Rae’s Place WotW Dec. 16th 2019

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Kuleto “India Ink” Red Blend 2016 Lake County, California

Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Merlot


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Wine of the week:

We decided to pick a big red blend for this last full week before Christmas and Hanukkah. With wet, cold weather on its way, this rich, hedonistic blend of Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Merlot is dark in color and loaded with black fruits with a dense palate. This is a wine that will stand up to any of the well known California red blends and will hopefully save you a few bucks.

Notes from the winery:

The beaten path? It ends a few miles west of Kuleto Estate. We are secluded deep in the wild solitude of eastern Napa. Our vineyards are scattered along the steep hillsides and windblown ridges above the valley floor. Our wines are no different than their surroundings. While the song may sound familiar, the interpretation is solely our own. Our mountaintop estate is one of the most complex and diverse wine producing properties in the world. It is from this estate that the inspiration for our ‘Curious Blends’ come.


 At Kuleto, blocks and varieties are harvested in the order that they ripen. Nothing unusual there. But instead of waiting for enough of a particular variety to ripen fully for the sake of having a pure tank or lot, we combine whatever fruit happens to be perfectly ripe at the moment. While co-fermentation of different varieties has not been the default protocol in the New World, it is intuitive and natural. It’s also the genesis of our multi-varietal blends.

 Curious Blends:

 Our blends are in essence three distinct interpretations of red wine. One Rhone style, one classic and Bordeaux-like, the other ‘Cal-Ital’. Beyond showcasing terroir and varieties, they give our winemaker, John Clews, a chance to express his own artistic vision of these three styles. By mixing grapes from different locations, John can create wines that are deep, lush, complex and wonderfully individualistic.

 India Ink:

 This blend is made for pure indulgence. India Ink is rich, full, oak driven and hedonistic. Selecting barrels and wine lots revolves around creating a blend that is deep purple in color, loaded with blue-black fruit aromas, and is meaty, rich and powerful on the palate. It exudes fresh red fruit and spice with hints of smoke and earth reminiscent of a once inhabited cave. These aromas continue to the palate, where blue and black fruits are complemented by hints of black pepper and dark chocolate. Pair India Ink with a grilled steak and vegetables.

 Tasting Notes:

 Kuleto “India Ink” Red Blend 2016 Lake County, California

Petit Syrah, Zinfandel, Merlot

This is a massive red blend. The winemaker here is specifically looking for blue and black fruit with lots of concentration and a rich, velvety texture. The wine rests for 17 months in French and American oak so the tannins are ever present and there’s just enough acidity to keep the wine in balance. This red pushes the edges of big.

 Pair with roasted and grilled meats or vegetables. Feel free to add a big sauce or gravy, this wine can handle it.


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Rae’s Place WotW Dec. 9th 2019

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Shannon Ridge “High Elevation” Zinfandel 2017 Lake County, California


92pts Wine Enthusiast

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Wine of the week:

We’ve had tremendous success with the Shannon Ridge Cabernet and now offer the 2017 Lake County Zinfandel. To be honest, I don’t traditionally like Zinfandel. It’s too big a wine for me. I love the aromatics and the base flavors but when they get super high in alcohol and become syrupy, I tend to move away.

This Zinfandel is a bit different. There’s plenty of the big fruit and that brambly nature Zinfandel lovers covet but there’s also restraint, structure and a nice, clean finish. It’s refreshing to drink Zinfandel and want a second glass.

This wine will please traditional Zinfandel lovers and those of us who like clean finishing wines. Grab a bottle at a great price and see for yourself.


Notes from the winery:

Owner and visionary leader of Shannon Ridge Family of Wines, Clay Shannon has transformed his ranch into one of the agricultural icons of California’s North Coast, and in doing so is changing the face and substance of grape-growing in the USA.

