Brut Nature” ChampagneBillecart Salmon 2009 Extra Brut Champagne 95 Points

Billecart Salmon Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Champagne

Billecart Salmon Brut Reserve Champagne 95 Points 375 ml

Billecart Salmon Brut Réserve Champagne 95 Points

Billecart Salmon Brut Sous Bois Champagne

Carboniste 2020 Rose of Pinot Sparkling

Cazals 2009 Champagne Millesime 94 Points

Clotilde Brut “Grand-Cru” Champagne, France

Colin 2012 Grand Cru Champagne

Dosnon Rose Brut Recolte, Champagne France

En Tirage 2010 Blanc de Blancs “Beckstoffer” Carneros, Napa Valley – Recently Disgorged EXTREMELY LIMITED

Henri Billiot Rosé Champagne NV, Reims France  

Henri Dosnon Brut Rosé Champagne NV Cotes de Bar

La Sirena 2016 “Aviatrix” Methode Champenoise Blanc de Noir, Napa Valley EXTREMELY LIMITED

Laherte Freres NV Ultradition Extra Brut Champagne

Maison Jussiame 2018 Brut Blanc de Blanc, Rogue Valley EXTREMELY LIMITED

Monthuys Champagne NV Brut, 750ml

Monthuys Champagne Brut NV in MAGNUM

Moussé Fils, Champagne Brut Blanc de Noirs Perpetuelle L’Or d’Eugéne (NV) France*

Thienot Rose Champagne NV Reims, France


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VERY LAST CALL 4 this LIMITED 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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Paris Tasting Chardonnay source – still rocks

In 1956, a San Francisco dentist and his wife purchased 121 acres on Westside Road in the Russian River Valley (16 acres under vine). In 1964 he added Pinot Noir (apparently the first Pinot Noir planted in the Russian River Valley) and Chardonnay. The Chardonnay turned heads, as the 1973 Chateau Montelena which won the infamous 1976 Paris Tasting was partially (60%) sourced from this vineyard. The entire family works and manages the day-to-day.

Bacigalupi 2019 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley
GGWC 64.99 
Use code BACI during checkout

Notes of pineapple, honeyed lemon, toasted bread, and just a touch of nuttiness emerge from the 2019 Chardonnay Bacigalupi, a richer, textured, yet still balanced, lively Chardonnay. It has classic Russian River style as well as good freshness and purity.

Robert Parker 94 Points: “The 2019 Chardonnay has a pretty perfume of salted almonds, white peach, hay and beeswax with yeasty touches. The medium-bodied palate is rounded and creamy with ripe flavors and uplifting freshness. It ends with yeasty tones on the finish.”

Winemaker Notes: “Our 2019 Chardonnay is just beautiful. Full, lush fruit, stone fruit blossoms, jasmine flowers and hints of toasted almonds fill the nose. The palate is rich with bright peach nectar, lemon meringue, pie crust and more floral tones that lead into a great acidity at the finish. This is a vintage that is so delicious now but I do think it will get even better with a little time in bottle.”

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No, You Shouldn’t Decant Wine in the Blender

No, You Shouldn’t Decant Wine in the Blender
Contributed by Nicolette Baker 

“You don’t hyper-decant? You’re just doing regular decanting?”

Spoiler alert, if you’re six months behind on your “Succession” viewing: In the third season of HBO’s dark drama series, Connor Roy advocates for “hyper-decanting” wine in a blender to age it “five years in ten seconds.” So, should we all be hyper-decanting?

The simple answer: If you care at all about your drinking experience, don’t stick a bottle of high-end vino in the blender.

At the surface level, traditional decanting is intended to open up the wine’s aromas and flavors before it’s enjoyed. It also softens any harsh tannins and heightens aromatics. Oh, and a fancy decanter looks nice at a party, too.

The wine is often placed in a funky container — often with a wide base and thin neck — to aerate the delicate liquid. It’s often associated with red wines, but that doesn’t mean that white wines and rosé should be neglected. For optimal results, all wines should rest for 15 to 20 minutes in a decanter before serving. Too much aeration can lead to oxidation, so watch the clock.

If you don’t have that time, though, is “hyper-decanting” in a blender just as good?

The buzzy hack is a favorite among YouTubers and TikTok wine enthusiasts lately, with accounts as big as Williams Sonoma reposting the budget-friendly “hack.” A French TikToker, @arnesdei, gained over a million views for their March 2021 video blending an inexpensive red wine.

In 2014, writer Matthew Mullet tested out this hack for VinePair during a tasting of a 100-point Saxum James Berry Vineyards Rhône Blend. When he blended the premium wine, he found that it lost its robust flavor. While the test wine contained punchy Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre, Mullet writes that he could no longer detect any distinct flavors or aromas in the wine after blending.

When it comes to good wine, patience truly is a virtue. Perhaps it’s best to leave the blender for smoothies and frozen Margs.

