Byron Kosuge has been making wine for over 3 decades now. He honed his skills at various great wineries in California and France. While working in Carneros he befriended two guys who ran a vineyard management company. When they planted a small vineyard next to their work shop, Byron came up with the name “The Shop” and the rest (almost 20 years later) is history. Byron has created a good following for his brand, and so have many of my customers. The 2018 Pinot Noir is truly amazing and a great wine for your Buck!

B Kosuge 2018 Pinot Noir The Shop, Carneros
Retail 40.00 – GGWC 37.99
FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more
Use shipping code SHOP during check out

The wine emerges from the glass with dark red stone fruit with a hint of spice, nuttiness and licorice. This is lush and fleshy, Pinot Noir that is loaded with class and pedigree. The wine is medium to full in body and flavor and finishes long and strong.

Winemaker Notes: The 2018 The Shop Carneros Pinot Noir is in some ways a throwback to the riper, juicier style of the early Shop wines, but that is a product of the hot 2018 vintage, rather than a change in style. I continue to pursue a fresher, more vibrant style for this wine in particular, and 2018 was no exception. Aged in a combination of concrete and neutral oak.

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Frank’s OWN Melis Family 2019 Cabernet is NOW in stock

Melis Family logo
I am starting off with some very exciting and less exciting news…The 2019 Melis Family 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

GGWC 119.99 – THIS WEEK ONLY 109.99
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 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon G3, Napa Valley (CALL ME about the last 3 remaining  cases)
Melis Family 2020 Rose Of Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills, made by Paul Lato

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Frank’s Thanksgiving Wine Suggestions

If you want your Turkey Dinner to be accompanied by some great wines, don’t wait till the last day to order those Thanksgiving Wine goodies and get them out to you in time!

Dear Friends,

It is that time of year – The Holidays are around the corner, we will have a time to reflect on things and hope for the best for everyone and continue to live the dream! A time to say “Thank You” and spend time with your family, friends, and loved ones. Remember and cherish the ones that aren’t among us, the ones that are, and especially those serving our country locally and abroad. On that note, here are a few suggestions for your Thanksgiving Dinner:

MONTHUYS CHAMPAGNE NV BRUT, 750ML Our Best selling Bubbly!

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Keplinger’s HOT new releases give “Rhône” wines a run for their money

The MUCH anticipated 2019 (Helen) Keplinger releases are finally in stock! I received the new Sumo & Lithic designated bottlings from Helen. As always the production of her wines are miniscule, so I don’t receive huge allocations. Let me know if you are interested, as these wines sell out quickly.

A little Helen Keplinger FYI – Helen is the current winemaker at Carte Blanche & Grace Family. She also worked at Bryant Family, Arrow & Branch, Paradigm & Kenzo alongside Heidi Barrett. Everywhere she worked with the elite, like Heidi Barrett & David Abreu. She also gained valuable experience in France and Australia. The 2019 vintage is “finger-licking-empty-that-glass-quick-great”!

Keplinger 2019 Sumo Petite Sirah “Shake Ridge Vineyard”
Regular 79.99 NOW 74.99 
FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more!
Use code KEPLINGER during checkout

OK to mix & match with other Keplinger wines

The inky hued 2019 Sumo (83% Petite Sirah, 11% Syrah, and 6% Viognier) reveals a lively bouquet of blue fruits, violets, peony, spiced meats, and bouquet garni. This full-bodied, rich, yet elegant Petite Sirah has building tannins, terrific purity and a great finish. It’s another brilliant wine from the Sierra Foothills.

Helen’s Tasting Notes: “Sumo is a Cote Rotie twist on Petite Sirah – Petite Sirah co-fermented with Viognier, and blended with a small amount of Syrah. The 2019 Sumo is a blend of 83% Petite Sirah, 11% Syrah, and 6% Viognier, all from the rocky, volcanic, impeccably-and-organically-farmed Shake Ridge Vineyard. The Petite comes from three blocks, one is 80% rock and produces small, thick-skinned berries with intense aromatics and dense structure. The second Petite block also has very rocky soil with a western exposure – the berries are ever so slightly larger and the skins slightly thinner (remember this is still Petite!), bringing a juicy elegance to the blend. The third Petite block is at the bottom of a north-facing block, and is all about vibrant, fresh fruit – the lifter of the trio. The 2019 Sumo has a deep, dark nose of brambly blackberry, blueberry jam, black licorice, black cherry stones, violets, cassis bud, cedar, and a hint of white pepper. The palate has a silky entry with seamless, velvet-textured tannins throughout to the finish, subtly framing the blue and black fruit, asphalt, cherry blossom, dried herb and spice flavors on the palate. 300 cases produced.”

Vinous 97 Points (2018): “The 2018 Sumo is remarkably polished for a Petite Syrah-based wine. Inky blue/purplish fruit, lavender, mint and spice fill out the layers effortlessly. Helen Keplinger has done a brilliant job taming the young Petite tannins. The Sumo is deep and potent, but not at all overdone or heavy. It is one of the most compelling wines I have tasted from Helen Keplinger.”

