The Grape Tray

June 30th 2021 Newsletter

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
2016 The Paring Red

The 2016 Red Wine checks in as a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, and 10% Petit Verdot. Brilliant notes of cassis, tobacco leaf, damp earth, cedary herbs, and graphite all emerge from this concentrated, remarkably pure, elegant Bordeaux blend hat has building tannins and a great, great finish. It tastes like it costs three times the price. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20%, Merlot, 20%, Cabernet Franc & 10%, Petit Verdot. Internet Price $25 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2018 Chateau de Saint Cosme • Gigondas

Saint Cosme's 2018 Gigondas is a blend of 70% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre, 14% Syrah and 1% Cinsault, aged in a combination of new and used oak, with 30% of the volume matured in concrete. Full-bodied and generous, it's round and supple, with no hard edges to hamper the easy flow of asphalt, red raspberries and black cherries across the palate. Boasting ample but not excessive concentration, it's a lovely, seductive example of Gigondas to enjoy over the next decade or so. $59 Our Price $50.95 (Available GT)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 96 Points
2018 Carlisle Radiant Ridge Vineyard Mourvedre

The 2018 Mourvèdre Radiant Ridge Vineyard is even better than the Syrah! More than that, it is one of the very finest wines I have tasted from Mike Officer in a decade of following Carlisle. Wow! Outrageously vivid and delicious in the glass, the 2018 dazzles with complexity and layers of nuance that unfold in the glass. Inky dark fruit, chocolate, wild flowers, spice and a good deal of whole-cluster savoriness give the Radiant Ridge Mourvèdre its beguiling exoticism. Previously, the Mourvèdre was used for the Integral bottling, but my sense is its real personality is expressed like this, on its own. Readers will not want to miss this exceptional wine from Mike Officer and Carlisle. $40 (Available GT)

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2019 Schloss Lieser – Thomas Haag • Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Kabinett

The 2019 Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Kabinett is a lush and piquant Kabi with 8.5% alcohol and a mouthful of Riesling fruit. The acidity is really spicy-mineral and piquant here and lifts the delicate sweetness. However, I recommend cellaring this wine for 7 to 10 years since it is too sparkling and fruity at this early stage, only a few days after the bottling. Tasted from AP 1020 in May 2020. $35 Our Price $28.99 (Available GT)

2016 Joseph Carr Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: This Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from Napa’s acclaimed Rutherford AVA. Located in the center of Napa, Rutherford is bordered by the Mayacamas Mountains on the west and the Vaca Range on the east. The wine was aged in French Oak for 18 months and features notes of black currant, tobacco, coffee, black cherry, and toffee. Full bodied, plush tannins and integrated acidity lead to a persistent finish. $39 Our Price $26.95 (Back in stock VRW this afternoon)

2019 Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant Central Coast

Winemaker Notes: In cool years the Grenache is enormously pretty and fragrant. This wine was the first year of production for Cinsault and it was thinned multiple times both for enhanced concentration and evenness of ripening. The cooler climate gives the Cinsault a wonderful articulation of flavor, but what is most noteworthy is the fact that Bonny Doon was able to conferment the Consult with Syrah. Something magical happens when Syrah and Cinsault marry; the healthy tannin titer from the Syrah seems to give more structure to the Cinsault, helps to stabilize the color. The spicy, licorice component from the Syrah is a perfect foil to the Griotte cherry derived from the Cinsault. Blend: 56% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, 13% Syrah, 1% Petite Sirah$15 Our Price $12.99 (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 92
OAKVILLE WINERY Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville 2017

Nicely rendered, with red and black currant fruit mixed with sassafras, sage and warm earth notes. There's good grip through the finish, while the fruit keeps pace, leaving a late echo of crushed currant and loam. Best from 2022 through 2029. —J.M. $60 Our Price $43.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
ARISTA Chardonnay Russian River 2018

Baked apple, pear tart and dried apricot flavors glide across the palate, with lemon curd accents. Shows light buttery and spicy accents on the plush finish. Drink now through 2025. 1,500 cases made. — KM $67 (Available GT and VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points
The Paring Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

The 2018 Pinot Noir sports a medium ruby/purple color as well as earthy cherry and raspberry fruits, violets, and peppery herb-like aromas and flavors. It's nicely textured, with terrific balance as well as outstanding purity of fruit, all making for a smoking value in Pinot Noir. Drink it over the coming 4-5 years or so. Internet Price $25 (Available GT and VRW)

James Suckling 92 Points
2019 Hirsch Kammern
Grüner Veltliner Kamptal

 Sliced lemons and honey with some walnuts and stone. It’s medium-bodied with a pretty core of fruit and a walnut undertone at the end. Pineapple, too. From biodynamically grown grapes. Drink now. Screw cap. $30 Our Price $26.99 (Available GT)

Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points
2017 Stack House Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Made by Anna Monticelli, the 2017 Stack House Cabernet Sauvignon checks in as 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, and the balance Cabernet Franc. Coming 90% from mountain fruit and brought up in 85% new French oak, it's one of the best values in the vintage and has beautiful cassis, toasted spice, gravelly earth, and hints of graphite. It's beautifully done, medium to full-bodied, and textured, and drinks way above its price point. Anna commented that this was the finest vintage of this cuvée she’s made. $35 Our Price $28.99 (Back in stock GT)

Wine Enthusiast 92 Points
RD Winery 2019 Fifth Moon Grüner Veltliner (Edna Valley)

Crisp aromas of Pink Lady apple slices and Mandarin peel show a touch of green herbs while remaining clean on the nose. The palate is zesty and fresh, showing firm kiwi and crisp lime flavors. $25 Internet Price $19.99 (Available GT)

Pre-Arrival Notice
Wine Advocate 98 Points
2018 Opus One

Very deep garnet-purple in color, the 2018 Opus One soars out of the glass with bright, bold boysenberries, warm cassis and ripe, juicy black plums notes, plus emerging nuances of lilacs, oolong tea, cinnamon stick, tilled soil and black truffles. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is packed with tightly wound layers of crunchy black fruits, supported by firm, grainy tannins and fantastic freshness, finishing with lifted fruitiness and on a lingering mineral note. $380. Release date 10/1/21. Please email stan@grapetray.com to be added to the allocation list.

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

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/magnum

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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