The Grape Tray

September 3rd 2021 Newsletter

Labor Day Holiday
The Grape Tray and Vintage Reserve Wine will be closed on Monday, 9/6/21

Wine Enthusiast 92 Points
Scott Family 2018 Dijon Clone
Arroyo Seco Chardonnay

Lemon blossom, nectarine, damp sand and the lightest touch of butter make for a compelling nose. It's very racy on the palate, with a brisk lemon-juice flavor that cuts through the rounded tones of nectarine and apricot. $36. Internet Price $16.99. Email subscriber price $12.95 (Available GT and VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points
2019 Ridge Lytton Springs

The 2019 Lytton Springs checks in as 73% Zinfandel, 16% Petite Sirah, and the rest Carignan and Mataro. Revealing a translucent ruby/plum hue as well as beautiful cassis and red plum fruits supported by lots of savory herbs, orange blossom, cigar, and spice-driven aromas and flavors, this beauty hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, a seamless texture, moderate yet present tannins, and a great finish. While the Geyserville Cuvee has eclipsed the Lytton Spring in most vintages in the past decade, that's not the case in 2019. $45 Our Price $39.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
VILMART Brut Champagne Grand Cellier NV

Toasty hints of brioche, coffee liqueur and vanilla bean on the nose are more subtle on the palate of this plush-textured Champagne, where flavors of persimmon, yellow peach, blanched almond and Mandarin orange peel are underscored by minerally saline and chalk. Shows lovely balance and length. Disgorged July 2018. Drink now through 2026.—A.N. $77 Our Price $66.95 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
HENRI BILLIOT & FILS Brut Champagne Réserve NV

A lush, creamy style enlivened by a spine of mouthwatering acidity, this offers a finely knit range of fresh bread dough, crème de cassis, star anise and candied ginger flavors. The finish is clean-cut and lingering, echoing a rich tang of salted almond. Disgorged February 2019. Drink now through 2025. — AN $54 Our Price $49.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
La Cabanne 2018 Pomerol

The 2018 Château La Cabanne is another pretty, perfumed, incredibly pure Pomerol with loads of blueberry and cherry fruit as well candied violets, spice, and leafy herbs. I love its purity, it has great tannins, a layered, deep mid-palate, and an outstanding finish. It's great today, in a youthful, vibrant fashion, yet will benefit from 2-3 years of bottle age and keep for 10-15 years. It's a gorgeous wine and one of the finest I've tasted from this address, surpassing even the 2016. $47 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

Wine Advocate 94 Points
2018 Joseph Phelps Pinot Noir
 Freestone Vineyards

Pale ruby-purple, the 2018 Pinot Noir Freestone Vineyards has alluring aromas of dried lavender and bergamot, aniseed, blood orange and amaro-like accents with a core of perfectly ripe red and black berry fruits. The palate is light-bodied, silky, soft and juicy but packed with nuanced flavor layers, and it finishes incredibly long. What an elegant, layered expression this vintage! This was aged 13 months in 39% new French oak, and 10,400 cases were produced. $60 Our Price $38.99 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 95+ Points
Paolo Scavino 2017 Barolo Bric del Fiasc Castiglione Falletto, Piedmont

The 2017 Barolo Bric del Fiasc is another gorgeous wine in the line up from the Scavino family. Readers will find a Barolo that is more nuanced and less bombastic than in the past. Bric del Fiasc has plenty of power on its own, so this style works so well. Dried rose petal, mint, spice, kirsch and iron all blossom with a bit of coaxing. I can’t wait to see how it ages. $100 Our Price $86.99 (Available GT)

2019 Fort Ross Sea Slopes Pinot

Winemaker Notes: A radiant garnet, this lively Pinot Noir has bright notes of raspberry, ripe cranberry, and rose petal aromas. Vibrant flavors of luscious Ranier cherry, crushed strawberry, and red currant seamlessly intertwine with hints of hibiscus framed by firm tannins. The crisp acidity and structured, elegant layers of pure Pinot Noir fruit linger through the energetic finish. Sea Slopes is a true expression of a coastal Pinot Noir. $30 Our Price $24.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2019 Ridge Pagani Zinfandel

