The Grape Tray

August 27th 2021 Newsletter

 Wine Spectator 96 points * LOUIS ROEDERER Brut Champagne Cristal 2013

Exotic hints of tangerine and candied ginger are an enticing entrance for this vivid Champagne, accenting a finely meshed range of ripe green apple and cassis fruit, with rich notes of chopped almond, brioche and lemon curd. An underscoring streak of salinity gains momentum through the mouthwatering finish, echoing as it rides the plushly creamy mousse. This is decadence in a sleek and graceful package. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Drink now through 2033. From France. —A.N. $279 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2017 Ramey Syrah Sonoma Coast

The 2017 Syrah Sonoma Coast is blended with 11% Viognier and comes from Cole Creek and Rodgers Creek vineyards this year. Medium to deep ruby, the aromatics of warm blackberries and blueberries are complemented with lovely notes of pepper, blue flowers, bacon fat, garrigue and mint. It has a medium weight and floods the mouth with concentrated red and blue berry fruits, finely grained and with just enough freshness to lift the finish. 871 cases produced. $40 Our Price $32.99 (Available GT and VRW)

James Suckling 94 Points
2019 Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Apalta Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Very pretty currant, blackberry and floral aromas and flavors. It’s medium-to full-bodied with firm, silky tannins and a chewy finish. Give it two or three years to soften. $25 Our Price $19.99 (Available GT)

Wine Advocate 92-94 Points
2017 Ramey Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

A finished tank sample, the 2017 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley is made using about 25% whole-cluster fermentation—the first time, David Ramey says, that they've experimented with whole cluster. Pale to medium ruby-purple in color, it has a gregarious, youthful nose with tangerine peel, soft baking spices, forest floor and a wicked vein of floral nuance with warm red and black fruits at the core. The palate gives good concentration of spicy fruit, with grainy tannins and juicy acidity, finishing long and spicy. 2,400 cases are expected to be made and released in September 2019. $50 Our Price $40.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
CAYMUS Cabernet Sauvignon Napa 2019

A rich, showy style, with a very creamy texture to its mix of warmed vanilla, plum and boysenberry puree, and melted black licorice flavors. A mocha notes swirls around the fruit on the finish. Drink now through 2028. 141,348 cases made. —James Molesworth $82 Our Price $79.95 (Available GT and VRW)

Vinous 91 Points
2019 Mas de Gourgonnier
Les Baux de Provence Rosé

Vivid orange-pink. Sharply focused strawberry, rhubarb and orange zest scents, along with building floral and mineral nuances. Taut and focused on the palate, offering nervy red berry, citrus fruit and lavender flavors that are braced by a spine of juicy acidity. The mineral and citrus notes repeat strongly on the persistent finish, which leaves a hint of spiciness behind. $24 Liquidation Price $15.95 (Available GT-Limited to stock on hand)

Wine Advocate 92 Points
2016 BYRON Pinot Noir Julia's Vineyard
 Santa Maria Valley

Pale to medium ruby in color, the 2016 Pinot Noir Julia's Vineyard has a bright nose of Bing cherry, wild blackberries, earth and stewed black tea leaves with saline and hints of charcuterie and potpourri. Medium-bodied and silky, it's much more giving in the mouth with black and red fruits and tons of Earl Grey tea-tinged spice, with soft, grainy tannins and great freshness, finishing long and layered. A delicate, earthy and pretty expression. 100 cases were made. $45 Our Price $25.99 (Available GT and VRW)

James Suckling 96 Points
Best's Great Western Riesling 2020

Such expressive and fragrant aromas of fresh lemons, sliced pears and apples, as well as wet stones. Lots to like here. The palate has a very intense, mouthwatering core of citrus and white peach, driven by intense acidity. Low-yielding vintage with high-quality grapes. Will age very well. Drink or hold. Screw cap. $25 Our Price $19.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Advocate 94+ 2018 Vie di Romans Friuli Isonzo Pinot Grigio Dessimis

