The Grape Tray

December 11th 2020 Newsletter

Jeb Dunnuck 96-98 Points
2017 Torrin Akasha Syrah

The 2017 Akasha comes from Bien Nacido and Shadow Canyon and is another pure, concentrated Syrah from this terrific estate. Cassis, black raspberries, blueberries, charred meats, chocolate, and hints of salty minerality all give way to a full-bodied, ripe, pure Syrah that has ultra-fine tannins, no hard edges, and a huge finish. $80

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points
2017 Maybach Amoenus Cabernet

From a single vineyard in Calistoga, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Amoenus isn’t far off what the estate produced in 2016. It’s a pure, full-bodied, powerful 2017 that does everything right. Loads of blueberries, cassis, Asian spice, and flowery incense define the bouquet, and it has a pure, classic, focused style on the palate. I love its purity of fruit, it has ripe, present tannins, and while it needs 2-3 years of bottle age, it’s going to evolve gracefully for 15-20 years. $165

Wine Advocate 93-95 Points
2018 Kongsgaard Napa Chardonnay

A barrel sample, the 2018 Chardonnay bursts from the glass with bold notes of warm peaches, spiced pears and applesauce with hints of candied ginger, honeycomb and lime cordial. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has electric intensity, with a refreshing line of racy acid cutting through the tightly wound stone fruit and spicy layers, finishing long and honey laced. $115 (Back in stock)

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
Law Estate Beguiling Adelaida District Grenache 2017

The Grenache-dominated (there's 18% Syrah) 2017 Beguiling offers a similar ruby/plum hue as well as spicy notes of wild strawberries, blueberries, dried earth, toasted spices, and flowery incense. It's another elegant yet full-bodied, powerful wine in this lineup that's loaded with character. $78

Wine Advocate 94
2018 Patria Oakville Ranch Cabernet

Composed of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 7% Petit Verdot, the deep garnet-purple colored 2018 Oakville Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon jumps out of the glass with bright, vivacious red and black currants, Morello cherries and blackberries plus hints of lilacs and clove oil. Full-bodied, the muscular black fruit delivers loads of floral accents with a firm, grainy texture and a refreshing, perfumed finish. 490 cases were made. $90

Wine Spectator 94
RAMEY Chardonnay Russian River Valley Woolsey Road Vineyard 2017

Taut, with focused green apple, Asian pear and honeydew melon flavors, backed by vibrant acidity. Savory midpalate, leading to a finish filled with lemon meringue notes and minerally richness. Best from 2022 through 2026. 769 cases made. — KM $70 Our Price $64.99 (Arrives this afternoon)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 90 Points
2018 Turley Old Vine Zinfandel

The 2018 Zinfandel Old Vines is a gorgeous wine and a fabulous value. Sweet dark cherry, new leather, spice, menthol, licorice and red flowers all open up effortlessly. Medium in body yet fleshy and wonderfully deep, the 2018 has a lot to offer. It can be enjoyed now, but also has the stuffing to develop nicely for years to come. $30

Wine Spectator 92
CHARLES HEIDSIECK Brut Champagne Réserve NV

An elegant Champagne, bright and mouthwatering, offering flavors of black currant, lemon curd, toasted almond candied ginger set on a silky mousse and lingering on the creamy finish. Drink now through 2023. 4,000 cases imported. — AN $69 Our Price $49.99

Wine Advocate 95 Points
2015 La Gerla Brunello di Montalcino

Now we're talking. I tasted the 2015 Brunello di Montalcino after tasting the other samples from La Gerla, and it's amazing how clearly and convincingly that brawny Brunello character comes through. This is a robust and precise wine that shows dark berry fruit, red currant, spice, licorice and grilled herb. I love the way that all that beautiful Sangiovese intensity comes together with immediate focus and clarity. About 40,000 bottles were released. Nice job. $60 (Arrives this afternoon)

Wine Spectator 95
SAN FILIPPO Brunello di Montalcino
 Le Lucére 2013

As much savory as fruity, this offers a fine balance between cherry, leather, spice and carob aromas and flavors. Rich yet lively, leaving a mouthwatering impression on the long, saline aftertaste. Best from 2020 through 2035. 1,000 cases made. –BS $90 Our Price $84.95

Wine Advocate 95
2015 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino

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. $65 Our Price $56.99

Wine Spectator 90
DELAMOTTE Brut Champagne NV

Crisp and minerally, with smoke and chalk accents underscoring the rich notes of lemon curd, glazed apricot and spring blossom, this chiseled Champagne is elegant and well-knit. Drink now through 2022. 6,500 cases imported. — AN $65 Our Price $39.99

2017 Pont Neuf La Source Russian River Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: The 2017 "La Source" Pinot Noir exhibits brilliant, deep redviolet glints in the glass. More terroir-driven than ripe and easy Californian in nature, with pure aromas of cassis and fragrant raspberry fruit mingled with woodsy, truffled aromas, accents of cinnamon and violets. Luxurious and powerful, La Source has impressive weight, texture and presence in the glass. The wine is un-fined and unfiltered, using natural ferments. The clonal material is from Vosne-Romanée. 100% French Oak from the Tronçais Forest is employed, air-dried 4 years, for the ultimate in balance and finesse. Grown on a rolling ridge dividing Russian River and the Sonoma Coast, the wine enjoys the best of both climates, that gentle, seductive fruit classic to Russian River and the world-class structure and texture of wines from the near ocean vineyards. $80

Wine Advocate 95 Points
2018 Paul Hobbs Chardonnay Ross Station Estate

The 2018 Chardonnay Ross Station Estate opens with toast and flint, segueing to golden apple, white flowers and salted almonds. The medium-bodied, satiny palate is singing, bursting with juicy, savory flavors and finishing very long. 317 cases produced. $85

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
2016 Post Parade Stretch Drive Cabernet

The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Stretch Drive is also terrific and has a supple, sweetly fruited, sexy style. Ample blueberry and strawberry liqueur, fruitcake and spring flower notes all emerge from this full-bodied, massive fruit bomb that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. I suspect it will age, but I’d just drink it. $65


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