A Special Opportunity: Meet Paul Lato

Paul Lato is one of the most celebrated winemakers in recent history and has become a dear friend of the store. I had the pleasure of speaking to him today and I am pleased to confirm that he will be here on Saturday afternoon, February 22 from 3 to 6pm to taste through his portfolio of Sauvignon Blanc, Rose, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Grenache.

Please mark your calendars and contact me if you’d like to reserve your spot for this unprecedented tasting and purchasing opportunity. It’s filling up quickly!

Paul’s rise in the industry is as interesting as his upbringing.  He fled his native communist Poland, leaving his family behind, to pursue his education in Canada.  With a hospitality degree in hand, he studied to become a sommelier and worked for several years at the finest restaurant in Toronto.  The events of 9/11 inspired him to examine his life, leading to his decision to create wine, not merely interpret others’.  On an invitation from Au Bon Climat’s Jim Clendenen, he visited California’s Central Coast and, within ten days, was making his own wine.

With a limited production and access to the state’s most sought after vineyards, Lato’s wines are served in such establishments as Thomas Keller’s French Laundry, Lucques in Los Angeles and Rubicon in San Francisco.  Wolfgang Puck even served Paul’s wines at his son’s wedding!  Capitol Cellars is proud to be one of a select few retailers to represent Paul’s portfolio.

#40 from Spectator’s Top 100 is here!

Marques de Murrieta is named after Luciano de Murrieta, one of the founding fathers of modern Rioja winemaking, who established the estate in 1852 in the world renowned Rioja region of Spain. Today V. Dalmau Cebrian-Sagarriga, Count of Creixell, leads the family-owned company.  The winery is so spotless, so much to perfection, even the hand soap in the bathroom has to be hand selected by the Count.

With a vision of innovation and respect for tradition, Marques de Murrieta is rooted in strong, historical fundamentals that shape the vision and philosophy of this iconic Spanish brand. The winery is settled near the southern tip of the Rioja Alta in the middle of the beautiful Ygay Estate, a unique 300-hectare vineyard that guarantees complete control over the grape source of the wines and is the key to the quality and style of Marques de Murrieta wines.

Marques de Murrieta Reserva is a traditional Rioja wine crafted in the classic Murrieta signature style and enjoying all the benefits of modern winemaking philosophy, equipment and techniques. Made from Tempranillo, Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano, this wine embodies ripe fruit qualities with a perfect balance of acidity, supple roundness on the palate and a hint of new oak. The Marques de Murrieta vineyards on the 741-acre Ygay Estate are located in Rioja Alta between 320 meters to 485 meters above sea level.

With 92 points and a spot on Wine Spectator’s Top 100, we are proud to offer this Spanish beauty at an approachable $29.95.

Que vieno el Coco

We are happy to have this 95-pointer in the store!

The 2016 G.B. Crane ‘El Coco’ is a red blent of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Sirah, and Old Vine Zinfandel.  The label is taken from the Goya painting of the same name featuring the mythical ghost-monster El Coco.  Reg. $80, NOW $69.95.

Aromatics abound and are complete.  It’s replete with a wide spectrum from boysenberry jam and black plum to candied raspberries and nutmeg.  The palate is ripe with dark stone fruits, blueberries, a hint of meatiness and confectionary orange, akin to mandarin encased foie gras with just enough tannin to bind the flavors together.  The wine finishes elegantly with a savoriness that lingers.

Robert Parker, Jr. of Wine Advocate says, “The medium to deep garnet-purple colored 2016 G.B. Crane Vineyard el Coco sings of dried plums, cherry cordial and Christmas pudding with nuances of potpourri, Ceylon tea, roses and Chinese five spice. Wow—the palate is super concentrated with voluptuous fruit and a plush frame plus plenty of freshness, finishing very long.”

