May
11
2019

Wine is NOT Rocket Science… or is it?

John Caldwell grew up in Napa into a family that ran a shoe business. John eventually turned the one business into many more.  Living in Napa and making money, he purchased 54 acres of land and had plans to develop some homes.  Unfortunately that backfired and now he was “stuck” with 54 acres of dirt.  He had been on trips to France, and one thing let to another that he was going to start a vineyard.  On one of his trips he decided that the only way to get vines from France was to smuggle them into the country.  With the help of some friends in New York and Canada he started to bring in vines from Haut Brion.  Unfortunately on his last of 5 trips he got caught by customs agents.  They wound up confiscating his last load, but John got lucky that via a lawyer friend he was released with a warning and a fine.  His 4300 vines were in a barn in Napa and that started the success story that Caldwell Vineyard would become years later.

Part II: In the mid-late 90’s I met John and we tasted through some barrels, when he said, you know this is not “Rocket Science”!  At that time, Philippe Melka was his winemaker, and the next day Melka asked him what that “blend” was all about that he made the day before.  That said, John created “Rocket Science” under my eyes and a new brand was born. So many years later, I am still a big fan of this wine, and his first retail account

Caldwell 2016 “Rocket Science” Red Napa Valley
GGWC 71.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
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A voluptuous nose is dominated by black raspberry, black currant, ripe blueberries, black olive, cassis, clove and white pepper. A raspberry attack leads into a full, juicy mouth of ripe plum and cherry. The structured cocoa tannins gives way to a long finish of chocolate covered strawberries.

The 2016 Rocket Science is a blend of 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petit Verdot, 12% Syrah, 10% Malbec, 5% Tannat, 5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Carménère, 5% Merlot

Winemaker Notes: “The only sure way to know you’ve got a supernova in your sights is to do a diagnostic… fragrant spices, explosive fruit, finish like a long-tail comet… check. This high-octane vintage draws you in with inviting aromas of raspberry, plum, anise, and rose petals lighting up the red spectrum. Cocoa, leather, and fresh black tea fill in the darker side. Fluid dynamics take over with a full-throttle cherry attack. Mellow, sweet tannins carry the day while this wine’s long, pomegranate finish streaks across the sky with nothing to stop it but another sip.”

Click here, call 415-337-4083 or email frank@goldengatewinecellars.com to order!

May
10
2019

Wine of the Year Source at a fraction the cost!

Kanzler is still a winery floating below the radar, but that will chance soon!.  As you might know Kosta Browne received Top Honors a few yeas ago WINE OF THE YEAR in the Top 100 of Wine Spectator with their Pinot Noir, and the fruit was sourced from…. You guessed it KANLZER!  That said, the Kanzler folks are not walking in the clouds after that review but have been acknowledged as one of the best growers of Pinot Noir in California.  Their latest bottling is truly amazing and a fraction the cost of Kosta Browne!

Kanzler 2017 Pinot Noir “Estate” Russian River Valley
GGWC 64.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6
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The 2017 Kanzler Pinot is complex, multilayered and sure to be a crowd pleaser. It showcases classic Russian River Valley depth, texture, and lushness, while also being taunt, elegant and almost weightless on the mid-palate. The wine glides across the palate leaving bursts of fruit, spice, earth, and oak that echo into a sustained finish. Most tasting notes were taken after the bottle had been open for about 16 hours and the wine is still developing. Give the 2017s a hearty decant or open the night before enjoying. This wine is a wonderful sipper but during tasting my mind immediately goes to grilled meats cooked on an open fire, ideally on the gamey side like a leg of lamb with rosemary and garlic; or pork belly with black soy.

The wine is a blend of 70% Kanzler Estate, 22% Walker Station, 6% Mes Filles, 2% Wind Horse

Winemaker Notes: “A virtual potpourri of aromatics including strawberry and tart cranberry fruit, Darjeeling tea, red licorice, and earthy clay and mushroom notes make for a delightful nose. The wine hits the palate with classic Pinot Noir velvety texture. A burst of crisp acidity, framing plum, strawberry and rhubarb fruit sets up camp in the mid-palate and persists into a long distinctive finish with echoes of bacon, rosemary, anise, and toasty French oak. A complex and compelling wine.”

CALL 415-337-4083 or email frank@goldengatewinecellars.com to order!

May
9
2019

This 125 case Hidden Napa Cab Gem will not break the bank!

This ONE acre vineyard located next to Grace Family in St. Helena has been putting out some amazing wine over the past couple of years.  All courtesy of a 100 Point winemaker who turned this little piece of dirt in a pile of gold flakes!  The winery is owned by four friends, neighbors, the Martin and Croshaw families, thus MC4! The 2016 vintage marks the eight release from this great venture and I am proud to serve it up!

