The Grape Tray

October 12th 2021 Newsletter

Taste $125 Austin Hope Reserve Cabernet This Week at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $10: Taste the 2019 Thread Feathers Howell Mountain Cabernet and 2018 Austin Hope Reserve Cabernet.

Available all day during operating hours Tuesday, 10/12 – Thursday, 10/14/21.

2019 Thread Feathers Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: Extracted, rich and earthy, this 2019 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is full- bodied, and richly ripe in black fruit, coniferous nose with violet, redcurrant and red-plum aromas, leading to a succulent palate that carries attractive tannin structure. Focused and powerful. Elements of sage, dried herb and cedar provide contrast the complexity. Wine Specs: Blend: 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 1% Malbec. Internet Price $38

2018 Austin Hope Reserve Paso Robles Cabernet

Winemaker Notes: This 2018 Reserve Cabernet’s depth of character is visible at first glance with an inky crimson color. On the nose, fresh muddled blueberries, burnt sugar, vanilla bean and a hint of wet leather evolve onto the palette with flavors of layered dark fruit, coco powder, grated clove and additional vanilla; a result from the extended New French Oak ageing. Firm, integrated tannins frame the structure of this Cabernet making it an exceptional example of Paso Robles terroir. $125 Our Price $108.99

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James Suckling 93 Points
2020 Donnhoff Leistenberg Riesling Trocken Tonschiefer

Very pristine and sleek with finely etched peach, nectarine and Amalfi lemon-zest character, as well as minerality that slowly builds at the long, very focused finish. From organically grown grapes with Fair'n Green certification. Drink or hold. Screw cap. $34 Our Price $28.99 (Arrives GT 10/13/21)

2018 Stack House Napa Cabernet

Winemaker Notes: The 2018 Stack House Cabernet Sauvignon possesses a stunning bouquet of blackberries, black cherries, raspberries, crushed volcanic rock, damp earth, toasty oak and baking spice. This wine exhibits vibrant acidity, freshness and extraordinary purity. The palate reveals soft tannins and a beautifully layered finish. The 2018 Stack House is an amazing value of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Blend: 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Malbec, 5% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc. $33 Our Price $28.99 (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 94 Points
MERRY EDWARDS Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley 2019, Half Bottle

Tasting Note: This white offers a complex mix of lime sherbet, makrut lime leaf, lemon curd and orange blossom flavors that are fragrant and complex on a fleshy, succulent frame, with notes of nectarine and ripe Crenshaw melon. Harmonious, with a fresh thread of acidity on the finish. Drink now. —M.W. $21/375ml (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 94 Points
TOLAINI Chianti Classico Vigna Montebello Sette Gran Selezione 2015

This is tightly wound, fresh and austere now, its cherry, almond, mineral and tobacco flavors compressed. Hard to see where this is going, yet no one element sticks out, so the potential is fine. Best from 2023 through 2040. 1,000 cases made, 250 cases imported. — BS $49 Our Price $41.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 92
J. LASSALLE Brut Champagne Cachet Or NV

There's an open-knit, almost airy feel to this vibrant Champagne, which carries a concentrated range of juicy pear and black raspberry fruit, with hints of crystallized honey. Shows gingersnap biscuit and verbena flavors on the chalky texture, gaining momentum on the racy, zesty finish. Drink now through 2022. 2,945 cases imported. — AN $39 Our Price $31.99 (Back in stock GT 10/15/21)

Wine Spectator 96 points * LOUIS ROEDERER Brut Champagne Cristal 2013

Exotic hints of tangerine and candied ginger are an enticing entrance for this vivid Champagne, accenting a finely meshed range of ripe green apple and cassis fruit, with rich notes of chopped almond, brioche and lemon curd. An underscoring streak of salinity gains momentum through the mouthwatering finish, echoing as it rides the plushly creamy mousse. This is decadence in a sleek and graceful package. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Drink now through 2033. From France. —A.N. $279 (Back in stock VRW this afternoon)

Wine Spectator 95
FRÉDÉRIC ESMONIN Mazy-Chambertin 2018

Bright cherry and berry fruit introduces this elegant red, along with floral, mineral and a hint of earth notes. It's sleek and tensile, with superb balance and poise. The cherry and strawberry theme continues through the long finish. 75 cases imported. Best from 2024 through 2045. —B.S. $185 Our Price $159.99 (Back in stock GT 10/14/21)

