The GRADE Cellars    1236 LINCOLN AVE    CALISTOGA, CA 94515    (707) 967-8200

© 2018 The GRADE Cellars     ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

             Reviews

2015  The GRADE Cabernet Sauvignon, “Winfield Vineyard”                         96+ Pts.

“Sporting a deep ruby/purple color, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Winfield Vineyard comes from three separate blocks (block 1, 4, and 5) and was raised in 60% new French oak. It’s another layered, ripe, sexy, and seamless wine from winemaker Thomas Brown that boasts loads of blueberry, graphite and white chocolate aromatics, full-bodied, richness, no hard edges, and remarkable purity of fruit. Despite showing great today, I suspect this beauty will be even better with 2-4 years of bottle age and keep for 15+ years.”                                          

- Jeb Dunnuck, Dec. 2017


2015  The Grade Cabernet Sauvignon, “Kingly Project”                                   94+ Pts.

“Coming all from Block 5 of the Winfield Vineyard in Calistoga, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Kingly Project is another 2015 from this estate that’s going to be better with short-term cellaring. Caramelized black cherries, blackcurrants, dark chocolate, and a hint of graphite all give way to a full-bodied, concentrated textured, yet tannic 2015 that needs 2-4 years in the cellar and has the potential to keep for 20+ years.” 100 cases.


- Jeb Dunnuck, Dec. 2017


2015  The Grade Cabernet Sauvignon, “Serpent’s Back”                                   94 Pts.

“Like the Kingly Project (which is all block 5), the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Serpent’s Back is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Block 4 of the Winfield Vineyard that was raised in 65% new French oak. It’s a riper, perfumed, lifted wine and has tons of incense, potpourri and spice to go with a beautiful core of sweet dark fruits. Possessing full-bodied richness, a big mid-palate, sweet tannin, and a perfumed complex style, drink it anytime over the coming 15+ years.”  75 cases.

- Jeb Dunnuck, Dec. 2017


          The GRADE Cellars, 2015

“Made by Thomas Brown and all from the estate Winfield Vineyard in Calistoga, The Grade wines are named for passages by Robert Louis Stevenson who wrote about ‘The Grade’ in his book “The Silverado Squatters”. These are all beautiful wines.”                          

- Jeb Dunnuck


2014  The GRADE Cabernet Sauvignon, “Kingly Project”                                 95 Pts.

“I loved the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Kingly Project which comes all from the Winfield Vineyard in Calistoga and was raised in 75% new French oak. It reveals a saturated purple color as well as notes of crème de cassis, toasty oak, truffle, and just a hint of graphite. With a ripe, sexy, polished style, ample tannin, and a big finish, it shows the forward nature of the vintage yet has the class to keep for 15+ years.”

- Jeb Dunnuck, Dec. 2017


2014  The GRADE Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Estate, Winfield Vineyard       93 Pts.

“The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Winfield Vineyard is dark, inky and powerful. Black cherry, smoke, leather and licorice, along with the wine's density, convey and impression of virile intensity and richness. The Winfield has more sweetness and pure power than the Kingly Project, which I prefer slightly in 2014. Even so, both wines are distinctive.”


- Antonio Galloni, Dec. 2016

Drinking Window:  2018-2026


2014  Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (Barrel Sample)                                       (91-94 Pts.)

“The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is precise, elegant and nuanced, very much in the style of the vintage. Sweet violet and lavender notes add lift to the dark red and bluish hued fruit. This mid-weight, super-expressive Cabernet is shaping up to be a gem.”


- Antonio Galloni, Oct. 2015


2014  The GRADE Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, “Kingly Project”                     94 Pts.

“The GRADE's 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Kingly Project has turned out beautifully. Vibrant, delineated and super-classy, the 2014 is nuanced, but the tannins also need time to soften. Red stone fruit, rose petal, chocolate and leather are fused together in an effortless, highly expressive Cabernet Sauvignon from The GRADE.”

- Antonio Galloni, Dec. 2016

Drinking Window:  2019-2029

2014  Cabernet Sauvignon, “Kingly Project” (Barrel Sample)                     (92-95 Pts.)

“Another standout, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Kingly Project exudes balance and class. In 2014, the Kingly has enough depth and intensity to handle the richer style, but in the end, the estates two Cabernets aren't that different. Still, there is plenty to like here.”


- Antonio Galloni, Oct. 2015


2014 The GRADE CellarsCabernet SauvignonWinfield Vineyard                92 Pts.

“The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon the Grade Winfield Vineyard exhibits impressively saturated bluish/purple color, reminiscent of a moonless night. The wine has impressive fruit quality, loads of cassis, blackberries, floral notes and a hint of earthy minerality. The wine, full-bodied and rich, was aged 20 months in French oak prior to bottling. It is a generous wine and wonderfully endowed. This can be drunk now or cellared for up to 10-15 years.”

- Robert Parker


2013   Cabernet Sauvignon Estate                                                                         96 Pts.

“The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is just as fabulous as it was last year. Nuanced, chiseled and finely cut, the 2013 possesses remarkable precision throughout. White pepper, flowers and mint add a super-appealing upper register that balances some of the wine's darker leanings. This is a fabulous showing from The GRADE.”