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LAST CALL 4 this COMPELLING, 96 Point Rated Red Gem  = VERY LIMITED

Piedrasassi 2019 "Rim Rock Vineyard" Arroyo Grande Valley Syrah
GGWC 59.99 

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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Napa’s BEST Merlot (and former Wine of the Year) is now in stock

Barbara and Jim Richards always had an interest in wine, both in its making and its consumption, and in food and gardening. In 1980, they were living in Midland, Texas, and began thinking about a second home and decided to start looking for a small property in the Napa Valley where they could build a home and plant a small vineyard. This dream was realized in 1983 when a friend of theirs, Dan Duckhorn, called and told them about the property now known as Paloma Vineyard. The property is located five miles northwest of St. Helena at the top of Spring Mountain. In the last half of the 19th century it was a vineyard, but was allowed to return to forest around the turn of the century. The purchase of this raw land was the beginning of an odyssey that is ongoing, ever changing, but with one goal—to grow the best grapes possible and make a wine that reflects the terroir of Paloma Vineyard, Spring Mountain and Napa. Sadly both Jim (2009) and Barbara (2016) passed away, but their son Sheldon has been groomed since 2003 to take over the reins, and continue the legacy of Paloma for years to come.
The 2018 vintage was one of the lowest yielding ones on record for our friends of
Paloma, courtesy of many drought years. So there is not much to go around this year!

Paloma has become synonymous with Merlot for Cabernet Lovers. Like some of its First Growth French counterparts, Paloma’s Merlot could be called a proprietary red blend as it is a blend of 85% Merlot & 15% Cabernet. I also want to let those Cabernet-philes know that one the most sought after, highly rated and probably (one of) the most expensive wines in the world is NOT Cabernet, but Merlot (Chateau Petrus) …. So Paloma (might be) Napa Valley’s Petrus, but at a fraction of the cost!

Paloma 2018 Merlot Estate Spring Mountain, Napa Valley
GGWC 69.99
FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more
Use code PALOMA upon checkout

The 2018 Paloma is a Merlot that will give many Cabernets a run for their money as this is not your wimpy, soft, silky wine, but a well-balanced, complex, dark, concentrated, full-bodied mountain-grown gem! The wine’s aroma is amazing, and jumps right out of the glass on impact. This wine is layered with dense black stone fruit laced with dark chocolate and a whiff of toasty vanilla. It is a big, lush youngster that pleases from start to finish. It is well-balanced and elegant at the same time. But I suggest putting this one down for 6-12 months prior to imbibing. Very small production.

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Jeff Pisoni’s “FINEST” Lucia SLH Pinot EVER

The Pisoni family has been farming Monterey County soil since the turn of the 19th century, when their ancestors immigrated to California. In 1951, Eddie and Jane Pisoni founded Pisoni Farms, a commercial produce operation in the Salinas Valley. They purchased land in 1979 high above the valley floor to graze cattle. At the time, this seemed all it was suited for. But their son Gary had other ambitions for the highland property. He wanted to make wine.

His parents said he was nuts for wanting to plant grapes and that people go broke looking for water. This all may have been partly true. In 1982, with no water source, Gary planted his first five-acre vineyard block on an east-facing slope at 1,300 feet. After eight years of searching, he finally discovered groundwater beneath hundreds of feet of granite. He planted another seventeen acres to Pinot Noir, and it wasn’t long before California artisan winemakers started lining up to buy his grapes.

The first vintage of Lucia debuted in 2000 with the Lucia Pinot Noir from the Garys’ Vineyard. It was the beginning of a new chapter for the Pisoni family, with Mark and Jeff Pisoni joining their father Gary to pursue a shared dream of building the family wine business and adding winemaking to grape growing.

Today, with Mark as grower and Jeff as winemaker, Lucia wines are considered among the finest in California. In the Wine Advocate, Jeb Dunnuck wrote: “The Pisoni Family’s Lucia label continues to be a source of incredible wines that always over-deliver.”

Lucia by Pisoni 2021 Pinot Noir “SLH” Santa Lucia Highlands
GGW $59.99

The Vineyard: Grown exclusively from the Pisoni, Garys’, and Soberanes vineyards, the Lucia appellation-based wines are a wonderful representation of their estate vineyards, of which each block is cultivated to the same high standards. These wines offer excellent value and Jeb Dunnuck has previously described these AVA blends as “a perfect example of the incredible quality that’s consistently coming from this estate.”

Jeff Pisoni Notes: “Entirely estate-farmed and sourced from these premier vineyard sites within the Santa Lucia Highlands, the 2021 Lucia Estate Cuvée of Pinot Noir represents our continued dedication to excellence in farming and winemaking. A sumptuous blend of 60% Pisoni Vineyard, 23% Garys’ Vineyard, and 17% Soberanes Vineyard, this wine offers up enticing aromas of strawberry compote, juicy cranberry, sandalwood, and black tea leaves, all contained within the embrace of its deep ruby hue. Carefully monitored fermentation temperatures and methodical extraction techniques have produced a wine of remarkable depth, concentration, and complexity. Layers of black cherry, Mission fig, spiced plum, and berry crumble provide a stepping stone for more subtle hints of fresh sage, clove, and vanilla bean to make their voices heard. A true snapshot of these wind-swept vines, this Pinot Noir finishes with vibrant acidity and a distinct, yet noticeably approachable structure. Don’t be surprised to see this wine continuing to amaze for years to come.”

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French Laundry’s Favorite White

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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Fabulous, Explosive & Multiple 97 Point rated Cabernet

Winemaker Notes: “The 2018 growing season started with late winter rains then a spring marked with intermittent cloudy skies likely delayed bud-break and flowering, which was then followed by ideal fruit set conditions, driving up overall volumes by 20 – 30%. Steady summer heat accumulation with only a couple of short hike spikes combined with a near-perfect fall season created great phenolic accumulation without high sugar concentration. Grown on the rocky slopes of Mt. Veeder, the 2018 is mountain Cabernet at its finest. Aromas of blue and red fruits intermingle with a touch of baking spice. The tannins are firm yet refined while the weight on the palate is dense and lush. Compelling now, one can only imagine its true cellaring potential.”

