The Grape Tray

September 14th 2018 Newsletter

Wine Spectator 93
KEEVER Inspirado Napa Valley 2013

Evenhanded, supple, rich and layered, with tiers of dark berry, light mocha, gravel and licorice. This glides along, showing textural polish and nuanced flavors. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec. Drink now through 2030. 842 cases made. –JL $75

Wine Spectator 92
ALBAN Viognier Central Coast 2016

Distinctly seamless, this starts out plump, with fleshy notes of apricot and peach and a hint of marmalade for added richness. Spice, honey and floral details add complexity. Harmonious and refreshing on the finish. Drink now. 800 cases made. –MW $26

Wine Spectator 93
ANTHEM Cabernet Sauvignon St. Helena Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard 2012

A classically styled Cabernet that's firm in structure and taut in focus and flavor, with a direct core of gravel and cedary oak—scented dark berry, licorice and savory herb flavors. Ends with drying, gripping tannins but also dense fruit and oak flavors. Drink now through 2028. 400 cases made. –JL $95 (Back in stock)

Wine Advocate 95
2016 Paul Lato Chardonnay le Souvenir Sierra Madre Vineyard

From one of the oldest vineyards in the Santa Maria Valley, Paul Lato’s superb 2016 Chardonnay le Souvenir Sierra Madre Vineyard reveals attractive aromas of yellow orchard fruit, citrus zest, peach and honeycomb. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, with more textural glossiness than the Belle de Jour, underpinned by bright acids and concluding with an intense, chalky finish. This is quite structurally tight-knit right now and will need a couple of years in the cellar to blossom. $80

Wine Spectator 93
RED STITCH Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2014

Openly complex and charming, from the initial burst of zesty black cherry and raspberry flavors to the shades of loamy earth, gravel and cedar. Never loses sight of the fruit purity. Drink now through 2030. 250 cases made. –JL $105 (Back in stock)

Wine Advocate 95
2016 Paul Lato Pinot Noir Solomon Hills Vineyard Suerte

The 2016 Pinot Noir Solomon Hills Vineyard Suerte offers up a dramatic bouquet of plum preserve, crushed currants, rose petal, raspberries and vine smoke, framed—like all Lato's reds—by a lavish application of high-quality new oak. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, velvety and succulent, with a layered mid-palate, polished tannins and a long, tangy finish. $84 (Delicious!)

Wine Spectator 95
KRUG Brut Rosé Champagne 21ème Édition NV

Aromatic, with orchard blossom, ginger and kumquat hints, this vibrant rosé shows a beautiful marriage of intense acidity and flavor range, allowing notes of peach skin, blood orange granita, toasted coconut and Marcona almond to play and expand on the palate as they ride the lovely, lacy mousse. Offers a lasting, racy finish. Disgorged Spring 2016. Drink now through 2025. –AN $260 Actual Retail $370. Our Price $298.95 (Arrives 9/18/18)

Orin Swift 8 Years in the Desert 2016 CALIFORNIA RED

WINEMAKER’S NOTES Dark garnet with a lucid rim, the wine exhibits aromas of briar fruit, ripe blackberry and dark plum with a tinge of minerality and charred meat. Brawny on the entry, it has an equally big mid-palate with complex flavors of ripe brambly fruit, a touch of earth and notes of espresso bean. Still massive through to the finish with soft drying tannins, the unique varietal characteristics of the blend clearly reveal themselves over time. AVAs 87% Dry Creek Valley, 13% Red Hills Lake County. BLEND 56% Zinfandel, 34% Petite Sirah, 10% Syrah. $125

2015 Alban Estate Patrina Syrah

Winemaker Notes: Patrina ’15 shows the classic elements of cool climate Syrah: dark color, silty tannins, white pepper, leather, smoke, and meat atop blue and black fruits all elevated with floral notes. 600 cases aged 28 months in 50% new French oak, bottled unfined and unfiltered using gravity. $48

Wine Advocate 92
2015 Calera Pinot Noir
40th Anniversary Vintage

The keenly priced 2015 Pinot Noir 40th Anniversary Vintage from Calera is lovely, wafting from the glass with youthfully complex aromas of potpourri, cherries, strawberry and spice. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, expansive and velvety, with a succulent core of fruit, melting tannins and a long, tangy finish. Enjoy this delicious offering now or over the coming decade. $28 Our Price $23.99 (Arrives 9/19/18)

Wine Enthusiast 95
Benovia 2015 La Pommeraie
Russian River Pinot Noir

This wine is ethereal and intoxicating on the nose, offering a bouquet of wild rose and lavender that's hard to resist. Dense, concentrated strawberry and pomegranate flavors give it a tart freshness on the palate that contrasts well against its innate power. There's plenty of structure here for further aging. $65 Our Price $54.99

Back in stock this afternoon!
Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2015 Black Slate La Vilella Alta Doca Priorat Proprietary Red

Part of the Black Slate label that focused on the different villages of Priorat, the 2015 Black Slate La Vilella Alta is a blend of 39% Cariñena, 23% Garnacha, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Syrah and Merlot that spent 14 months in 30% new French oak, with a good portion of the blend brought up all in concrete. Incredible notes of blackcurrants, wood smoke, iris flowers, chocolate, and obvious minerality all emerge from this full-bodied, beautifully pure, elegant red that knocks it out of the park on the value front. You just don’t find this level of quality at this price point anywhere in the wine world today. There’s roughly 2,400 cases and readers should not miss this sensational wine. $22 Our Price $18.95

Wine Advocate 95+
2015 Orin Swift Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Mercury Head

Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Mercury Head opens with gorgeous crushed black currants, blackberries and warm plums with suggestions of lavender, camphor, dark chocolate and pencil lead with a waft of smoked meats. Full-bodied, firmly structured and densely packed, it fills the mouth with vibrant, multilayered black fruits and savory notions, finishing long and perfumed. 6,650 cases produced. $120 (Back in stock)

Wine Advocate 95-97
2016 Rivers-Marie Cabernet Sauvignon Panek Vineyard

Very deep purple-black in color, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Panek Vineyard (a barrel sample) is fragrantly scented of Indian spices, roses and dried herbs over a core of mulberries, warm blackberries and cassis plus a waft of black soil. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is taut and muscular, strutting seriously spicy characters among the tightly packed black fruit notions, finishing with great length. $110 (6 bottles in stock. Please email

Back to Our Blog