Keplinger 2019 Lithic GSM “Shake Ridge Vineyard”
Regular 79..99 NOW 74.99 
FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more!
Use code KEPLINGER during checkout 

OK to mix & match with other Keplinger wines

The Lithic is bright, energetic and pulsing with energy. Dark red and purplish berry fruit, rose petal, mint and spice all flesh out in this beautifully delineated Mourvèdre/Grenache/Syrah blend. Sweet floral notes reappear on the finish, adding a final kick of freshness. This is such a gorgeous wine.

Helen’s Tasting Notes: ”The 2019 Lithic is a blend of 38% Grenache, 36% Mourvedre, and 26% Syrah – all coming from Ann Kraemer’s incredible Shake Ridge Vineyard, situated at 1700’ in the Sierra Foothills of Amador County. Organically farmed to perfection, the extraordinary Sierra uplift soils, loaded with quartz, basalt, soapstone, and shale always combine to create wines of great purity, richness, and minerality. The Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah blocks are all on rock-filled slopes with excellent exposure and drainage. The hillside blocks were harvested in partial picks for optimal ripeness on four different dates, and combined into small co-fermentations, each with a different percentage of whole cluster grapes. The wine was aged in a combination of new (15%), once-used and neutral French Demi Muids for 18 months before being bottled without fining or filtration. The 2019 Lithic is deeply perfumed, with heady aromatics of lavender, boysenberry, strawberries, orange blossom, Darjeerling tea, leather, rose petal, and baking spices. The gorgeous, silky entry, opens to delicious flavors of red and purple fruits, clove, pot pourri, cinnamon stick, with a persistent to the ethereal, long finish. 295 cases produced.”

Jed Dunnuck 96 Points (2018): A darker, richer wine, the 2019 Lithic is a Southern Rhône-like blend of  38% Grenache, 36% Mourvedre, and 26% Syrah that’s all from a site in Amador County. Blackberries, smoked meats, pepper, and chocolate notes emerge from the glass, and it’s medium to full-bodied, with a rounded, seamless texture and terrific tannins. It’s a brilliant wine that will certainly stand up to any number of great Châteauneuf du Papes.

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SELLING FAST – One of the best UNDER $80 Napa Cabernets

The farming heritage runs deep at the Hayfork Ranch, as their great-great-great-grandfather, John Lewelling, a horticulturist by trade, settled the St. Helena family ranch in 1864. They started growing walnuts, prunes, pears and afterwards grapes; they have been continuously farming the land for six generations. The past two decades the Llewelling vineyard has been the source for many highly-rated wines in Napa.

The 2018 Hayfork arrived with a big WOW, it’s here! This wine has created a real following. The Lewelling estate (dating back to 1864) has been producing some of the most amazing Cabernet and Blends in the Napa Valley. Many wineries have been very successful with this fruit! Haley Wight’s version of the 2018 vintage is stunning! The wine is a blend of 96% Estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Petit Verdot. On the nose you are greeted by blue and black stone fruit, a touch of chocolate with a whiff of toasty vanilla. On the palate this full-body, lush youngster is loaded with bright blue and black fruit, coffee, anise and a touch sweet oak. The finish is long and pleasant. Limited production

Hayfork 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon “Lewelling Estate” Napa Valley
Retail 79.99
Use code HAYFORK upon checkout

Winemaker notes: “This standout vintage of the Hayfork Lewelling Ranch Cabernet is defined by vibrant fruit and lively spice. With decisive balance, notes of wild plum, apricot stone, and savory subtle cedar, this pretty cabernet thrills the pallet with its flirtatious exuberance. The 2018 is a blend of 96% Cabernet and 4% Petit Verdot.”

Robert Parker 94 Points:  ”A blend of 96% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Petit Verdot, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Lewelling Ranch was aged for 20 months in oak, 75% new. Deep garnet-purple in color, it leaps from the glass with lovely ripe blackcurrants, black raspberries and kirsch scents plus hints of dried herbs, pencil lead, menthol and Marmite toast. The full-bodied palate is coated with black fruit preserves, textured by velvety tannins. It has a delightful refreshing quality and finishes long and spicy”

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points: “Loads of pretty blue fruits, sappy herb, candied orange, and spring flower notes emerge from the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Lewelling Ranch. Medium to full-bodied, it has integrated acidity and a layered, textured, balanced style. Need a great Napa Cabernet under $100? Buy this.”

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Really… Another Great Thomas Rivers Brown Cabernet – The man does not stop!


Mending Wall Winery is a partnership between three owners: Frank Dotzler (one of the co-founders of Outpost Winery), Mark Pulido and Donna Walker (owners of Pulido-Walker Wine) and well-regarded winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown. That said, this venture continues to deliver “must-have” wines!

Mending Wall 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
GGWC 86.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
Use code MENDING during checkout

This wine is a real crowd pleaser! It offers up a deep garnet-purple color, and the aromas of black cherries, black currant and plums jump out of the glass. The wine is full-bodied, soft and juicy in the mouth, with purplish stone fruits, mocha, spice, chocolate flavors coating the lush palate. This wine is luscious, and has plenty of layers of character. It finishes with a long, perfumed finish.

Winemaker Notes: “After finding its stride in 2016 and 2017, the 2018 Mending Wall Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is no different. A vintage that delivered a plentiful crop with ideal growing conditions from start to finish allows this wine’s natural tannin, acidity, and complexity to shine through. An upfront bouquet of bright red fruit is identifiable early, giving way to dark blue and blackberry on the pallet. This is an approachable Napa Cabernet that is ready to be popped and poured!”

