TWO Stunning, new UNDER $45 Pinot Noirs by Jeff Pisoni


The Pisoni family and Master Sommelier Sara Floyd make a great team. Mark Pisoni tends to the vines, while Jeff turns it into good wine that Sara brings to the table. I am excited about two new releases, both just 100 case productions. The wines were sourced from the Monte Linda, and Lemoravo Vineyards, both located in the Santa Lucia Highlands.

Luli 2021 Pinot Noir “Monte Linda” Santa Lucia Highlands
GGWC 44.99

The Vineyard: Residing high above the Salinas Valley at almost 715 feet in elevation, Monte Linda Vineyard is in the southern portion of the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA. This vineyard sits above the morning fog line, allowing for greater sun exposure, while at the same time seeing cooler nighttime temperatures, allowing the vines to rest and achieve a longer growing season. These conditions, along with the vineyard’s rocky soils, create deeply textured wines with notable structure

Tasting Notes by Jeff Pisoni: ”Sporting a youthful, purple-tinged hue, this Pinot Noir packs a bouquet of vibrant aromas of black cherry, plum, and a spicy undertone of vanilla, clove, and cinnamon. On the palate, soft tannin envelops juicy flavors of dark berry compote, while savory notes of baking spice and earthy hints of forest floor create added complexity. The coastal influences of the Santa Lucia Highlands permit long hang-time for each pristine cluster, resulting in optimum berry development and ripeness as well as preservation of age-worthy acidity.”

Luli 2021 Pinot Noir “Lemoravo” Santa Lucia Highlands
GGWC 44.99

The Vineyard: The Lemoravo Vineyard (Lemons, Oranges, Avocados)  is set 400 feet in elevation in the southern hills of the Santa Lucia Highlands. The vineyard is planted among the decomposed granite alluvial fans that make up a series of isolated islands among the bench lands. This site places the vineyard in rugged soils and heavy fog. As a tribute to this land’s history, the name is a three-word portmanteau as a tribute to the region’s former crops: Lemons, Oranges, and Avocados.

Tasting notes by Jeff Pisoni: “The 2021 Luli Lemoravo Vineyard Pinot Noir is a refreshing example of the dynamic terroir and climate within the Santa Lucia Highlands. Deep ruby to its core, this wine slowly unfolds with layered aromas of strawberry crème, fresh-cut sage, red cherry, and sandalwood. Staying true to its aromatic profile, flavors of candied Bing cherry, kirsch, black tea, and fresh earth immerse the palate completely. This is a deliciously complex Pinot Noir that finishes with noticeable texture, youthful acidity, and soft, silky tannin.”

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VHR Winemaker Francoise Peschon-1024x743

For those familiar with Vine Hill Ranch and the Phillips Family I do not need to tell you that whatever they do is first rate!

I am proud to introduce their NEW venture called Baker & Hamilton, all sourced and produced from the Vine Hill Ranch Estate vineyard. RH Hamilton was Bruce Phillips’ great-great-grandfather! He started the Baker and Hamitlton company in 1849. Bruce is the owner/partner of VHR. The Original Baker & Hamilton started in a tent near the "Mormon Island" claim above Fort Sutter east of Sacramento in 1849, supplying miners hardware such as picks, shovels, knives, saws, hammers, axes and nails… By 1860 B&H had a thriving block-long store in Sacramento, and in 1867 they opened their first store in San Francisco, down on Front Street. After merging with Pacific Hardware & Steel Co. in 1918, they moved into 700 7th Street at the corner of the evolving Mission Bay area (which is now home to the SF Giants, Warriors, UCSF, and various tech companies among others). The family eventually purchased what is now the Vine Hill Ranch property, and the rest…

Baker & Hamilton by VHR 2019 Estate Cabernet Napa Valley
GGWC 129.99
Use code BH19CS during checkout

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is a new wine made by the Phillips family, owners of Vine Hill Ranch, and winemaker Françoise Peschon. It is without question one of the most impressive debuts I tasted this year. Silky and gracious, the 2019 is a wonderfully understated, classy Cabernet that shows the more restrained side of the year in its super-classic mid-weight feel. Cedar, tobacco and sweet floral notes add gorgeous inner perfume. With the Baker & Hamilton Cabernet, the Philips's aim to make a wine that will work well in restaurants and retail shops, so all of the wine is sold through distribution rather than direct. You don't have to have a Nobel Prize to figure out what the vineyard source is. Let's leave it at that.

FMW 96 Points: The Baker &Hamilton 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is beguiling, stunning from the get go! The wine offers up an intense aroma of bright dark stone fruit, flowers and spices that jumps out of the glass on impact. The palate is lush and full, and loaded with layers of dark red and black stone fruits, a whiff of vanilla and licorice. This wine is gorgeous and beautifully delineated with a lot of pizzazz. Vibrant fruit and elegance are the keywords here! This youngster finishes with a great crescendo of silky tannins and a perfumed finish.

