The Grape Tray

August 20th 2021 Newsletter

Wine Spectator 93 Points
SPOTTSWOODE Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Lyndenhurst 2018

There's a well-endowed core of warmed cassis and steeped plum fruit here, splashed with a sassafras note and backed by roasted applewood and melted black licorice on the finish. Rich in feel throughout. Best from 2022 through 2034. —J.M. $85 (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 94 Points
MARC HÉBRART Brut Champagne
Spécial Club 2016

This hedonistic Champagne is lush and juicy, with mouthwatering acidity serving as a springboard for the lacy mousse and the appealing range of nectarine, honeysuckle, Marcona almond and white cherry notes. Lightly chalky on the lingering, spiced finish. Disgorged September 2020. Drink now through 2031.—A.N. $103 (Available GT)

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
2018 Shafer TD-9 Proprietary Red

The 2018 TD-9 Proprietary Red Blend is based on 56% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the rest Malbec. It's another balanced, charming, and impeccably made wine from this estate that has lively red and blue fruits, scorched earth, graphite, and licorice aromas and flavors as well as a medium to full-bodied, elegant style on the palate. It shows the more streamlined, focused style of the 2018 vintage and is going to evolve for 10-12 years. $60 (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
SOJOURN Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville 2018

Ripe, rich and focused, with a well-built core of dark currant, fig and blackberry paste flavors that drive along nicely, thanks to a racy graphite underpinning. This has some showy toast, but there's a tug of loam and ample fruit to keep this honest. Best from 2023 through 2034. —J.M. 800 cases. $79 Our Price $69.99 (Available GT and VRW)

2017 Pont Neuf La Vouge Russian River Pinot

Winemaker Notes: The 2017 Pont Neuf La Vouge Pinot Noir Russian River is made with traditional Burgundian techniques using French oak from a mix of cooperages, including François Frères. The wine remains in oak barrels almost 1 year, and is usually bottled just before the next vintage. The La Vouge is comprised of Dijon Clone 115, which according to UC Davis derives many of its unique characteristics from specific sites and soils. Goldridge soils produced complex combinations of vivid fruit and forest floor in our 2017 La Vouge. The 2017 vintage for Russian River Pinot was of excellent quality due to favorable conditions at bloom and an even, warm summer. The resulting wines are bold and assertive, complex and delicious. $60 (Arrives GT 8/25/21)

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points
2019 Lewis Cellars Reserve Napa Chardonnay

The 2019 Chardonnay Reserve is similarly light gold-hued and has a vibrant nose of white peach, caramelized apple, gunflint, and honeyed flowers. These carry to a medium to full-bodied, concentrated Chardonnay that brings plenty of Napa opulence yet also terrific freshness, purity, and length. It's not for the Chablis crowd, but it's a rock star of a Napa Chardonnay. $75 Our Price $66.99 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

James Suckling 99 Points
Castiglion del Bosco
Brunello di Montalcino 2016

The complexity and beauty to this is really something with cherry, walnut, tobacco and cigar-box character. Sweet cherries. It’s full-bodied and deep with super intensity and power. Layered and beautiful. Really refined tannins. Some whole-berry fermentation gives this added character. Goes on for minutes. $65 Our Price $58.99 (Available VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2018 Lewis Cellars Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

As to the Cabernets, these are all terrific, with the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon offering textbook ripe black fruits, toasty oak, chocolate, and spice-driven aromas and flavors. This full-bodied, incredibly satisfying, powerful Cabernet exemplifies the vintage’s fresh, nicely balanced style. $100 Our Price $89.99 (Back in stock GT this afternoon)

Wine Spectator 90
VEUVE FOURNY & FILS Brut Champagne Grande Réserve NV

Firm and tangy, with a tight bead and kumquat and melon flavors married to a minerally base note and accents of toast, yellow plum, grated ginger and lemon zest. Drink now. 616 cases imported. — AN $47 Our Price $43.99 (Back in stock GT this afternoon)

Wine Advocate 93-95 Points
2019 Sinegal Estate Details
Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Details emerges mostly from one of the top vineyards on Moon Mountain. Rich and beautifully layered, the 2019 has all of the mineral and savory intensity that makes wines from this corner of Northern California so compelling. Inky dark fruit, sage, menthol, licorice, smoke, gravel and spice infuse the finish. $40 (Arrives VRW this afternoon)

Jeb Dunnuck 98 Points
2017 Shafer Hillside Select
Cabernet Sauvignon

In the running for the wine of the vintage, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is an incredible success and offers more depth, opulence, and purity than just about every other wine out there. Revealing a dense purple color as well as a killer nose of blueberries, chocolate-covered cherries, scorched earth, tobacco, violets, and exotic spices, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a seamless, pure, incredibly layered mouthfeel, building tannins, and a great, great finish. As with most top 2017s, it stays tight and compact on the palate, with notable structure and impressive concentration. It has some up-front appeal given its purity of fruit and balance, yet it’s going to take 7-8 years to hit prime time and will be a long-lived bottle of Napa Cabernet. Hats off to Doug Shafer and the team for yet another magical Cabernet Sauvignon! $325 (Available GT 8/26/21)

Additional Score: Wine Advocate 98+

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

The Paul Hobbs Goldrock Pinot and The Settings Oakville Cabernet did not arrive as planned, so we are substituting the following wines noted below:

Friday Tasting, 8/20/21 (3:30 PM-6:00 PM): 2018 2018 Capiaux Garys’ SLH Pinot Noir, 2019 Venge Silencieux Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and 2016 Crown Point Happy Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon.

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 94 Points
2018 Capiaux Garys’ Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

The 2018 Pinot Noir Garys' is bright and focused, with terrific energy driving the sweet red berry and floral notes. White pepper, mint, blood orange and a kiss of new French oak (40%) add layers of nuance and dimension. The 2018 finishes with a real sense of saline-infused briskness that is hugely appealing. This is another stellar wine in Sean Capiaux's range. Drinking window: 2022 – 2033. $45

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

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

Saturday Tasting, 8/21/21 (1:00 PM-3:30 PM): 2018 Arista Russian River Chardonnay, 2012 Araujo Eisele Vineyard Syrah and 2018 Vineyard 29 Ceanda Napa Cabernet Sauvignon.

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

Wine Spectator 93 Points
ARAUJO Syrah Napa Valley Eisele Vineyard 2012

Powerfully built, with a brooding personality lingering under the structure of tannins. Aromas of currant and river rock combine with complex, dense flavors of blackberry, licorice and espresso. Hands off for now. Best from 2017 through 2029. 300 cases made. — TF $150

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points
2018 Vineyard 29 Ceanda Cabernet Sauvignon

Another St. Helena release, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Ceanda checks in as 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, and the rest Petit Verdot and Merlot, all brought up in French oak. Black fruits, chocolaty herbs, graphite, violets, and acacia flower notes all emerge from the glass, and it hits the palate with a seamless, elegant texture, ultra-fine tannins, no hard edges, and a great finish. I'd be thrilled to drink a bottle any time over the coming 20 years or more. $150

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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