Also check out these other great Thomas Rivers Brown made wines

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Hidden Gem, A Scarecrow Cabernet at ⅓ its price

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

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

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

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

Also available in Magnums 

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A LIMITED Cali-Rhone Sensation, and we’ll throw in the shipping!

I was excited to hear that Prophetess was one of the top wines Robert Parker has ever tasted, and I have to wholeheartedly agree! Curt Schalchlin has been crafting some of the most amazing, well-priced, widely-praised Rhone blends for over a decade. His wines have made him (and me) many friends. The Prophetess bottling, Curt’ smallest bottling (215 cases only), sells out within weeks of its release! So don’t procrastinate!

Sans Liege XVIII/XIX Prophetess, Santa Barbara                     
GGWC 49.99  
FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more!
Use code SANSLIEGE checkout

Winemaker Notes: “You sit among the night violets near a freshly fallen tree and stare up at the midnight sky, waiting. Scents of huckleberry, cinnamon plum and dusty stones hang in the air. The din of chattering campers in the distance diminishes as you cradle a mug of mocha to stay warm. You hear a pinecone fall and then nothing. Calmness spreads now throughout the valley allowing you to see the meaning which looms in the patterns of the stars.”


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The Pirates invaded us…. JUST IN TIME 4 Halloween!

Captain Heidi Barrett: “Avast, mateys – it’s a new vintage of Pirate TreasuRed! The first year I worked on this wine, 2007, the result was not what I expected, but something even better. Because the original blend used seven varietals, the ‘Treasure of the Seven Seas’ idea was a natural inspiration for the Pirate name. Each year the blend changes slightly – 2017 is the first time we used just 4 varietals , so this year, for the first time, we present the ‘Treasure of the Four Seas’! It’s a big, dark, raucous blend, completely mouth filling and bold, yet made with finesse. It’s been a wonderful 11 vintages of spreading good Pirate cheer and of course, simply the best grog this side of Davey Jones’ Locker. We hope you love this latest edition of Pirate TreasuRed. Arrrrrr!”

La Sirena 2017 Pirate TreasurRed, Napa Valley
GGWC 69.99
Use coupon code PIRATE during check out

The 2017 Pirate TreasuRed is a dense garnet colored wine with layered, complex aromas of both black and red fruit, accented with spice notes and hints of leather, fragrant cedar wood, and sweet tobacco. A complex blend with interesting layers playing off of each other – each component playing its part in the symphony. A silky rich explosion across the palate, with medium tannins that are well-integrated, and a lingering finish that will make you want to come back for more. This intriguing blend is truly yummy and fun to drink, perfect for pairing with a variety of full-flavored food or bringing a swashbuckling spirit to any party or gathering.

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Owner and Winemaker Curt Schalchlin has been producing high-quality Rhone blends at a very respectable price level for years. Curt worked for some of the best winemakers in industry and went solo about over a decade ago, and the rest is history. Today Sans Liege has a worldwide fan base among my clients, as far as Japan, Europe and South America. The 2019 Sans Liege “The Offering” is by far the best release to date!

Sans Liege 2019 GSM The “Co-Ferment” Offering
Santa Barbara

FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more
Use code SANSLIEGE during check out

The Sans Liege The Co-Ferment” Offering (a blend of 53% Grenache, 37% Syrah,10% Mourvèdre) is a wine that captures the imagination and challenges expectations, it displays a beautiful purity and depth that is reminiscent of having a summer picnic in an ancient church. Resinous scents of black cherry cola, frankincense, fresh-peeled Clementine orange and vanilla extract lead to a well-structured and balanced palate of curried mix-berry cobbler, turmeric, dark chocolate cocoa nibs and black pepper with rocky, persistent tannins. Only 300 cases were produced!!

Winemaker Notes: The crisp air begins to make its way through your flannel as you slip your hatchet into a suede holster at your side. Collecting several pieces of freshly split red fir, you make your way towards the warm glow of the cabin. Once inside you smell green peppercorn and drying oregano – a basket of harvested rhubarb sits on the kitchen counter and lingonberry sauce simmers on the old stove. You settle into a cozy, velvet covered armchair and smile with anticipation for your holiday guests

Vineyard Sources:
Grenache: Kopack, Derby, Old Potrero; Syrah: White Hawk, Old Potrero; Mourvèdre: Alta Mesa


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In their 20th Anniversary, Coho releases its best Cabernet EVER, 96 Points, ONLY 147 cases produced


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 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Retail  79.99 –  GGWC 74.99
Use code COHO during checkout

FMW 96 Points: This might be the best Cabernet Sauvignon COHO has produced yet to date. A blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon (Sugarloaf) and 6% Petit Verdot (Chinn Vineyard). On the nose this wine shows its great character immediately. One is greeted by lush black currants and plums, hints of bittersweet chocolate and mocha and a whiff of anise. The palate of this multi-layered wine is amazingly polished and well-balanced. Gobs of black currant and chocolate coat this intense sultry body, leading into a very complex and long fish. This incredible undertaking will turn lots of heads! As always, very limited – ONLY 147 cases were produced! 