Mount Brave 2018 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Mount Veeder
GGWC 114.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code BRAVE during checkout

Jeb Dunnuck 97+ Points: “Lots of cassis and black raspberry fruits as well as classic Mount Veeder notes of lavender, violets, bouquet garni, and rocky, mineral-like notes emerge from the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon. A deep, full-bodied mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, it has a plush, layered texture, beautiful tannins, a deep, concentrated mid-palate, and a great finish. Another head-turning wine from this label, it’s a candidate for the best Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon out there at the price point.”

Vinous 97 Points: “The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon from Mt. Brave is fabulous. Inky, rich and explosive, the 2018 possesses tremendous depth and tons of personality. Graphite, blue/purplish fruit, blackberry jam, bittersweet chocolate, sage, lavender, menthol give the 2018 tons of character to match its explosive feel. The brooding, backward wine is going to need quite a bit of time to unwind, but boy is it gorgeous.”

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Structured, Vibrant “Multiple 95 Point” rated MUST HAVE PINOT

Vineyard: The Terraces block sits on a sloped and terraced hillside, with each individual row receiving a direct hit from the cold Pacific Ocean wind. Wrapping around Block M in a “peninsula” shape, the Terraces face varying directions – north, northwest, and due west – cascading down a steep terrain made of clay-rich loam with chunky calcareous shale soil. These facets create several different sun exposures, limited water holding capacity, and when combined with the freezing cold wind, lead to a naturally “devigorized” environment producing intense fruit. Planted in 1997 by Brent Melville, this small lot of only 4.9 acres is an interesting combination of two old-school California selections of Mt. Eden and Joseph Swan, plus three Dijon clones (115, 667 & 777). 60% whole cluster.
Melville 2020 Pinot Noir “Terraces” Santa Rita Hills
GGWC 79.99 

A beautiful blue garnet in color, with aromas of spiced cranberry, orange zest and pomegranate dancing from the glass. Grippy tannins and defined acidity come together on the palate evoking flavors of plum compote, clove and herbal tea. Pure, bright and clean, Terraces finishes with the grace and elegance you have come to expect. 

Jeb Dunnuck 95+ Points: “Coming from more clay soils as well as a west-facing hillside that gets pounded by the wind, the 2020 Pinot Noir Terraces boasts a deep, concentrated, age-worthy style as well as notes of darker fruits, roasted herbs, graphite, and black tea. This Burgundian, medium-bodied, balanced, structured beauty is well worth seeking out and, I suspect, will be one of the longest-lived in the vintage.

Vinous Anthony Galloni 95 points: "The 2020 Pinot Noir Terraces is terrific. Dense and vibrant, the Terraces captures the intensity of the year and yet retains notable energy, probably a combination of water-retentive, clay-rich soils and a mix of five clones (Swan, Mt. Eden, 115, 667 and 777) that lends layers and complexity. Red cherry, pomegranate, blood orange and exotic floral notes build into the persistent finish. Drink 2024-2032."

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How the Diversity of Grapes Sets Paso Robles Wines Apart

How the Diversity of Grapes Sets Paso Robles Wines Apart
Contributed by Stephanie Cain

California is known for its wine country, but beyond the household names like Napa Valley lies Paso Robles, a Central Coast wine region quickly growing into one of the best in the state.
Why? In addition to the powerhouse Cabernet Sauvignon and Rhône blends they are known for, winemakers are producing rare varieties that can be hard to find in California.

“Paso’s strength is in its diversity,” says Christopher Taranto, communications director of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. “We learned long ago that our region doesn’t have to adhere to the old paradigm of being about one variety or style.”

Taranto sums it up best: Embrace the unexpected. Paso Robles crafts distinctive flavor profiles thanks to its many microclimates. The wine region, north of Santa Barbara County and south of the Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey, sits inland from the ocean, giving it an overall warmer climate. But the rolling hills and cool evenings produce just the right diurnal swing to produce many outstanding wines.

Winemakers Experiment With Grapes From Around the World
One heritage variety here is Zinfandel, which was first commercially produced in Paso Robles as far back as the 1880s. The thick-skinned dark grape thrives in the region’s hot days and chilly nights, creating a soft and round version of Zinfandel that’s often more approachable than the intensely flavored or high-alcohol versions found in other areas. It put Paso Robles on the world wine map from the start.

“What sets us apart is our ability to grow almost any warm-climate grape as good as anywhere else in the world,” says Ryan Pease, winemaker at Paix Sur Terre. “When you have a Mediterranean climate and limestone soils, you have the most desirable conditions for viticulture anyone could ask for.  Our ability to grow world-class Counoise, Zinfandel, or Cabernet Sauvignon, even in the same vineyard, is achievable at very high quality.”

Today, what differentiates Paso is more than its beloved Zinfandel — it is the wide array of wines the region produces. Of the 40,000 acres under vine, there are 60 independent wine grape varieties, ranging from the popular southern Italian variety Aglianico to the lesser-known Counoise, a blending grape found in France’s Rhône Valley. Winemakers in the area do make standout Cabernet-based blends, but this experimentation with obscure (to California) grapes has proved to be promising in the long run for the future of the region — and its devotees.

“We can showcase the potential of the region that speaks to all wine enthusiasts,” Taranto says, noting that the mesoclimate, varying hillside aspects, and high pH soils allow the “talented growers and makers to embrace all the wine styles and varieties.” That broadens their reach to wine drinkers with many palate preferences.

