The Grape Tray

August 10th 2018 Newsletter

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Wine Advocate 97-99
2016 Domaine du Clos de Tart Clos de Tart Grand Cru

The 2016 Clos de Tart Grand Cru was assessed from a blend of all the component parts (except the young vines) that I previously tasted separately, as I have done over the last decade. The final blend will be 80% new oak, whereas my sample contained 100%, although this was discrete and enmeshed with the fruit. It has a fascinating bouquet, much more nuanced than those from a decade ago, dark fruit, a little earthier, with the stem addition lending it more freshness and even, dare I say, slightly green—and I mean that in a very positive sense. The palate is medium-bodied with crisp acidity, a core of slightly candied black cherry and blackcurrant fruit framed by quite “strict” tannin and a fresh, marine-influenced, brine-tinged finish that lingers long in the mouth. There is a sense of harmony and completeness here that, even over 20 years tasting at this address, I have rarely encountered. You can just feel the frisson in this wine. One of the finest wines from the Côte d'Or in 2016. It's that simple. $627 (Arrives 10/24/18) Limited

Wine Spectator 93
DOMAINE HUËT Vouvray Demi-Sec Le Haut-Lieu 2017

Plump and lively, with a core of bold ginger, McIntosh apple and almond notes followed by quince and persimmon flavors. Shows buried minerality, but also an ever-so-slightly off-dry wink on the finish, making this especially fun to drink. Drink now through 2032.—J.M. $40 (Arrives this afternoon)

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 $29.99

2016 Rivers-Marie Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: The composition of our 2016 Napa appellation wine is very similar to the 2015 version: clones 4 and 6 from Panek, the lower block of Lore, Pellet Vineyard in St Helena and two blocks from Kennedy Vineyard on Franz Valley School Road in Calistoga. Even with no Herb Lamb or Larkmead in the blend, the wine still provides an early drinking insight into the character of the four vineyard designated bottlings from 2016. If 2015 was defined by fruit sweetness, this vintage is framed by ripe tannin. The fruit is a bit darker as well, leaning toward black fruits and thus a more serious seeming offering. The various defining attributes of the vineyard sources pop up throughout while experiencing the wine. The abundant fruit and acid cut of Panek’s valley floor location, the all black fruit, crushed rock minerality of Lore’s east Oakville range, the loamy purple fruit of Pellet’s west St. Helena corridor and the blue fruited cool climate savory-ness of Kennedy’s western Calistoga siting. Completeness best describes the overall experience. Fruit, tannin and acidity all come in waves of equal proportion while the tasting experience follows seamlessly from start to finish. $75 (Arrives this afternoon) Single variety wines made to reflect the vineyard & vintage from which they came. Owned by Thomas Rivers Brown & Genevieve Marie Welsh.

Wine Advocate 95
2015 Crane Assembly G.B. Crane
Vineyard el Coco

A blend of 56% Zinfandel, 27% Petite Sirah and 17% Merlot, the medium to deep garnet-purple colored 2015 G.B. Crane Vineyard el Coco gives up a very seductive nose of fruitcake, chocolate box, fragrant earth and incense with hints of raspberry pie and blueberry compote plus a waft of Indian spices. Concentrated, full-bodied and completely packed with dried berries and exotic spice layers, it has a firm, chewy texture and plenty of freshness to boost the very long finish. 750 cases produced. $75 (Back in stock this afternoon)

Wine Advocate 94
2015 Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Auslese Anrecht

Picked in one passage and without any pre-selections at the end of October, the 2015 Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Auslese Anrecht is super deep, intense and spicy/fresh on the flinty, concentrated nose. Full-bodied, pure and lush, this is a very complex and elegant, highly mineral and salty Riesling. It has good grip and a very long, mineral finish. This is great Riesling that is indicated as Auslese only, because of the sugar weight, but not because of the selective yeasts. $40 Our Price $35.99

