The Grape Tray

July 13th 2021 Newsletter

Austin Hope and Justin Tasting at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW):
Taste 2019 Austin Hope Paso Cabernet, NV “Austin” Paso Cabernet, 2018 Justin Paso Cabernet and 2017 Justin Isosceles at VRW for $10! Available all day during operating hours Tuesday, 7/13- Saturday, 7/17/21.

NV Austin Hope “Austin” Cabernet

Winemaker Notes: True to Paso Robles’ signature style, this fruit forward Cabernet Sauvignon has enticing aromas of dark fruit, fresh vanilla bean and hints of coffee. On the palette, the dark brooding fruit flavors are balanced with savory notes of black pepper, baking spices along with a touch of tobacco to add warmth and dimension. Lovely notes of sweet oak, lively acidity & fine dusty tannins complete this wine making it the perfect Cabernet Sauvignon to enjoy daily.

2019 Austin Hope Paso Robles
Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: The classic ruby color of this wine is stunning and sets the stage for this robust Cabernet Sauvignon. On the nose, aromas of tobacco, dark chocolate shavings, fresh black currant hints of savory notes. On the palate, layers of vanilla, coco powder, juicy cherry, baking spices and signature tobacco create a full body wine that is balanced by a splash of fresh acid and round, refined tannins.

2018 Justin Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: With attractive aromas of black fruit and spice, this smooth, ready-to-drink Cabernet Sauvignon is made in Paso Robles with the same care as the highest quality, traditionally crafted Bordeaux styled wines. Our grapes are hand-picked and berry-sorted for consistent quality and flavor. JUSTIN Cabernet Sauvignon then spends more than a year in traditional small oak barrels to impart depth and complexity, highlighting the exceptional balance of flavors and textures that the unique climate and soils of Paso Robles add to the classic Cabernet character in this exceptional wine.

Vinous 93 Points
2017 Justin Isosceles

Dark purple. Deep-pitched cassis, cherry-vanilla and pipe tobacco aromas are complemented by a building floral note and a hint of cracked pepper. Rich but energetic as well, showing solid thrust to the dark berry preserve, mocha and rose pastille flavors. Finishes on a smoky note, with strong tenacity, lingering floral oak spice character and steadily building tannins. All new French oak.

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Connoisseurs Guide 95 Points
 RIDGE Geyserville Alexander Valley 2019

In the very first Issue of Connoisseurs’ Guide, back in November, 1974, Ridge Geyserville was among the most highly praised wines. And, now four decades and five years later, the very same wine sits at the top of the ratings table. But there is an interesting difference. This wine is among the most mannerly Geyservilles ever. Yes, it is it's usually deep and complex self with ripe berries both black and blue profoundly expressed all joined with the richness and flavor length that has been prominent in the very best vintages. And, yes, that expected stratum of solid tannins shows up in the finish and promises a long and rewarding aging curve. This is Geyserville, and it still makes our palates sing and puts a smile on our faces. Buy it. 71% Zinfandel; 19% Carignane; 7% Petite Sirah; 3% Alicante Bouschet. $45.00 Our Price $37.99 (Arrives GT 7/15/21)

Campo Viejo Cava Brut Reserva

Winemaker Notes: A noble and austere sparkling cava. Greenish yellow in colour with golden glints, it's clear and star bright. A persistent, elegant stream of bubbles rise to form a perfect rosary on the surface. Complex aromas of white fruits with hints of wood. Fresh, well-balanced and elegant on the palate with an excellent final sensation. $10 Our Price $7.95 (Back in stock GT and VRW 7/14/21)

Wine Spectator 93 Points*ARISTA Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2017

Well-structured, with notes of underbrush to the burnished dried cherry and berry flavors. Minerally midpalate, revealing a long, rich finish that features a savory focus. Powerful yet elegant. Drink now through 2025. 958 cases made. — KM $62 (Arrives VRW this afternoon)

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
2019 Lafage Cuvee Centenaire Blanc

Based on 60% Grenache Blanc and 20% each Grenache Gris and Roussanne, from very old vines, the 2019 Côtes Catalanes Cuvée Centenaire is another thrilling white from Jean-Marc Lafage. Caramelized grapefruit, crushed citrus, mint, white flowers, and lots of salty minerality emerge from this medium-bodied white that has both richness and freshness. This cuvée can evolve (it has good acidity as well as concentration) yet I see no need to delay gratification and would enjoy bottles over the coming year or three. $18 Our Price $14.99 (Available GT)

Wine Enthusiast 94 Points
2018 Lucienne Santa Lucia Highlands Smith Vineyard Pinot Noir

Rich, opulent aromas of black-cherry cordial and caramel are thick but delicious on the nose of this bottling. Sandy tannins frame the creamy cherry and blackberry flavors, which are lifted by star anise and licorice accents and lead into an oaky finish. $50 Our Price $39.99 (Back in stock GT 7/15/21)

2020 DOMAINE DU FIGUEIRASSE
‘Gris de Gris’ Vin des Sables

Winemaker Notes: For more than a century, the Saumade family has cared for vines on the shores of the Camargue delta in France. ‘Gris de Gris des Sables’ is a rosé de pressurage and blend of Grenache (gris, noir and blanc) and Cinsault grapes. Vineyards are 200 yards from the sea. Grapes are harvested at night when temperatures are coolest. All tank made. Certified organic. $15 Our Price $10.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
RIDGE Three Valleys Sonoma County 2019

An engaging blend, well-knit and distinctive for its savory raspberry and cherry flavors that draw in bay leaf, Asian spice and smoked pepper notes. Tannins are ripe and briary. Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignane and Mataro. Drink now through 2029. —T.F. $30 Our Price $25.69 (Back in stock GT and VRW 7/15/21)

