The Grape Tray

October 8th 2021 Newsletter

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 95 Points
Tor 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Tierra Roja Vineyard Oakville, Napa Valley

Tor's 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Tierra Roja Vineyard is rich, effusive and savory from the very first taste. Crushed red berries, rose petal, mocha, crushed rocks, new French oak and espresso race out of the glass. There is an energy to the Tierra Roja that is impossible to miss. Then again, that is the magic of the red soils in Eastern Oakville. The tannins could use a bit of time to soften, but they are already nicely in balance. $155 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 94 Points
DUMOL Chardonnay Russian River Valley Wester Reach 2019

Powerfully fresh and minerally, this complex white features concentrated pear tart and apple pastry flavors that are filled with crunchy acidity, showing hints of custard. Ends with buttery accents and tropical fruit notes on the richly spiced finish. Best from 2022 through 2027. 3,540 cases made. — KM $60 Internet Price $55.99 (Available VRW)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
SELVAPIANA Pomino Red Villa Petrognano 2017

The sweet, smoky aroma of burning vine cuttings introduces this enticing red. Black cherry and black currant flavors are framed by cedar, pencil shavings, tar and tobacco. It firms up in the end, with beefy tannins and a lingering savory finish. Sangiovese. Best from 2022 through 2035. 600 cases made, 250 cases imported. — BS. $24 Our Price $18.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2017 Vietti Barolo Castiglione

This is one of the most versatile wines to emerge from Italy in recent years. A bread and butter winner for Vietti, the 2017 Barolo Castiglione is sharply contoured and bright, with an excellent quality of fruit that can be described as crisp, tonic and rich. That extra concentration comes in part from the hot vintage; however, the greater Castiglione growing area delivers consistent quality and persistence above all else. $55 Our Price $49.99 (Available GT and VRW)

2018 Carmel Road Cabernet

Winemaker Notes: Our Cabernet is an exceptional varietal expression with rich, concentrated flavors of ripe black cherry, blueberry and deep red plum. The structured palate is balanced by aging in French and American oak barrels, imparting notes of baking spices and vanilla bean in its long, silky finish. $15 Our Price $9.95 (Back in stock GT and VRW this afternoon)

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 GT and VRW)

2019 TOR Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: Bursting with black cherries, rhubarb pie, and huckleberry preserves the nose on this stunning Cabernet is laced with black licorice and cinnamon notes that add a subtle and exotic feeling to the luxurious pure fruit aromas. The palate is dense and chewy with layers of unctuous defined fruits, the comforting presence of perfectly ripe tannin finishes with a touch of fine sweet cedar and black tea notes before a 30 second+ finish. This wine is well put together and showcases the playful yet powerful nature of top Oakville terroirs. Will drink well on release and improve from 5 years or more in the cellar. $125 Our Price $109.99 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

2019 Turnbull Estate Napa Cabernet

Winemaker Notes: Notes of dusted blackberries, plum, and cherry lead to a back-drift of toast and fleeting tobacco. Supple creamy tannins widen the dark fruit mid-palate, lending to a lifted and layered finish. This wine widens and rises in amplitude and velocity with elegance and balance, howcasing the incredible beauty of the 2019 vintage. $55 Internet Price $49.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 99 Points
2019 Realm The Bard Napa Proprietary Red

The 2019 The Bard checks in as 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot, and it’s another dense, rich, powerful wine from this team that readers are going to absolutely love. Coming from throughout the valley (it’s always a great representation of the vintage), it offers up a brilliant nose of crème de cassis, ripe plums, graphite, scorched earth, and chocolate. About as seamless as they come on the palate, it’s full-bodied and has a thrilling texture, building tannins, and a gorgeous finish. It’s one of those wines where I feel like I’m overusing adjectives, but it’s warranted $160. Internet Price $150 (Arrives GT 10/15/21)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 92 Points
2018 Merry Edwards Russian River Pinot Noir

The 2018 Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley) is a fabulous introduction to these wines. Bright and juicy, the 2018 captures all of the natural radiance of the Russian River while retaining terrific nuance and vibrancy. Ripe red/purplish fruit, rose petal, spice and mint all race out of the glass. Perfumed floral notes resonate on the finish. The 2018 is so delicious - it is the sort of bottle that is opened and then immediately finished. Drinking window: 2020 – 2028. $55 (Back in stock GT)

Wine Advocate 98+
2018 Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard

Deep garnet-purple in color, the nose of the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard starts off with soft-spoken scents of ripe red and black plums, cassis, black raspberries and mulberries, followed by gentle wafts of cedar and pencil lead and finally bursting out with Sichuan pepper and hoisin notes. The medium to full-bodied palate is opulent, plushly textured and brimming with spicy red and blackberry layers, going beautifully perfumed on the long finish. Paul Hobbs mentioned that he backed off on the new oak this year, aging the wine in 85% new French oak (as opposed to 100%). I love this more elegant, nuanced expression a lot. 688 cases were made. $560 Our Price $499.99 (Arrives VRW 10/14/21) Limited

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

Saturday Tasting, 10/9/21 (1:00 PM-3:30 PM): 2016 Dehlinger Altamont Pinot, 2018 Paul Hobbs Russian River Pinot and 2019 Kosta Browne Russian River Pinot.

Vinous 94 Points * 2016 Dehlinger Altamont Pinot Noir

The 2016 Pinot Noir Altamont is a dense, beautifully resonant wine. Next to the Goldridge, the Altamont has quite a bit more textural depth and overall intensity. Super-ripe dark cherry, plum, rose petal, mint and blood orange all run through this expressive, pliant Pinot Noir. Today, the 2016 is quite forbidding. I would give it a few years in the cellar to fully come together. The 8% whole clusters add aromatic top notes, but aren't especially noticeable. $62

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2018 Paul Hobbs Russian River Pinot Noir

Made with about 10% whole cluster, the 2018 Pinot Noir has a medium ruby-purple color and a nose of cranberry sauce, rhubarb, tea leaves and earth with a spicy undercurrent. Medium-bodied, it's concentrated and grainy with appealing juicy fruits and a long, lifted finish. 7,612 cases produced. $65

Wine Spectator 92 Points
KOSTA BROWNE Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2019

There's good grip to the dark cherry and plum paste flavors that feature savory and dark chocolate accents, with a creamy texture on the firmly tannic finish, showing tapenade hints. Drink now through 2026. 7,048 cases made. — KM $115

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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