The Grape Tray

September 28th 2021 Newsletter

Taste a $225 and 99 Point Napa Cabernet Blend this week at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $10:

Available all day during operating hours Tuesday, 9/28- Thursday, 9/30/21.

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 Email subscriber price $18.95

2015 Heitz Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: One sniff and anticipation takes hold. Beautiful aromas of vine-ripened blackberry contrast perfectly with spicy notes of nutmeg. There are a luscious weight and texture to the wine, but also a racy edge of well-balanced acidity on the palate. This is an extraordinary Cabernet – powerful, yet elegant, with all the wonderful aging potential you’ve come to expect from Heitz wines. $69 Our Price $58.99

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

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2019 Cherry Pie San Pablo Bay Carneros Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: The 2019 San Pablo Bay Block is racy with flavors of tart cranberries, red cherries and a delicate perfume of rose petals. The palate is layered with similar fruit notes, along with a depth of pomegranate, macerated strawberries and baking spices with a subtle hint of vanilla that leads to a smooth finish. This wine is full of verve and will beautifully round out with aging. $52 Internet Price $41.99 (Arrives VRW this afternoon)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 94 Points
2019 Walter Hansel The Meadows Russian River Chardonnay

The 2019 Chardonnay The Meadows is creamy and ample in the glass, but shows the fresh, vibrant style that defines the vintage at Hansel. Lemon confit, spice, dried flowers and chamomile all take shape in the glass. Dry-farmed Chardonnay, all Hanzell clone, on the lowest-lying blocks of the property, yielded a Chardonnay with thick skins and notable intensity. $27 (Arrives GT 9/29/21)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
DR. LOOSEN Riesling Spätlese Mosel Erdener Treppchen 2019

Rich and lively, setting the stage for flavors of apples simmered in brown sugar, vanilla and cardamom, with a hint of cumin. Persistent and balanced, with a floral element that emerges on the finish. Best from 2024 through 2040. 600 cases imported. — BS $34 Our Price $30.49 (Arrives GT 9/29/21)

Chateau de Campuget Tradition Rose 2020

Winemaker Notes: The Rosé has a nice appearance with a light and fresh pink color. This particularly fruity taste of raspberries and strawberries, typical of the Campuget style, has a good and refreshing acidity. It is perfect for summertime meals, with fresh salads or around a barbecue. Syrah, 30% Grenache. $12 Our Price $9.95 (Available GT and VRW)

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)

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)

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 (Available GT and VRW)

2019 Sea Smoke Southing
Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: Each year, our goal for Southing is to create the ideal marriage of complexity and elegance. The ever-changing nose of the Southing exhibits fresh strawberry, geranium, Montmorency cherry; and subtle baking spices. The fine tannins and minerality are enhanced by our estate vineyard’s characteristic cool climate acidity. $100 (Available GT and VRW) Limited

Wine Spectator 94 Points
LEWIS Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Reserve 2018

This is an extrovert, with singed vanilla, mocha and violet notes gilding a ripe, lush core of plum, blackberry and black currant fruit. Ends with a frankly toasty tug on the licorice- and fruit-filled finish. A bit amped up in style, but will have fans for sure. Best from 2022 through 2035. 1,200 cases made. — JM $175 Our Price $159.99 (Available GT and VRW) Limited

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

Friday Tasting, 10/1/21 (3:30 PM-6:00 PM): 2018 Pont Neuf Pont Royal Russian River Chardonnay, 2018 Chappellet Signature Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and 2018 Mending Wall Tournahu Napa Cabernet Sauvignon.

2018 Pont Neuf Pont Royal
 Russian River Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: The 2018 Pont Royal reveals a brilliant clarity both in appearance and focused flavors. The vineyard character shows in the forward citrus, fresh peach, custard and honied beeswax which are consistent hallmarks of Pont Royal. The texture is crisp, but with a satisfying fullness and great persistence of flavors. French oak takes a back seat to the fruit, adding nuanced aromas of toasted brioche and fine structure to the wine. We employed 80% new oak from the Vosges forest, contributing the delicate toast and vanilla aromas and playing perfectly with bright citrus fruit. Barrel-fermented, aged on the lees and bottled un-fined and unfiltered, this natural fermentation showcases the vineyard and the vintage. 90 cases produced. $60

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2018 Chappellet Signature Napa Cabernet

Winemaker Notes: The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Signature is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot and 5% Malbec. It was harvested from September 18 to October 30, and the alcohol weighed in at 14.5%. Deep garnet-purple in color, exuberant notes of warm plums, ripe black and red currants and black cherries come bounding out of the glass with suggestions of cedar chest, unsmoked cigars and beef drippings. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is simply singing with juicy black fruits and velvety tannins, finishing long with some baking spice hints coming through. Open for business now, this wine can easily be cellared for 20 years or more. $72

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
2018 Mending Wall Tournahu
 Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2018 Mending Wall Tournahu jumps out of the glass upon first swirl, with a substantial amount of pure fruit. This wine brings depth and complexity through the begging middle and end stages of the pallet. This 2018 shows as a full-bodied red with great Tobacco and herbal undertones, which complement the natural tannin and minerality in this wine. A wine that is ready to drink now, with the backbone to carry it through bottle aging. Single Vineyard Cabernet. $126

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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, 10/2/21 (1:00 PM-3:30 PM): 2019 Walter Hansel Cuvee Alyce Russian River Chardonnay, 2019 Sea Smoke Ten Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir and 2018 Larkmead Napa Cabernet Sauvignon.

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 95 Points
2019 Walter Hansel Russian River
Chardonnay Cuvée Alyce

The 2019 Chardonnay Cuvée Alyce is a total knock-out. Rich, ample and explosive, the 2019 possesses tremendous depth and textural elegance to burn. Citrus confit, white flowers, chamomile and light tropical notes lend an exotic flair to this striking, beautifully delineated Chardonnay from Hansel. $38

2019 Sea Smoke Ten Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: A brooding and intense wine. The aromas begin with notes of black cherry, tuberose and fig, then a myriad of savory spices, and a hint of jasmine. Firm, mature tannins—evidence of Ten’s ageability—are followed by a long, velvety finish. $100

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

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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