The Grape Tray

September 7th 2021 Newsletter

Taste a $100 Sauvignon Blanc This Week at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $10:

Taste the 2020 Lucky Rock Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc, 2019 Merry Edwards Russian River Sauvignon Blanc and 2018 Arkenstone Howell Mt. Estate Sauvignon Blanc.
Available all day during operating hours Tuesday, 9/7- Friday, 9/10/21.

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

Wine Spectator 94 Points
MERRY EDWARDS Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley 2019

Tasting Note: This white offers a complex mix of lime sherbet, makrut lime leaf, lemon curd and orange blossom flavors that are fragrant and complex on a fleshy, succulent frame, with notes of nectarine and ripe Crenshaw melon. Harmonious, with a fresh thread of acidity on the finish. Drink now. —M.W. $36

Wine Advocate 94 Points
2018 Arkenstone Howell Mountain Estate Sauvignon Blanc

The 2018 Sauvignon Blanc Estate is a blend of 94% Sauvignon Blanc and 6% Semillon, aged for 11 months in one-third new French oak, one-third once-used barrels and one-third concrete. It springs from the glass with vibrant scents of white peaches, grapefruit and underripe pears with hints of honeysuckle, chalk dust and yuzu. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is laden with citrus and stone fruit layers plus a crisp backbone and satiny texture, finishing long and chalky. 550 cases were made. $105

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Wine Spectator 94 Points
SHAFER Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District One Point Five 2018

Quite lush in feel, with creamy waves of plum sauce, melted black licorice, açaí berry reduction and sweet toast rolling through, laced with subtle alder and bay leaf notes and ending with a sanguine hint amid the fruit. The buried structure will carry this in the cellar as well. Drink now through 2032. 9,000 cases made. —James Molesworth $98 (Available GT and VRW) Half Bottles $54.99

Wine Spectator 90
HAHN Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands

Concentrated dark fruit and berry flavors are backed by medium-grained tannins and fresh acidity, with loamy and minerally accents on the ripe finish. Drink now through 2024. 28,000 cases made. —Kim Marcus $30 Our Price $19.95 (Back in stock GT 9/9/21)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
2016 Laird Family Estate Yountville Cabernet Sauvignon Mast Ranch

The deep purple-black colored 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Mast Ranch offers up cassis, blackberry pie, blueberry compote and licorice with wafts of earth, sage and toasted nuts. Medium to full-bodied, it has a velvety texture with lovely expression and a fruity finish. $80 Our Price $69.99 (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
LAIRD FAMILY Chardonnay Carneros Cold Creek 2017

This glistens with intense creaminess to the tropical fruit, pear tart and lemon curd flavors, focused and powerful. White chocolate and light smoky notes show on the long, powerful finish. Drink now through 2023. 2,200 cases made. — KM $30 Our Price $25.99 (Available GT)

Wine Advocate 95 Points
2018 Joseph Phelps Chardonnay
 Freestone Vineyard

The 2018 Chardonnay Freestone Vineyard, aged 13 months in 41% new French oak, takes its time on the nose, slowly opening to notes of saline, crushed nuts, lemon peel and quince. The palate is medium-bodied, juicy and very silky, its citrusy fruits opening to savory hints underneath, and it finishes very long and nuanced. Give it another couple years in bottle to gain in amplitude. 2,240 cases produced. $60 Our Price $44.99 (Available GT and VRW this afternoon)

Wine Advocate 91-93 Points
2019 Joseph Phelps Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, 2% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot and 1% Malbec. It is due to age in oak for 18 months, in 48% new (58% French, 42% American) and 52% two-year-old French and American oak barrels. Deep garnet-purple in color, it rolls effortlessly out of the glass with beautifully pure notes of fresh black plums, black cherries and crushed blackcurrants plus hints of cinnamon stick, tobacco leaf and charcoal. Medium to full-bodied, the palate hits the ground running with expressive black fruits and soft, supple tannins, lifted by just enough freshness and finishing pleasantly savory. 40,000 are due to be made. $80 Internet Price $74.99 (Available VRW)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
2020 Dry Creek Fume

Fresh and effusive, with lemongrass, lemon verbena and fresh ginger notes to complement the core of juicy lemon-lime, green apple and ruby grapefruit flavors. Juicy and mouthwatering on the vibrant finish. $16 Our Price $12.99 (Back in stock GT 9/8/21)

2019 Lewis Alec's Blend Napa Valley

Winemaker Notes: 24 and there’s so much more – Neil Young nailed it with “Old Man” and our 2019 Alec’s Blend sings with youthful, headstrong fruit character. 56% Syrah, 30% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 3% Cabernet Franc this year’s blend is bursting with blueberry, black cherry, cola and chocolate flavors. Dusted with cocoa, floral and cedary spices, the wine stays fresh and gains impressive richness through the finish. $65 Our Price $58.99 (Arrives GT 9/8/21)

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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, 9/10/21 (3:30 PM-6:00 PM): 2013 A. Margaine Brut Blanc de Blancs Special Club Champagne, 2016 Switchback Ridge Peterson Napa Cabernet and 2016 Laird Mast Yountville Cabernet.

Wine Spectator 93 Points * A. MARGAINE Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne Spécial Club 2013

A minerally overtone of smoke and oyster shell transitions on the palate of this firm and fresh blanc de blancs, where notes of crunchy pear and pineapple fruit, toast point and Meyer lemon peel ride the finely detailed bead. Disgorged January 2021. Drink now through 2028.—A.N. $103

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

Wine Spectator 93 Points * 2016 Laird Family Estate Yountville Cabernet Sauvignon Mast Ranch

The deep purple-black colored 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Mast Ranch offers up cassis, blackberry pie, blueberry compote and licorice with wafts of earth, sage and toasted nuts. Medium to full-bodied, it has a velvety texture with lovely expression and a fruity finish. $80 Our Price $69.99

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

Saturday Tasting, 9/11/21 (1:00 PM-3:30 PM): Gosset Brut Rose Champagne Grand NV, 2018 Joseph Phelps Freestone Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and 2018 Occidental Freestone Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.

Wine Spectator 92 Points * GOSSET Brut Rosé Champagne Grand NV

A minerally rosé Champagne with a crisp, lacy mousse, this is tightly meshed and balanced, offering a finely detailed range of crunchy white peach, spun honey, pink grapefruit pith and ground ginger. Creamy and lingering on the chalk-tinged finish. Drink now through 2025. 800 cases imported. — AN $87

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

Wine Advocate 95+ 2018 Occidental Pinot Noir
 Freestone-Occidental

The 2018 Pinot Noir Freestone-Occidental comes mostly from younger vines at the Occidental property but is made with the same attention to detail as the other wines in the portfolio, using free-run juice. Its nose is an aromatic well, offering crushed blueberries, charcuterie, Earl Grey tea leaves, graphite, saline, bitter orange peel and potpourri aromas. In the mouth, it explodes with lush fruits that give way after their initial rush to bitter, citrusy, minerally accents. It has a fine grain, seamless freshness and long, layered finish. It's enjoyable now but will age well over the next five to eight-plus years. $65

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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