The Grape Tray

June 27th 2021 Newsletter

Pinot Noir Wine Tasting This Week at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $10:

Taste the 2019 Sean Minor Sonoma Coast Pinot, 2017 Goldeneye Anderson Valley Pinot, 2017 McIntyre SLH Estate Pinot and 2018 Lucienne Smith Vineyard SLH Pinot. Available all day during operating hours Tuesday, 7/27- Friday, 7/30/21.

Wine Spectator 92 Points

Sean Minor Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2019

Rich and toasty, with hints of cedar bark to the dried red fruit and berry flavors that are well-knit. The creamy finish is long and plush, with accents of hot stone and cooking spices. Drink now through 2026. $25 Our Price $16.99

2017 Goldeneye Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: Capturing the rustic elegance of the Anderson Valley, this wine begins with lively aromas of fresh-picked wild strawberry, dusty earth and sweet tobacco leaf. The dynamic strawberry aromas are echoed on the palate, where they are supported by supple tannins and a bright underlying acidity that adds energy and zest to a long, nuanced finish. $50 Our Price $42.99

Wine Spectator 92 Points
MCINTYRE Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands McIntyre Estate Vineyard 2017

Dark currant, plum and raspberry tart flavors show juicy richness, loaded with toasty accents. This is creamy midpalate, with ripe minerality and underbrush accents on the finish. Drink now through 2025. 346 cases made. — KM $48 Email subscriber price $28.95

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

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2019 Raeburn Russian River Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: Our Russian River Valley Chardonnay shows an array of complex fruit tones ranging from white pear and apple to nectarine. The fruit is beautifully complemented with toasted oak, vanilla and hints of warm Creme Brulee with a balanced and elegant finish. $19 Internet Price $13.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW this afternoon) Email subscriber price $10.85

Wine Spectator 92 Points
STEWART Cabernet Sauvignon Napa 2018

This red has a nicely polished and ripe feel, with cassis and plum preserve flavors gilded lightly with vanilla and backed by subtle tobacco, dark licorice and warm earth accents. Gains a darker, deeper feel through the finish, giving it some sneaky length. Drink now through 2029. 1,500 cases made. — JM $60 (Arrives GT 7/29/21)

Wine Spectator 91 Points
BANSHEE Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2019

Ripe apple and pear flavors show lots of custardy notes, filled with creamy richness. Pastry accents fill the open-textured finish. Drink now through 2023. 11,000 cases made.—K.M. $22 Our Price $16.99 (Available GT and VRW this afternoon)

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2017 Boheme Occidental Hills Pinot Noir

Another fabulous Pinot, the 2017 Pinot Noir Occidental Hills comes from a mix of the Taylor Ridge, English Hill, and Stuller vineyards and saw 30% stems and 22 months in 30% new French oak. Complex nose of blackberries, cherries, brambly herbs and blood orange as well as a hint of earth give way to a medium bodied, beautifully balanced Pinot Noir that has light tannins and the class to evolve for 8-10 years. Internet Price $55 (GT and VRW email subscriber price $25.95) Arrives 7/29/21

Domaine Jean Vesselle Brut Reserve Champagne

Producer Notes: Estate-owned vineyards are located in and around the village of Bouzy. Soils are the classic, chalky terroir of the Montagne de Reims. 15-30 year old vines and hand-harvested. Fermented on indigenous yeasts in temperature-controlled, stainless steel tanks. Aged for three years in bottle. Dosage less than 11 grams/L. TASTING IMPRESSIONS: Blond toast, red apples and wildflowers; silky and long. Red berries, minerals, a hint of white pepper. 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay. PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: As an aperitif; or with soft, creamy cheeses. $50 Internet Price $42.99 (Grape Tray email subscriber price $38) Back in stock GT 7/28/21

2017 Silver Oak Alexander Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: The Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet is ruby in color with a purple rim. Warm and inviting, it has notes of red currant, cassis, ripe plum, cardamom and toffee. There’s depth and weight on the palate—a harmonious intensity. This wine has a long and beautiful finish, and its fine tannins will provide drinking pleasure through 2043 with proper cellaring.