Clay grew up on a farm in Healdsburg in Sonoma County. He began his career as a vineyard manager in St. Helena, traveling the wine regions of California managing the company’s vineyards. A short time later he started his own vineyard management company, growing grapes for some of the top wineries and fruit companies in Northern California.

In 1995, Clay discovered a magnificent piece of property in the hills overlooking Clear Lake in Lake County, thirty-five miles north of Napa’s famed vineyards. He quickly set out to develop vineyards, Clay’s vision was simple: “We wanted to grow the best fruit in the world,” says Clay, “but we wanted to do it in a way that made us happy living there.”


 Farming Practices:

 “Sustainability wasn’t some philosophical concept; it is the way we live our lives.”


Ovis cycle (o-vis sahy-kuhl)

Ovis – Latin for Sheep

Cycle – a sequence of changing stages that, upon completion, produces a final state identical to the original one.


Reduced use of mowers, tractors and weed eaters

At Shannon Ridge the sheep have reduced our need to mow by 500%. The use of gas powered weed eaters have nearly been eliminated. This means far less use of fossil fuels in our farming system.


Reduced use of herbicides

The sheep have greatly reduced our use of herbicide. We are able to treat individual areas only as needed.


Better productivity for our human crews

The sheep are used to remove basil leaves and trunk suckers from the vines. This means less manual labor for our valuable vineyard crews.


Wildfire prevention and protection

The sheep eat the cover crops, dry grasses and other leaf material that can fuel wildfires, thus creating fire protection on the property.


Erosion protection and farmland restoration

Over the years our hilltops have been eroded by the wind. As a preferred sleeping spot for the sheep, natural fertilization has caused the grass to grow and restore hilltops into productive areas.


Tasting Notes:

Shannon Ridge “High Elevation” Zinfandel 2017 Lake County, California



This is high elevation zin to the max. The traditional flavors are there; ripe, plummy fruit and a touch of sweetness from the heat in Lake County. What sets this wine apart from others in this price point is the spice, tannin and acidity. Because it’s high elevation and the skins are thicker, this wine has great structure and high notes not often found in Zinfandel. This isn’t a big fruit bomb, this is focused and restrained. A special wine in the sub $15 category.

Pair with BBQ, grilled meats, or a Santa Maria tri-tip salad.


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Rae’s Place WotW Dec. 2nd 2019

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Cellar Capçanes “Potente” 2016 Montsant, Spain

Grenache, Carignan, Syrah, Merlot


93pt James Suckling


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Wine of the Week:

The 2016 Cellars Capçanes “Potente” is another offering in a long line of great Spanish wines with big scores and small price tags. Capçanes has created reputation for great quality at affordable prices and we are proud to offer this wine to anyone who already knows Capçanes and those who might be intrigued. This wine will sing with holiday meals and cool temperatures that come to us in December. It’ll also make a great gift for wine lovers who are looking for something different.

From the Producer:

Eva López (Winemaker) met Capçanes viticultors in the Montsant area and from the beginning, she knew she had found people who really produce wines true to their origins using indigenous grape varieties. Capçanes is located 100 miles southwest of Barcelona, 20 miles inland from the Mediterranean Sea, in the heart of a long wine growing history dating back to the middle ages.

She made the decision to develop the POTENTE project in this incredible area in Catalonia making a blend of garnacha, merlot, samsó & syrah that shows the truth of the typicality and elegance of this area created by small plots, hard inclinations and sustainable agriculture in the typical terraces. Neal Martin said once “If Priorat is Pauillac then Montsant is Margaux”.

Tasting Notes:

Cellar Capçanes “Potente” 2016 Montsant, Spain

Grenache, Carignan, Syrah, Merlot

This is high elevation mountain fruit aged in new and used oak for 9 months. The result is pure red and black fruit, spice notes good tannin and wonderful structure. This is a complete wine that should cost a lot more than it does.

Pair with grilled and roasted meats or game. This would also go well with mushroom and shallot risotto and pan sauce.


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