The deep purple/ruby-hued 2019 Zinfandel Pagani Ranch comes from a site in the Sonoma Valley and is 90% Zinfandel, 6% Petit Sirah, and the rest Alicante Bouschet. Red plums, blueberries, blood orange, and candied violet notes all emerge from this beauty, which is medium to full-bodied and offers an ultra-fine texture, silky tannins, and a great finish. This is one impressive, satisfying Zinfandel to enjoy over the coming 7-8 years. $40 Our Price $36.99 (Available VRW)

Wine Spectator 95
VILMART Brut Champagne Coeur de Cuvée 2012

A vivid Champagne with an articulate display of juicy black currant, lime blossom, candied ginger and Macadamia nut notes chiseled by firm, well-honed acidity. Offers a plushly creamy mousse and a fragrant skein of spice and graphite that winds through the flavor range and lingers on the finish. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Disgorged March 2019. Drink now through 2037.—A.N. $151 Our Price $142.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 90 Points
LUCKY ROCK Sauvignon Blanc
Sonoma County County Cuvée 2020

Tangy Key lime, pomelo and melon flavors are sleek and refreshing, with lingering notes of sea salt and ruby grapefruit that linger on the refreshing finish. Drink now. 419 cases made. — MW. $17 Our Price $14.29 (Arrives GT 9/3/21)

Jeb Dunnuck 96+ Points
2016 Switchback Ridge Peterson Napa
Cabernet Sauvignon

The 100% varietal 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Peterson Family Vineyard comes from a site in Calistoga and was raised in 50% new French oak. It offers impressive amounts of cassis and blueberry fruits intermixed with lots of sappy herbs, incense, and California bay leaf-like nuances. Full-bodied, rockingly concentrated and powerful, yet still elegant and seamless, it's a seriously good Napa Cabernet that might just be one of the best at the under 100-dollar price point. $95 (Arrives GT 9/3/21)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 94 Points
2012 Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Brut Nature Cuvée Oenophile

The 2012 Brut Nature Cuvée Oenophile is gorgeous. Rich, layered and expressive, the 2012 has so much to offer. Unlike many non-dosé Champagnes, the 2012 Oenophile has terrific depth and no sense of austerity or edginess. All the elements meld together so well. Pastry, orchard fruit, spice and flowers are some of the many notes that build as this racy, open-knit Champagne shows off its curves. The 2012 is a real standout. Disgorged: October 8, 2019. $90 Our Price $75.99 (Available GT and VRW)

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

Friday Tasting, 9/3/21 (3:30 PM-6:00 PM): 2016 Marc Hebrart Brut Special Club, 2017 Pont Neuf La Source Russian River Pinot and 2017 Paul Hobbs Goldrock Estate Sonoma Coast Pinot.

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

Saturday Tasting, 9/4/21 (1:00 PM-3:30 PM): 2018 Snowden The Ranch Napa Cabernet, 2018 Lewis Napa Cabernet and 2018 The Setting Oakville Cabernet.

Wine Spectator 93
SNOWDEN Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley The Ranch 2018

Fresh and focused, with a well-built core of red currant, plum and black cherry preserves supported by a loamy spine, with tobacco and singed alder lining the finish. Best from 2022 through 2035. 1,203 cases made. — JM $55

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

Wine Advocate 97 Points
The Setting Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville from The Setting Wines comes from the Skellenger vineyard and was aged 24 months in 80% new and 20% one-year-old Taransaud and Darnajou barrels. This vintage offers purity and finesse, with a perfume that opens slowly to violets, blueberries, graphite, dark chocolate and sparks of aniseed and exotic spices. The palate is intense with a velvety texture opposed by juicy lift and mineral sparks, finishing on a violet note. Only 200 cases were made and despite the $100+ price tag, compared to the price of its Oakville neighbors, it offers great value this vintage. $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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