Paso’s Diverse Wines Pair With Central Coast Cuisine in Unexpected Ways
Paso wines are very approachable on the whole, especially when it comes to food. The vast spectrum of aromas and flavors in the dozens of varieties means pairing potential with everything from the neighborhood taco stand to the ocean-to-table fine-dining restaurants along the Central Coast and throughout the wine country.

Though wine grapes far exceed other agricultural provisions, Paso Robles has long been a basin for an assortment of crops including almonds and olives, as well as cattle. Whipping up a grilled ratatouille is an easy meal, and when paired with Alicante Bouschet from Villa San-Juliette Vineyard & Winery, an elevated experience.

“The ability to take more esoteric varieties, like Alicante Bouschet, and transform them from blending components to stand-alone varietals is what will keep Paso relevant for generations,” says Dan Smith, winemaker at Villa San- Juliette. “We’re still in full discovery mode about elevating these unconventional flavor profiles and that makes it an exciting time to enjoy Paso Robles wine.”

The red grape, indigenous to the Languedoc in France and planted in abundance in the Alentejo region of Portugal, here gains more intensity and earthy complexity. The luscious and dense mouthfeel unfolds to layers of red fruit, bold spices, and chalky tannins that complement the richness of caramelized vegetables.

If there is one dish the Central Coast is known for, however, it’s the shellfish, specifically oysters and sea urchins. Winemakers in Paso are no strangers to the briny mollusks and creamy delicacy, which is why some specialize in “oyster grapes” like Ugni Blanc, Vermentino, and Picpoul Blanc.

Ugni Blanc is best known for its use in the production of Cognac in France, but when planted here, presents more seaside and mineral character. Similar to Muscadet, Paix Sur Terr’s Ugni Blanc showcases salinity to match that of the briny oysters, and the wine’s citrus and fruit notes, backed by the essence of sea spray, make it a complement to sea urchin sashimi and plenty of other shellfish dishes.

Likewise, the Paso Verde — a play on Portugal’s Vinho Verde —  from Robert Hall Winery calls to mind warm, seaside days with its light-bodied, low-alcohol white wine blend made for drinking all afternoon. Here, winemaker Amanda Gorter combines four Mediterranean grape varieties that all excel in the extreme temperature swings of the area: Grenache Blanc, Verdelho, Vermentino, and Picpoul Blanc. Like Ugni Blanc, it pairs well with shellfish but also with heartier fish dishes such as scallop empanadas. Or, simply, warm aperitif-hour sun.

Counoise produces a red wine filled with bright aromatics — orange peel, cranberry, allspice — and ripe fruit on the palate — cherry, persimmon, pomegranate — that makes drinking a red on a hot day all the more pleasurable. It also works with seafood, like linguine alle vongole (clams), making use of yet another standard California ingredient, and a common pairing for the team at Barton Family Wines, who cleverly label their Counoise “Hot Blooded.”

You also cannot discuss California cuisine without making mention of tacos al pastor, which is what makes Lagrein, a red grape that hails from South Tyrol in northern Italy, a favorite here. Pelletiere Estate Vineyard and Wine makes a luscious, complex, and rich Lagrein that can stand up to the mosaic of flavors of the refined Mexican dish, which includes heat from guajillo chiles and jalapeños, sweetness from the pineapple, and umami from a collection of herbs and spices.

Terret Noir is a barely known grape, one of the 18 permitted in France’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation. Even there, it’s not widely used, so it’s very surprising to see it pop up in Paso. Here, it thrives. Paso’s Tablas Creek Vineyard propagated theirs from cuttings originating at Château de Beaucastel, and they add it to their own red blends as well as a varietal bottling that they have produced for the past five vintages. The garnet-hued wine offers aromatics of watermelon rind, juniper berry, and rose petal, with salty and tangy flavors that finish with grippy tannins and peppery spice. It’s like a meal in and of itself but goes particularly well with Mediterranean dishes like Lebanese lamb meatballs, where the spice and high acid of the wine stand up to the rich meat dish.

And if you’re in the mood for a Napoli-style pizza or a pasta arrabbiata (but when are we not?) reach for a bottle of Giornata’s Aglianico. Paso’s climate matches that of its southern Italian home, with direct sunlight and a long growing season, allowing the grape to ripen smoothly over time. The resulting wine, filled with notes of leather, spice, violet, and dried blueberries, can stand up to a dusting of red pepper flakes on either dish.

Though food and wine are taken seriously in Paso Robles, the overall culture in the region is laid back. Restaurants and tasting rooms tend to eschew formality for friendly vibes that invite you to be a part of the Paso culture: an alfresco meal in the cool evening weather filled with great conversation and, always, another glass of wine.

Check out these Paso  Robles wines we have in stock:

Groundwork 2021 Grenache Blanc Paso Robles
Groundwork 2020 Syrah Santa Barbara
Sans Liege 2019 Grenache Pickpocket Templeton Gap, Paso Robles
My Favorite Neighbor 2020 Blanc (Chardonnay) Paso Robles 95 Points
My Favorite Neighbor 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles 95 Points
Herman Story 2017 Cabernet “Chelle Vineyard” Paso Robles
Herman Story 2019 Pinot Noir Smash City
Herman Story 2020 “First Time Caller” Petite Sirah, Paso Robles Highlands District
Herman Story 2020 “Nuts and Bolts” Syrah Paso Robles
Lost Blues 2018 High Horse Grenache Paso Robles


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Note from Carter Cellars’ Owner Mark Carter: “Dear Friends of Frank. We are pleased to announce the release of the 2020 Carter Cellars vintage. As always, these wines possess our signature qualities of incredible finesse and verve, alongside a deep and true representation of the vineyards from which they were sourced. While this proved to be a vexatious vintage, the grapes were harvested before the Glass Fire and showcase some of the best of what Napa has to offer in 2020. Having carefully and constantly monitored the evolution of these wines in barrel, we have determined that these wines from the western Napa Valley Floor have no signs of smoke taint and are nothing short of spectacular, displaying our hallmark qualities of delicious ripe fruit and seasoned tannins. Great wineries make great wine year after year and we invite you to visit us to see exactly what we mean!