MC4 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate  St. Helena
GGWC 79.99
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I was happily surprised how well this youngster showed from the get-go.  Bold and bright flavors on the nose of palate – black stone fruit, chocolate and espresso beans jump out of the glass and tease the palate.  Great density, yet well-balanced and elegant showcasing the intensity of a linebacker and the elegance of a ballerina – translated bold flavors, great body and a elegant long-fine-grained finished that finishes with silky tannins.  Another great achievement from one of Napa’s smallest vineyards.

94 Points Parker:  The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon sports a medium to deep garnet-purple color and nose of crushed wild blueberries, black cherries and mulberries with touches of cigar box, baking spices and dark chocolate plus a waft of sage. Medium to full-bodied, the palate features appealing restraint, with taut, muscular fruit and fantastic tension, finishing long and softly textured.”

Click here or on the links above to order!

May
8
2019

French Laundry’s Syrah Favorite

Site is the new venture from  Jeremy Weintraub (longtime Seavey winemaker).  He sources from the best “Sites” in California.  This latest Syrah is just a good example.  The 2015 Site is sourced from the Bien Nacido Vineyard.  Bien Nacido Vineyard would be considered “Grand Cru” if they were located in France.
Site’s list of accolades is quite impressive as well: “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 Vineyardsby Food & Wine, etc.”

Site 2015 Syrah, Bien Nacido Santa Barbara
GGWC 54.99
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Winemaker Notes: “The 2015 Site Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyards was fermented and aged in a combination of puncheons and hogheads. The wine features a nose of blackberries, blueberries, crushed white peppercorns, cocoa and flowers. The mouth is full-bodied, with ample soft tannin and juicy acidity.”

Robert Parker 95 Points: “Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2015 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard has a chocolate covered cherries and violets-scented nose with suggestions of licorice, garrigue and menthol. The palate is rich and full-bodied, chock full of black fruit and spicy goodness and is well-supported by ripe, rounded tannins, finishing with great length and harmony.”

CALL 415-337-4083 or email frank@goldengatewinecellars.com to order!

May
7
2019

Former Spottswoode Winemaker’s Expressive Grenache that will wow you!

Winemaker/owner Rosemary Cakebread has earned her stripes after 30 years in the Napa Valley (Spottswoode, etc.).  She created the Gallica label in 2007 and has been producing amazing Cabernets, Rhone Blends and Albarino.  The 2017 Grenache might be here best offer yet to date.  STUNNING I’d say!

Gallica 2017 Grenache “Rossi Ranch” Sonoma Valley
GGWC 54.99
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Vinous: “The 2017 Grenache Rossi Ranch is fleshy and supple, with plenty of racy fruit and floral notes that offer a good bit of freshness from the decision to bottle on the early side. The inclusion of 30% stems helps to further bring out perfume in this super-expressive Grenache.”

Winery Notes: Our one hundred percent Grenache is sourced from Rossi Ranch in the heart of Sonoma Valley. Owned by Sandy Otellini and farmed by Phil Coturri, the fine clay loam soils are perfect for growing this wondrously aromatic red grape. Laced with wild strawberry but also nuanced with wooly thyme and wet stone. Burgundian in character and winemaking, fermentation occurs in open top tanks with just enough stems to perfect elegant tannins. The soft ruby color is deceptive, there is grip and amplitude to these wines that grabs our attention.

CALL 415-337-4083 or email frank@goldengatewinecellars.com to order!

May
6
2019

Kosta Browne at ½ the Price & FREE SHIPPING TOO!

Entering the wine industry 18 years ago as a harvest intern, Shane Finley has literally started at the bottom and worked his way to the top. After spending several seasons as an intern in California, Australia, and the Northern Rhône, Shane became Cellar Master at Copain Custom Crush. While there he had the opportunity to work closely with many notable winemakers including  Dumol, Carlisle, Pisoni Estate and Copain. He later took positions as Assistant Winemaker for Paul Hobbs Winery and then Associate  and Assistant Winemaker at Kosta Browne Wines.

Today Shane continues to work with Dan Kosta and Emeril Lagasse (headwinmaker at their Alden Alli winery) as well as being owner and winemaker of his own Shane Wine Cellars.

Shane 2016 Pinot Noir “Soixante et Onze” Sonoma Coast
GGWC 49.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
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The 2016 Shane “Soixante et Onze” Pinot Noir is an old school Sonoma Coast offering from vines planted in 1971 (thus … Soixante et Onze… in French) It masterfully combines subtlety and verve.  The bright aromatics meld with firm tannins and tangy acidity to create a Pinot Noir unlike any I have produced. This wine is made from forty-seven year old, dry-farmed vines planted in sandy loam soil. The robust Martini heritage selection of Pinot Noir creates an old world fashioned yet new world expressive wine.