Our 2017 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is comprised of 95.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3.6% Merlot, 0.5% Cabernet Franc, 0.3% Petit Verdot and 0.1% Malbec. Internet Price $84 (Arrives GT 8/17/21)

Wine Spectator 96 Points
ARISTA Chardonnay Russian River Valley Ritchie Vineyard 2018

Powerfully structured, with an unctuous mix of white fruit and cooking spice flavors. Hints of roasted fennel midpalate lead to a sculpted finish that shows plenty of toasty accents. Drink now through 2027. 600 cases made. — KM $85 (Available GT) Limited

Wine Spectator 95 Points
RAMEY Chardonnay Russian River Valley
Ritchie Vineyard 2018

This complex white is layered with a lively mix of fresh-cut Gala apple, Asian pear and tangerine flavors that are well-knit. A minerally freshness lingers with buttery hints on the richly spiced finish. Drink now through 2027. 767 cases made. — KM $70 Our Price $64.99 (Available GT) Limited

Friday Wine Tasting at VRW $15 per person (Indoor seating for 30 people) Must be 21 or older to attend.

(Time change for tasting: 3:30 PM-6:00 PM)

Friday Tasting, 7/30/21 (3:30 PM-6:00 PM): Lilbert Fils Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne, 2016 Altamura Napa Cabernet and 2018 Turnbull Oakville Reserve Cabernet

Wine Spectator 93
LILBERT FILS Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne NV

This graceful Champagne is like the finely tailored suit that somehow never goes out of style, with a lovely overtone of minerally chalk and brine enticing you into the glass, where flavors of apricot and Marcona almond, and hints of passionfruit coulis and pickled ginger, ride the fine, satinlike mousse. Disgorged autumn 2018. Drink now through 2028. 150 cases imported —A.N. $70

Wine Spectator 94
ALTAMURA Cabernet Sauvignon Napa 2016

Steeped Black Mission fig, plum and blackberry flavors are melded to warm fruitcake, dark licorice and Turkish coffee notes. Despite the profile, this is defined, with a subtle sanguine hint adding detail on the seductive finish. Drink now through 2030. 3,000 cases made. — JM $120

Wine Spectator 96 Points
TURNBULL Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Reserve 2018

Vibrant and intense, with a very pure kirsch and cassis core driving through, laced with graphite, apple wood and violet notes, all of which is kept grounded in turn by a terrific loamy note underneath. There's a final flourish of fruit at the very end. Pretty gorgeous. Best from 2022 through 2040. —J.M. $85

Saturday Wine Tasting at VRW $15 per person (Indoor seating for 30 people) Must be 21 or older to attend.

Saturday Tasting, 7/31/21 (1:00 PM-3:30 PM): Roederer Brut Premier, 2018 Chev Russian River Pinot, 2018 Ghost Block Oakville Cabernet and 2018 Hayfork Field Select Cabernet.

Wine Advocate 92 Points
NV Louis Roederer Brut Premier, Magnum

Based on the 2015 vintage, complemented by 25% reserve wines, the latest rendition of Laurent Roederer's NV Brut Premier is showing nicely, opening in the glass with aromas of crisp yellow orchard fruit, Anjou pear, white peach, pastry cream and subtle hints of freshly baked bread. Medium to full-bodied, seamless and complete, with a delicate pinpoint mousse, ripe but racy acids and exquisite balance, this is a beautiful Brut Premier that will age in style; indeed, it will be even better with some bottle age. This is among the finest examples in its category and comes warmly recommended. $120

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points
2018 Chev Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

As with the CIRQ release, the 2017 Pinot Noir showed great last year, and it didn't disappoint this time around either. Interestingly enough, where the CIRQ release opened up with a year in bottle, the CHEV release shows more structure and focus today, with medium to full-bodied richness and depth as well as lots of black raspberry fruit, iron, kirsch, toasted spice, and dried flower aromas and flavors. Offering balance, a great mid-palate, awesome tannins, and a terrific finish, this is another magical Russian River Pinot Noir from Michael Browne with a level of purity and finesse paired with rocking levels of fruit that's almost unmatched out there. $100

Wine Spectator 95 Points
GHOST BLOCK Cabernet Sauvignon
Oakville 2018

Very lush, with warmed plum sauce, cassis and linzer flavors gliding through slowly, but persistently, while cast iron and mesquite notes add range along the way. Stays on the dark side of the spectrum, with a flash of espresso crema flickering at the end amid the exotic fruit. Drink now through 2034. —J.M. $75

Wine Advocate 95 Points
2018 Hayfork Field Select Cabernet Sauvignon

A blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Petit Verdot, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Field Select was aged for 20 months in oak, 90% new. Deep garnet-purple colored, it charges out of the gate with exuberant notes of baked black plums, Black Forest cake and mulberries plus suggestions of fragrant earth, Provence herbs and tree bark. The palate has a firm backbone of grainy tannins and lively acidity framing the full-bodied, muscular black fruit, finishing long with a lifted perfume. 100 cases were made. $125

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 1:00-6:00 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 10:30 AM-5:30 PM
Saturday 10:30 AM-4:00 PM



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