Also, read this article from Wine Spectator:  “Keeping an Open Mind on the 2020 vintage – REALLY!”

We are offering the 2020 Carter wines in 2 mixed six-pack versions

Carter Cellars 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley Six-Pack A
RETAIL: $1,075.00 –  GGWC  $999.99

This great six-pack consists of one bottle each of the following wines:

Carter Cellars 2020 Beckstoffer To Kalon “The O.G.” 
Carter Cellars 2020 Beckstoffer To Kalon “The Three Kings” 
Carter Cellars 2020 Beckstoffer Las Piedras “La BAM” 
Carter Cellars 2020 “Carter Vineyard 
Carter Cellars 2020 "The Daze" Proprietary Red 
Carter Cellars 2020 “The Haze” 

Carter Cellars 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley – Six-Pack B
RETAIL $1,075.00 – GGWC $999.99

This great six-pack consists  of one bottle each of the following wines:

Carter Cellars 2020 Beckstoffer To Kalon “The Grand Daddy” 
Carter Cellars 2020 Beckstoffer Las Piedras “La Verdad” 
Carter Cellars 2020 Beckstoffer To Kalon “The Three Kings”
Carter Cellars 2020 “Carter Vineyard” 
Carter Cellars 2020 "The Daze" Proprietary Red 
Carter Cellars 2020 “The Haze” 


Carter Cellars 2020  Beckstoffer To Kalon “The O.G.” Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville Napa Valley
GGWC 229.99

Winery Notes: “From our original block of Beckstoffer To Kalon grapes planted to clone 337, this dense and ethereal Napa Cabernet Sauvignon strikes the perfect balance between power and elegance. In 2020 there is a rush of dark fruits, cassis, dark coffee, and earthly undertones matched with an inky deep dark purple color. Sweet rounded tannins and balanced acidity integrate perfectly, resulting in a concentrated and plush palate that makes this a decadent complex wine with layers of texture and remarkable purity on the finish. As with the prior vintages, the structure, and power of the clone 337 from the Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard lends itself well to an extended decant.”

Carter Cellars 2020 Beckstoffer To Kalon “The Grand Daddy” Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville Napa Valley
GGWC 229.99 

Winery Notes: “From the very front of the Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard, this block produced exceptional wines in 2020 as a result of great farming and cluster thinning matched with talented winemaking. These Clone 4 vines offer our most upfront and instantly appealing wine from this vineyard. Blackcurrant fruits, dark coffee, and earthy minerality intertwine to create a lavish multi-layered wine resulting in an enormous mid-palate buttressed perfectly by the wine's natural acidity and impactful tannins. Offering a unique amount of ripeness and texture, this is an elegant wine wrapped up in a cloak of raw but refined power.”

Carter Cellars 2020 Beckstoffer To Kalon “The Three Kings” Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville Napa Valley
GGWC 229.99 

Winery Notes: ”From the back of the Beckstoffer To Kalon vineyard, this wine throws off an amazingly deep ruby color tinged with an electric purple hue. Revealing superb balance and concentration, it is a successful expression of both the richness and power of clone 7 from this world-class vineyard. With its fruit-forward profile, the wine opens up immediately with floral aromatics mixed with dark currants, spices, and blue/black fruit. The palate is heroic loaded with racy yet rounded firm tannins and waves of decadent fruit. Like all Carter Cellars wines, this wine is approachable immediately, but give this beautiful wine a couple of years in the cellar to round out and you’ll be rewarded by additional nuances and depth.”

Carter Cellars 2020 Beckstoffer Las Piedras “La Verdad” Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville Napa Valley
GGWC 229.99

One of our most highly sought-after wines, the 2020 'La Verdad' is an extremely low production wine from our original block of stressed vines on the Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard. Inky and dark in the glass, the nose emits a show-stopping rush of mouth-watering black cherry and blue fruits. The first taste is a pleasurable attack on the senses, bursting with concentrated dark black and blue fruits, mixed with crushed earth and spicy floral undertones. Year after year, the underlying structure and minerality result in a muscular but well-balanced Cabernet. A full-bodied mid-palate reveals finely integrated tannins that lift the overall backbone of the wine and ends with a textured and lengthy finish.

Carter Cellars 2020 Beckstoffer Las Piedras “La BAM” Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville Napa Valley
GGWC 229.99 

Winery Notes: “Along the banks of Sulphur Springs Creek in St Helena lies the Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard – a 22-acre site renowned for its naturally low yields and well-draining gravelly loam soil. These slightly less stressed vines are closer to the riverbed and sit on slightly more rocky and well-draining soil than the ‘La Verdad’ highlighting the vineyard’s unique topography and minerality. Like a smack in the face, 'La BAM', boasts a full rich bold palate of pure black and blue fruits infused with graphite, coffee, and earthlike undertones. When matched with sweet firm tannins from the best French barrels, this wine ends with a velvety finish that only gets better with age.”