Winemaker Notes: Exhibiting an inviting ruby color, the 2016 Soixante et Onze is a focused and dynamic Pinot Noir.  Its delicate aromatics emit subtle cranberry, rose petal, and black tea accents.  The firm mid-palate exhibits fine tannins (from the thirty-three percent whole cluster stem inclusion) and is highlighted by pomegranate, fennel, and light strawberry tones.  Vibrant acidity elevates the supple finish with elements of Bing cherry, graphite, and blackberry.

CALL 415-337-4083 or email frank@goldengatewinecellars.com to order!

May
5
2019

How to Talk About the Way Wine Tastes Without Sounding Like a Jerk!

How to Talk About the Way Wine Tastes Without Sounding Like a Jerk

You can talk about wine without annoying yourself and the people around you. We’ll show you the way.
By Alex Delany in Bon Apetit

Photo by Ted Cavanaugh

It’s easy to sound pretentious when you’re talking about wine. As a person who works in the food and booze world, I’m always nervous about crossing a line when I’m describing whatever is in my glass. Despite my best intentions, I sometimes hear wine words coming out of my mouth and have an out-of-body experience. “Hey, uh, you’re sounding a little insufferable, dude,” I say to myself. I don’t want to be that guy. And neither do you.

And while there’s really no need to forth in lofty and obtuse terms about the wine you’re drinking to everyone in earshot, learning to talk about the way that wine tastes is still really important. Why? Because being able to describe the qualities you like in wine is the only way that a restaurant server or an employee at your local wine store is going to be able to steer you in the right direction. I’m not going to end up with a high-acid, light-bodied red wine in my glass if I just ask for “red wine.” Mind reading technology hasn’t been invented yet. That’s the unfortunate truth.

The fortunate truth, however, is that you don’t have to sound like a snob to talk about wine. You don’t have to possess an abstract, sommelier-level vocabulary or encyclopedic knowledge of vineyard names. You just have to be able to tell someone what it is that you like to drink. And while that may seem like a daunting task at the moment, it’s actually way easier than you think. All you need to know are a few terms and your own preferences. You won’t sound annoying, and you might even sound like you know what you’re talking about—and you’re 100 percent more likely to find yourself drinking something that’s right up your alley. Here’s some basic wine terms that’ll help you get the grape juice you really want.

Body

We have to use one of the worst words ever to talk about body: mouthfeel. Yuck! But mouthfeel—or how wine feels in your mouth—is what we’re talking about when we talk about body. Some wines have a light body, which feels thinner and more like water in your mouth. These are probably the type of wines you want to drink with super-spicy food, or when you’re sitting on a picnic blanket, or when you just want to throw back a few glasses at a party. Other wines have a heavier body, which will feel richer, heavier, and almost silky in your mouth. These are the type of wines that you want to sip on slowly, maybe next to a fire and maybe while stroking your chin and pondering life’s more serious questions.

Acidity/Sweetness

As is the case with food, acidity and sweetness are always playing off of one another in wine. Most wines will have some degree of both, but how a particular wine tastes will have everything to do with the balance between the two. A wine can have quite a bit of sugar left in the bottle after fermentation, but it might not taste “sweet” because it has a ton of lemon-lime tartness that edges out that sugar on your palate; likewise, a wine can have the tiniest bit of sugar that is very prominent because there isn’t any acid to balance it out. Regardless, wines that have a lot of acidity tend to taste lively and bright, and have a mouthwatering quality that begs for another sip, while less acidic wines tend to be smoother, denser, and more round.

Fruit

Wine is made from grapes. I’m sure you already knew that. But through some miracle of fermentation, wine tastes not just like grapes, but cherries, apples, watermelon, raspberries, peaches, and just about every other kind of fruit imaginable as well. While zeroing in on specific fruit flavors can be a challenge, it’s a lot easier to talk about fruit on a spectrum between “fresh” and “jammy.” The former is going to describe things like summer berries, citrus, tropical fruits, and pretty much anything you’re going to want to eat just as nature intended—bright, alive, vibrant. The latter describes fruit that tastes deeper, darker, and more concentrated, almost as though it has been cooked or dried—hence “jammy.” Think about the difference between just-picked grapes and raisins, and you’ll get what we mean.