Wine Spectator 95 Points: “This is packed with vivid boysenberry, mulberry, and black currant fruit that bursts forth with energy while being held in check by graphite, anise, and apple wood notes that lend good underlying tension. Features bramble and warm stone accents on the finish, as the fruit races through. Best from 2023 through 2038.”

Also check out these other wines by the same winemaker:
Heimark 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon St. Helena Napa Valley 97 Points
Cornell 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate" 98 Points
VHR – Vine Hill Ranch 2019 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Napa 98+ Points
VHR – Vine Hill Ranch  2018 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville, Napa 98 Points

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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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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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 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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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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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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Former Spottswoode winemaker’s MUST HAVE WHITE

After many years the “Bridesmaid” wines have been rebranded of sorts. Pam Starr (former Spottswoode winemaker) has been producing the Crocker & Starr/Bridesmaid wines for many years now. Crocker & Starr was always estate grown, Bridesmaid only partially. That has changed and so has the packaging. Gorgeous new labels and the same stunning wines, sort of a new (married) life for the Bridesmaid.

Crocker Starr 2021 White Blend of Sauvignon Blanc, A.V.A. Napa Valley
GGWC 34.99
Use code BRIDE during checkout

This brilliant Sauvignon Blanc blend is pale straw yellow in the glass and the aroma is loaded with honeysuckle, lychee, lime leaves, and laced with the slight salinity of oyster shell. Mouthwatering flavors of lemon meringue pie, key lime, honeydew melon, and white peach gleam on the palate. And the Semillon adds jelly richness to the wine’s medium-bodied, perfectly balanced center. The wine shines all the way through the savory finish, which is lined with crushed seashell. You will love this so much that a case simply won’t be enough. 

A.V.A. stands for American Viticulture Area and for us, it represents the culmination of sustainable viticulture, resurrection of the 1870’s winery and classic winemaking. The bouquet on the front of the label ties into our rich history as it and Charlie’s 1870’s Victorian home originate from a Sears & Roebuck catalog. Our A.V.A. Napa Valley blend of Sauvignon Blanc serves as the perfect introduction to the Crocker & Starr portfolio. Founding Partner/Winemaker Emeritus Pam Starr and winemaker Evyn Cameron capture the diverse terrain of the Napa Valley within this elegantly handcrafted wine. 

Winemaker Notes: “Layered aromatics of ripe mandarin, lychee, and stone fruit entice the nose while flavors of lemon curd, white peach, and freshly picked melon burst across the palate. Vibrant acid and creamy texture create a harmonious mouthfeel that begs for another sip.This blend of Sauvignon Blanc is sure to keep you coming back for another glass. “

Also check out: Crocker Starr 2018 AVA Proprietary Red Blend, Napa 93 Points

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A Special Discount for your Labor Day!

Hard work never fades… it lives in your achievements,
it lives in your success stories,
and it always inspires the generations to follow.
Today is the occasion to celebrate your every effort with pride.
May you be blessed to reach new heights again in the year to come.

To help you celebrate, I am offering 10% OFF ALL WINES*, today only!

Use code LABOR2022 at checkout

I wish you a very Happy Labor Day!

*exludes already discounted wines

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Call 415-337-4083 or email for availability and priority allocation!

Blind Ambition review – inspiring documentary on first Zimbabwean wine-tasting team

 Blind Ambition review – inspiring documentary on first Zimbabwean wine-tasting team

By Wendy Ide 
‘Uncommonly likable’: the wine-tasting quartet of Blind Ambition.

This affectionate film follows the journey of four migrants from Zimbabwe who go on to become some of South Africa’s top sommeliers

Four refugees who left Zimbabwe for South Africa separately discovered wine and subsequently formed a friendship. And now, in this affectionate documentary, they are about to compete as the first Zimbabwean team in what is described as “the Olympics of wine tasting”.

What gives this familiar underdog story its satisfying emotional weight is the care that the film-makers take in tracing the journeys of Joseph, Pardon, Tinashe and Marlvin from desperate migrants to skilled sommeliers in some of South Africa’s top restaurants. It helps that they are an uncommonly decent and likable bunch. Marlvin, raised as a Pentecostal, giggles as he argues that, since Jesus turned water into wine, it must be OK to drink it. Serious, ambitious Joseph is diligent about passing on opportunities to the next wave of Zimbabwean refugees. It’s heartwarming, inspirational stuff.

Watch the trailer for “Blind Ambition” by clicking here.