Carter Cellars 2020  “Carter Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
GGWC 179.99

Winery Notes: “This low production 100% Cabernet Sauvignon comes from hand-selected fruit out of our best vineyards. This is a classical Napa Cabernet in both structure and elegance, and while delicious in its youth, should be cellared to afford ideal integration. Boasting a purple color and dense flavors of black cherries, graphite, and mocha matched with a well-integrated oak profile. On the nose, lively fruit dances with minerality and spices to make a signature profile that will only improve with time. This full-bodied, layered, racy wine showcase both purity and elegance – a wine that is both great for cellaring or drinking right now.”

Carter Cellars 2020 “The Haze” Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville Napa Valley
GGWC 99.99 

Winery Notes: “This is our second release of The Haze which is sourced from vineyards in Oakville and the southern Napa AVA, is a site heavily influenced by the clean Bay air. The Haze has a deep dark purple ruby hue, matched with dark red and black fruits, fresh leather, graphite, and currents all wrapped in powerful integrated oak. On the palate, it has a full-bodied lifted finish with a balanced mouthful matched with firm, yet supple tannins. These are the new plantings from the Fortuna Vineyard.”

Carter Cellars 2020 The Daze Bordeaux Blend Napa Valley
GGWC 94.99 

Winery Notes: “ A new offering for Carter Cellars in 2020, this is a Merlot-based wine married with Cabernet Franc from the Sugarloaf Mountain vineyard located in Napa right above San Pablo Bay, a site heavily influenced by the clean Bay air. The Daze has a dark inky color, matched with dark red and black fruits, vanilla, pencil lead and savory fresh earth. The palate is full-bodied, and long, supported by fine-grained tannins and loads of freshness – give this wine a try and you will be rewarded with a pleasurable attack on your senses.”


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Update titleWe hooked a real Coho, but 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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Walter Hansel Cuvée Alyce = value in a bottle

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 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 2020 Chardonnay “Cuvée Alyce”
Russian River Valley

Retail 45.00 – GGWC 39.99 

Winemaker Notes: “Produced from the highest elevation and is a product of 3 clones; the Hyde/wente; the Hudson/Wente and French Dijon clone 95. These clusters are extremely small and the berries are the size of BB's; offering rich and flavorful wines. Cuvee Alyce tends to be the most opulent of the Chardonnays from Walter Hansel with beautiful depth and richness. My Mom, Alyce, was an exciting Lady with over-the-top energy and appeal. This wine takes after her."

Robert Parker: "…This is an enviable winery run by Stephen Hansel with exceptionally high-quality Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs that he sells at modest prices, which speaks to his humility and commitment to serious wine consumers. There are more than 80 acres of estate, so it is not small, split evenly between Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. He breaks the cuvées down by their vineyard terroir/site."

The 2019 vintage was rated 95 points by Antonio Galloni (Vinous): "The 2019 Chardonnay Cuvée Alyce is a total knock-out. Rich, ample and explosive, the 2019 possesses tremendous depth and textural elegance to burn. Citrus confit, white flowers, chamomile and light tropical notes lend an exotic flair to this striking, beautifully delineated Chardonnay from Hansel. Drink: 2023-2039."

Also check out these other Walter Hansel wines:

Walter Hansel 2019 Pinot Noir South Slope Russian River Valley
Walter Hansel 2019 Pinot Noir Cuvee Alyce Russian River Valley 93 Points
Walter Hansel 2019 Estate Pinot Noir Russian River Valley
Walter Hansel 2019 Chardonnay Estate Russian River Valley 93 Points
Walter Hansel 2019 Chardonnay “The Meadows” Russian River Valley 94 Points

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An Under 40 Wine from Thomas Rivers Brown – You snooze… You …


Riverain is the vision of three close friends who share a love of wine, the wine country, and a passion for developing wines that reflect the character of the prestigious sites from which they are grown.

After more than a decade of “visits” to the wine country to purchase hand crafted boutique wines, and to enjoy the spectacular scenery, Steve Nordhoff, Laurie Gray and Dean Gray decided to start the journey of creating a wine project that reflects their passion, past experiences, and love for the valley.

If you have ever been to Napa, their story needs very little explanation as most visitors catch “the fever” upon arrival. Their personal experiences were no different. After much time spent, and a wedding held in a small vineyard off of Silverado Trail between Dean and Laurie in the mid 2000’s, significant friendships with others in the area began to develop for the three of us. Over the next several years, Steve, an attorney by profession, but a wine geek at heart, continued to coordinate countless wine tasting trips for the three of them and many of their friends. During these visits, they gained an appreciation and working knowledge of what it takes to make consistently great wine.

In 2010, Napa became further embedded in their souls as the Gray’s purchased a home in Rutherford, not far from the Napa River. The intention of this home was to welcome family and friends, thus allowing them to enjoy the Napa experience firsthand. Riverain is a historical French term meaning “near the river” and also refers to a “local”, and could not be a stronger reflection of how their partnership and lives have evolved over the past decade.

They hope that through their wines, you will feel the passion, care, and tremendous effort that has gone into each bottle by their winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown, and his fabulous team. After a 10+ year friendship with Tom Gamble of Gamble Family Vineyards, the Riverain folks finally convinced Tom to sell them some highly sought after fruit from his beautiful vineyard in Yountville. Having the best fruit combined with Thomas Brown’s wine making skills, we are thrilled to introduce you to our third vintage of Riverain Sauvignon Blanc!

