POST PARADE 2016 ‘Stretch Drive’ Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

This wine made by famed winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown is a partnership between friends from Kentucky, Matt White, Mark Gray and Brooke Smith.  Like it’s bigger brother “Post Parade”, named after the horseracing term that refers to the trot that the horses make from the paddock to the starting gate, “Stretch Drive” is made of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from the Tench and the Red Head Vineyards, both neighbors of Screaming Eagle.

From Jeb Dunnuck, “94 points, The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Stretch Drive is 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.”

Reg. $70, now $56.95.

BEHRENS FAMILY ESTATE 2015 ‘Spare Me’ Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Spare me…get it?!

Behrens Family Winery is a boutique winery in the truest sense. Owned by Les Behrens and Lisa Drinkward, who’ve made wine under the Behrens & Hitchcock label since 1993, Behrens Family Winery produces small lots of six or seven wines a year at its winery perched high on top of Spring Mountain in Napa Valley.

When it comes to Quality-Price Ratio, this wine is a champion. Striking flavors of cherry pie, cinnamon and dark chocolate notes follow the intriguing aromas of raspberry and mint. Beautifully balanced with loads of dark fruit, the mouthfeel is juicy with fine grained tannins and a lively finish of earthy notes and blackberries. Score!

87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petit Verdot.  Only 257 cases produced.  Reg. $60, now just $49.95!

SULLIVAN 2016 ‘Coeur de Vigne’ Rutherford, Napa Red Meritage

Sullivan Rutherford Estate was founded in 1972 by James O’Neil Sullivan, a creative visionary and pioneer of the Rutherford appellation.  For nearly fifty years, the Estate has been an oasis for artists, chefs and wine industry professionals.  Today, the Estate continues to build on its legacy of growing world class grapes.

While intense in its structure and concentration, this full bodied wine deftly avoids any sense of heaviness. Its aromas leap from the glass with dark notes of blackberry cordial laced with swiss chocolate and vanilla. The rich, savory palate offers dusty blue fruit flavors with a touch of bittersweet cocoa powder that lingers on sweet fine tannins throughout the clean finish. Crafted to be approachable upon release yet age-worthy in your cellar, this wine is best enjoyed now with light decanting until 2028.

Blend = 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Cabernet Franc, 24% Merlot, 5% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot

Reg. $110, contact me for special pricing.

DAY 2017 Sonoma Zinfandel

Day is the new Zinfandel project of Ehren Jordan, the mastermind behind such amazing labels as Turley, Neyers, and Failla.  (Check out this article from when San Francisco Chronicle named him their Winemaker of the Year.)

When Ehren purchased a St. Helena property back in 2004, he knew he wanted to plant grapes on the hillside that, at the time, contained an apple orchard.  After a few years of pondering, he decided that the locale was ideal for one of his early loves in the vine world – Zinfandel.

Four acres are currently planted, with the original vines hitting the dirt in 2011.  Roughly 95% Zinfandel, 5% Petite Sirah.  Offering loads of plums, black raspberries, spice, and classic cedar notes. This medium to full-bodied, rounded, charming barrel sample is going to drink nicely right out of the gate yet keep for a decade.

Reg. $30, on special at $25.95.

TYLER 2018 Santa Barbara Pinot Noir

Few of California’s young winemakers possess the regional mastery that is illustrated by the work of Justin Willett of Tyler Winery. A native of Santa Barbara, Justin founded Tyler in 2005 with eight barrels tucked away in the corner of Arcadian Winery, where he honed his approach to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir as assistant winemaker. Justin – a champion of old vines – has since engaged the famed historic vineyards of Santa Barbara, including the region-defining Sanford & Benedict, in the Santa Rita Hills, and more recently, Bien Nacido, in the Santa Maria Valley.

This Pinot Noir really impressed me with beautiful aromatics of bright, bing cherries and plums with hints of crushed stone and a light, fine black pepper.  On the palate the wine showed complex flavors of red fruits, a touch of dried herbs and citrus.  Very impressive for a wonderfully priced Pinot Noir!

Reg. $40, contact me for our very special pricing.

DONUM 2017 Russian River Pinot Noir

In 2001, Anne Moller-Racke, Donum’s founder and winegrower set out to make the best Pinot Noir from their Carneros vineyard.  This exploration evolved with the addition of acreage including their Winside Vineyard in Russian River.  Their quest is to craft complete, site-specific wines.  Winemaker Dan Fishman finishes with his signature winemaker style.

