The Grape Tray

April 16th 2019 Newsletter

Wine Enthusiast 88 Points
Cherry Tart 2014 Chardonnay

Big and flavorful, this full-bodied wine boasts butter, toast and smoke nuances layered over ripe pear and marzipan flavors. Fermented in stainless steel but aged in French oak, it has a rich texture and overt sweetness without going to extremes. $16 Our Price $6.45 (Limited to stock on hand)

James Suckling 93 Points
Laird Napa Valley Jillian's Blend 2014

Aromas of blackberries and light green coffee beans. Medium to full body, chewy tannins and a fresh finish. Shows form and reserve. A blend of mainly cabernet sauvignon (65%) with the rest syrah, merlot, malbec and petit verdot. Better in 2020 when it melts together. $45 (Arrives 4/18/19)

WOW-64% Discount!
2011 Pelerin Excelsis Reserve Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: The 2011 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir leads with aromas of ripe cherries, baking spices, and mint. Medium-full bodied on the palate, yet showing bright acidity, the flavor profile moves toward fresh strawberries, caramel, with a touch of black pepper and licorice on the finish. Overall, the balance and presentation of the wine represents a fine hybrid of the California and Burgundian styles. Vineyards: Rosella’s and Sierra Mar. $42 Our Price $14.95 (Delicious) Arrives 4/17/19

Antonio Galloni 92 Points
2016 Turnbull Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) is a gorgeous entry-level offering. Savory herb, blood orange, mint and floral notes bring an extra kick of freshness to the red and purplish berry fruit. Medium in body and absolutely impeccable in its balance, the straight Napa Valley Cabernet has a ton to offer. The core of this wine is Turnbull's Amoenus property in Calistoga, complemented with dollops of fruit from Fortuna and Weitz, both in Oakville. $50 Our Price $43.99 (Arrives 4/17/19)

Wine Advocate 91
2016 Hartford Court Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley

Medium ruby-purple colored, the 2016 Hartford Court Pinot Noir Russian River Valley reveals lovely crushed black cherries, mulberries and black raspberries notions with hints of candied violets, black soil and iron ore plus a waft of bay leaves. Medium to full-bodied, it fills the palate with black fruit and earthy accents supported by a firm frame of finely grained tannins and finishes with a refreshing lift. 7,500 cases produced. $40 Our Price $29.99

Clos des Papes Le Petit Vin d'Avril Rouge NV

Winemaker Notes: This wine shows a deep, rich purple robe in the glass with distinct aromas of wild berries, herbs and spices, bitter almond, cloves and star anise. Smooth on the palate and of fine structure. Bewitching to the finish. $25 Our Price $19.95

Wine Advocate 95
2015 Hartford Court Pinot Noir Land’s Edge Vineyards

One of the brilliant efforts from Hartford Court is the 2015 Pinot Noir Land’s Edge Vineyards. From a site located only four miles from the Pacific Ocean, this wine has a saturated ruby/purple color and a beautiful concentration of blueberry, black raspberry and black cherry, some crushed rock and spring flowers. The terrific fruit on the attack and mid-palate, the full-bodied finish and intensity are all promising in this brilliant effort. Drink it over the next decade. $50 Our Price $42.99

Wine Advocate 94
2013 Laird Family Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Flat Rock Ranch

The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Flat Rock Ranch, from another Yountville site, is softer than the Mast Ranch, with sweet tannin, dense purple color, plenty of crème de cassis, blackberry and blueberry. There is a nice floral element as well, and the wine finishes full, rich and impressive. Give it 3-4 years of cellaring and drink it over the following two decades. $80 Our Price $74.99 (Arrives 4/18/19)

2016 JAX Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: Our grapes are handpicked, sorted and cold-soaked immediately after picking. Following fermentation, this wine was aged for 21 months in French oak, 70% new. This wine offers dark, concentrated depth and character. Given a few minutes or hours after opening a bottle, the aromatics will continue to evolve and improve. 97% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Cabernet Franc $50 Our Price $44.99

2017 Carlisle Russian River “Piner-Olivet Ranches” Zinfandel

Winemaker Notes: Medium-dark to dark garnet-ruby. Intense aromas of cherry, cactus pear (tuna or higo chumbo in Spanish, I ate a lot of them as a child), pomegranate, and a subtle note of baking spice. Full-bodied but so well-balanced. Flavors of red and black fruits linger in the long and powerful finish. Compared to the ’16, slightly darker in profile yet this offers more immediate enjoyment. Drink this lip-smackin’ Zinfandel from release through 2026. $40

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

Wine Advocate 97
2016 Chateau de Beaucastel
Chateauneuf du Pape

Bottled only a week before my visit, I was blown away by how well Beaucastel's 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape was showing. It's full-bodied, creamy, lush and rich, with layers of raspberry fruit, garrigue and spice that unfold across a seamless palate. No doubt it will go through cycles of being open and closed throughout its lifespan, but it would be a mistake to simply order a case, put it into storage and forget about it without trying one first and swooning over the sheer lusciousness and youthful complexity. $90 Our Price $79.95 (Back in stock)

Wine Advocate 97-100
2016 Joseph Phelps • Insignia Proprietary Red Wine

A barrel sample made up of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 3% Malbec to be aged for 24 months in 100% new French oak, the 2016 Insignia Proprietary Red Wine has a deep garnet-purple color and is a little reticent at this still nascent stage (to be bottled in January 2019), opening out to reveal chocolate-covered cherries, wild blueberries and black raspberries with touches of underbrush, cedar chest and bouquet garni plus a hint of grilled meat. Medium to full-bodied, the palate springs forth with exciting energy, offering loads of red and black fruit layers and compelling herbal sparks, featuring a firm, fine-grained backbone and bags of freshness lifting the finish. 13,500 cases are expected to be made. $310 Pre-sell offer. Release 9/19. Please email

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