The Grape Tray

June 2nd 2020 Newsletter

2018 Chappellet Mountain Cuvee Napa Red

Winemaker Notes: Blended from the traditional Bordeaux varietals, including our own coveted grapes, the Chappellet Mountain Cuvee Proprietor's Blend builds on our five decades of experience crafting great Napa County mountain-grown wines. Each component varietal in the cuvée contributes nuances that complement each other. The resultis a complex array of aromas and flavors that deliver pure pleasure in a glass. Made for more near-term enjoyment, this is the wine to choose when you're looking for vivid, mouthfilling fruit flavors. Alluringly dark and spicy, this wine displays beautiful aromas of currant, cassis, sage and thyme, as well as hints of cinnamon and clove from barrel aging. On the palate, the tannins are impeccably balanced, adding depth to the lush ripe berry flavors, with layers of cola and grenadine emerging as the wine evolves in the glass. Blend: 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 10% Malbec, 8% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc" $35 Our Price $29.99 (Arrives 6/3/20)

Wine & Spirits 92 Points
2018 Georg Albrecht Schneider Niersteiner Paterberg Riesling Kabinett

Ursula Schneider is the ninth generation to run this 200-year-old estate, farming 37 acres with her husband, Steffen Müller. This bottling, from a limestone-based vineyard in the southern end of Nierstein, is racy and elegant, driven by a lovely, sparkling acidity. As brisk as it is, the limey fruit feels plump and juicy, lasting for minutes after each sip. Best Buy. $17 Our Price $12.49

Tasting Panel 93 Points
2018 J. Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon

Sourced from three estate vineyards in the El Pomar, Adelaida, and Creston districts, the latest vintage of J. Lohr’s flagship Cabernet Sauvignon shows off the new Vineyard Series packaging. This is one of Paso Robles’ most luxurious Cabs, and it continues to wave a magic wand of flavor and aromatics over its juicy core of blueberry and cassis. Petit Verdot (4%) and Malbec (1%) add an echo of violets and iron minerality. $35 Our Price $26.99 (Arrives 6/4/20)

Jeb Dunnuck 93-95 Points
2018 Caterwaul Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Moving to the barrel samples, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon should be snatched up by savvy readers. Sporting a deep purple hue as well as full-bodied aromas and flavors of cassis, violets, and tobacco, it’s a step up over the 2017 and has sweet tannins, no hard edges, and a terrific sense of opulence as well as freshness. $50 (Arrives 6/3/20)

Wine Advocate 94+
2017 Ilaria Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon is made up of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec, 7% Cabernet Franc and 7% Merlot aged 22 months in 75% new French oak. Deep purple-black in color, it gives up expressive notes of baked blackcurrants, blackberry pie and spice cake with hints of licorice, tobacco and forest floor. Medium to full-bodied, rich and spicy in the mouth, it has a solid backbone of ripe, grainy tannins and background freshness, finishing on a compelling black tea note. 560 cases made. $50 (Back in stock 6/3/20)

Wine Spectator 92
SUMMERS Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2016

Features an intense core of steeped loganberry and black currant fruit flavors, infused with singed apple wood, anise and licorice notes. Grippy but racy, with a flash of savory adding cut and energy to the finish. Best from 2021 through 2032. 1,500 cases made.—J.M. $50 Our Price $34.99 (Back in stock this afternoon)

2015 Mending Wall Mortar & Stone Napa Red

Winemaker Notes: The second coming of Mortar & Stone is a revelation. Across the Napa Valley, 2015 produced tiny amounts of small grape clusters with highly concentrated flavors. Although yield was down considerably compared to the preceding textbook vintages, fruit quality was swoon worthy, with dense flavors and heightened tannic expression. The Zinfandel from high atop Atlas Peak is robust, showy mountain fruit. Vines in the historic Mountain Peak vineyard produce some of the most impressive berries we’ve seen in this varietal, nicely structured and spicy rather than super jammy. That spice component pairs beautifully with the final vintage of our estate Syrah. Once again, the venerable Palisades Vineyard Petite Sirah completes the blend, lending tannic backbone and deep, black color. Robert Parker deemed the first vintage of this wine sexy, and we heartily agree. 52% Zinfandel,35% Syrah, 13% Petite Sirah. $50

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 93 pts
2016 Les Cruzelles Lalande
De Pomerol Bordeaux

The 2016 Les Cruzelles is every bit as captivating from bottle as it was from barrel. Dense, pliant and inviting, the 2016 has so much to offer. Black cherry, plum, menthol, licorice, new leather and lavender all run through this super-expressive, pliant Lalande de Pomerol from Denis Durantou. The 2016 offers a striking combination of fruit intensity and structure. I loved it. $38.95

Wine Advocate 95+
2015 Argiano Brunello di Montalcino

This is a terrific wine and one of the new releases from Montalcino that I happily include on a short list of top recommendations. The Argiano 2015 Brunello di Montalcino shows a very lively bouquet that is already singing despite the young age of this new release. The wine opens to a dark ruby color with garnet highlights. The bouquet shows a large span of wild berry, earth, licorice spice and medicinal herb aromas. This vintage also reveals a pretty floral character with dried rose potpourri and lavender buds. After fermentation, the wine is aged slowly for 30 months in large oak botte (including 10-, 30- and 50-hectoliter capacity), thus restricting oxygen and gently slowing its evolution. However, the 2015 vintage is naturally expressive and exuberant, and that's the main takeaway here. Some 100,000 bottles were filled in May 2019, and the wine hits the market in February 2020. $65 Our Price $48.95 (Arrives this afternoon)

The Grape Tray 559-226-6828
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