The Grape Tray

November 27th 2018 Newsletter

Wine Spectator 93
PENLEY Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarra Phoenix 2016

Dense, with sink-your-teeth-into-them tannins and concentration to the plum, cassis and blackberry flavors. Sage and rosemary accents linger in the background. Strikes the right balance between power and elegance, with grace notes of eucalyptus, black tea and tobacco lingering on the velvety finish. Drink now through 2030. 4,300 cases imported. –MW $20 Our Price $16.95 (Back in stock)

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Decanter Magazine 94 Points
2015 Trefethen Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Lack of rain combined with a warm summer resulted in one of the earliest harvests this estate has seen, starting September 5. Smaller grapes than usual made this a very structured, concentrated wine, with plenty of tannin, savoury and spicy flavours, alongside aromas of bay leaves. The blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot, 5% Merlot, and 4% Malbec — aged for 18 months in a mix of French, American and Hungarian oak — marks a new level of quality. $55 Our Price $44.99 (Arrives this afternoon)

2016 Sinor LaVallee SLO Syrah

Winemaker Notes: Classic cool climate aromas of white pepper and tar. In the mouth you may find blueberry and violets. This wine has lots of fruit, textural firmness, and finishes with graphite and tea. $30 Our Price $23.99

Wine Spectator 92
JEFF COHN Smoke & Mirrors California 2015

Ripe and jammed with fruit, offering zesty black cherry, licorice and fresh black pepper flavors that pick up speed on the finish. Zinfandel, Syrah, Grenache, Petite Sirah and Mourvèdre. Drink now through 2024.—T. F. $25 Our Price $19.95

Wine Advocate 91-94
2015 Walter Hansel Winery Chardonnay Cahill Lane

The 2015 Chardonnay Cahill Lane is made from 100% Old Wente clone and planted in one of the few areas of his vineyard that has adobe-clay soil intermixed with sandy Goldridge material. The yields tend to be relatively large, so Stephen Hansel crop-thinned by at least 30%. The result is a big, beautiful wine that reminds me of a Corton-Charlemagne. Plenty of deep, poached pear, white peach, nectarine, tangerine oil and caramelized citrus are all present in ths wine that shows virtually no oak, full body and loads of texture. Drink it over the next 7-8 years. $32 (Arrives 11/28/18)

2016 Beringer Knight’s Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: This Cabernet is built each vintage on the notion of a Bordeaux blend, with soft and silky tannins crafted for immediate enjoyment. Aromas of lavender and clove join flavors of dark red fruit led by boysenberry, huckleberry, raspberry, black cherry and evident oak spice are joined with more traditional Knights Valley tones of black and blue fruits. Fine acidity and elegant structure lead to a touch of licorice and mocha, rounding out a lingering, pleasant finish. $36 Our Price TBD (Arrives this afternoon)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous (91-94) pts
Carlisle 2016 The Integral Sonoma County

The 2016 Integral is 55% Syrah and 45% Mourvèdre. Vinification with 100% whole clusters of the Mourvèdre adds striking aromatic top notes. Rose petal, sage, mint and raspberry notes show terrific raciness in this flavorful, mid-weight red. The Integral is another arresting wine from Mike Officer. $47

Antonio Galloni, Vinous (91-94) pts
Carlisle 2016 Grenache Rossi Ranch

The 2016 Grenache Rossi Ranch is another of the many highlights in this range. A host of red berry fruit and floral overtones fill out the wine's frame effortlessly. The purity of the flavors is simply striking. This is an unusually supple, fleshy Grenache with terrific fruit density and impeccable balance. The inclusion of 15% co-fermented Mourvèdre adds layers of depth. I loved it. $40

2016 Chappellet Mountain Cuvee

Winemaker Notes: Lush, layered and complex, this Bordeaux blend begins with concentrated aromas of black cherry, boysenberry, and dark chocolate. As the wine evolves in the glass, notes of anise, clove and bay leaf emerge, creating an inviting combination of fruit and spice. On the palate, a creamy texture underscores the wine’s richness, while accentuating flavors of ripe plum, vanilla, and roasted coffee that glide to a long, lingering finish. 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 13% Malbec, 9% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc. $35 Our Price $28.99 (Back in stock)

Wine Spectator 92
LAURENT-PERRIER Brut Rosé Champagne Cuvée NV

Firm and finely knit, this offers richness in a sleek frame, with crushed raspberry, blood orange peel, smoke and toasted almond notes set on the satiny mousse. The finish echoes subtle saffron and spice accents. Drink now through 2022. 9,600 cases imported–AN $100. Our Price $66.99

Wine Advocate 93
2014 Galerie Cabernet Sauvignon Pleinair

The 2014 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon called Pleinair is a blend of 95.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest tiny quantities of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. It is aged 20 months in 58% new French oak before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. This wine has a similarity to a top-flight St.-Julien from Bordeaux. Loads of Christmas fruitcake, cedar wood, tobacco leaf, black currants and spice box all jump from the glass and from the flavors of this round, juicy, medium to full-bodied wine with silky tannins. Drink it over the next 15 or so years. $60 Our Price $49.99 (Back in stock)

Wine Advocate 95
2016 Walter Hansel Winery Pinot Noir
Cuvee Alyce

Pale to medium ruby-purple in color, the 2016 Pinot Noir Cuvee Alyce leaps from the glass with gregarious black cherries, pomegranate and cranberry notes with touches of red roses, lavender and dried Provence herbs plus a waft of black soil. Medium to full-bodied with a firm frame of ripe, grainy tannins and great freshness, it is simply packed with taut fruit and finishes on a lingering mineral note. 896 cases produced. $45 (Back in stock 11/28/18) Delicious!

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 95 Points
Ridge Vineyards 2016 Lytton Springs Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma

The 2016 Lytton Springs is a powerful, dense wine. Black cherry, plum, lavender, new leather, cloves, licorice and menthol flesh out. Deep, plush and richly textured, the 2016 Lytton Springs packs a real punch. The 23% Petite Sirah is felt in the wine's darkness and overall gravitas. There is more than enough richness and structure to support many years of fine drinking. What a gorgeous wine this is. $45 Our Price $37.99 (Back in stock 11/28/18)

Wine Spectator 94
ZENA CROWN VINEYARD Pinot Noir
Eola-Amity Hills The Sum 2015

Shows precision and expression, with refined black cherry and blueberry flavors accented by crushed stone and dark spice notes, building complexity toward polished tannins. Drink now through 2024. 412 cases made. –TF $75

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 Advocate 97-100
2016 Bevan Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Sugarloaf Mountain

Very deep purple-black colored, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard (a barrel sample) gives up profoundly ripe, expressive black berry and cassis scents with underlying chocolate box and spice cake hints plus wafts of roses and dried herbs. Full-bodied, rich, ripe and full on full throttle when it comes to flavors, it has a firm, fine-grained backbone and an epically long finish. 300 cases produced. $200


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