The Grape Tray

November 14th 2017 Newsletter

Wine Advocate 95
2015 Martinelli • Zinfandel Lolita Ranch

At the higher end of the alcohol spectrum, these Martinelli Zinfandels are powerful wines for sure, but I hasten to add that they are beautifully balanced and in terms of flavor, tannin and complexity, they represent the pinnacles of ripeness in every sense. Medium garnet colored, the 2015 Zinfandel Lolita Ranch sports notes of baked black cherries, dark chocolate, Indian spices and potpourri with savory hints of grilled meat and yeast extract. Big, buxom and gloriously full-bodied (and then some), the tannins are marvelously velvety and the richness is nicely offset by lively acidity, finishing with epic length. $60 (Arrives 11/17/17)

Wine Advocate 96+
2015 Rusack Vineyards Chardonnay Santa Catalina Island Vineyards

The 2015 Chardonnay Santa Catalina Island Vineyards has an enticing nose of cashew pieces and Marmite toast over a core of ripe peaches, apple pie and praline. Medium-bodied and packed with tightly wound stone fruit and savory layers, the creamy texture is lifted by a lively line of acid and it finishes long and harmonious. Approachable now, this should age beautifully over the next seven to nine years. $60 Our Price $55.99 (Arrives 11/16/17)

2015 Sea Smoke Ten Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: Ten is named for the ten Pinot Noir clones found on our estate vineyard. Our most masculine wine, it is brooding and intense, with firm, mature tannins and a long, velvety finish. Ten is not for the faint-of-heart and has been known, on occasion, to convert even the most fanatic Cabernet lover. 100% Pinot Noir (Ten Clones, from which the wine takes its name) Market $83-$160. (3 bottles available on 11/15/17 at $125/bottle. Please email

2015 William Harrison Sangiacomo Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: Brilliant gold in color, this wine has expressive aromas of vanilla, all spice and citrus blossom. With an underlining hint of minerality, the clean and pristine palate leads with layers of Meyer lemon, lime rind and baked apple. Hints of white peach, Asian pear and stone fruits underscore the racey acidity. Leaving you with a memorable and crisp finish. $38

Local merchants joining forces to support Napa and Sonoma Fire Fighter Relief Fund

On Sunday, 11/19 Sam’s Italian Deli, The Grape Tray and Vino Grille & Spirits are joining together to raise funds for the Napa and Sonoma Fire Fighter Relief Fund. This is our community coming together to support their community.

2016 The Prisoner RELEASE PARTY

Please join us in a special tasting of The Prisoner, The Prisoner Wine Company’s Napa Valley Red Wine. Guests will also enjoy TPWC’s four other wines: Blindfold, Saldo, cuttings, and Thorn.


1440 E. Champlain Dr #106, Fresno, CA 93720 Sunday, November 19 4PM–8PM

Magnums of The Prisoner will be auctioned off. 100% of the auction proceeds, your $25 tasting fee, and 10% of all sales will go toward the Napa Valley & Sonoma Relief Fund.

RSVP: 559-434-1771 A $25 per person deposit will be taken at the time of reservation

Wine Spectator 93
NEYERS Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Neyers Ranch - Conn Valley 2012, Magnum

This offers a harmonious mix of dense dark berry, mocha, licorice and dusty, cedary oak flavors, smoothing out and turning supple and graceful on the long and detailed finish. Drink now through 2028. 1,500 cases made. –JL $109/magnum. Our Price $89.99/magnum Limited

2015 Wente Riva Ranch Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: Our Riva Ranch Single Vineyard Chardonnay is a beautifully rich, yet balanced California-style Chardonnay that represents what the Arroyo Seco appellation has to offer. In addition to classic Chardonnay flavors of apple and pear, Arroyo Seco fruit consistently provides aromas and flavors of tropical and stone fruits. 90% barrel fermented, this is a distinctly robust and full-bodied Chardonnay perfectly balanced with ample acidity and ripe fruit character. $22 Our Price $12.95

Wine Spectator 95
BEAUX FRÈRES Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge, Magnum

The Beaux Frères Vineyard 2015, Magnum Offers impressive presence and polish, with a multilayered, complex core wrapped in rich, expressive blueberry and cherry flavors, accented by savory spice and espresso details. Builds depth as this dances toward refined tannins. Drink now through 2025. 2,700 cases made. –TF $198.99/Magnum Limited

