The Checkerboard label has, in just one year, become one of the more sought-after wines for collectors and consumers! The property is located on Diamond Mountain, in the western hills of the Napa Valley, and the wines are made by the exceptionally talented Martha McClellan (also of Sloan and Levy & McClellan). What makes the Checkerboard wines rise above others at this price point is the shear intensity, harmony, balance, and individuality, along with that je ne sais quoi. We feel this wine is of the same quality as other superstars like Caymus Special Selection, Continuum, Dalla Valle, Lewis, or even Peter Michael.
The Kings Row bottling is a second wine of Checkerboard, but it is important to know that the vineyards are virtually the same as Checkerboard, and the wine is made with the same barrel program, oak treatment and aging. The only difference here is the blend, which is completed after the final blend is finished for Checkerboard. A blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Merlot, and 3% Petite Verdot, the wine is even more complex and structured than the 2008, very well balanced with black fruit, milk chocolate, oak spice and a ripe, supple, lush texture, finishing with tighter tannins.
The third vintage of Dave Phinney's Disciples Red, the 2015 has arrived. The new Prisoner! Limited.
previous vintage 94 Points Robert Parker: "The Disciples Proprietary Blend, which is made from 93% Zinfandel and 7% Petite Sirah tips the scales at 15.7% alcohol. The Zinfandel plantings date from the 1880s and were better known as the source for Biale’s Old Crane Zinfandel. This wine displays spicy, peppery steak tartare, roast Provençal herbs, and briary black cherry and blackberry fruit. It has terrific body, length, richness and viscosity. It is a sensational Zinfandel to drink over the next 5-7 years."
From the new winery The Crane Assembly, the Disciples Red has quite a back story. In August of 2012, four friends (Dave Phinney, Darryl Browman, Kevin A. Fox and Bryan D. Sandoli) stood in the middle of a block of hundred year old Zinfandel. The vineyard was planted by George Beldon Crane in the late nineteenth century and is one of the icons of the Napa Valley. Hours earlier they had signed the paperwork to buy the vineyard and it was just in the nick of time...they picked the grapes the next morning. Since that first year wines were made from our G.B. Crane Vineyard under the el Coco label and the GB Crane label.