The Grape Tray

March 22nd, 2019 Newsletter

Wine Enthusiast 91 Points
L’Ecole No. 41 Old Vine Chenin Blanc

Old-vine Chenin Blanc is becoming increasingly rare in the state as vines are pulled out to replant more profitable varieties. What a shame. The aromas here offer notes of freshly sliced pear, cantaloupe, banana, melon rind and papaya. The bone-dry palate brings an abundant tropical-fruit flavor and a strong sense of acidity. It lingers on the finish. $15 Our Price $13.95

Wine Spectator 91
MERCER Cabernet Sauvignon
Horse Heaven Hills 2016

Broad-shouldered, with a core of refined blackberry, orange peel and sage flavors that take on structure toward big but polished tannins. Best from 2020 through 2026. 9,795 cases made.—Tim Fish

Why it's of note: From Columbia Valley in southern Washington State, this Mercer red offers a mix of classic Cabernet characteristics that are found in both California and Left Bank Bordeaux examples. The climate in this region is drier than the Médoc but cooler than Napa Valley, yielding a unique expression of the grape. The 2016 growing season was cool, which gave the grapes extra time to develop on the vines. $17 Our Price $15.95

Wine Spectator 93
SPARKMAN Cabernet Sauvignon
Columbia Valley Holler 2016

Deeply structured, yet rich and supple, with vibrant black cherry, espresso and dusky spice flavors that gain speed toward refined tannins. Drink now through 2026.—T.F. $32 Our Price $24.95 (Back in stock)

Wine Spectator 92
DUCK HUNTER Sauvignon Blanc
Marlborough 2018

This white mixes power with elegance, delivering generous lemon meringue, orange blossom, peach and dried mango notes, with spice, green tea and floral details swirling about on the long, expressive finish. Drink now. 4,386 cases made. –MW $20 Our Price $15.99

2017 Roar Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: Chocolate, bright red fruits and dusty scrub brush aromas come together in the 2017 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir—a lovely example of what the region has to offer. Strawberry and cherry fill the palate, supported by leather and herbs. Through the finish, the fruit is full and bolstered by earthy, dark accents, and lifted by a bit of spice and savory olive. Clones: 23, 667, 777, 943, Calera, Pisoni, Pommard, Swan. $45

2017 Walter Hansel
Lake County Sauvignon Blanc

Winemaker Notes: Our Sauvignon Blanc fruit is grown on our Vineyard Manager's property located in Lake County. We hand select the vineyard section and specific vines based on cluster size, weight and ripeness. Notes of melon, fig and pears with a creamy undercurrent; the vibrant acidity will make it food friendly with a variety of dishes. 840 cases produced. $16

2017 Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: Great value! Miles above other Pinots in the same price category, this wine is a particularly wonderful vintage. It is deeply colored with aromas and flavors of strawberries and raspberries joined by anise and clove in mouth filling intensity. $24 Our Price $20.99

2014 Opaque Paso Robles Malbec

Winemaker Notes: The word ‘opaque’ means “impenetrable to light” and refers to the dark, inky, impenetrable color of our family’s Malbec. Originally from Cahors Southwest of France, Malbec is now mainly planted in Argentina. We were so impressed by this wine from our estate vineyard in Paso Robles, that we bottled it without any blending. The quality of the vintage was excellent. The weather was ideal with a long growing season that provided great “hang time” for the grapes. After aging in French and American barrels for 24 months, our wine reveals ripe flavors of black plum and currant with accents of vanilla and dark chocolate. Structured tannins provide texture and depth with a lengthy finish. Enjoy the darkness! $30 Our Price $25.99

2014 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon Napa

Winemaker Notes: Our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is dark ruby in color and entices you with a nose of raspberry, cassis and loose pipe tobacco. This full-bodied wine has an assertively silky structure and is notably spicy on the palate. Flavors of sage and blackberry mark the wine’s entry. The strong acidity in the mid-palate is followed by a lingering finishnking pleasure through 2038. $125 Our Price $114.99

Wine Spectator 91
PALI WINE CO. Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County Huntington 2016

Dark cherry and dried blueberry flavors are richly spiced in this juicy style. Notes of dried beef intensify on the finish, which features chocolate and mint accents. Drink now through 2020. 8,207 cases made. –KM $25 Our Price $19.99

2017 Donnhoff Estate Riesling Trocken

Winemaker Notes: Characterful Riesling from the steeply sloping vineyards of the middle Nahe region. The vines grow in stony, weathered volcanic soils of porphyry and melaphyr in particular, with certain amounts of slate and quartzite. A dry Riesling wine, very typical of our wine estate. Wonderfully fresh and well defined, elegant with a tingling minerality. A delicious wine for every day with moderate alcohol and very soothing acidity. $27 Our Price $21.99

2015 Paradigm Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville

Winemaker Notes: The 2015 vintage produced delicious concentrated wines in smaller quantity than normal. This black raspberry colored Cabernet has lovely open aromatics of black cherry, berry, and plum layered with a perfect balance of new and used French Oak. Our blend uses several blocks of Cabernet, Merlot, and Cab Franc from our Estate vineyard in Oakville. The effect is one of layered complete flavors and a delicious expression of how beautiful Oakville wine can be. Flavors match the aromas. Tannins are moderate yet add a nice chewy texture and the length goes on several seconds. This is a beautiful wine that will age surely for decades but is delish now. $80 (Arrives 3/27/19)

Wine Advocate 94
2016 Walter Hansel Winery Pinot Noir The North Slope

The 2016 Pinot Noir The North Slope is medium ruby-purple in color and scented of crushed red plums, mulberries and black cherries with touches of baking spices, violets and underbrush. Medium to full-bodied, it offers bags of rich berry flavors in the mouth with a sexy, plush texture and scintillating freshness, finishing long. 1,120 cases produced. $42 (Arrives this afternoon) Limited



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