Also check out:
COHO 2016 Merlot “Michael Black” Coombsville, Napa Valley
COHO 2016 Headwaters Proprietary Red, Napa Valley 93 Points
COHO 2017 Pinot Noir “Stanly Ranch” Carneros Napa Valley

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

A 97 Point “Whale of a Wine” but sadly… A TINY PRODUCTION


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

Cattleya 2019 Pinot Noir “Belly of the Whale” Petaluma Gap, Sonoma
GGWC 84.99 net item

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points: “Coming from the Sonoma Coast, the 2019 Pinot Noir Belly Of The Whale is a more reserved, inward, and focused wine offering a beautiful blend of spiced red and black fruits intermixed with bouquet garni, crushed stone, and exotic spice-like aromas and flavors. More medium-bodied on the palate, it has a wonderful mid-palate, building yet perfectly ripe tannins, no hard edges, and a great, great finish. This is another remarkable wine from Bibiana González Rave. It will benefit from 2-3 years of bottle age and cruise for 10-15 years in cool cellars. Bravo!”

Bibiana’s Notes: ”The perfect combination of two distinct clones (50/50 of 777 and 667) has produced a Pinot Noir of unparalleled purity and depth of flavor. Enticing aromas of black cherry, baking spice and fig fill the air, as strawberry compote, plum, and Asian spice envelop the palate. In its infancy, this wine’s complex structure and bright acidity ensure a long life ahead.”

Also check out these other GREAT wines made by Bibiana Gonzalez Rave:
Cattleya 2019 Pinot Noir Cuvee #1
Cattleya 2019 Chardonnay Beyond TheThreshold
Cattleya 2018 Syrah”Initiation” 97 Points
Cattleya 2018 Cabernet “The Mentor” 98 Points
Cattleya 2018 Chardonnay Cuvee #5 – 94 POINTS
Cattleya 2020 Alma de Cattleya Sauvignon Blanc
Shared Notes 2020 Sauvignon Blanc Les pierres qui décident
Shared Notes 2020 Sauvignon Blanc Les Leçons des maîtres

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Carte Blanche Cabernet 97+ Points = “THE” Haut-Brion from Napa (really)


After the great  success with her own Keplinger label, Helen Keplinger is out of control (in a very good way)! The latest release of the 2018 Carte Blanche Cabernet showcases Helen’s amazing talents. Only a few hundred cases of this mind boggling wine were produced from this “next” Haut Brion of the Napa Valley! This wine over-delivers and the 97+ points is 2 ½ points shy of what it deserves!

The Dillon family has been in the wine business for nearly a century, since Nick Allen’s great grandfather, Clarence Dillon, acquired Chateau Haut-Brion in 1935 and the family company, Domaine Clarence Dillon subsequently purchased Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion in 1983. This was Nick’s inspiration to produce his own boutique label in Napa – Carte Blanche.

Carte Blanche 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon “Beckstoffer” Napa Valley
GGWC 154.99 net item

Robert Parker 97+ Points: “The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper Vineyard is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Featuring a deep garnet-purple color, it sashays out of the glass with gregarious notions of baked plums, warm cassis and blueberry compote with suggestions of kirsch, dusty soil and Indian spices. The palate is full-bodied and laden with bright, lively, energetic black fruits, supported with firm, super ripe tannins and finishing on a persistent exotic spice note.”

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points: “Lastly, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper Vineyard comes from a great site in Oakville that continues to fly slightly under the radar yet produces brilliant wines. Incredible cassis, graphite, damp earth, and violet notes emerge from the glass, and this full-bodied beauty offers plenty of high-end oak, ripe, seamless tannins, and flawless balance. It just screams of Cabernet. There’s no harm drinking bottles today, but I’d nevertheless recommend a solid 4-5 years of bottle age. It should keep for two-plus decades.”

Winery Notes: “The 2018 Carte Blanche Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% varietal makeup. Sitting in the southwest corner of Oakville and at the base of the Mayacamas, Missouri Hopper Vineyard, owned by Andy Beckstoffer, is the home of our Cabernet Sauvignon. A super perfumed nose shows violets, red currant, black cherry, and boysenberry, underpinned by savory graphite and beautiful cassis.  A silky and plush entry opens broadly across the palate showing high notes of red currant and hints of cherry, to dark fruited blackberry and boysenberry, all seamlessly integrated with forest floor, graphite and cacao woven through the everlasting finish”

Helen Keplinger (winemaker) Notes: “Stunning color in the glass, an electrifying nose showcases black currants, cassis, cigar box and red fruit. The palate is opulent, plush and structured with integrated sweet tannins showcasing notes of dark blackberry, black cherry, and bittersweet chocolate dance through an everlasting and strong finish.”

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



By Dwight Furrow
from Edible Arts
The evidence that pairing music with wine can enhance one’s tasting experience continues to mount since I last visited this topic in 2017. A research team headed by Q.J. Wang showed that, in a winery tasting room, wines tasted with a soundtrack chosen to enhance oak-derived flavors were rated as significantly fruitier and smoother than the same wines tasted in silence. Master of Wine, Susan Lin wrote her thesis on the effects of music on the taste and mouthfeel of Brut Non-Vintage Champagne. And Jo Burzynska’s published research includes a paper entitled “Tasting the Bass,” which investigates the effects of lower frequency sound on the perceived weight and body of a New Zealand Pinot Noir and a Spanish Garnacha. The study also measured the influence of pitch on aromatic intensity and the perception of acidity.

