Saint K “She Doesn’t Like Diamonds”

Sauvignon Blanc/Chardonnay Blend 2020
$30 (Wine Club Reorder Price: $26)

Saint K Winemaker & Owner Chris Kiranbay was deeply involved in the restaurant industry in Washington,
D.C., but after taking a trip to Napa in 2006 decided that he had to move to California. He worked a harvest and then finally got to Paso Robles in 2010 first working in fine dining, and starting a wine brokerage. There he felt he’d found his people. After settling in at Herman Story Wines in 2013, he started making his own wine and Saint K was born.

Chris says, “The name Saint K is a nod to my proclivity to earn a reputation. The label is a little freaky, it reflects my love for post-apocalyptic/urban-decay scenes and my sly regard for certain landlords I’ve known… No one ever said that I’m a saint … I might as well own it.”

Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay? This is an interesting combination – 55% Sauvignon Blanc and 45% Chardonnay gives a delicate balance between the two. This wine sees 10 months in 20% new French oak, 60% in once-used French oak, and 20% in Neutral French Oak.

On the nose, you are first met by a subtle hint of the chardonnay then followed by a hint of citrus zest with a bit of creaminess. On the palate, you feel the richness of the chardonnay with a clean crisp finish of pink grapefruit. The balance between the Sauv Blanc and the Chardonnay keeps each sip different and makes you want to revisit the glass time and time again. This is a fun easy-drinking wine that you will not only enjoy with food but on its own.

Only 150 cases produced.

Elyse Morisoli Vineyard Zinfandel 2016

Rutherford, Napa Valley
$38 (Wine Club Reorder Price: $26)

In 1983, Nancy and Ray Coursen arrived in California from Cape Cod to fulfill Ray’s dream of making wine and Nancy’s taste for adventure. After working harvest at Mt. Eden Winery in Saratoga, they moved to Napa Valley. In 1987, Ray and Nancy started the Elyse brand with 286 cases of Zinfandel from the Morisoli Vineyard, which is still a cornerstone vineyard source for the winery. After a decade of nomadic winemaking at various custom crush facilities, in 1997 they purchased a small winery and vineyard on Hoffman Lane. In October 2018, Ray and Nancy sold Elyse Winery to fellow Yountville locals, Josh Peeples, and his partner, Cheryl. Perfect timing for both parties, the torch has been passed to continue the same passion for the decades to come. In addition, Josh brings his other brands Elyse, Standard Deviation, and Institution to the Elyse family of wines.

Located right in the heart of the Rutherford Bench’s alluvial fan, next to some of the most famous vineyards in all of Napa, the Morisoli Vineyard was first planted in 1880. The light, dusty, gravelly soil here produces grapes with vibrant flavor and impeccable balance. This famously “dusty” dirt is a harmonic convergence of ancient ocean floor, volcanic activity, and bedrock upthrust from seismic activity.

Elyse produces a Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel each year from this very special place in Napa Valley. In fact, Morisoli’s Old Vine Zinfandel, planted from 1902 to 1908, is still in production today. Elyse has been working with Morisoli Zinfandel and the Morisoli family since 1987.

“The 2016 Morisoli Zinfandel is a classic! It is cranberry red in color and blessed with a captivating nose of briar patch, orange zest, rose petals, mint, and baking spices. The medium-bodied palate is equally intriguing and expressive. Flavors of raspberry sorbetto and black plums are lifted by bright acidity and white pepper.” – Elyse Winery

675 cases produced, aged 10 1⁄2 months in 29% new American Oak.
81% Zinfandel, 19% Combination of Alicante Bouschet, Carignane, Durif, Grand Noir, Muscat Hamburg, Négrette Syrah, Valdiguié

Amy Ryan – December 2021

Grimm’s Bluff Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara AVA
$55 (Wine Club Reorder Price: $45)

In the southeast corner of the Happy Canyon AVA in the Santa Ynez Valley is a 75 acre ranch, bought by Rick and Aurora Grimm in 2010. They met in London in the 1980s, and spent most of their careers in Europe. When they sold their company in 2010, they decided to move to California with their three children. After purchasing the ranch, they were inspired to plant vineyards, and upon consulting with some of the best expertise in the area, they were delighted to find that it was a perfect location to grow Bordeaux-style wines. They certainly have a European-inspired style, and this shows in their wines.

Happy Canyon AVA has hot days and cold nights. However, these diurnal swings are moderated by the cold ocean breezes that travel up the Santa Ynez valley and keep the fruit from getting too hot in the afternoons. The valley has a moderating effect at night, preventing too low temperatures. Some might argue it’s the ideal marriage of continental and coastal climates.