Tannins

This feels like one of the most obscure and confusing qualities that people describe in wine, but it’s actually really easy to understand. Tannins are naturally-occurring molecules in wine that make your mouth feel kind of dried out immediately after you take a sip—if you’ve ever slurped over-steeped tea, you know what tannins taste like. As a general rule, the longer a wine sits with its stems, skins, and leaves, the more tannic it will be. (That’s why red wines usually exhibit more tannin than white wines.) Tannins tend to give you some pause when you’re drinking, where tannin-less wines tend to be more gulpable.

You don’t need to remember what parcel a wine came from or what kind of barrel it was aged in—you just need to remember what it tasted like.
Photo by Alex Lau

And Now, You Talk About Wine

Now that you’ve got a little bit of vocabulary to work with, you can start thinking about the wines you drink and what you like (or dislike!) about them. You can build a list of few key terms that describe your dream wine and practice deploying them with abandon. Maybe you start to notice that you like drinking different things in difference circumstances—a fruity, light-bodied red wine with steak, say, but a tannic, full-bodied red with braised beef. Cool! That’s great! This will get you a whole lot further than remembering countries or types of grapes, because wines made from the exact same grapes and in the exact same place can taste completely different. But as communicating about wine becomes easier, remember this rule: Talking about wine should be about service, not about showing off. And as long as that’s always in the back of your head, you’re in the clear.


If you’d like to learn more about tasting and describing wines, please join us at one of our weekly wine tastings. Most Saturdays from 1-5 pm at our tasting room, 2337 Ocean Avenue in San Francisco.

May
4
2019

96 Point Mouthwatering Pinot Noir

SEQUITUR is owned jointly by Michael Etzel, founding partner in Beaux Freres, and his wife Carrie Critchlow. The wines are made by Michael and his son, Mikey Etzel.

Sequitur 2016 Pinot Noir “Estate” Willamette Valley, OR
GGWC 89.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
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Winemaker Notes: “Now in its third year of production, the Sequitur vineyard is beginning to reveal its personality through the clonal diversity and the surrounding environment. The vineyard site is slightly higher in elevation than its adjacent neighbor, the Beaux Freres Upper Terrace, allowing us to pick at a slower pace. In 2016, we harvested the grapes at three times, the last pick eight days later than the first.”

Robert Parker 95 Points: “Pale to medium ruby-purple in color, the 2016 Sequitur Pinot Noir has a lovely, open nose of black and red cherries and blackberries with notions of wood smoke, turned earth, autumn leaves, cardamom and potpourri. Medium-bodied, it floods the mouth with ripe black and red fruits with wonderfully earthy/spicy accents, very fine, grainy tannins and mouthwatering acidity, finishing long with spice and floral layers. 480 cases produced.”

Click here or on the links above to order!

May
3
2019

The BEST Nuts & Bolts Wine to-date – BAR NONE

“You’ve finally done it and curated the man cave of your dreams. The hand-carved cherry wood bar is fully stocked with everything from espresso tequila to berry-infused absinthe to Jolt Cola. The 1915 Brunswick pool table compliments the Elle Bleu Gargoyle humidor with names like Behike, Opus X and Black Dragon. The hint of gun-metal oil permeates the air from the well-kept Glock 17 kept on display, and the built-in Excelsior houses the 88” that just so happens to be tuned to a Jai Alai match. There’s mesquite grilled Chateau-briand at the carving station and Tito Puente on the jukebox. Most of all, there is a level of comfort and intimacy that you swirl around your glass before drinking it all in.”
~Russell P. From

Herman Story 2017 Syrah “Nuts & Bolts” Santa Barbara
GGWC 54.99
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For many, Nuts & Bolts functions as the Herman Story Gateway Drug. Each vintage delivers a Syrah of exceptional structure, body and power. Nuts & Bolts is built of the most opulent, expressive Syrah barrels in the cellar.

Click here or on the links above to order!

May
2
2019

Full Throttle 96 Point Rated Cabernet!

 

Winemaker
Jesse Katz

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.

Aperture 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley
GGWC 74.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6 or more
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Parker 96 Points: “The deep garnet-purple colored 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is already delivering a lot of promising crushed black currants and black raspberries scents with underlying notions of cigars, dried herbs, lilacs and black olives. Full-bodied and full throttle on the fruit in the mouth, it has a wonderfully ripe frame of velvety tannins and great freshness, finishing very long.

Winemaker Notes: “Four hillside Cabernet vineyard sites, all with mineral-rich volcanic soils, are always the first focus of this blend. In 2016, our Merlot harvest was particularly incredible, yielding stunning acidity with full and silky tannins. It was a perfect partner to the vivid fruit profile of our Alexander Valley Cabernet vineyards. This year’s blend, 93% Cabernet and 7%Merlot achieves an uncommon, sophisticated balance.”

Click here or on the links above to order!