The Grape Tray

September 21st 2021 Newsletter

Lucienne Chardonnay and Pinot Wine Tasting This Week at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $10:

Taste the 2018 Lucienne Lone Oak SLH Chardonnay, 2018 Lucienne Lone Oak SLH Pinot Noir and 2018 Lucienne Doctor’s SLH Pinot Noir.

Available all day during operating hours Tuesday, 9/21- Thursday, 9/23/21.

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

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

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

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Wine Spectator 97 Points * GRAHAM Vintage Port 2017

Lush and inviting, with waves of cassis, melted red licorice, plum preserves and boysenberry reduction coursing through, carried by a velvety structure that lets this flow wonderfully. Flashes of apple wood and tar score the finish, which ends with authoritative cut. This is serious. Best from 2035 through 2055. 5,250 cases made, 937 cases imported. — JM $65/375ml. Our Price $56.99/375ml (Available GT and VRW 9/22/21)

Wine Spectator 97 Points * CROFT Vintage Port 2017

A beauty in the making, with waves of dark currant preserves, warmed fig and steeped blackberry fruit, all infused with chai spice, tobacco, singed alder and espresso cream accents. Very grippy on the finish, but this is long and smoldering too. Best from 2035 through 2060. 500 cases imported. — JM $50/375ml Our Price $37.99/375ml (Available GT and VRW 9/22/21)

2019 Lewis Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: Layered with ripe berry, red currant and ambrosial “on the vine” character, our 2019 Napa Valley Cabernet is deliciously complex. Inflected with dusty ripe fruit and chocolaty floral aromas, the wine is concentrated yet classic with remarkable silky texture spanning the palate and augmenting the finish. $100 Our Price $89.99 (Arrives GT 9/22/21)

Wine Spectator 93 Points * SPARKMAN Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley Holler 2018

Gutsy yet polished, with deeply structured blackberry, mocha espresso and dusky spice flavors that build tension toward refined tannins. Drink now through 2029. 2,483 cases made. —TF $32 Our Price $25.99 (Back in stock VRW 9/22/21)

Wine Spectator 96 Points
TURNBULL Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Reserve 2018

Vibrant and intense, with a very pure kirsch and cassis core driving through, laced with graphite, apple wood and violet notes, all of which is kept grounded in turn by a terrific loamy note underneath. There's a final flourish of fruit at the very end. Pretty gorgeous. Best from 2022 through 2040. —J.M. $85 (5 bottles in stock at GT)

Wine Advocate 90 Points
2018 Frostwatch Bennett Valley Chardonnay

The 2018 Chardonnay Estate has gregarious aromas of spiced apples, jasmine, roasted almonds and citrusy top notes. The palate is light-bodied, with an appealing roundness to the texture, intense, ripe fruit character and a long, savory finish. 200 cases produced. $30 (Available GT)

2020 Lewis Sonoma Russian River Chardonnay

Our Russian River Valley 2020 Sonoma Chardonnay is a tangerine dream soaring with citrus blossom, sweet jasmine and subtle toasted oak. Elevated, vibrant and fresh, with cascading citrus fruit and a supporting backdrop of native acidity, the wine carries flavorful drive through the finish. $55 Our Price $49.99 (Arrives GT 9/22/21)

2020 Lewis Napa Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: Seemingly fresh from the Garden of Eden but actually sourced from the Oak Knoll district, our 2020 Napa Valley Chardonnay is luscious and laden with forbidden fruit. Honeycrisp cinnamon apple, shortbread and tree blossom aromas succumb to a lustrous long palate and sinfully silky finish. $55 Our Price $49.99 (Arrives GT 9/22/21)

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

Friday Tasting, 9/24/21 (3:30 PM-6:00 PM): 2016 2016 Byron John Sebastiano Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir, 2018 D’Alfonso-Curran Rancho la viña Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir and 2019 Kosta Browne Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 93 Points
2016 BYRON Pinot Noir, John Sebastiano Sta. Rita Hills

The 2016 Pinot Noir John Sebastiano Vineyard is another of the more powerful, deep wines in this range. The 33% whole clusters are nearly buried by the sheer intensity of the dark-fleshed stone fruit. Lavender, licorice, menthol and dark spice notes add to the wine's imposing personality, an impression that is reinforced by the potent tannins. There is no shortage of character, but the wine needs a few years in bottle to be at its finest. $45

2018 D’Alfonso-Curran Pinot Noir
Rancho la viña Sta. Rita Hills

Winemaker Notes: Black cherry in color with aromatics of boysenberry and dark plum, accompanied by suggestions of fine leather and cardamom. This Pinot Noir is bold, with excellent structure and firm tannins, leading to a lasting, rich and supple finish. $64

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2019 Kosta Browne Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Rocking spiced herbs, red and black fruits along with some meaty, exotic notes all emerge from the 2019 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills, a complex, medium to full-bodied Pinot Noir with a round, expansive, seamless texture that's already a joy to drink. $100

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

Saturday Tasting, 9/25/21 (1:00 PM-3:30 PM): 2018 Rudd Oakville Crossroads Cabernet Sauvignon, 2016 Bond The Mascot Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and 2018 Schrader Double Diamond Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon.

Wine Spectator 93 Points * RUDD Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Crossroads 2018

Offers a ripe and zesty mix of bramble, plum paste, raspberry reduction and melted black licorice notes all swirling around together, backed by apple wood and sassafras accents through the finish. Best from 2023 through 2034. 836 cases made. — JM $80

2016 Bond 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

James Suckling 94 Points
2018 Schrader Double Diamond
Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon

An elegant, fruit-driven cabernet sauvignon with notes of red fruit and spices. Fresh herbs, such as thyme. It’s full-bodied and well balanced. The texture is pleasant and smooth with elegant tannins. The finish is long and flavorful. Internet Price $75

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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