The Grape Tray

January 5th 2018 Newsletter

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

Wine Spectator 90
BUENA VISTA Chardonnay Carneros 2015

An attractive style, reliant on spicy, toasty oak as well as a zesty core of melon, green apple and white peach, maintaining an elegant mouthfeel throughout. Drink now through 2021. 5,698 cases made. –JL $25 Our Price $15.95

Vinous 92 pts
Mendel 2014 Unus Malbec

(aged for 16 months in all new French oak): Bright dark ruby. Deep, brooding aromas of blackcurrant, boysenberry, licorice, espresso and sweet oak, all lifted by violet and minerals. At once powerful and seamless, with harmonious acidity providing terrific definition and lift to the densely packed flavors of dark berries, flowers, licorice and spices. A more vibrant and penetrating wine than the 2015 Mendoza Malbec, conveying an impression of chalky energy. Finishes long and lively, with firm tannins to support a graceful evolution in bottle. $48 Our Price $38.95 (Arrives 1/9/18)

2014 Salvestrin Dr. Crane Vineyard ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON

Winemaker Notes: At first this wine is all about fruit; ripe dark cherry and blackberry are framed by toasty oak with hints of coffee, tea and vanilla. The dark fruit is vibrant on entry, which leads to a full rich mouth coating mid palate and nicely balanced fine tannin. The intensity and concentration flow seamlessly to notes of ripe fruit and barrel tones that linger pleasantly for an extended period, inviting one back to the glass! This wine will drink beautifully now and over the next 10+ years. $64 Our Price $57.69 (Arrives this afternoon)

Wine Spectator 92
FORGE Riesling Finger Lakes Sunrise Hill Vineyard 2014

Pure, with yellow apple, anise, honeysuckle and jasmine notes that glisten through the long, racy finish. Shows length, cut and precision. Drink now through 2018. 56 cases made. –JM $24 Liquidation Price $17.99 (Limited to stock on hand)

Wine Spectator 90
LUCIENNE Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands Doctor's Vineyard 2015

Well-centered on a rich, elegant core of dusty blackberry, baking spices, light cedar and licorice notes, ending smooth and supple while repeating the flavor themes. Drink now through 2020. 765 cases made. –JL $50 Our Price $36.99 (Arrives this afternoon)

Wine Spectator 91
NIK WEIS ST.-URBANS-HOF Riesling Qualitätswein Mosel From Old Vines

A pure, well-sculpted, off-dry version, with persimmon, lime and slate flavors coating the palate. Hints of orchard blossom and herbs add to the complexity, making you reach for another sip. Drink now through 2024. 4,500 cases imported.—A.Z. $19 Our Price $16.25 (Arrives 1/10/18)

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2014 McPrice Myer Beautiful Earth

Always one of my favorite wines from this estate, the 2014 Beautiful Earth doesn’t disappoint and is a beauty. Blackberries, blueberries, crushed rocks and peppery herbs all give way to a ripe, rounded, mouth filling Syrah that has terrific polish and elegance. Drink it anytime over the coming 7-8 years. The 2014 is 78% Syrah, 15% Grenache and the balance Mourvèdre, fermented with 40% whole clusters and aged 20 months in 20% new French oak. $42

Wine Advocate 93+
2015 Familiar Air Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Composed of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Merlot, 4% Syrah and 3% Petit Verdot, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon displays a deep garnet-purple color and fragrant notes of red roses, red and black currants, menthol and violets with touches of cinnamon stick and forest floor. Medium to full-bodied, muscular and with a firm backbone of ripe, grainy tannins, the finish is not just persistent, it is thought-provoking and refreshing such that it keeps you coming back for more. Although it is drinking well now, it should have more to give with 2-3 years in the cellar and continue to give pleasure over the following 15 years. $85

2015 Kermit Lynch Cuvee Cotes du Rhone Rouge

Winemaker Notes: This label retains the title of our best value in red. We offer it in the spirit of the great "bistro wines" you would drink by the carafe in Europe with simple yet satisfying food, and be swept away by the joy of it all. Blend: 62% Grenache, 26 % Syrah, 5% Carignan, 4% Cinsault, 3% Mourvèdre. $15 Our Price $11.99

2014 Goldeneye Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: Nestled amongst the coastal redwoods of the majestic Anderson Valley, Goldeneye's estate vineyards yield wines that exude the characteristics of their surroundings. Charming, but with a hint of wildness, plush yet rustic, this captivating Pinot Noir effortlessly balances layers of cherry, ripe cranberry and wild blackberry with notes of leather, earth and spice. Touched with a kiss of the finest French oak, it carries through to a velvety finish that is both long and lush. $56 Our Price $42.79

2016 Lloyd Carneros Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: Lloyd Cellars 2016 Carneros Chardonnay is the newest vintage of our most popular wine. Sourced from the Kiser, Home and Green Acres Blocks from Sangiacomo Vineyard, as well as a small amount of fruit from the Truchard Vineyard, this is a fantastic expression of big, rich California Chardonnay. Picked at the peak of ripeness, our Chardonnay is barrel fermented and aged for 10 months in American oak. Left on the lees right until bottling. Flavors of tropical fruits, pear and apple are supported by rich notes of vanillin, leading into a powerful and succulent finish. Cheers and enjoy! $40 Our Price $33.99

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) Back in stock 1/9/18.

Wine Spectator 92
BOSQUET DES PAPES Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Tradition 2015

Juicy and layered, with raspberry, plum and blackberry pâte de fruit flavors, all carried by polished and persistent grip through a licorice- and spice-laden finish. Focused and fresh. Best from 2019 through 2030. 9,500 cases made. –JM $48 Our Price $37.95 Limited (Arrives 1/9/18)

The Grape Tray 559-226-6828

Wine Advocate 92
2015 Juan Gil Blue Label

The wine formerly known as 18 Months, as it matured in barrel for that amount of time, has been identified for the past few years by the color of its label, blue in this case, of which I tasted the 2015 Juan Gil (blue label). The blend is the same: 60% Monastrell, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Syrah, and the fermentation and élevage similar: separate grapes by variety in stainless steel for two weeks with neutral yeasts and malolactic followed by the 18 months in barrel. It's the only one of the five reds that I found oaky, as the oak has been reduced in all the range; the aromas of the American wood used in part of the Monastrell is quite noticeable. Even here they have gradually been reducing the toast of the barrels and are slowly introducing second and third use barrels trying to respect the fruit. They are not sure what they are going to achieve in terms of aging potential if they reduce the oak further. In any case, this is still very young and will need more time in bottle to better integrate the oak, but it will always remain a generously oaked red, for those that are tolerant and enjoy the smoky, spicy and oaky aromas and flavors. It has notes of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, tobacco leaves and sweet spices, with that sensation of sweetness even if the wine is dry or there's less fruit. Having said that, the oakiness is noticeable when tasted with the Juan Gil range, but when I compared it with the Clio and El Nico, it seemed a lot more integrated, so it's all relative. It seems like the vintage could develop nicely in bottle. 36,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in June 2017. $42 Our Price $32.99 (Arrives 1/12/18)

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