The Grape Tray

September 17th 2021 Newsletter

2019 Lucia Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: A stunning melange of three truly unique vineyard sites (52% Pisoni, 18% Garys’, and 30% Soberanes), the 2019 Lucia Pinot Noir exhales deeply as its ruby hue trickles down the side of the glass. Notes of spiced plum, black cherry and sage quickly fill the glass. This wine is initially tightly wound, but each passing minute allows for new layers and aromas to unfold. At first, subtle notes of dried raspberry and sous bois were most prominent, but time in the glass promotes the expression of richer, more powerful notes of black cherry, crushed strawberry, sandalwood, and baking spice. The trademarked coastal fog and stiff afternoon winds of the Santa Lucia Highlands provide the refreshing acidity necessary for a long life in bottle.

$48/750ml and $25/375ml (Arrives GT this afternoon)

Vinous 93 points
Lucienne 2018 Pinot Noir Lone Oak Santa Lucia Highlands

Shimmering garnet. Cherry, black raspberry, musky lavender and fresh-turned earth qualities on the deeply perfumed nose. Sappy and penetrating on the palate, offering bitter cherry and berry preserve flavors that become livelier as the wine opens up. Concentrated yet lithe in character, showing strong finishing thrust and even, well-knit tannins that frame lingering cherry and floral notes. $45 Our Price $39.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Vinous 94 Points
Lucienne 2018 Pinot Noir Doctor's Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands

Deep, brilliant red. Expressive red and blue fruit, potpourri and allspice aromas show excellent clarity and pick up vanilla and star anise notes as the wine opens up. Sappy and energetic on the palate, offering concentrated black raspberry, cherry cola and spicecake flavors braced by a spine of juicy acidity. The floral note comes back strong on a long, appealingly sweet finish framed by round, polished tannins. 2022 – 2030. $45 Our Price $39.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Vinous 93 Points
Lucienne 2018 Chardonnay Lone Oak Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands

Limpid yellow-gold. Vibrant, mineral- and spice-accented citrus and orchard fruit and jasmine qualities on the highly perfumed nose. Juicy and energetic in the mouth, offering Meyer lemon, pear nectar and quinine flavors and a touch of buttered toast. Closes minerally and impressively long, delivering a resonating floral note and firm, spicy lift. Drink 2021 – 2027. $40 Internet Price $35.99 (Available GT and VRW)

James Suckling 99 Points * 2018 Quintessa Rutherford Proprietary Red

This is beautifully polished with firm, dusty tannins to the blue fruit, as well as chocolate and cedar character. Some much earthier character, too, from mushrooms to bark. Forest flowers. Perfumed. It’s full-bodied with round tannins and a soft, creamy finish. Some iron and iodine to this. So attractive at the finish. From biodynamically grown grapes. $225 Internet Price $209.99 (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 (Delicious)

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 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

James Suckling 95 Points * 2018 Larkmead Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Pretty aromas of currants, walnuts and fresh tobacco follow through to a full-bodied palate with dusty, chewy tannins and lots of berry, coffee and lightly toasted-oak undertones in the aftertaste. Needs some time to resolve the tannins. Very drinkable now, but better after 2025. $135 Our Price $99.99 (Arrives 9/22/21)

2017 Joullian Monterey Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: Brilliant, pale green straw-gold color couple with perfumy mango, white peach, pineapple and citrus rind aromas that jump out of the glass. These same tropical characteristics are reflected in a rich, fruit driven flavor profile that finishes with refreshing acidity and hints of minerality and roasted grain. Cellar thru 2024 at 55° F. $25 Our Price $17.99 (Available GT)

2016 The Mascot Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: The Mascot is a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon made from distinct hillside vineyards; specifically the younger vines of BOND, Harlan Estate, and Promontory. It started out as a small project shared among the family, winemaking team, and close friends. Drawing fruit from blocks of recently replanted vineyards, The Mascot shares a glimpse into the evolution of its parent estates: a youthful snapshot of their future.

Aromas suggest cool, fragrant mists, an intermingling of bright fruit with gentle florals, and traces of fresh, wild herbs. A sip reveals a polished core—a soft, inviting texture bonded by strength. These playful curves resolve towards an elevated finish, as well as light, colorful notes that dance on the palate—and entice the imagination. $150 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

Vinous 95 Points * 2019 Failla Platt Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

The 2019 Chardonnay Platt Vineyard is laced with hints of jasmine, lemon confit, mint, orchard fruit and tangerine oil. Time in the glass brings out light tropical overtones that take on a Riesling-like feel that is hugely appealing. Drink 2021 – 2029. $55 (Arrives 9/29/21)

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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