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2019 Domaine Vacheron Sancerre

The 2019 Sancerre opens with a clear and highly attractive ripe peach aroma with coolish flint stone notes. Full-bodied and intense, with lingering salinity and sustainable structure, this is an already accessible Sancerre with a long and grippy finish. $40 Our Price $35.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 97+ Points
2016 Crown Point Happy Canyon Cabernet

The Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated cuvée is the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon (92% Cabernet Sauvignon with tiny amounts of the other varieties on the property). It’s cut from the same cloth as the Estate Selection, yet with just a touch more classic Cabernet blue fruits, purity, and precision. Blackcurrants, cassis, crushed violets, graphite, and lead pencil notes all give way to a powerful, concentrated, beautifully pure Cabernet that has ultra-fine tannins, a seamless texture, building tannins, and a great, great finish. It's another magical wine from this team that's going to benefit from 2-4 years of bottle age and keep for two decades. $150

Jeb Dunnuck 100 Points
2018 Dominus Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend

The flagship 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon checks in as 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot brought up in 40% new French oak. With an essence of Cabernet like character in its darker currants, green tobacco, cedar, graphite, and floral aromas and flavors, this gorgeous wine is full-bodied and has bright yet integrated acidity, polished tannins, and a great, great finish. It’s just gorgeously put together and a magical, flawless wine. It’s going to take a decade to hit maturity but will evolve for 40-50 years in cold cellars. It is as good as it gets in classic, age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon! $280 (Back in stock GT 7/16/21) Wine Advocate Score 99 Points. Limited

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Friday Wine Tasting at VRW $15 per person (Indoor seating for 30 people) Must be 21 or older to attend
Experience new arrivals from Frederic Esmonin on 7/16/21 (3:00 PM-5:30 PM) Each wine will be served from a decanter.

Wine Spectator 92 Points
FRÉDÉRIC ESMONIN Gevrey-Chambertin Les Jouises Vieilles Vignes 2018

This red is high-toned and well defined, revealing cherry, raspberry, peony and earth flavors. It's firm, with a lining of dusty tannins on the tactile finish. Best from 2023 through 2037. 110 cases imported. — BS $55

Wine Spectator 93 Points
FRÉDÉRIC ESMONIN Gevrey-Chambertin Estournelles St.-Jacques 2018

Well marked by sweet oak, this red nonetheless offers ample black cherry, plum, earth and iron flavors that should emerge with bottle age. It also has a solid grip of tannins that curtail the finish for now. Best from 2025 through 2045. 100 cases imported. — BS $85

Wine Spectator 95
FRÉDÉRIC ESMONIN Mazy-Chambertin 2018

Bright cherry and berry fruit introduces this elegant red, along with floral, mineral and a hint of earth notes. It's sleek and tensile, with superb balance and poise. The cherry and strawberry theme continues through the long finish. 75 cases imported. Best from 2024 through 2045. —B.S. $185

Saturday Wine Tasting at VRW $15 per person (Indoor seating for 30 people) Must be 21 or older to attend
Saturday Tasting, 7/17/21 (1:00 PM-3:30 PM): From the following list, you can select which wines you would like to taste:

Wine Spectator 94
RAMEY Chardonnay Russian River Valley Woolsey Road Vineyard 2017

Taut, with focused green apple, Asian pear and honeydew melon flavors, backed by vibrant acidity. Savory midpalate, leading to a finish filled with lemon meringue notes and minerally richness. Best from 2022 through 2026. 769 cases made. — KM $70

Vinous 94 Points
2016 Dehlinger Altamont Pinot Noir

The 2016 Pinot Noir Altamont is a dense, beautifully resonant wine. Next to the Goldridge, the Altamont has quite a bit more textural depth and overall intensity. Super-ripe dark cherry, plum, rose petal, mint and blood orange all run through this expressive, pliant Pinot Noir. Today, the 2016 is quite forbidding. I would give it a few years in the cellar to fully come together. The 8% whole clusters add aromatic top notes, but aren't especially noticeable. $62

2018 Lucienne Doctor’s Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: Beautiful aromas of blackberry and cherry accented with hints of sagebrush and clover. The wine’s vibrant acidity and smooth tannins lead to a silky structure and lingering finish. $50 Our Price $39.99

Wine Spectator 93 Points
SPARKMAN Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley Holler 2018

Gutsy yet polished, with deeply structured blackberry, mocha espresso and dusky spice flavors that build tension toward refined tannins. Drink now through 2029. —T.F. $32 Our Price $25.99

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 95+ Points
2016 Dunn Vineyards Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain offers good density, but in more of a medium-bodied style that is quite a bit more approachable than is the norm here. A whole range of inky Howell Mountain fruit, graphite, grilled herb, licorice, spice, chocolate, and lavender nuances open up in a brooding, resonant Cabernet that needs a few years in bottle to start drinking well. There is plenty of the structure readers have come to expect from Dunn, but less youthful austerity, which is not a bad thing at all. Drinking window: 2024 – 2046. $150 Our Price $142.99

Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW)
1552 E. Champlain Drive, Ste 109 Fresno, CA 93720 Via Montana Center (NE Corner Shepherd and Champlain-Two doors south of Big 5) www.vintagereserve.biz 559-878-3953
Tuesday-Friday 12 Noon-6:00 PM
Saturday 12 Noon-4:00 PM


The Grape Tray (GT)
6023 N. Palm Avenue Fresno, CA 93704
Opus One Center (NW Corner Bullard and Palm)
www.grapetray.com 559-226-6828
Monday-Friday 10:30AM-5:30PM
Saturday 10:30AM-4:00PM


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