This recent research is on top of the earlier studies in which test subjects show statistically significant agreement about which wine goes best with music samples presented to them (cross-modal correspondence); and that the right music can influence specific aspects of the tasting experience, such as perception of sweetness, flavor notes, perceived acidity, and level of astringency (cross-modal influence).

For instance, in one study by British music psychologist Adrian North, subjects were offered a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Chardonnay. After rating the wines along four dimensions—powerful and heavy, subtle and refined, zingy and refreshing, and mellow and soft—they tasted the wines while listening to music chosen to highlight each dimension. Both wines were scored significantly higher on the powerful/heavy metric by those who listened to the powerful/heavy music (Orff’s Carmina Burana) and the same effect was found with the other dimensions tested. The music had similar effects on both red and white wines and was independent of whether the subjects liked the wine. There is now almost 30 years of research leading to the same conclusion. Music can enhance our appreciation of wine. This is not surprising given the evidence that all variety of environmental and contextual factors from weather to the sound of popping a cork influence the taste of a wine.

The debates about why wine and music pairing works are ongoing. Perhaps music directs our attention to specific properties of the wine. Perhaps music influences our mood making us more sensitive to olfactory and flavor stimulation. Perhaps specific musical pieces and particular wines share a common metaphorical attribute that the music primes us to perceive in the wine. Perhaps the congruence between a wine and a musical piece helps us more efficiently process the faint and complex sensory signals we get from a wine. My sense is that all of these factors are at work.

But I want to focus on why pairing wine and music is worth doing. We routinely pair wine with food, a practice that some people find fraught with worries about doing it right. Why add music pairing to the tasting experience? The importance of providing the right background music in restaurants and tasting rooms is clear. But why should individual consumers think about the music that accompanies their enjoyment of a wine?

Sonic Seasoning

One reason is obvious. If music can influence positively or negatively how we experience a wine, it is important to avoid music that will damage one’s tasting experience. The quickest route to disappointment in that elegant, well-aged Chateau Margaux 2000 that sells in the neighborhood of $1000 per bottle is to pair it with music from early Nine Inch Nails, even if you really like Nine Inch Nails. Pairing it with a sonata for piccolo would be even more damaging. The wrong music can make a wine taste thin, harsh, or clunky.

But there are positive reasons for pairing wine with music. The empirical research makes clear that music can influence how we perceive a wine’s balance—the relationship between fruit or sweetness, acidity, tannins, and alcohol. A Cabernet Sauvignon that is rough and astringent can appear more elegant and supple when paired with music that matches the wine’s intensity and power. A too-tart Sauvignon Blanc might acquire a hint of sweetness when paired with the right Prélude from Debussy. Most of us cannot afford to drink wines that are exquisitely harmonious except on special occasions. Most everyday wines are less than perfectly balanced and applying the “sonic seasoning” of an appropriately paired piece of music improves the experience. Music cannot add something to a wine that is not there—it won’t make a simple wine more complex or extend the finish of a fruity Beaujolais Nouveau. It won’t dramatically boost the aromatic intensity of a mute wine or turn sandpaper into silk. But it will shift the balance point of a wine toward better integration by shifting our attention to a wine’s strengths while suppressing its flaws.

But music and wine pairing is not limited to improving budget wines. Even wines that are well balanced benefit from congruent music that shares textural features and emotional resonance with the wine.

Harmony and Integration

In order to understand how music pairing can enhance quality wine, we need to make a distinction between balance and harmony. Although there are exceptions, most premium wines (priced above about $20) produced for immediate consumption are balanced. They have an appropriate relationship between the structural components of the wine, so nothing stands out as too much. This is not to say every individual will find every wine balanced. We all have our individual preferences and winemakers will have their own aesthetic aims they seek to achieve. But most premium wines today fall within an acceptable range, regarding their balance, given what is typical for the varietal, region, style, and vintage.

But a balanced wine is not necessarily a harmonious wine.

Many wines are balanced but don’t leave an impression of cohesive activity. The structural elements of the wine stay out of the way of each other and nothing stands out as “too much,” but there is little impression of interaction among the elements. By contrast some wines will seem alive because their components are interacting, accentuating each other but in a way that seems notably consonant. That is harmony. When the acidity is freshening the fruit and the fruit is softening the angularity of the acidity and the dryness of the tannins; and when the tannins provide a foundation that lengthens the taste experience, the wine evolving through many stages with no jarring sensations in the transitions, that is the beginning of harmony. But just the beginning.

Harmony is intimately related to complexity. When wines are simple there is not much there to harmonize. But when complexity is added to the picture the possibility of a unified story, a larger whole that the elements contribute to, emerges. Great wines have tension and paradox. They display nervous energy yet feel fluent and supple. They exhibit power and delicacy, profundity, and charm. Yet, despite the contrasts, it all feels well put together in a unified whole effortlessly achieved.

Pairing wine with the right music can make a balanced wine seem harmonious and make a harmonious wine really sing. The structure of the wine seems to have more activity and integration. The music helps draw the structural components together, so they seem like they are communicating with each other. Even excellent wines benefit from being paired with music.

