The Grape Tray

December 8th 2017 Newsletter

Clos des Papes Le Petit Vin d'Avril Rouge

Winemaker Notes: This wine shows a deep, rich purple robe in the glass with distinct aromas of wild berries, herbs and spices, bitter almond, cloves and star anise. Smooth on the palate and of fine structure. Bewitching to the finish. $25 Our Price $19.95 (Clos des Papes blends several vintages to create this delicious Rhone) Arrives this afternoon

James Suckling 93
Ruffino Toscana Modus 2014

A juicy and fruity red with plenty of dried fruits and toasted oak. Vanilla. Full body and chewy tannins. Plenty of fruit. A big wine now. Needs a year or two to soften. Drink in 2019. $29 Our Price $22.95

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 90 Points
2013 The Paring Red

The 2013 Red is bold and pungent to the core. Black cherry, mocha, black olives, spices, lavender and sage hit the palate in the 2013. This is an especially serious, structured wine for the money. The blend is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot. The Franc is felt in the wine's savory, expressive personality. This is a delicious wine for the money. $25 (Back in stock)

2015 Austerity Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: Our robust Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon features ripe cherry aromas followed by licorice and sweet oak. The layered palate features bright red fruits with a bold framework of structured tannins. The depth of flavor is underscored by a long finish. $17 Our Price $13.99

2015 PONT NEUF “La Vouge” Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Silver Eagle Vineyard, French clones 115

Winemaker Notes: Our first tasting after bottling shows immense potential for our 2015 Pont Neuf “La Vouge” Pinot Noir. The best wines of Burgundy’s Cotes de Nuits immediately come to mind. Aromas of sweet earth and red fruits, leather, Hen of the Woods mushrooms with bits of soil, truffles, and Cep (Porcini) mushrooms bring to mind a forager’s basket. Leafy forest floor, aromatic spices, leather and fresh cut wood are well integrated and are appetizing accents. The fruit flavors of “La Vouge” also come from a walk in the woods; small, wild red berries, currants, wild cherries, and Damson plums with their soft, sweet flesh yet perfectly balanced acidity. This wine needs time to breathe so we decanted it 45 minutes to 1 hour for it to begin to open fully. $55 (Back in stock 12/13/17)

2012 Gregory Graham Red Hills Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: The wine exhibits aromas of ripe plum and fig with highlights of chaparral spice, clove and dried herbs. The lively concentrated flavor bursts with ripe berries and sweet oak. This structured wine calls for full throttle fare such as grilled meats and game. $30 Our Price $25.69

Wine Spectator 91
LEMELSON Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Thea's Selection 2015

Expressive black cherry and forest floor aromas open to refined and balanced dark raspberry, bitter chocolate and spice flavors that finish with minerally tannins. Drink now through 2023. 12,133 cases made. –TF $34 Our Price $29.99

2016 Domaine de Terrebrune Bandol Rose

Winemaker Notes: Rosé with a golden glow to the salmony color-very pretty indeed. The aroma is complex and changing in the glass, but is (and long will be) marked by a chalky minerality, bright freshness, and ravishing rose petal and citrus notes. 50% Mourvèdre, 25% Grenache, 25% Cinsault. $30 Our Price $26.99

Wine Spectator 93
RIDGE Zinfandel Sonoma Valley Pagani Ranch 2015

Deep and potently structured, with distinctive spice box and licorice aromas and densely layered flavors of blackberry, cracked pepper and smoky herbes de Provence that finish with big but ripe tannins. Best from 2019 through 2025.—T.F. $40 Our Price $35.99

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 Delicious!

Wine Spectator 89
JOEL GOTT Sauvignon Blanc California 2016

Silky and elegant, with crisp Key lime, Meyer lemon and fresh herbal shadings on a light, refreshing body. Shows plenty of persistence on the finish. Drink now. 74,000 cases made. –MW $14 Our Price $9.45

Wine Spectator 93
BODEGAS DIOS BACO Oloroso Jerez Baco de Élite NV

Smooth and sweet, this rich white offers maple, burnt sugar, walnut, dried orange and prune flavors wrapped in a silky, delicate texture, with lively acidity to balance the moderate sweetness. Finishes with spicy notes that bring you back for another sip. Drink now. 2,500 cases made. –TM. $22 Our Price $18.99

Wine Advocate 93
2015 Paul Lato Pinot Noir Goldcoast Vineyard Duende

Pale ruby-purple in color, the 2015 Pinot Noir Goldcoast Vineyard Duende has a gorgeous anise, red rose and sage-laced perfume over a core of ripe red cherries, wild strawberries and underbrush. Medium-bodied, soft, silky and seductive, this has beautiful, soft-spoken expression and wonderful length. $70

Wine Advocate 95
2014 Paul Lato Pinot Noir The Contender Drum Canyon Vineyard

Eclipsing the seriously good 2013, the 2014 Pinot Noir The Contender Drum Canyon Vineyard comes from Swan and Calera clones and spent 15 months in 75% new French oak. More structured and tannic (Paul says it's the Gevrey of the lineup), with a darker edge to its black raspberry, blackberry, underbrush, red plum and spice aromas and flavors, this beauty hits the palate with a big mouth full of fruit, a layered textured and a great finish. Give it a year or two and enjoy through 2026. $75

Wine Advocate 93-95
2015 Domaine de l'Arlot • Nuits Saint-Georges 1er Cru Clos des Forêts Saint Georges

The 2015 Nuits Saint-Georges 1er Cru Clos des Fôrets Saint Georges includes around 55% whole bunch and is actually a blend of six different cuvées. What is interesting is that the whole bunch contribution is far less tangible in this compared to the Clos de l'Arlot. It is very well defined, quite sensual in style with very pure red berry fruit. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin: tart red cherry fruit, wild strawberry, saline in the mouth with a sappy finish that keeps drawing you back in. This is an outstanding contribution to the vintage, courtesy of winemaker Géraldine Godot. $100

James Suckling 99
Points Peter Michael Winery Napa Valley Oakville Au Paradis 2014

Extremely perfumed with iron, clay and currant character. Copper pennies and hints of steak. Then this turns to flowers, iodine and oyster shells. Full body that's juicy and defined by hefty blackcurrant flavors and real meatiness. Dark-chocolate and orange-peel undertones. Extremely long and flavorful. About three-fourths cabernet sauvignon with the rest being cabernet franc. Excellent follow-up to the 2013. $225

Wine Spectator 98, Top 100: 2017, Rank: 14
CLOS DES PAPES Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2015

This offers a drop-dead gorgeous core of cassis and raspberry pâte de fruit flavors that hold center stage but still allow notes of Lapsang souchong tea, anise, incense and shiso leaf to chime in. Very long, with a sublime feel through the mineral-tinged finish. So seductive already, but this should cruise in the cellar. Drink now through 2040. 6,000 cases made. –JM $109 (6 bottles available this afternoon. Please email

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