Spectacular Wines by Carter Cellars Calistoga, Napa Valley, California.

Carter Cellars was founded in the late 90s, keeping its focus away from the vineyards, all their gapes are sourced from all over the valley. Carter aims to craft very small production and high quality age-worthy wine and it didn’t take long for them to find success just over a decade after releasing the first vintage.

Weizt and Las Piedras are among the starter for what Carter Cellars has to offer, ranging from $100 or more per bottle, not that affordable even for Napa Valley standard, but it is well worth the damage. Rich, lush, velvety and delicious; you know you’re in something great if this is just a start.

In early 2010s, Carter Cellars took the Napa Wine World by a storm, earning multiple top rated 99-100pts vintage after vintage. Making front page of Wine Spectator magazine, Carter Cellars put itself on the map as one of Napa’s Cabernet Powerhouses. And, it was well deserved. I was fortunate enough to have my first taste of these gems right in their cellars. Needless to say, I was hooked on them.

Unfortunately, this success attracted the wrong attention from the Jeweler Giant, Cartier. The company filed a lawsuit against Carter Cellars in 2013 stating that the wine label could be mistaken as it closely resemble the logo of Cartier. Carter later changed its font and color (red to black) as part of the settlement.

Now, let’s get back to the fun stuff.

Carter’s fame came from its 4 flagship wines with grapes sourced from the highly fame To Kalon vineyard by Beckstoffer. These wines aren’t cheap, at well over $200 per 750ml bottle, their names are just as expressive as their tastes.

The Three Kings:

One can expect more with fruits from To Kalon vineyard and this is no exception. Compared to the other wines, The Three Kings is more elegant and refined. It is approachable early but certainly will benefit from some bottle aging.

The Grandy Daddy:

Fruit forward, layered with rich and dark berries followed by notes of spice and sweet oak. Bold, expressive, but very well balanced. Bottle aging will allow fruit, wood and tannins to integrate resulting in a much more sophisticated wine.

The O.G

Going up in strength, The O.G is powerful, full-body and can’t seem to contain itself in the glass. Laced with notes of rich dark fruits, dried flowers, baking spices, backed with firm tannins and lush intoxicating sweet cedar. This wine has a lot going on and a couple of years in the bottle will bring out its best.


What can we say? GTO is made with grapes sourced from the very best blocks at To Kalon vineyards. In the past 10 years, 5 vintages made earned the perfect score of 100 pts. Massive structure, dense rich fruits, highly aromatic, its flavors seem to jump out of the glass. With its limited production, GTO is only available in Magnum -ideal for aging. A bottle of magnum GTO will run for $650 in 2022.

Which Carter is best with food?

If you guess The Three Kings, then you got it!

Fruit-forward, highly oaked and very powerful wines tend to clash with food; The Three Kings offers just the right balance between fruit, oak and acidity. Each bite seems to bring out more flavors; throughout the meal, it becomes more expressive and harmonic to more than just one dish.

Picture: 2014 Carter Cellars The Three Kings opened in Dec 2022, paired with Steaks, Pan-seared Sea Bass and cream of Spinach.

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