2016 McGah Scarlett Rutherford Zinfandel

Winemaker Notes: Dark and opulent ruby hues greet the eye as a classic Zin nose flush with red fruit, licorice root, bramble berry take center stage. Glass coating glycerin, a natural acidity lift, and a medium plus weight frame this garnet beauty throughout. The mid palate is loaded with mixed dark fruits, spice cake and root beer. An undeniable streak of anise right down the middle glides into to a 20 second plus finish. Full bodied and structured, a 1 hour decant works magic with this wine or lay it down for a few years to uncover hidden layers and complexities. Drink early or age for 4-6 years. 100% Zinfandel. $42

J Vineyards Cuvee 20 Brut

Winemaker Notes: This J non-vintage Brut gracefully opens up with crisp lemon peel, honeysuckle and delicate yeast aromas. Upon entry, these notes follow through to a mix of Fuji apple and grapefruit interlaced with toast, caramel and almond flavors on the mid-palate. The acidity adds just enough liveliness and the citrus zest leads to a lingering, warm pear and lush finish. Demonstrating an illustrious combination of yesterday and today, its fresh exuberance showcases layers of depth and complexity. $35 Our Price $27.99

2015 Frank Family Napa Zinfandel

Winemaker Notes: This wine appears ruby in color, and aromas of black pepper, savory spices and ripe red fruits waft out of the glass. This bright, fresh zinfandel has a smooth, silky mouthfeel, and bold flavors of grilled plum, fruit compote and fresh raspberries entice the palate. $35 Our Price $29.95

Great Value and Back in Stock!
2014 Estancia Reserve Meritage
Red Paso Robles

Winemaker Notes: Deep crimson in color, with aromas mocha, ripe plum, and blackberry, with cocoa and a mélange of baking spices. Displays a rich, exquisite mouthfeel, velvety tannins, and ripe fruit balanced with notes of chocolate and French vanilla, Velvety tannins complement a lengthy, utterly elegant finish. 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 18% Petit Verdot, 5% Malbec. $35 Our Price $11.95 (Discounted 66%)

Wine Spectator 96
DOMAINE HUËT Vouvray Moelleux Le Mont 2017

A beauty, with an inviting display of succulent yellow apple, green plum, pear, persimmon and quince flavors that ripples lengthily through the finish, while light verbena, ginger and honeysuckle notes dart around. A long green tea echo runs through the finish. Shows terrific range and purity, with the sweetness easily harnessed for balance. Best from 2019 through 2040. F500 cases made. From France.—J.M. $50 Our Price $46.99 (Arrives this afternoon)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 97+
Taittinger 2006 Comtes de Champagne

The 2006 Comtes de Champagne is striking, especially in the way it brings together elements of ripeness and freshness in a hypothetical blend of the 2002 and 2004. Smooth and creamy on the palate, the 2006 is all about texture. There is a real feeling of density and weight in the 2006, qualities I expect to see grow with time in the bottle. All the elements fall into place effortlessly. The 2006 has been nothing short of magnificent both times I have tasted it. Comtes de Champagne remains the single best value (in relative terms) in tête de cuvée Champagne. I suggest buying a case and following it over the next 20-30 years, which is exactly what I intend to do. There is little doubt the 2006 Comtes de Champagne is a magical Champagne in the making. Drinking 2016 – 2046. $200 Our Price $129.99

Wine Advocate 100
2015 Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Medium to deep garnet-purple in color, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon charges from the gate with exuberant red and black cherries notes, black currants and mulberries with a beautiful roses and lavender perfume, plus hints of sandalwood and cinnamon stick. Full-bodied, concentrated and downright explosive in the mouth, it is still wearing loads of gorgeous puppy-fat fruit flavors, offering suggestions of the complex, multilayered blockbuster that it will emerge into. The structure deserves its own mention: wonderful, seamless freshness and oh-so-fine, pixelated tannins, with an extraordinary persistence of fruit and mineral nuances. Wow. $575 (Arrives September 2018) Limited. Please email stan@grapetray.com if you would like to be added to the pre-arrival list.


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