Dave Phinney, of Prisoner fame, is the proprietor behind this tasty blend.  Here’s what he has to say of his winemaking experience with the Crane Vineyard: “Life is an endless procession of surprises. The expected rarely occurs and when it does, make sure to erase it from your memory because it’s highly unlikely to repeat itself. That should be the definition for farming and more specifically grape growing. When we first purchased a portion of the iconic Crane vineyard it was mainly because of the four acres of ancient Zinfandel that are a St. Helena landmark. Of course, we knew there was Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and two rows of Merlot as well, but we considered these a bonus, if you will. That all changed the first time that we tasted the Cabernet in the fermenter. The young wine was massive. It had huge amounts of brambly black fruits and tons of weight on the mid pallet. The color was an amazingly dark violet hue. The aromas were so sophisticated for a wine of this age. We were dumbfounded…. in a good way. Immediately we began the discussion of what barrels to use, how long to leave it on the skins, etc… etc. It was a pleasurable panic. Grown men acting like a couple of giddy school girls. Eventually we calmed down and just enjoyed the moment. We welcomed the surprise. Now three years later we welcome you to enjoy this surprise, our surprise. Because none of us know when it may come again.”

Winemaker Kevin Fox’s notes:  “Bold and concentrated, the 2016 El Coco is abundant in a ripe dark fruit continuum—black plums and boysenberry compote—and a hint of meatiness and toffee. Energetic and rich on the palate, the wine radiates with dark stone fruits, cinnamon and fresh Madagascar vanilla. With a nice balance of acidity, tannin and fruit, the El Coco begins to soften and finishes with length.”



Wulff Vineyards’ Lobo on special

In 2007, Randy and Krys Wulff found their dream property on Atlas Peak – 42 acres on the eastern ridge of the Napa Valley. The unique volcanic soils at 1350′ are perfect for world-class Cabernet Sauvignon.The vineyards are close-row planted and farmed by hand – no tractors.
Randy captured the essence of this unique terroir and we quickly fell in love with Wulff Vineyards’ Lobo Wines for how expressive, profound and hedonistic they are. The winery’s flagship bottling of the Atlas Peak Estate Cabernet was carved from the high-elevation vineyard in volcanic, rocky soils. Housed for 24 months in oak barrels, this 2014 is brilliant right now, with flavors prowling your taste buds with perfect balance and precision.
Winemaker Victoria Coleman is a graduate of the UC Davis enology program and one of Napa’s exciting new winemakers. Victoria added small amounts of Petit Verdot and Merlot for added dimension of flavors and texture. Reg. $80, now $39.95.

ARIL is back!

 ARIL Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is back…and 2016 is even better than last year’s!  Reg. $125, amazingly low special price (while it lasts).
For those who were fortunate enough to get some of the 2015, many of whom called to purchase more, I know you were disappointed when it sold out. After tasting the 2016, I had learned my lesson and purchased ½ of the entire production. Before reading on, be sure to contact me to secure your allocation…this won’t last!
ARIL was founded in 2008 by Harmon and Joanne Brown who were inspired to produce a small amount of premium, hand-crafted wines based on their Pritchard Hill Estate Vineyard in Napa Valley. Renowned winemaker and viticulturist Ehren Jordan (Failla/Turley) took over as winemaker and vineyard consultant in 2014 and has maintained a simple philosophy of procuring optimal grapes and respecting them in the winery. Distinct sites and exceptional farming are followed by a minimalist approach in the winery showcasing place, balance, and elegance.
For many reasons, the team crafted this vintage from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. However, the primary reason is this wine can stand on its own as 100% varietal wine, which I find to be increasingly rare. The singularity, purity, and precision of this wine are 100% Cabernet Sauvignon that starts with chocolate-covered blue and black fruits; the density of the wine reminds me of a boysenberry cobbler. The mid-palate is supported by great acidity and weight, which will help the wine age beautifully in the bottle for the next 3 to 5 or even 15 years.
I can tell you that the 2016 is incredible and shows even more depth and balance than the ’15. The wine, along with an inventory of Sauvignon Blanc and Petit Verdot, is arriving on January 30. Please order soon; I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Coravin at an unprecedented price

Over the holidays, several of my customers took advantage of Capitol Cellars’ special pricing on the Coravin Model Two and made some people on their gift list very happy. I have a few left and am offering them to you at my wholesale price. If you’ve ever had this on your wish list, now is the time to buy.
Coravin makes it possible to enjoy your favorite wine, one serving at a time, without ever pulling the cork! Just insert the needle, pour the desired amount, remove the needle, and return the bottle to your cellar to be enjoyed later. How much later? Anytime you like!