Affective Engagement

We know that music is effectively absorbing. Our internal states resonate with music. Unlike vision’s sense of touching things out there, at a distance from one’s lived center, sonorous experience is of events that seem to happen within consciousness. Although we are aware that the sound might be coming from an object, we experience the sound as taking place within us because, in a sense, it is taking place inside us. And because sound is fleeting and always changing, the experience of sound requires a relationship of openness and empathy in order to follow it. Listening to music is a form of participation. If the music is pleasant it can generate a feeling of merging with the music rather than separation from it. Thus, it is common when listening to music to feel that one’s internal states are in some sort of sympathetic motion with the music. Calm music can make us feel calm. Energetic music makes us want to move, etc. These are often unconscious effects. Music seems to directly influence the motor cortex of the brain and the parts of our nervous system that regulate mood. Sometimes we may experience particular emotions or moods when listening to music but often it’s just a feeling of our internal affective states being attuned to the music, of being caught up in and participating in the music’s motion.

As I argued in more detail in Beauty and the Yeast, we can have similar experiences with wine although they are less accessible than with music. Wine does not affect the motor cortex in the way music does. But, nevertheless, we can gain a sense of intimacy with the evolution of a wine and the changes in its textural properties because, of course, the wine is literally inside us as well. Because wine shares with music this capacity to create a sense of intimacy, congruence between a wine and specific musical works enhance that sense of intimacy. This is not about making the wine better. The wine is perfectly fine on its own. It is about making our experience of it more vibrant, intimate, and less distant. The focus and quality of our attention to a wine is enhanced by music, and the more levels of correspondence there are between the wine and the music the more engrossing the experience is.

Enhanced Understanding of Wine

One by-product of this effective engagement and sense of integration is that music can help us better understand the structure of a wine. Pairing music with wine is not a mechanical process and subtle differences in wines can require different pairing strategies. I have never found a foolproof way of predicting what will work ahead of time and there is a good deal of trial and error in finding a good match. By trying out various possibilities for which piece of music is most congruent with a wine, we often discover something we hadn’t noticed about the wine’s structure. We learn which structural element of the wine is in danger of being out of balance and discover hidden dimensions of a wine that the right piece of music can make more available. Complex wines have more going on in them than we can take in with one sniff or taste and will show different dimensions over the course of an evening or with the right food. Adding music to the mix increases the factors that can expose these various dimensions.

A More Holistic Experience

Finally, in traditional aesthetics we tend to focus on a single sensory object as the locus of aesthetic attention. But the confluence of many sensory objects that create an atmosphere also has aesthetic properties. Adding the appropriate music to a gathering where people are interacting, enjoying food and wine, situated at a time of day, within a seasonal weather pattern, in an appealing visual context, all of which have meaning for the assembled creates a multisensory, holistic experience that ought to receive more attention as an aesthetic object. The wine and the music together are an integral part of that experience.

Wine and music have parallels and similarities that make them natural partners in creating aesthetic experiences. Next month I will explain how to begin pairing wine with music.


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LAST CALL – A Modern Day California Bubbly that will “tickle” the palate, and not hurt your wallet!


Carboniste is a new, very exciting sparkling wine project by husband and wife duo, Jacqueline and Dan Person. Dan was the longtime assistant winemaker Schramsberg (Napa Valley’s oldest & premium Sparkling wine producer) and quite some years at Larkmead. His wife worked as an invested consultant for a large winery. Together they decided to start something on their own, and handcraft some “modern-day” Sparkling wines. The packaging alone is innovative and fun!

Carboniste 2020 Rose of Pinot Noir, Sparkling Wine
GGWC 31.99
Use code CARBONISTE during checkout

The Carboniste 2020 Sparkling Rosé of Pinot Noir is a fun and fresh sparkling wine with aromas of wild strawberry and guava. It pairs well with a wide range of fresh foods including uni (sea urchin).

Vineyards: This wine is assembled from a range of cool-climate vineyards from which we source our Pinot noir and Chardonnay including the Santa Cruz Mountains and Marin County. We consider these to be the best appellations in California for sparkling wine, and we carefully select barrels that help us create this unique sparkling rosé.

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


Never mind the six million album covers around the world that feature Andy Katz’s photographs, or his dozen books of gorgeous photos that grace countless coffee tables around the country, or the many awards on his mantel earned from five decades of work around the world. It was all an excuse. An excuse to drink world class wine. To learn what it takes to make world class wine. And to spend time with his young son Jesse. Andy brought Jesse to the most famous vineyards on earth, from the heart of Burgundy to the hills of Tuscany. He may not have admitted it at the time, but Andy’s gambit worked. Barely a decade later, Jesse is now one of the most exciting — and accomplished — winemakers in the world, recently gracing the cover of Wine Enthusiast as a rising young star who is doing nothing less than “changing the way the world drinks.” The son of a man who, through his photographs, changes the way the world sees wine. And the rest… is history as they say.

Aperture 2019 Bordeaux Blend, Alexander Valley
GGWC 59.99 net item

Robert Parker 97 Points: “The 2019 Bordeaux Red Blend is a barrel sample composed of 40% Malbec, 34% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Deep ruby-purple in color, the nose bursts with lilac perfume, Morello cherries, cured meats, star anise, tar and a mineral undercurrent. The palate is pixelated and lifted with glorious perfume lingering on the very long finish.”

