Dan the Wine Man: Six wine picks from Napa's Cellar Collections Wine Shop
Dan the Wine Man

Dan the Wine Man: Six wine picks from Napa's Cellar Collections Wine Shop

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dan dawson

Dan Dawson 

Best column feedback received continues to be my “Six Picks” from local wine retailers. Only complaint has been that the wines sell out too quickly. As a former wine merchant, it feels good to be moving the sales needle.

My latest “Six Picks” visit is to a wine shop that’s celebrating 20 years of business, 18 of them in Napa. Cellar Collections, on Imola between Jefferson and Highway 29, is a family business through and through.

Stephen Goldberg is the patriarch, wine buyer, salesman and main face of the operation. While mail order is the engine that runs the business, there is good wine and great service for everyone that walks through the doors.

The location is, shall we say, unassuming. Finding it the first time may be a challenge but then you’ll realize getting there is quick and easy. The wine focus is Napa Valley, but there are plenty of finds not from here available. And, naturally, the beyond-Napa wines are better values. I can’t hit sub-$20 on my six picks, but I can get close. Tell Stephen you came in for some of my picks and he’ll extend a discount.

My Six Picks from Cellars Collections covers Italy, Spain, Southern France, Sonoma and Santa Barbara. Should you visit, don’t sleep on the Napa Valley selection. While it leans toward the stalwarts of The Valley there are some up-and-comers sprinkled in. Allow Stephen to show you around a little. And let me know how you like my six picks!

Bruno Giacosa Roero Arneis 2018, $24

I can drink this all day, every day. The Arneis grape, native to this area of Piedmont, Italy, makes a tangy, citrusy, bright-as-sunshine wine with a faint taste of peaches and chalk. That’s what you get in this bottle. I like it equally with or without wine.

Le Mas des Flauzières Gigondas “La Grande Reserve” 2016, $30

Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre blend from the vineyards around the village of Gigondas in France’s Southern Rhone Valley. Sun-soaked dark strawberries and blueberries with five spice and cinnamon on the finish. I drank this watching the Oscars last Sunday. It was gone by Best Musical Score. Telling you: you get a lot for your money here.

Terrasse du Moulinas Rosé, Sud de France 2018 $18 per liter bottle

Those orange-hued Southern French Rosés sure are the bees’ knees. This is made from Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah: a common trio in the south of France. It’s a perky wine with tangy strawberry, tangerine, black pepper and watermelon Jolly Rancher flavors. The liter bottle, screw cap and festive label make it beg for a patio, an ice bucket and a bag of Doritos.

Cellar Collections Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 2017, $22

(Tasted and recommended in my Oct. 11, 2019 column. They have a little bit more.) $50-ish/bottle quality level Pinot that Stephen bought for a song, labeled it and sell for $22. The fruit is from “Reuling Vineyard,” north of Sebastopol and 10 miles from the Pacific. The wine delivers the goods: dark red cherry and raspberry flavors, brown spices and a little vanilla from the barrel. It’s rich and full-bodied compared to most any other $22 California Pinot Noir. If you like Pinot Noir as your house wine, this is a good candidate.

Origen de Resalte Ribera del Duero 2015, $30

A big red…one of the “bigger” reds made from Tempranillo that you’ll find. Oak, tannins and extraction categorize the wine but don’t define it, if that makes sense. There’s more to it, like dark figs, boysenberries and coffee with cream. Do you eat steak? This makes a good match. Do you know the Spanish region Ribera del Duero? If you like your Napa Valley Cabernets, it’s a good region to know for a similar style and food pairing options. And in most cases, they cost less.

The Paring Red Wine, California 2015, $30

I’m careful in stating a wine tastes like it’s from Bordeaux, but this wine kind of tastes like it’s from Bordeaux. More on this in a second. The blend is half Cabernet Sauvignon followed by Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. It is 100% estate-grown, Santa Barbara County fruit, although the winery chooses to label it as California.

I taste fruit but it’s not the chief in The Paring. Old leather, dried mushrooms and pencil shavings are in charge. That’s why I wrote it tastes like Bordeaux. I’m sorry for getting geeky on you but I just can’t help it. I like it a lot and would love it with a medium-rare leg of lamb.

Wine Tip

Hey, it’s Valentine’s Day! You can find me tonight at Southside Café Century (across the parking lot from the movie theater) pouring sparkling rosé wines at our Wine Tasting Social. Stick around and enjoy some appetizers and dinner at Southside. Tasting is from 5 to 7 p.m. I suggest you arrive by 6 as I expect it to be a popular event. This tasting is just $15. What’s not to like?

I’m Dan Dawson, a Napa Valley wine writer, wine consumer advocate and former wine merchant and fancy-pants sommelier. Check out my reviews and wine tasting events at DawsonWineAdvisor.com. When you visit, please check out my membership program. Contact me through my website with questions and comments.

I’m Dan Dawson, a Napa Valley wine writer, wine consumer advocate and former wine merchant and fancy-pants sommelier. Check out my reviews and wine tasting events at DawsonWineAdvisor.com. When you visit, please check out my membership program. Contact me through my website with questions and comments.

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