The Vie di Romans 2018 Friuli Isonzo Pinot Grigio Dessimis boasts a pale copper color with amber and peachy pink highlights. This vintage is not as wide or as texturally generous as the 2017 vintage also tasted in this report. However, the 2018 offers lifted, sharp fruit that is delineated and pure. Those subtle mineral nuances also appear with more clarity. There is tart berry, white cherry, wild mint and bitter almond. I also taste a mild tannic crunch. That structure comes from extended maceration on Pinot Grigio skins, as does the wine's pretty color. It would be interesting to check in on its evolution in five year's time. The wine ages on the lees for two months in French barrique. $37 Our Price $30.99 (Back in stock VRW and GT 8/28/21)

Decanter Magazine 97 Points
2019 Amalaya Malbec Calchaquíes, Salta

Perfumed attractive nose with layers of spice, crunchy strawberries, ripe red plums and fresh violets. Vibrant on the palate with a lovely freshness in harmony with a dense chocolatey character, ending in an elegant spicy finish. 85% Malbec, 10% Tannat, 5% Petit Verdot. $14 Our Price $10.95 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 97
BOLLINGER Brut Champagne
 La Grande Année 2012

This goes from zero to 60 right out of the gate, with an intense spine of acidity driving tightly meshed flavors of crushed black currant, ground coffee, candied grapefruit peel and toasted almond. The profile expands on the palate, carried by the fine, raw silk–like mousse. Richly aromatic and expressive from start to lasting, spiced finish. Disgorged July 2019. Drink now through 2037. 850 cases imported. From France. —A.N. $175 Our Price $129.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 93 Points
2018 O'Shaughnessy
Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) is a fabulous wine that overdelivers big time. Inky dark fruit, graphite, lavender, spice, menthol and licorice give the 2018 its distinctly savory, soil-driven personality. Time in the glass brings out attractive floral overtones. The tannins need time to soften, but there is a lot to look forward to. This is a very serious, polished wine. O'Shaughnessy's Napa Valley Cabernet remains one of the hidden jewels in Napa Valley. $80 Our Price $74.99 (Available GT and VRW)

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

Friday Tasting, 8/27/21 (3:30 PM-6:00 PM): 2019 Lewis Napa Reserve Chardonnay, 2018 Spottswoode Lyndenhurst Napa Cabernet and 2018 Bevan Tench EE Red

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

Saturday Tasting, 8/28/21 (1:00 PM-3:30 PM): Ramey Wine Cellars: 2017 Woolsey Road Russian River Chardonnay, 2017 Russian River Pinot Noir, 2015 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and 2017 Sonoma Coast Syrah

Wine Spectator 94 Points
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

Wine Advocate 92-94 Points
2017 Ramey Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

A finished tank sample, the 2017 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley is made using about 25% whole-cluster fermentation—the first time, David Ramey says, that they've experimented with whole cluster. Pale to medium ruby-purple in color, it has a gregarious, youthful nose with tangerine peel, soft baking spices, forest floor and a wicked vein of floral nuance with warm red and black fruits at the core. The palate gives good concentration of spicy fruit, with grainy tannins and juicy acidity, finishing long and spicy. 2,400 cases are expected to be made and released in September 2019. $50

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2015 Ramey Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 7% Malbec and 3% Petit Verdot. Medium to deep ruby, it has an incredible nose of licorice, dried flowers and mint chocolate over black berries and black cherries, cedar shavings and pencil lead, plus spicy clove and star anise touches. Medium to full-bodied, it floods the mouth with plush flavor layers wrapped in chocolate-textured, pixelated tannins and great freshness to counter, finishing long and luscious. 7,177 cases produced. $62

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2017 Ramey Syrah Sonoma Coast

The 2017 Syrah Sonoma Coast is blended with 11% Viognier and comes from Cole Creek and Rodgers Creek vineyards this year. Medium to deep ruby, the aromatics of warm blackberries and blueberries are complemented with lovely notes of pepper, blue flowers, bacon fat, garrigue and mint. It has a medium weight and floods the mouth with concentrated red and blue berry fruits, finely grained and with just enough freshness to lift the finish. 871 cases produced. $40

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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