Riverain 2021 Sauvignon Blanc “Riverbound Vineyard” Yountville, Napa
Retail 44.99 – GGWC 39.99
FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more
Use code RIVERSB during checkout

The wine speaks for itself with a great nose and a beautiful structure laced with green apple, melon mellowed by over 10 months in new French oak barrels (25%)  and stainless steel (75%). Enjoy now before this limited supply is gone for good! The wine aromas of exotic mango, orange blossoms, honeysuckle, ripe melon jump and wet-rock scented fragrance jump out of the glass. On the palate the wine offers a medium to full body with lush  intense citrus and mineral notes, as well fresh grapefruit and crushed stones. The wine finishes long and perfumed.

Other Riverain wines made by TRB
Riverain 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon “Tench” Napa Valley – 97-99 Points
Riverain 2019 Pinot Noir “Silver Eagle” Generations Sonoma Coast

As well as many other Thomas Rivers Brown made wines

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98 Point Pinot Gem – VERY LIMITED (ONLY 227 cases were produced)

In 2001, two generations of the Cobb family came together to explore a shared passion for Pinot Noir with the founding of Cobb Wines. Focused exclusively on crafting single-vineyard, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noirs, Cobb Wines combines the winegrowing expertise of David Cobb — one of the pioneers of Pinot Noir viticulture on the far Sonoma Coast — with the winemaking talents of his son, noted pinot noir specialist, Ross Cobb. The original seeds for Cobb Wines were planted in 1989 when David began cultivating pinot noir vines at his sustainably farmed Coastlands Vineyard. A marine ecologist by trade, David spent years studying soils and climatological charts in his search for the ideal place to found his vineyard. His search led him to the ridgetops of the Sonoma Coast, where he believed he would be able to grow grapes perfectly suited to a more complex and graceful style of California pinot noir. On weekend and summer breaks from college, David would be joined in the vineyard by his son Ross, who quickly grew to love the hands-on work of growing wine grapes. And the rest, as they say… is history!

Cobb 2019 Pinot Noir Coastlands Vineyard
Sonoma Coast

GGWC 99.99 

Robert Parker 98 Points: “Made with 60% whole clusters, the 2019 Pinot Noir Coastlands Vineyard has a medium ruby color and pure, continually shifting aromas of raspberry preserves, blood orange, sage, Earl Grey tea leaves, and forest floor. The palate offers an abundance of silty tannins and surprising intensity of sweet berry fruit for its weight. It offers fine floral accents and finishes with fantastic length and nuance of flavor.”

Winery Notes: “Coastlands Vineyard is our estate property, first planted in 1989. These now-old vines are producing tremendous wines without the benefit of irrigation or fertilizer. This is one of the most westerly planted Pinot Noir sites in Sonoma County. Originally established by David and Diane Cobb, Ross Cobb now farms the estate where he lives with his wife and daughter. This wine is a blend of fruit from across the estate and is a perfect representation of the coastal terroir that is so rare to find in California. Only 227 cases were produced

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“Antifreeze Wine”: The Scandal That Destroyed an Industry

 “Antifreeze Wine”: The Scandal That Destroyed an Industry
Contributed by Rhys Mather

Image Credits: Wiki
Austria is commonly associated with classical music or The Alps, but you may not know the country has a thriving wine industry. Small, artisan vintners produce relatively low quantities of wine when compared to their European neighbours – but this allows them to focus on quality, earning Austrian wine world renown. Wine critic, Jane MacQuitty, writing for The Times, describes: 

“The vibrant, aromatic, terroir-influenced white wines from this small, landlocked country are increasingly sought-after by adventurous wine drinkers, and to judge from the thousand bottles on show it’s easy to see why”

However, this wasn’t always the case. In the early 20th century Austria was the 3rd largest wine producer in the world – but in 1985 a scandal rocked the industry that almost destroyed it overnight; millions of gallons of Austrian wine were poisoned. 

In order to understand how this happened you need a quick lesson in, (stick with me here), how Austrian wine is rated. Austrian wine is graded by sweetness, with the sweeter wines fetching the highest prices – in 1985 the cream of the crop was ‘prädikatswein’ or ‘superior quality wine’. Grapes were left on the vines until the end of harvest in order to ripen and turn into incredibly sweet, full-bodied white wines. These wines were extraordinarily popular, and equally profitable. 

In order to be labelled as prädikat there must be no external sources of sugar added to the wine, thus the late harvest of the grapes is a necessity. So, alarms were raised when Austrian vintners began producing inordinate amounts of prädikat that far outstretched their growing capabilities. Following an arduous investigative process – warrants were obtained for a vineyard after a winemaker was found purchasing large amounts of a chemical called diethylene glycol and attempting to write it off on his tax return as fuel for his tractor. The vintner’s wine was confiscated and analysed – the results confirmed investigator’s suspicions, the wine contained large amounts of diethylene glycol. 
Image Credits: Wiki

Diethylene glycol (DEG) is a colourless, odourless compound with a sweet taste that mixes perfectly with water and alcohol – it was also little understood and essentially undetectable by common chemical tests in 1985. When DEG enters the body, it causes necrosis of the liver and damages neurons, making them unable to adequately carry electrical signals. DEG poisoning commonly results in death or paralysis, like in 2006 where DEG tainted cough syrup killed 216 people in Panama. It’s commonly used as a solvent in antifreeze and paint-stripper. Austrian vintners were adding DEG to lower quality wines in order to make them sweeter and more full-bodied, while avoiding chemical tests for sugar – allowing them to mimic and label the product as prädikatswein.