The 2016 Grimm’s Bluff Cabernet Sauvignon speaks for itself. Beautifully balanced, classic aromas of cassis, eucalyptus, and graphite mark the opening and translate to medium-bodied wine with elegance, structure, and bright, fresh black fruits. Sweet tobacco and a hint of cigar box close out the wine. This is a classic Cabernet, calling for a classic steak pairing.

“The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is all Cabernet that spent 20 months in 50% new French oak. Its deep ruby color is followed by classic notes of crème de cassis, tobacco leaf, cedary herbs, chocolate, and spice. With medium to full-bodied richness on the palate, it has notable freshness as well as beautiful purity and elegance. You can drink this today or cellar bottles for 10-15 years.” – 93 points, Jeb Dunnuck

Amy Ryan – December 2021

Argot “Bastard Tongue” Pinot Noir 2019

Sonoma County
$89 (Wine Club Reorder Price: $80)

Born in Chicago to a large Irish family, wine did not play a role in winemaker Justin Harmon’s life growing up. The industrial beers of the midwest were his drink of choice for family parties, and milk was best for the dinner table. His love of wine came from a series of experiences, places visited, bottles opened and friendships forged.

Although he has a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, Justin’s curiosity about wine inspired him to study enology textbooks published by UC Davis while making wine in his basement. The chance opportunity to be involved with California’s 2005 harvest, for a single day’s work, provided his first look behind the curtain. The following year brought him back to California to participate in Sonoma County’s 2006 harvest as a full-fledged cellar hand at Vinify, run by former Bacchus & Venus wine superstar, Matt Duffy. A second turn as cellar hand, during 2007’s harvest, afforded an opportunity to ferment and raise a single ton of Syrah grapes upon which Argot (ärgō: a shared language, borne from intimacy, associated with tight-knit groups brought together by a common interest) was founded.

I get asked all the time what my favorite wine is, and while that is an impossible question to answer, it might be the Bastard Tongue Pinot. It is a huge Pinot, what I’ve coined as a “Cabernet drinker’s Pinot” and it is so dang silky smooth I wish I could drink it every night – and I would if Justin only made more of it! This wine sells out swiftly each year because of its limited production and high demand.

“Pouring a deep-hued magenta, 2019’s BT is nothing short of full-tilt-boogie Pinot Noir. From the jump, a heady swirl of ripe raspberries and succulent blackberries explode from the glass. Textures caress the palate with other-worldly talent as the wine unfurls in a tsunami of red and black fruits, all while accompanied by the hallmark notes Bastard Tongue lovers have come to appreciate and expect — white flowers, forest floor, conifer tree, allspice and that tell-tale Oriental plum sauce. A wine of unbridled intensity and power, seamless textures and an unerring purity. A pinnacle Bastard Tongue that is the culmination of nearly a decade of producing this cuvée.” – Justin Harmon

Taylor Morgan – November 2021

Encosta by GandonaCabernet Sauvignon 2016

Pritchard Hill, Napa Valley
$95 (Wine Club Reorder Price: $85)

Gandona Estate vineyards are planted atop the steep terrain of Pritchard Hill which is coined as “Oakville on a hill” as it is where some of the best of the best Napa wineries are sourcing their fruit from. No one can label their wines with “Pritchard Hill” because Chappellet trademarked that name. But if you know, you know.

Combine Pritchard Hill quality grapes with brilliant winemaker Philippe Melka, and you’ve got Gandona. Philippe spent much of his youth in Bordeaux, France, earning a geology degree from the University of Bordeaux. On a whim, he took a wine course in his final year of study – a decision that changed his life. Yearning to know more, Philippe traveled to Napa Valley (Dominus Estate), Western Australia (Chittering Estate), Chianti in Italy (Badia O Coltibuono) and Bordeaux (Chateau Petrus), where he divided his time between soil study and winemaking.

Philippe has been named one of the top nine wine consultants in the world by Robert Parker. Using the knowledge he gained from his experiences around the world, Philippe has devoted the past 15 years to winemaking in Napa as a consultant to the most highly regarded estate wineries and as co-proprietor of Melka Wines with his wife, Cherie.

This wine is 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Petit Verdot. We would recommend this for Thanksgiving if you skip the turkey and opt for a roast lamb, beef tenderloin, or braised short rib.

“The 2016 Gandona Vineyards Encosta Cabernet Sauvignon is very deep garnet-black in color and scented of warm plums, crushed black cherries and black berries with touches of pencil lead, cedar chest, menthol and fragrant earth. The palate is medium to full-bodied, with wonderful freshness and great intensity of red and black fruits in the mouth, with a grainy frame and minty lift to finish.” – 91 points, The Wine Advocate

Taylor Morgan – November 2021