The Grape Tray

November 10th 2020 Newsletter

Wine Advocate 95
2015 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino, Magnum

The Altesino 2015 Brunello di Montalcino shows beautiful depth and latitude, with broad fruit aromas of dark cherry and cassis that recall the warmth and golden sunlight of the vintage. The wine is deceivingly streamlined in terms of mouthfeel, but that slim and buttoned-down backbone supports a broad range of flavors and sensations, from lavender essence and camphor ash to moist soil and toasted spice. All of these elements are delivered with impressive harmony and unity, and I expect that this wine will continue on a slow, steady and satisfying aging trajectory over the next 10 years or more. Fruit is sourced from across 21 hectares of vines with tufaceous limestone soils and Alberese rock, which contributes to the freshness and balanced structure of the wine. The wine was bottled in June 2019 (with 150,000 bottles made), and this wine was released in January 2020. $140/magnum. Our Price $119.99/magnum (Arrives 11/12/20)

Wine Spectator 90
TABLAS CREEK Patelin de Tablas Paso Robles 2018

Lively and approachable yet elegantly structured, with floral raspberry, smoky bay leaf and black pepper flavors that finish with zesty tannins. Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Counoise and Terret. Drink now through 2027. 2,400 cases made.—Tim Fish. $25 Our Price $19.99 (Arrives 11/12/20)

James Suckling 93 Points
2018 Domaine Faiveley Clos des Myglands Mercurey Premier Cru Burgundy

This is always beautiful with dried strawberries, flowers and hints of rosebush. Medium-to full-bodied with a round yet poignant tannin background and fresh acidity. Lively Mercurey. Drink or hold. $55 Our Price $47.99 (Arrives this afternoon)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 92 Points
2016 Arrowood Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon (Knights Valley) is very pretty. Bright, punchy and full of life, the 2016 has too much to offer. A rush of red berry fruit, flowers, savory herbs and crushed rocks runs through this super-expressive, delineated Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a gorgeous Knights Valley Cabernet. The mid-weight, energetic style is quite appealing. Drinking window: 2020 – 2031. $38 Our Price $29.99 (Arrives 11/12/20)

Antonio Gallani, Vinous 96 Points
2018 Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs Proprietary Red

The 2018 Lytton Springs is magnificent. Elegant, layered and so complete, the 2018 has a lot to offer, but it needs time to fully come together. Sweet red cherry, red plum, blood orange, spice, mint and rose petal open up in the glass. Bright acids and beams of tannin give the wine its vibrant energy. Readers should plan on cellaring the 2018 for at least a few years. Wow! $45 Our Price $35.99 (Arrives 11/11/20)

Wine Spectator 93
RIDGE Geyserville Alexander Valley 2018

Robust yet brooding, with multilayered black plum, licorice and Asian five-spice powder flavors that build richness toward big, briary tannins. Zinfandel, Carignane, Petite Sirah and Alicante Bouschet. Best from 2022 through 2030. 10,500 cases made. —Tim Fish $45 Our Price $39.99

James Sucking 93 Points
2016 Stags’ Leap Winery Napa Merlot

This expressive merlot showcases the varietal’s ability to excel in Napa valley with generous, juicy fruit flavors, intriguing baking spice notes, and polished structure. It’s incredibly pleasurable and complex with cherry, cranberry and pomegranate, and plum with notes of caramel and cinnamon that persist through the long finish. The wine has depth and nuance with smooth tannins and a lush, lovely texture. $35 Our Price $23.99 (Back in stock 11/11/20)

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points
2018 Ridge Pagani Zinfandel

A rocking Zinfandel from Sonoma County, the 2018 Zinfandel Pagani Ranch offers a more ruby/plum color to go with a great nose of spice red and black fruits, sandalwood, chocolate, and new leather. This spicy, medium to full-bodied, incredibly seamless 2018 has fabulous tannins, plenty of mid-palate depth, and a great finish. It's every bit as profound as the 2017, if not better. It's going to keep for 10-12 years. $40 Our Price $35.99 (Back in stock 11/11/20)

James Suckling 92 Points
2015 Laird Jillian’s Blend

A linear and fresh 2015 with firm tannins and pretty blackberry, blueberry and chocolate character. Full body, tight and focused. 67% Cabernet, 18% Syrah, 12% Merlot, 2% Flat Rock Malbec and 1% Flat Rock Petite Verdot. Matured in 40% new oak. 2389 cases. $40 (Back in stock 11/13/20)

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points
Diatom 2017 Santos Road Chardonnay, Sta. Rita Hills

From the 3D Vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills, the 2017 Chardonnay Santos Road offers light gold color and a beautifully classic (almost reserved compared to the other releases here) perfume of stone fruits, salted citrus, tangerine, leafy herbs, and ample minerality. It’s a salty, medium-bodied effort that blossoms with time in the glass and has good acidity, impeccable balanced, and a great finish. Classic, balanced, and lengthy are the buzzwords here and it’s another rock star effort readers should snatch up. $38 Our Price $18.95

Wine Spectator 94
GHOST BLOCK Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville 2017

Features some frank, nearly heady ripeness, with steeped plum, açaí berry and blackberry compote flavors bursting forth, followed quickly by bramble and licorice snap notes. The finish delivers a late kick of fruit and pulls in a mouthwatering apple wood accent. For fans of the big, bold style. Best from 2021 through 2034. —J.M. $75 Internet Price $64.99 (Back in stock 11/12/20)

2014 The Mascot Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Producer Notes: The Mascot is a Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon made from distinct hillside vineyards; specifically the younger vines of BOND, Harlan Estate, and Promontory. It started out as a small project shared among the family, winemaking team, and close friends. Drawing fruit from blocks of recently replanted vineyards, The Mascot shares a glimpse into the evolution of its parent estates: a youthful snapshot of their future. With the 2008 vintage the family had enough wine - 500 cases - to introduce the endeavor to the outside world; releasing the first bottles in 2013. An athletic balance of energy and density, The Mascot is expressive and approachable early in its life with potential to evolve long into the future.

2014 Vintage Notes: An otherwise even growing season in 2014 was made memorable by an earthquake that struck the Napa Valley in the early-morning hours of August 24th. Dry conditions that normally prevail at that time of year were unexpectedly altered; the geologic event had shifted the water table to the extent that many seasonal streams began to flow once again. This unusual circumstance brought unaccustomed moisture from the depths and, with it, renewed energy to many of the soils throughout the valley. In the wake of this phenomenon, we noticed subtle changes to the younger vines of BOND, Harlan Estate, and Promontory, which grew more vibrant as harvest approached. The resulting wine reflects this vibrance in its lift and flow across the palate, with its quality ringing true to the pedigree of its parent sites. Red fruit and baking spice intermingle on the nose, while on entry, the wine is soft, gently accelerating as it reveals athletic structure and shape, culminating in transparency and poise. $140



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