After this revelation millions of litres of Austrian wine were confiscated, and entirely new methods of diethylene glycol testing were invented. Thanks to these tests the horrifying scope of the contamination was revealed – vineyard after vineyard, producing both high and low-quality wine were implicated and millions more litres of wine were taken to be destroyed. Many wineries declared bankruptcy within months of the scandal breaking. Some Austrian winemakers attempted to destroy their tainted wine by pouring it into sewers, which had the opposite effect of alerting authorities to their activities – as the wine contained so much DEG it killed the bacterial colonies involved in sewage treatment. The resulting raw sewage flowing into rivers devastated local animal life. In 1985 the New York Times reported:

“Anton Schmied, from Mitterstockstall, whom the police picked up for dumping 4,000 gallons of laced red wine down the town sewer. The poison in his wine reportedly wiped out the microorganisms that cleared the town’s sewage so that it spewed untreated into nearby streams, poisoning the trout.”

At the same time doctors were linking illnesses with the consumption of Austrian wine. While there are no confirmed fatalities from DEG poisoned wine, press at the time report cases of liver failure, paralysis and severe abdominal pain after drinking Austrian prädikatswein. Some bottles were found to contain nearly 500 times what is considered a harmful dose. The only reason more people weren’t harmed was the ethanol in the wine inhibited the effect of DEG. 

When all was said and done, approximately 270 million litres of wine were found to be mixed with DEG. Subsequently, several dozen wine makers and dealers were arrested, including a chemist named Otto Nadrasky. Nadrasky was the chemist who first suggested the idea of using DEG to illegally sweeten wine, and it quickly took root as common practice in the industry for at least a decade. Over 30 producers were sentenced, with many receiving sentences of 10 years. 
Photo by Jane Gonzalez on Unsplash

In the aftermath of the scandal the Austrian authorities were left with nearly 300 million litres of the poisoned wine and there were no obvious methods of disposal. However, a few unlikely solutions were found. An electrical power plant in Carinthia found a way to burn the contaminated wine to produce electricity, similarly, a cement factory modified their ovens to use the wine as coolant. Austrian authorities also mixed the wine with salt and used it to melt ice during the winter, which was found to be more effective than using salt alone. Within a few years the tainted wine reserves were depleted. 

Austrian economist, Karl Aiginger, famously remarked on the incident “In a year. Its all forgotten.” His prediction was almost comically inaccurate as in the years following Austrian wine exports were down to less than 5% of what they were in 1984. Austrian wine imports were banned by dozens of countries – and comically the Japanese government also placed a ban on Australian wine due to a mistranslation. Many wineries that didn’t participate in DEG poisoning were forced to close as the market vanished overnight. The Austrian government quickly passed stringent new laws on wine production which required every bottle to undergo chemical and quality control, they would then be sealed with a stamp that displays the date of testing. Wine makers also shifted their focus now that the reputation of sweet wine was in tatters, and they began cultivating grapes for the dryer white wines that Austria is known for today. 

It took 16 years before the export market recovered from the poisoning, but it now enjoys prosperity with Austrian wine being universally touted for its quality which is ensured by the world’s strictest wine laws. While the scandal of 1985 nearly destroyed the industry, without it Austrian wine would be very different, and the change it brought is positive. People stopped buying wine from supermarkets out of caution and bought direct from local winemakers, and the collapse of several large vineyards allowed dozens of smaller vintners to fill the void. It’s a comfort to know that even poison won’t stop people enjoying good wine forever.

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A “NEW GENERATION”  Napa Cabernet =  96 Points!

Nestled near the peak of Howell Mountain, perched high above the fog line of the Napa Valley, the Forman family farms a distinctive volcanic 43-acre estate, with 20 unique blocks, to craft exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon, just as generations have before them. With the knowledge of farming, viticulture, & winemaking, handed down from over three generations and two iconic families, their commitment and passion is unparalleled. Drawing from weekends of cellar work as children and pruning lessons of their youth by legendary fathers, Ric Forman and Bill Pauli, Tobias Forman and Dawn Pauli-Forman approach each vintage with intense diligence in the vineyard, profound wisdom yet natural talent in the cellar, exhibiting the culmination of knowledge of generations past with each step. Dawn and Toby are thrilled to offer the fruits of their labor each year in their Cabernet Sauvignon, TOBIAS

Tobias 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon “Pauli Vineyard”
Howell Mountain, Napa Valley

GGWC 149.99

Vinous 96 points: “The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Pauli Vineyard is impressive. Dark and potent in the glass, the 2018 captures all the character of Howell Mountain in its impressive presence. Black cherry, gravel, smoke, cedar, tobacco and licorice infuse the 2018 with so much character. Far from an easygoing 2018, the Pauli is going to need at least a few years to unwind.” 

WE 96 Points: “A 100% varietal wine that beautifully captures the stellar vintage and appellation, this wine opens in voluptuous berry aromatics, with seasonings of clove, nutmeg, sage, cedar and cigar box. Elongated tannins substantiate the length and breadth, firming its structure and complexity. Enjoy best from 2028–2033”

Winemaker Notes: “Dramatically dark and dense color clings to the glass with each swirl… intense and alluring aromas of black cherry and black currants waft from the glass. On the palate, expressive and expansive crushed rock, lively floral notes, cigar box, cedar, and savory spice wrap the powerful and dense fruit. Intertwined and structured, the rugged and youthful tannins showcase the power of vintage and the vineyard. This 100% single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon shows the power and future of the Pauli Howell Mountain Vineyard Estate with its robust tannins, intense fruit, unparalleled structure, and complexity.”

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