The Grape Tray

January 16th 2018 Newsletter

Wine Spectator 92

FORGE Riesling Finger Lakes Classique 2015

Weighty for a Riesling, with a rounded feel and layers of creamed yellow apple, white peach and persimmon flavors. Delivers energy and cut throughout, with lemon pith, citrus oil and chamomile accents filling in. Shows length and range through the finish. Drink now through 2021. 1,800 cases made. –JM $19 Our Price $16.69

2016 Hahn Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: Aromas of bright red cherry, strawberry with hints of earth, spices, and toasty oak. An explosion of red fruit including strawberry, cherry and raspberry welcome the palate finish with refined tannins and a soft mouthfeel. $25 Our Price $19.75

Wine Spectator 90
A.A. BADENHORST FAMILY Chenin Blanc Swartland Secateurs 2016

Brightly defined, with delicious quince, persimmon and green almond notes forming a core that is threaded with quinine and white ginger details. A light touch of toast on the finish lets the fruit and minerality play out. Drink now through 2019. 15,000 cases made. –JM $15 Our Price $11.49 (Arrives 10/17/18)

2016 Frank Family Carneros Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: 2016 Carneros Pinot Noir appears ruby in the glass and opens with aromas of cinnamon stick, cardamom, and fresh raspberries. The palate offers a soft, balanced, structure framed by elegant tannnins with flavors of cherry pie, violets, and baking spices followed by a long, decadent finish. $35 Our Price $29.79 (Arrives 1/17/18)

Wine Spectator 92
ERNIE ELS Cabernet Sauvignon Stellenbosch 2015

Fleshy and inviting, showing layers of cassis, raspberry and blackberry paste inlaid with anise, singed apple wood and mint notes. Nice charcoal frame on the finish. Best from 2018 through 2023. 500 cases imported.—J.M. $24 Our Price $18.95

Wine Advocate 94
2015 Casarena Cabernet Sauvignon Owen's Vineyard

Tasted side by side with the 2014, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Owen's Vineyard feels a lot fresher. This is an old, balanced, traditional vineyard that yields wines with very good depth and natural balance. There is perfect ripeness here and a notable absence of those green pepper aromas that often mask the personality of many Cabernets. These old vines yield very concentrated juice and it shows in the tannins and acidity, which show in perfect harmony. 30,000 bottles produced. $30 Liquidation Price $20.75 (Limited to stock on hand)

PinotFile 97 Points
2015 Three Sticks Gap’s Crown Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Vineyard is located on the western slope of Sonoma Mountain in the recently approved Petaluma Gap AVA. The area enjoys the cooling effects of both wind and fog plus a sweeping western exposure. Swan, “828,”, 115 and Rochioli selection of Pommard. 20% whole cluster. Open-top fermentation, aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 55% new. • Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Lovely mix of aromas including boysenberry jam, underbrush, tobacco and biscuit. Delicious mix of purple and black fruits in a middleweight style that offers exquisite balance. The sexy, satiny texture makes the eyes light up as does the extremely long finish that never seems to quit. An extraordinary wine. $70 Our Price $59.99

Wine Spectator 92
DOMAINE FAIVELEY Mercurey La Framboisière 2015

Packed with bright cherry, blackberry, graphite and smoke flavors, this racy and elegant red dazzles, yet stays focused and firm. The finish is still slightly austere, but the sweet fruit returns for balance and harmony. Best from 2019 through 2032. 200 cases imported. –BS $44 Our Price $38.49

2015 McGah Scarlett Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc

Winemaker Notes: 2015 ushered in the earliest harvest date for most vineyards in the Napa Valley. Abundant hang time was prevalent, bringing maximum phenolic ripeness from our old lightly irrigated To Kalon clone Sauvignon Blanc vines. Light straw to blonde with a sparkling green tinge, aromas of tangerine, lemon grass, melon and lime blossoms explode from the glass when swirled. A crisp but delicate finish brings this wine together, making this an easy summer crowd pleaser. Known for its light and pleasing viscosity, it pairs perfectly with a cheese platter or light summer fare. Drinking nicely now and for the next 2-3 years. $24 (Arrives 1/17/18)

Wine Advocate 89
2016 Chateau de Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone Rouge

Even Saint Cosme's "lowly" 2016 Cotes du Rhone looked good on my recent visit. It's mostly Syrah, blended from vineyards in Vinsobres and the Gard, offering lovely floral and peppery aromas, dark fruits, medium to full body and a softly dusty finish. It should drink well for 6 years. $15 Our Price $12.99

Wine Spectator 92
SCHILD Shiraz Barossa Valley 2015

The toasted herb notes are distinctive, offering rosemary and bay leaf accents to the dried cherry and blackberry core, with accents of fresh orange zest and plenty of cigar box details. Expressive, especially on the finish. Drink now through 2030. 13,412 cases made. –MW $20 Our Price $17.99

Wine Spectator 94
BRICK HOUSE Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge Les Dijonnais 2015

Such a mouthful of lithe, supple fruit, offering delicate yet expressive notes of raspberry, stony mineral and savory spice. Long, lingering finish is framed by refined tannins. 575 cases made. Drink now through 2024.—T.F 2014 $52 Our Price $47.99

Wine Advocate 94-96
2014 Bacio Divino Janzen Cloudy's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Even better is the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Cloudy’s Vineyard, which ratchets up the level of concentration to something even beyond Beckstoffer with notes of graphite, crushed rock, white flowers, blueberries, black raspberries, camphor and subtle oak. It is deep, full-bodied and multidimensional with sweet tannin and low acidity. It should drink beautifully for the next 20-25 years. $125

Wine Advocate 99
2014 Schrader Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard

The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon LPV is from clone 337 from the Las Piedras Vineyard in St. Helena. This shows Mission Haut-Brion-like characteristics as it has in the past, with crushed rock, wet gravel, scorched earth, blackberry and blueberry fruit. It is clearly one of my favorites of this entire tasting. It has 14.5% natural alcohol and was aged in 90% new Darnajou and 10% new Taransaud barrels. This is a killer effort. Market $239-$500 (2 bottles available at $270/bottle. Please email

Wine Advocate 96
2015 Tor Kenward Family Wines Chardonnay Cuvee Torchiana

Absolutely spectacular is the 2015 Chardonnay Torchiana Beresini Vineyard. This is an outrageous Chardonnay with great acidity, super-duper concentration with notes of white currants, orange blossoms, caramelized citrus, honeysuckle, brioche and crème brûlée. Intense and spectacularly pure, this full-bodied classic should age nicely for 7-8 years. $60 Limited

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