The Grape Tray

September 13th 2021 Newsletter

Taste four wines this week at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW). Receive 3 ounces of each wine for $6-$10 per taste:

Available all day during operating hours Tuesday, 9/14- Thursday, 9/16/21.

Wine Spectator 96 Points - $6 per 3 ounce serving
DOMAINE HUET Vouvray Demi-Sec Le Haut-Lieu 2020

This broad, striking white is elegant and rich with complexity, featuring green melon, yellow fig, ginger and verbena notes, underscored with heather, stone, flint and spice details. Offers great energy and tension, showcasing expert craftsmanship. Drink now through 2036. 4,100 cases made.—G.S. $42 Our Price $39.99

Wine Advocate 95 Points - $6 per 3 ounce serving
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

Jeb Dunnuck 92-94 Points - $6 per 3 ounce serving
2019 Caterwaul Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

A 3,000-case blend that should be one of the great values in the vintage, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley just about jumps out of the glass with its fruit-forward, undeniably delicious style that could be drunk today. Notes of cassis and berry fruits, lots of spice and flower nuances, full-bodied richness, and ripe, polished tannins all make for a no-brainer purchase geared for drinking over the coming decade. $50

Wine Advocate 91-93 Points - $10 per 3 ounce serving
2019 Phelps Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Composed of 97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon reveals vivacious notions of crushed black currants, red currant jelly, fresh blackberries and Morello cherries with touches of garrigue, bay leaves, damp soil and cedar chest. Medium-bodied, the palate is wonderfully elegant and charged with energy, featured loads of crunchy black and red fruit plus a refreshing backbone, finishing on an appealing chewy note. $90 Internet Price $74.99

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Wine Spectator 90 Points * MERCER Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills Mercer Bros. 2018

A spunky red that's well-structured and polished, with vibrant black cherry, orange peel and toasty mocha flavors. Drink now through 2026. 15,960 cases made. — TF $20 Our Price $14.99 (Available VRW)

2019 Frank Family Carneros Chardonnay,
 Half Bottle

Winemaker Notes: A vibrant citrus-led nose delves into nuanced flavors of baked apple, toasted oak, and brioche on the full-bodied palate. The rich mouthfeel is harmonized by a lasting thread of bright acidity that lifts and maintains freshness on the long finish. $19/375ml. Our Price $16.39/375ml

Wine Spectator 90
SILENUS Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley Tyros 2017

Quite bold and ripe, this teeters a bit, with a prune note amid the cherry, raspberry and plum confiture flavors. Features pretty spice accents, a relatively silky feel and a lingering mesquite element for added range. For fans of the style. Drink now through 2028. 5,000 cases made. — JM $35 Internet Price $24.99 GT and VRW email subscriber price $18.95

Wine Spectator 92 Points
STEWART Cabernet Sauvignon Napa 2018

This red has a nicely polished and ripe feel, with cassis and plum preserve flavors gilded lightly with vanilla and backed by subtle tobacco, dark licorice and warm earth accents. Gains a darker, deeper feel through the finish, giving it some sneaky length. Drink now through 2029. 1,500 cases made. — JM $60

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

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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, 9/17/21 (3:30 PM-6:00 PM): Vilmart Grand Cellier Brut, 2017 Etude Napa Cabernet and 2018 Peter Michael L’Esprit des Pavot.

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

Wine Spectator 93 Points * ETUDE Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2017

Packed with juicy black currant, plum and blackberry compote flavors that pump along the graphite-edged grip and a dark tobacco backdrop. Frankly toasted on the finish, but with ample fruit for balance. A serious Cab. Best from 2022 through 2034. —J.M. $100

2018 Peter Michael L’Esprit des Pavot

WINEMAKER'S TASTING NOTES: The 2018 ‘L’Esprit des Pavots’ presents a nearly black color with highlights of crimson ruby. An elegant, floral nose is heightened with accents of dark cherry, caramel, truffle, blackberry, cassis, and toffee. Generous essences of blueberry, blackberry, the black cherry are hallmarks of the Les Pavots terroir, along with plum and hints of mocha and vanilla bean. The Au Paradis terroir brings notes of currant and crème de cassis with meaty nuances. The palate is full-bodied and concentrated, exhibiting savory leather, tobacco, and white pepper with chestnut, black truffle, cedar, and supple tannins with a lingering finish. $120

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

Saturday Tasting, 9/18/21 (1:00 PM-3:30 PM): 2012 Pierre Gimonnet Brut Nature Cuvee Oenophile, 2017 Altagracia Eisele Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and 2018 SOJOURN Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville.

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

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2017 Altagracia Eisele Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

This vintage has a bit less Petit Verdot than usual, but basically remains about 85% Cabernet Sauvignon with splashes of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Altagracia leaps from the glass, offering bold, expressive notes of blackberry pie, Black Forest cake and warm cassis with hints of garrigue, mossy tree bark, dusty soil and black pepper plus a fragrant waft of cinnamon stick. Medium to full-bodied, the palate offers a great core of rich, spicy black fruit preserves, framed with firm, chewy tannins and just enough freshness, finishing earthy. $150

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

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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