The Grape Tray

June 13th 2017 Newsletter

Wine Spectator 92
Andrew Januik Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain Stone Cairn 2013

Supple, generous and expressive, with blueberry, currant, black tea and spice flavors that come together against nubby tannins as the finish extends impressively. Best from 2018 through 2023.-H.S 585 cases made. $40 Our Price $34.99

Wine Spectator 91
TAIT The Ball Buster Barossa Valley 2014

Bold, with dense notes of dark chocolate-covered coffee bean, plum paste, wild blackberry, cigar box and date bread. Expressive and generous. The velvety tannins linger. Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Drink now through 2027. 8,500 cases made. –MW $23 Our Price $16.95

Wine Enthusiast 92 Points
2014 Sinor-LaVallee SLO Estate Pinot Noir

Mike Sinor ekes out every last ounce of richness from his extreme coastal vineyard for this bottling, which shows mulberry and dark plum aromas along with loamy soil and dried rose petal. The flavors are equally hearty, evoking mulberry and black plum, but underlying black pepper, olive and herbal notes keep that ripeness in check. Its tannins are dense and the finish minty. $30 Our Price $25.99

Wine Spectator 92
LA CREMA Chardonnay
Russian River Valley 2015

Pure and lively, with flavors of lemon meringue, green apple, honeydew and spice. Though rich and dense, this is also elegant. The vibrancy keeps the flavors dancing. Drink now through 2021. 21,104 cases made. –JL $30 Our Price $24.35

Wine Advocate 88
2014 KJSI Cotes Catalanes Circus Bear Grenache/Syrah/Carignan

Winemaker Notes: Made by Kimberly Jones and from the schist soils around Maury, the 2014 Cotes Catalanes Circus Bear is a value-priced red that delivers loads of darker fruits, spice and minerality in a charming, forward and delicious package that's ideal for drinking over the coming year or three. There's over 8,000 cases, so it should see good distribution, and it's a terrific value. $15

Merryvale Antigua, 500ml

Winemaker Notes: Golden/amber in color from its long aging in French oak, the wine is a complex combination of nuts and orange-peel aromas. Thick and rich in the mouth, the nuts and orange-peel theme continues from the entry through the long finish, highlighted by the many subtleties from the fine brandy and time in the barrel. 100% Muscat de Frontignan $40 Our Price $31.65

2014 Bevan Cellars Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills Rita's Crown

Winemaker Notes: If you have opened one of our 2013 Rita's you know how unique this wine is. The nose is all about roasted meats, dark cherry and sassafras. Plush and round, the tannins are very refined, but always present. The incredibly steep hills that this wine comes from, produces only 1 to 1 ½ tons per acre. The vines are so stressed, that each cluster weighs less than half of what our Sonoma County clusters weight. The resulting wine ends up having an amazing intensity because of it. $75

Wine Advocate 93+
2013 Hartford Family Winery Pinot Noir Maclean Block

The 2013 Pinot Noir MacLean Block comes from a vineyard east of the town of Occidental and saw 36% new French oak prior to being bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is from Dijon clone 667 and 777 from a relatively high-elevation site that needs plenty of time to ripen fully. About 30% whole-clusters were used in this wine, which is dense ruby/purple with loads of spice, damp earth, forest floor and mushrooms as well as raspberry and black cherry fruit. It should drink well for up to a decade. $65 Our Price $59.99

Wine Spectator 93
DOMAINE DU PÉGAÜ Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Réservée 2014

A gutsy style, with a frame of brick dust around a core of steeped cherry, plum and blackberry fruit. The back end pulls in dried sage, savory and tobacco notes. The finish lingers over a singed chestnut hint. Rock-solid and unabashedly old-school. Best from 2020 through 2030. 5,800 cases made. –JM $75 Our Price $48.95