This wine is a best-barrel selection from the Winside Vineyard, planted in 1997. and an extraordinary Pinot with demure aromas of black fruits, dark rose petal and oak spice and toast. The fruit pushes the ripeness envelope with flavors of blackberry jam, plum reduction sauce and cassis. The oak is better integrated on the palate. Full-bodied and velvety in the mouth, with balanced tannins and generous finish.

Reg. $82, now on special for $69.95.

Graziano and Fayard: a winning pairing

Please join us Thursday, February 6 for the next installment of our Winemaker Dinner series.  Hawks chef Michael Fagnoni will prepare a curated five-course dinner hosted by Marcus and famed winemaker Julien Fayard.  While the menu is still under development, the wines have been selected and are sure to please:

  • 2018 Nicholson Jones Sauvignon Blanc, Yountville
  • 2017 Purlieu Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, Platt Vineyard
  • 2017 Empreinte Pinot Noir, Platt Vineyard
  • 2016 Purlieu Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford, Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard
  • 2016 Covert Cabernet Sauvignon, Coombsville
  • 2013 Purlieu Cabernet Sauvignon Port, Napa Valley, Martinez Vineyard

About the winemaker:  Originally from Provence, Julien Fayard is one of Napa Valley’s most respected winemakers producing California varietals with French finesse. Formerly of Chateau Lafite Rothschild, he lends two decades of winemaking expertise to more than a dozen different brands, including the highly-rated Le Pich and Purlieu wines, as well as his own labels—Azur, Covert Estate and Empreinte.

Julien earned his Masters Degree in Agri-Business from ESA France and in Winemaking from Toulouse France. In 2011, he received an MBA from UC Davis. He worked under Philippe Melka’s as director of winemaking for several years before launching his own projects.

Reservations are a must for this inimitable event.  Contact Marcus for more information.  $165++ per person.


You’re going to want this wine on your Timeline

Winemaker Trevor Sheehan had a strong working knowledge of producers and vineyards from acclaimed regions around the globe well before he turned 30.  He then started Precision Wine Company to showcase the complexity of flavor, diversity of terroir and distinct characteristics of California’s appellations and wine regions.

With his knowledge, and by surveying the current landscape of Napa Valley wines, he set out to capture a taste and feeling that wasn’t readily available in the market – remarkable quality wines sourced from top Napa vineyards.  Trevor carefully defined his own winemaking style over the years, drawing inspiration from fellow winemakers such as Neil Venge and Henri Jayer.

This gorgeous Cabernet (Reg. $45, now $24.95) is rich and concentrated featuring dark plum, black cherry, blueberry and currant flavors that complement the nutmeg-laced spice and fine-grained tannins. The finish lingers echoing mocha, espresso and cedar.

Shibumi Knoll…Gesundheit!

We had to go there…this afternoon I offered a glass of Shibumi Knoll to a client and he responded with “Gesundheit!”.

All joking aside, Shibumi Knoll Owners Don and Joann Ross were inspired to name their vineyard home after the book and concept of Shibumi, a Japanese word describing a physical and emotional state which nearly translates to “effortless perfection”.

Don met winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown when he joined a small wine tasting group soon after moving to Napa Valley.  They were thrilled when one of the finest winemakers in the Valley offered to make Shibumi Knoll wines.

Shibumi ChardonnayTheir 2016 Buena Tierra Chardonnay (Reg. $100, now $89.95) has proven to be among the best in the country.  You can smell the delectable notes of warm vanilla, honey pomelo with a hint of flirtatious spice.  As you taste the wine, elements of lemon, green apple and grapefruit kissed by a floral blush are immediately sense by your palette only to be balanced by warm caramel.  The mouthfeel is warm and luscious as the finish plays out with a clean, fresh sensation.  The wine is balanced and complex making it drinkable now and will carry on beautifully for several years.

Shibumi ChardonnayThe 2016 Shibumi Cabernet Sauvignon is a standout that will please for years to come.  The yield was small but the concentration of flavors is rich and bold.  The nose offers cocoa and chocolate inflused with dark fruit, blood orange and golden raisin.  The taste is cabernet at its best with an added earthiness and a medium tannic structure.  This is signature Shibumi with elegance and gorgeous flavors lending to a truly sophisticated wine.  And that’s nothing to sneeze at!


Everyone needs a Mascot!

This newly released vintage of The Mascot, now $134.95 at Capitol Cellars, is outstanding. As you may know, The Mascot began early on as an experiment by Bill Harlan’s son Will and is produced from younger vines of Promontory, Harlan Estate ($1,500), and BOND’s Grand Cru ($600) vineyard sites.

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 24. 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, the team 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.

About the label: In the late 1800s, a banker in Pittsburg started Farmers National Bank and put his beloved dog Prince, an English bull terrier, on the stock certificates.