Winemaker Notes: “For this vintage, we crafted a distinct Bordeaux blend, composed dominantly of Malbec and Merlot and delicately balanced by smaller inclusion of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and petit verdot. The ripe fruit characters are structured by seamless tannins, showcasing an elegant density to the blend. The 2019s are expressive in their youth and are drinking beautifully with a decant now, and will only continue to reward with cellaring.”

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When Bordeaux and California Meet … California takes the Crown!

Shared Notes is a winemaking joint-venture between wife and husband, Bibiana Gonzalez Rave (Cattleya, and former Pahlmeyer & Wayfarer winemaker) and Jeff Pisoni (Pisoni, Lucia, Luli, etc. winemaker). Both had early desires of making wine, and spent most of their lives doing so. The year 2012, however, marked the first vintage that they produced together. Previously, during the grape harvest, Bibiana and Jeff were like the proverbial ships passing in the night. Early grape picks and late nights at the winery left them rarely crossing paths. Now, Bibiana and Jeff cross paths—to discuss ideas and taste samples. You can sometimes catch them in front of a grapevine, the press, a fermenting tank, or a barrel… most likely with a glass in hand.

Shared Notes 2020 Sauvignon Blanc
Les Leçons des Maîtres, Russian River Valley

GGWC 69.99 net item  
FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more
Use code SHAREDNOTES during checkout

Ok to  mix & match with other Shared Notes SB

This wine is a White blend inspired by the cellar masters of Bordeaux and their dedication to Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Classically Bordeaux to its core, the 2020 Shared Notes Les Leçons des Maîtres harmonizes the finest aspects of both the Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon varietals. Crushed white peach, Bosc pear, and honeysuckle fill the glass as this youthful, shimmering light green wine starts to breathe with each swirl. Flavors of stone fruits, ripe melon, and lemon zest combine with mineral driven notes of crushed rock and sea air to form a precise, yet complex profile. Vibrant, mouthwatering acidity dances on the palate, while generous volume and texture from aging peacefully on its lees provides an unmistakable richness. 

Bibiana’s Tasting notes: A true homage to this legendary Bordeaux blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, the 2020 Shared Notes Les Leçons des Maîtres is a stunning example of the old adage that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Incredibly bright notes of Key lime, crisp pear, and grapefruit are enveloped with generous, rich aromas of honeysuckle and juicy white peach. As this wine coats the palate, flavors of nectarine and citrus zest are given added volume and supple texture through the inclusion of Semillon and the wines extended lees contact in new French oak barrels. Though a true delight when consumed in its infancy, the lessons of these masters will surely continue to evolve and mature well into the next decade.

Vineyard Sources: Ritchie, Kick Ranch & Merino Vineyards

Also check out these other wines by Bibiana:

Cattleya 2019 Pinot Noir Cuvee #1
Cattleya 2019 Chardonnay Beyond TheThreshold
Cattleya 2018 Syrah”Initiation” 97 Points
Cattleya 2018 Cabernet “The Mentor” 98 Points
Cattleya 2018 Chardonnay Cuvee #5 – 94 POINTS
Cattleya 2020 Alma de Cattleya Sauvignon Blanc

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

The “almost perfect” scoring Carter Cellars portfolio is now in stock

Late fall is always a time of excitement, many great Cabernets reach the “shores” of Golden Gate Wine Cellars. Among them Carter Cellars, crafted by my friend and ace-winemaker Mike Smith. The current “stash” of 2019, although amazing in quality, are unfortunately very small in the quantity department. I came up with some “mixed offer packs” of these stunning wines. I know I will not make everyone happy, but I will try my hardest. Please don’t take it out on the messenger! Mother nature yielded way less for Carter, so I got less! Most of the 2019 Carter wines scored 96-99 points, so again not a bad run!

We are offering it as a mixed six-pack, and (2) mixed four-packs
This six-pack consists of 1 bottle each of:
Beckstoffer To Kalon ‘The Grand Daddy’ (97 Points)
Beckstoffer To Kalon ‘The Three Kings’ (98 Points)
Beckstoffer Las Piedras ‘La BAM’ (98 Points)
Carter “Estate” Cabernet (99 Points)
Fortuna Vineyard Cabernet (97 Points)
Hossfeld Coliseum Red Blend (96 Points)
This four-pack consists of 1 bottle each of:

Beckstoffer To Kalon ‘The Grand Daddy’ (97 Points)
Beckstoffer Las Piedras ‘La BAM’ (98 Points) 
Carter “Estate” Cabernet (99 Points)  
Fortuna Vineyard  Cabernet (97 Points)  
This four-pack consists of 1 bottle each of:
Beckstoffer To Kalon ‘The Three Kings’ (98 Points)
Carter “Estate” Cabernet (99 Points)
Fortuna Vineyard Cabernet (97 Points)
Hossfeld Coliseum Red Blend (96 Points)

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

A Zin for Cabernet lovers

Named after Jack Ireland, one of the area’s earliest (and rumor has it, most rebellious) settlers. Now only the tattered remnants of Jack’s house remain on the Mauritson family’s property, along with a myriad of urban legends surrounding its history. The vineyard is planted at nearly 950 ft in elevation, the Jack’s Cabin Vineyard is one of the premier sites of Rockpile. It has a southern sun exposure and is planted with the meandering natural slope of the bench. Relatively hidden from the coastal breezes that howl through Rockpile, this vineyard is the least stressed of all the blocks.