Vinous 94 pts Talley Vineyards
2014 Pinot Noir East Rincon Vineyard

(aged in French oak barriques, 30 percent of them new, for 16 months) Lurid ruby-red. Deep-pitched black raspberry, cherry and spicecake aromas show excellent clarity and complementary suggestions of cola, mocha and woodsmoke. Sweet, seamless and penetrating, offering concentrated red and dark berry, floral pastille and cola flavors underscored by juicy acidity. Manages to be powerful as well as graceful, closing with superb energy and smooth tannins that build slowly and add framework to the densely packed fruit. $64 Our Price $59.99

Wine Spectator 94
C. VON SCHUBERT Riesling Spätlese Mosel Maximin Grünhäuser Abtsberg 2015

Lots of crème brûlée and pastry notes in this languid style, which offers accents of roasted almond and coconut meat. The finish has a pear tart flavor that lingers. Drink now through 2040.-K.M. 620 cases made. $45 Our Price $33.99

Wine Spectator 93
Domaine de l'Arlot Nuits-St.-Georges Clos des Forets St.-Georges 2014

Sufficient black cherry, black currant and mineral flavors are packed into this taut red, yet this is holding back a little. A solid matrix of tannins offers support, while the acidity keeps this focused and long. Finishes with purity and intensity. Shows fine potential. Best from 2019 through 2033.-B.S. 100 cases imported $117 Our Price $93.99

Wine Spectator 94
KEPLINGER SUMO Amador County 2012

A big, rich, hearty style that packs lots of dense dark berry, sage, dried herb and savory flavors, with chicory, coffee and underbrush notes in the background. Despite the size, tannic muscle and torque on display, there's a gracefulness to the texture and mouthfeel. Petite Sirah, Syrah and Viognier. Drink now through 2026. 200 cases made. –JL Market $64 (2 bottles available at $55/bottle. Please email

Wine Advocate 96
2012 Kamen Estate Wines Cabernet Sauvignon

Another outrageous effort is the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (100% Cabernet Sauvignon). Its opaque purple color is followed by aromas of pen ink, graphite, blackberry and blueberry liqueur, charcoal and flowers. Dense, full-bodied, multidimensional, long, silky and opulent, this stunning Cabernet can be drunk now or cellared for 15-20 years. Market $75-$110. (2 bottles available at $90/bottle. Please email

Wine Spectator 96
EVENING LAND Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills Seven Springs Vineyard 2012

Sleek and silky, brimming with raspberry, blackberry, pear and licorice flavors that come together seamlessly on the long, polished finish. This has depth and presence. Drink now through 2022. 3,149 cases made. –HS Market $50-$70 (2 bottles available at $60/bottle. Please email

Antonio Galloni Vinous 95 pts
O'Shaughnessy 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain

Dark red cherry, plum, smoke, new leather, tobacco, cloves and mocha meld together in the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain. Rich, ample and textured, the 2012 is full of intensity. The contours are quite soft, though, which makes the 2012 unusually gentle and tamed for a young Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. The radiant, explosive finish alone is hugely appealing. In 2012, winemaker Sean Capiaux used all seven Bordeaux varieties in the blend. Drinking window: 2017 - 2032 Market $86-$120 (2 bottles available at $98/bottle. Please email

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 97 pts
2014 Clos Fourtet Saint Émilion Grand Cru Classé, Bordeaux

A stunning, breathtaking wine, the 2014 Clos Fourtet is without question one of the stars of the vintage. Deep yet also wonderfully nuanced, it exudes energy and transparency. Enticing scents of violet, lavender, mint and chalk add to the wine's chiseled personality. The 2014 has gained considerable depth, volume and intensity since I tasted it from barrel as a young wine, but without losing its intensely mineral, understated personality. Today, it is exceptionally beautiful in every way. The blend is 89 % Merlot, 7 % Cabernet Sauvignon and 4 % Cabernet Franc. Tasted three times. 2020 – 2039. Our Price $82.95

Back to Our Blog