Wine Advocate 93
2011 Ramos Pinto Late Bottled Vintage Port

The 2011 Late Bottled Vintage Port is a blend of 55% Touriga Franca, 35% Touriga Nacional, 6% Tinta Barroca and 4% Sousão, that was aged for four years (2015 bottling) in 15,000-liter casks. It comes in at 99 grams per liter of residual sugar and is unfiltered. A blend of grapes from Ramos Pinto's Ervamoira and Bom Retiro Quintas, this is very serious and very well structured. Its focus and fine finish are lovely. Brooding and stern on opening, it shows little. The next day, it exploded in the glass. Did I mention that it is pretty delicious, too? In structure, concentration and complexity, it is a mini-me of a fine Vintage Port, with everything in fine proportion and perfect balance. I'm not certain if this is my favorite LBV in this report--only because there were so many superb performances in varied styles--but it is certainly on the short list. $27 Our Price $21.39

2014 WesMar Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast

Winemaker Notes: Aromas of dark berries and sandalwood. This weighty Pinot Noir is an exotic blend of red and dark stone fruits. A sip reveals a blend of Hellenthal and Balletto that fills the mouth and continues delivering highly concentrated and addicting fruit flavors, with moderate fruit tannins in the foreground leading to an extremely fulfilling long finish. $45 Grape Tray Insider Price $24.95 (Back in stock 11/15/17)

2015 Carlisle Sonoma County “The Derivative” White Wine

Winemaker Note: Pale straw-yellow in color. Quinine, grapefruit, quince, and citrus pith all stand out in the engaging aromas. Medium bodied, yellow fruits mingle with a slight herbaceous note reminding me of newly baled hay. Plenty of verve and minerality in the refreshing finish. Fruitier (but not riper) than the ’14. There is precious little Derivative in 2016 so if you are a fan of this wine, this is your opportunity to stock up. Drink from release through 2024. $39% Sonoma Valley Semillon, Monte Rosso Vineyard, 33% Sonoma Valley Muscadelle, Pagani Ranch, 28% Russian River Valley Colombard, Muscadelle, and Palomino, Mancini Ranch. $28

Wine Spectator 93
BOOKWALTER Conflict Conner-Lee Vineyard Columbia Valley 2014

Sleek and refined, showing floral red currant and orange zest aromas, and deeply layered, plush cherry, mocha and spice notes that sail to a long finish, with polished tannins. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Drink now through 2022. 1,455 cases made. –TF $60 Internet Price $44.99 Grape Tray Insider Price $24.99 (Delicious!) Back in stock 11/15/17

Wine Spectator 95
LE VIEUX DONJON Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2015

Rich and dark, with delicious, velvety layers of warm fig, black currant and blackberry confiture flecked with hints of ganache, roasted apple wood and tar. The finish has cut to match the heft. A real brick house. Best from 2020 through 2040.—J.M. $65 Our Price $49.95

Wine Spectator 97
DOMAINE ST.-PRÉFERT Châteauneuf-du-Pape Auguste Favier Réserve 2015

Vibrant and captivating, with exuberant fruitcake, cinnamon and black tea aromas leading the way for a fleshy core of raspberry pâte de fruit, plum sauce and cassis, all allied to a lovely velvety texture. Maintains intensity through the finish, showing a long echo of pastis. Best from 2020 through 2040. 1,300 cases made. –JM Published Retail $55. Actual Retail $72 (Arrives 11/22/17)

Wine Spectator 97
CHÂTEAU DE BEAUCASTEL Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2015

A stunner from the get-go, with waves of thoroughly seductive boysenberry, plum, blueberry and raspberry reduction forming the core, while roasted apple wood, rooibos tea, bergamot, and anise notes flash throughout. Has plenty of bass, with a Turkish coffee accent and a hint of alder driving underneath. Everything moves in lockstep through the seriously long finish. Best from 2020 through 2045. 12,500 cases made. –JM $99 Our Price $69.95 (Arrives 11/22/17)

Wine Advocate 100
2014 Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Dr Crane Vineyard

Produced from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and sporting a deep garnet-purple color, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Dr Crane Vineyard offers up a profound and singular nose of loam, rocks and iron ore over a core of black cherries, baked black berries and preserved plums with hints of licorice, dark chocolate, cedar, sautéed herbs and beef broth. Full-bodied, rich and demonstrating great depth with a wonderfully compelling personality, it delivers a multitude of savory meat and toast layers, framed by firm, fine-grained tannins. It finishes with incredible persistence, allowing those provocative mineral nuances to shine through. 844 cases were made. $300 Our Price $269.99 (2 bottles available. Please email

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