- Antonio Galloni, Oct. 2015

Drinking Window:  2020-2033


2013   Cabernet Sauvignon Kingly Project                                                            93 Pts.

“The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Kingly Project is made in a more extracted style than the Estate, with tons of richness and new oak influence. Dark red cherries, plums, mint and flowers emerge from a shroud of tannin. There is considerable depth, but a ton of new oak. I find the Estate better balanced and more harmonious.”

- Antonio Galloni, Oct. 2015

Drinking Window:  2020-2033


The GRADE Cellars, 2013

“Tom Thornton and Brenda Mixson’s property sits at the northern edge of Calistoga, near Jericho Canyon. Thomas Rivers Brown took over winemaking in 2012, but 2013 is the first vintage he and his team have overseen farming and winemaking from the beginning of the year through the harvest. Tasted from the barrel, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon is terrific, and most importantly, full of promise. The GRADE is going to be a fascinating project to follow over the coming years, and hopefully, beyond.”

- Antonio Galloni, May 2014


“I was deeply impressed with the wines I tasted from The GRADE this past spring. My October tasting confirmed those impressions; The GRADE is one of the most intriguing and promising properties in Napa Valley today. Winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown is doing a remarkable job coaxing wines of superb pedigree from this Calistoga site on Old Toll Road.”


- Antonio Galloni, Dec. 2014


2012 The GRADE CellarsCabernet SauvignonThe GRADE                        97 Pts.

“There are 375 cases of the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon The Grade from the Winfield Vineyard, which spent 20 months in French oak. It exhibits a dense purple color in addition to beautiful aromas of crème de cassis, forest floor and spice box, a deep, opulent, multidimensional mouthfeel, tremendous purity and silky tannins. It can be drunk now or cellared for 10-15 years.”

- Robert Parker


2012 The GRADE Cellars • Cabernet Sauvignon “Kingly Project”                    99 Pts.

“Made by brilliant winemaking consultant Thomas Brown, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Kingly Project (100 cases; aged 20 months in French oak) comes from the Winfield Vineyard, which sits at the alluvial base of Mt. St. Helena. Sweet cassis, graphite, high-class, unsmoked cigar tobacco and background oak characteristics are present in this full-bodied, opulent, multidimensional, majestic Cabernet Sauvignon. It should age effortlessly for two decades.”

 - Robert Parker


“10 Remarkable California Cabernets:  New Reviews of Cellar-Worthy Wines

from Napa Valley”  Wine Spectator  

“Consider making space in your cellar for the 2012 Napa Cabernets. The vintage boasts an embarrassment of riches, backed by a substantial crop. Moreover, many producers are expanding their lineups with more choices. The bottles here are a good place to start, with accessible Cabernets from established producers spanning a cross section of Napa’s appellations. Thomas Brown stands tall, with a pair of Cabernets that showcase the character of their respective appellations. In most circles Brown is known as consultant, but he also makes four Cabernets under his own label, Rivers-Marie, which he launched in 2005 with his wife, Genevieve Marie Welsh. The Corona Vineyard bottling shows the tannic power of the vineyard coupled with impressive finesse. Brown is also behind the structured effort from The GRADE, a relatively new label from founders Thomas Thornton and Brenda Mixson’s Winfield Vineyard in Calistoga, planted on a sloping bench above the valley floor.”


–Augustus Weed

Wine Spectator, July 13, 2015


2007  The GRADE, Winfield Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon                                92 Pts.

“Shows a great return to form over the 2006, with the lush flavors and rich attractions of the 2005. With soft but complex tannins, the wine immediately appeals for its wealth of blackberries, black currants and plums, enriched with smoky oak. Very rich, pure and refined. Fine now, with a good decant, and should age well for a decade.”

- Steve Heimoff

Wine Enthusiast



2005  The GRADE, Winfield Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon                               92 Pts.

“Made in the modern style, this Cab is soft and creamy in the mouth, and fantastically rich. It oozes ripe, crushed blackberries, black currants and dark unsweetened chocolate, with the sweetness coming from natural fruit and caramelized oak. The tannins are as soft and complex as they come.”

- Steve Heimoff (11/30/2009)

Wine Enthusiast



2005 THE GRADE Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Winfield Vineyard,

Calistoga District (pending)                                                                          94 Pts.

“Cherry cola and oak on the nose. Rich and succulent berry flavors burst forward on the palate. The mid-palate is chewy. The finish is elegant and seamless. Love at first sip.”

270 cases produced.

“Cabernet Shootout” by Affairs of the Vine



2004 The GRADE Cellars • Cabernet Sauvignon • The GRADE                        90 Pts.

The 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon The Grade was aged in new French oak for 14 months and then moved to neutral French oak for another 20 months prior to bottling. This was the first time I have ever tasted this wine, and I found it to be impressive, with pure black currant fruit, spice box, earth and subtle oaky notes, medium to full body, and a heady finish. Drink this gorgeous Cabernet over the next decade.”

- Robert Parker

Drinking Window:  2014-2024