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A MUST HAVE 96 Point limited production under $60 Red

“Site” is a  venture from Jeremy Weintraub (longtime Seavey winemaker). He sources from the best “Sites” in California. This latest Red Rhône  blend is just a good example. The 2018 Site Red Rhône is sourced from the Larner Vineyard. The Larner Vineyard would be considered a “Grand Cru” if it was located in France.

Accolades: “Top Grand Cru Vineyards in California by Wine Spectator ~ Top Five California Vineyards by Wall Street Journal ~ Top 25 Vineyards in the World by Wine & Spirits ~ California’s Best Single Vineyards by Wine Enthusiast ~ Top 5 Vineyards You Can Trust by Pinot Report ~ Ten Best Vineyards by Food & Wine, etc.” many 95+ Ratings from various publications.

Site 2018 Red Rhône Blend, Larner Vineyard Santa Barbara
GGWC 59.99
Use code SITE during checkout

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points: “The 2018 Red Wine Larner Vineyard is Syrah-based but includes 17% Grenache and 4% Viognier, all fermented with 23% whole clusters and brought up in 50% new oak. Deep purple-colored, with fabulous notes of smoked blackberries, cassis, ground pepper, and violets, it's full-bodied and has a seamless texture, ripe tannins, and a great finish. It might be the finest wine I've tasted under this label.”

Robert Parker 95+ Points: “The 2018 Red Wine Larner Vineyard is reminiscent of a classic Cornas with its intensely savory, gamey character. Medium ruby-purple, the nose offers singular scents of mesquite-grilled meats, cast iron, cracked pepper and bacon fat, with a core of black and blue fruits that gain more clarity with time in the glass. The full-bodied palate is iron-laced and elegant, offering refined, grainy tannins, seamless freshness and a very long, uplifted finish. It will benefit from another 3-5 years in bottle and continue to gain complexity in bottle over the next decade or more.”

Winemaker Notes: “A blend of 79% Syrah, 17% Grenache, and 4% Viognier. Fermented with 23% whole clusters. The nose offers blackberries, crushed black pepper, and violets. The mouth is medium-weight ,supple, and carries a very long finish.”

Also check out their OTHER 96 Point rated wine –  Site 2018 Syrah Bien Nacido Santa Barbara 96 Points

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A must have 97 Point Red that you REALLY want to get your hands on NOW!

Family owned and operated, Delmas is the realization of the Robertson’s family, a dream, 35+ years strong, to honor a distinctive place; a distinctive taste. Born of unique geology found within The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater, as well as the climatic eccentricities of the Walla Walla Valley, Delmas is dedicated to producing exceptional wines of enduring value. Elegance is preferred to power and exoticism at Delmas; restraint, nuance, and those impossible-to-define, (pleasurable), qualities that elevate all great wines. The name “Delmas” comes from Mary Delmas Robertson’s side of the family. In a tradition dating back many generations, the French family name “Delmas” is passed from one daughter to the next as a middle name. This legacy lives on through Steve and Mary’s daughter, Brooke Delmas Robertson.

Delmas 2019 Syrah SJR Vineyard, Walla Walla
GGWC 89.99
Use code DELMAS during checkout

Vinous 97 Points: This is now the third opportunity I have had to review the utterly stunning 2019 Syrah SJR Vineyard – a wine that is actually showing better than when I first tasted it.  Initially more reticent and Burgundian, this polished Syrah was aged in 60% new French oak before bottling. The wine shows beautiful red rose petals, nori, smoldering stones and orange blossom. The palate is exceedingly elegant with silky tannins and a light dusting of white pepper and salinity.  Ripe strawberry, pomegranate and orange rind flavors combine with wet stone and rose water undertones. Make sure to give this beautiful Syrah at least an hour of air if consumed in its youth.

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points: “The ruby/plum-hued 2019 Syrah (there's 7.5% Viognier) comes all from the SJR Vineyard in the Rocks region of the Walla Walla Valley. It's always a complex, complete, satisfying wine, and the 2019 has a great nose of mulled red and black plums, toasted spice, iron, pepper, and chocolate. Full-bodied, round, and supple on the palate, it has velvety tannins, a great mid-palate, and is a wine that keeps you coming back to the glass. Drink this classic Rock Syrah over the coming decade or more.”

Wine Notes: “A deep purple-red hue with a captivating bouquet of violets, licorice, blackberry, huckleberry, five-spice powder, bacon fat, smoldering incense, and dark chocolate. Beautifully precise on the palate with notes of black plum, blackberry, truffles, nutmeg, allspice, white pepper, and stony minerality. Subtle hints of bittersweet chocolate, grilled thyme, and vanilla are also present. On the exquisite finish the wine has an umami character, full of salinity and stony minerality.

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