Wine Spectator 92 points
2018 Frédéric Esmonin Nuits St-Georges Les Hauts Pruliers

Gorgeous aromas of black cherry, black currant and violet signal this silky, forthcoming red. It's linear and pure, with fine balance and a long finish. Well-integrated tannins linger. $55 Our Price $45.99 (Back in stock GT 10/14/21)

James Suckling 90 Points
2019 Selbach Oster Riesling Trocken

A refreshing, harmonious dry riesling with a food-friendly personality. Delicate herbal and white-fruit notes and a crisp finish. Drink now. $24 Our Price $19.99 (Arrives GT 10/13/21)

Jeb Dunnuck 98 Points
2017 Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon

In the running for the wine of the vintage, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is an incredible success and offers more depth, opulence, and purity than just about every other wine out there. Revealing a dense purple color as well as a killer nose of blueberries, chocolate-covered cherries, scorched earth, tobacco, violets, and exotic spices, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a seamless, pure, incredibly layered mouthfeel, building tannins, and a great, great finish. As with most top 2017s, it stays tight and compact on the palate, with notable structure and impressive concentration. It has some up-front appeal given its purity of fruit and balance, yet it’s going to take 7-8 years to hit prime time and will be a long-lived bottle of Napa Cabernet. Hats off to Doug Shafer and the team for yet another magical Cabernet Sauvignon! $325 (An additional 6 bottles will be available at GT 10/14/21) Additional Score: Wine Advocate 98+

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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, 10/15/21 (3:30 PM-6:00 PM): Roederer Brut Collection 242, 2019 DuMol Wester Reach Russian River Pinot Noir and 2018 TOR Kenward Tierra Roja Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon.

Wine Advocate 93 Points
Roederer Brut Collection 242

Producer Notes: This debut release is very impressive indeed, wafting from the glass with notes of pear, peach, ripe citrus fruit, toasted almonds, fresh pastry and white flowers. Medium to full-bodied, pillowy and textural, it's concentrated and layered, with lively acids, an enlivening pinpoint mousse and a long, sapid finish. Brut Premier was already a very persuasive wine, but the new Brut Collection nevertheless represents a step up. $65

Wine Spectator 93 Points
2019 DuMol Wester Reach Russian River Pinot Noir

Fine-grained, powerful and well-spiced, with floral accents to the raspberry and cherry flavors that are backed by fresh acidity. The juicy finish lingers with rich minerality and hints of white pepper. Drink now through 2025. 3,693 cases made. — KM. $70

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

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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, 10/16/21 (1:00 PM-3:30 PM): 2019 Venge Silencieux Napa Cabernet, 2019 Turnbull Estate Napa Cabernet and 2018 Faust The Pact Coombsville Napa Cabernet.

2019 Venge Silencieux Napa Cabernet

Winemaker Notes: This will be the first of our Cabernets to be released from the stellar 2019 vintage and it will certainly be a wine that stands among the greats within our history of producing Silencieux Cabernet Sauvignon. What I love most about this wine is its diversity of vineyard selections and the impact upon quality each has on the finished wine. Wow! This wine is incredibly satisfying to behold as it opens in the glass. Wonderfully aromatic and expressive, the 2019 vintage opens with scents of sweet cassis, anise, blackberries, roasted coffee, blue herbs and barrel vanillin. On the palate, the tannins are firm, upfront and balanced throughout, with all pockets of the mouth left yearning for another sip. Full-bodied and extracted with ripe black fruit, blueberries, charred caramel and a delightful hint of fresh herbs that concentrate into a lengthy finish. This wine is approachable upon release and cellar worthy in proper aging conditions. Best now through 2032. $60

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

James Suckling 96 Points
2018 Faust The Pact Coombsville Napa Cabernet

This is really something, showing focus and purity that highlights the unique character of this appellation. So much blue fruit, lavender and walnut with some herbal and sweettobacco undertones It’s full-bodied, yet tight and poised. Lovely quality to the tannins. Exceptional. $125

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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