Rockpile 2017 “Jack’s Cabin” Zinfandel by Mauritson
GGWC 49.99 
Use code ROCKPILE during checkout

The Jack’s Cabin Zinfandel is very classic in its aromatic offerings: crushed black cherry, milk chocolate shavings, sweet baking spices and nuances of dried old-fashion rose petals. The juicy entry reveals fresh red currants and black raspberries, black tea leaf and dusty soil. Full-bodied with a plush texture, it finishes with great focus and clarity. Please enjoy it over the next 5-7 years.

WS 93 Points: “Deeply aromatic, this offers hints of bouillon, meat and grilled mushroom, earthy and profuse. The palate delves deeper into rich dark chocolate and baking spice, complemented by vanilla oak and a hint of cola. Robust tannins give it additional power and density within balanced acidity and length.”

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Archaeologists say earthquake caused sudden disuse of Canaanite wine palace

Archaeologists say earthquake caused sudden disuse of Canaanite wine palace

By Stuart Winer
from The Times of Israel


Wine cellar room at the Tel Kabri archaeological site.

A joint Israeli-US team of archaeologists say they may have finally uncovered what caused the sudden abandonment of an ancient Canaanite palace well-stocked with wine — and the culprit was an earthquake.

Research at the Tel Kabri site in the Western Galilee region was co-directed by Assaf Yasur-Landau, a professor of Mediterranean archaeology at the University of Haifa, and Eric Cline, a professor of classics and anthropology at the George Washington University, the US university said in a statement Friday.

Excavations were carried out at the 75-acre site, located on land belonging to Kibbutz Kabri that contains a Canaanite palace and city dating to 1900-1700 BCE.

“We wondered for several years what had caused the sudden destruction and abandonment of the palace and the site, after centuries of flourishing occupation,” Yasur-Landau said in the George Washington University statement.

A breakthrough came last year when a trench previously uncovered at the site was mapped and found to extend further than initially thought as well as containing key archaeological evidence that appeared to show the land had moved.

A building with a trench running through it at the Tel Kabri archaeological site.
(Tel Kabri research team via the University of Haifa)

“We opened up a new area and found that the trench continued for at least 30 meters, with an entire section of a wall that had fallen into it in antiquity, and with other walls and floors tipping into it on either side,” Yasur-Landau said. 

“It really looks like the earth simply opened up and everything on either side of it fell in,” Cline said. “It’s unlikely that the destruction was caused by violent human activity because there are no visible signs of fire, no weapons such as arrows that would indicate a battle, nor any unburied bodies related to combat. We could also see some unexpected things in other rooms of the palace, including in and around the wine cellar that we excavated a few years ago.”

There are also no signs of drought that would cause residents to leave, or a mass burial site that would point to an epidemic, according to the study, which was published in the PLOS ONE online journal.

Ruth Shahack-Gross, a professor of geoarchaeology at the University of Haifa and a co-author on the study, said that the rapid collapse, rather than a slow accumulation of building fallen materials as found in an abandoned building, indicates “one or more earthquakes could have destroyed the walls and the roof of the palace without setting it on fire.”

Researchers found warped plaster floors, tilted walls and mud bricks that had collapsed into rooms, sometimes quickly burying large jars, dozens of which were discovered.

Michael Lazar, the lead author of the study, described the difficulties in recognizing past earthquakes at sites with little stone masonry and where ancient builders had used degradable construction materials such a sun-baked brick and wattle-and-daub.

At Tel Kabri there were remains of stone foundations and also of mud-brick superstructures.


Tel Kabri wine cellar with numbered jars (
photo courtesy: Assaf Yasur-Landau)

“Our studies show the importance of combining macro- and micro-archaeological methods for the identification of ancient earthquakes,” Lazar said in the statement. “We also needed to evaluate alternative scenarios, including climatic, environmental and economic collapse, as well as warfare, before we were confident in proposing a seismic event scenario.”

An earlier excavation in 2013 found 40 jars in a storage room of the palace, making it one of the oldest and largest wine cellars discovered in the Near East. Analysis revealed the jars had contained wine.

Since then the dig has uncovered four additional storage rooms and at least another 70 jars in the collapsed building.

A statement Sunday from the University of Haifa said that previous excavations had shown the palace was equipped with “magnificent halls” and other evidence, including meat consumption, pointed to a life of luxury that “testified to immense wealth, murals that testified to trade and cultural ties with Minoan Crete and the Aegean islands.”

In particular, “huge wine cellars where many dozens of large wine jugs were discovered, which contained red wine to which resin and plant extracts were added.”

The archaeologists noticed that the wine jars were all smashed in the storage area and there was evidence that the wine poured into the building’s drainage system.

“When you add to all this evidence the geology of the area: the fact that the place is on a fault, there are four springs on the same line, which can indicate an active fault, and on other geological findings the explanation of an earthquake is greatly strengthened,” Lazar said in the Sunday statement and added that he hopes the team may eventually be able to calculate the strength of the earthquake.

The team, which was funded by the National Geographic society and the Israel Science Foundation, hopes its methods can be used to identify earthquake damage at other archaeological sites.

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