The Grape Tray

October 29th 2021 Newsletter

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points
2016 Col d’ Orcia Brunello di Montalcino

The 2016 Col d’Orcia Brunello offers notes of pine resin, black cherry, and dried strawberry aromatics. The palate is concentrated and compact, with dried tomato leaf bitterness and tobacco. The structure is not shy, with a rich core of fruit, bold tannin upfront and just as much acidity to match. This is a bold wine for the 2016 vintage, packed with sun-kissed warmth. It commands time in the cellar, so drinking is recommended over 2026-2041 $60 Our Price $46.99 (Available GT)

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2018 Hayfork Lewelling Ranch Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

A blend of 96% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Petit Verdot, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Lewelling Ranch was aged for 20 months in oak, 75% new. Deep garnet-purple in color, it leaps from the glass with lovely ripe blackcurrants, black raspberries and kirsch scents plus hints of dried herbs, pencil lead, menthol and Marmite toast. The full-bodied palate is coated with black fruit preserves, textured by velvety tannins. It has a delightful refreshing quality and finishes long and spicy. $75 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
Peter Franus Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder Brandlin Vineyard 2018

Textbook Mount Veeder Cabernet, with a lively mix of red currant, blackberry and boysenberry preserves laced with mulling spice, sweet bay leaf and singed mesquite, all carried by zesty acidity and juicy, integrated grip through the finish. Drink now through 2032. 200 cases made —J.M. $80 Our Price $73.99 (Available GT and VRW)

2020 Peter Michael L’Après-Midi Estate Sauvignon Blanc

Winemaker Notes: The 2020 ‘L’Après-Midi’ is visually compelling with a translucent, silver color accented by a bright, pale golden hue. The bouquet is reminiscent of neroli, expressing vine and orange blossom along with a vibrant oyster shell and granitic minerality heightened by fresh lime, lemon fruit, and gooseberry, with a hint of pine needle and verbena. The flavors are introduced with a touch of freshness and glycerol, carrying elegant white spring flowers—jasmine and white vine rose with a resounding array of fruit, Vosges lemon candy, gooseberry, grapefruit to mandarin, and guava. The finish is balanced, precise, mineral-driven, and elegant, revealing white currant, apricot, acacia honey, and quince paste. The 2020 ‘L’Après-Midi’ will benefit from several years of cellaring to develop further complexity and express the originality of the vintage. $70 (Available VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points
2016 Robert Foley Napa Cabernet

Lastly, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon (100% Cabernet and aged in 30% new oak)offers a touch more elegance as well as terrific notes of blue fruits, plums, dark chocolate and violets. Full-bodied, ripe and polished on the palate, it stays balanced. Has solid underlying structure and has a great finish. If you are looking for a rock star Cabernet for under $100, this is for you. It will evolve for 15 years or more $100. Our Price $89.99 (Arrives GT 11/5/21)

Wine Spectator 95 Points * DROUHIN OREGON ROSEROCK Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills 2019

This version is defined by a beam of vibrant acidity and tannins that’s framed by refined blueberry and cherry flavors, accented by stony minerality and dusky spiced tea. Drink now through 2031. —T.F. $35 (Arrives GT and VRW this afternoon) Limited

Wine Spectator 93
SNOWDEN Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley The Ranch 2018

Fresh and focused, with a well-built core of red currant, plum and black cherry preserves supported by a loamy spine, with tobacco and singed alder lining the finish. Best from 2022 through 2035. 1,203 cases made. — JM $55 (Available GT and VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
2019 Peter Michael Winery Pinot Noir
Ma Danseuse

This is wonderfully crafted with aromas and flavors of ripe strawberries and raspberries, as well as cream, light chocolate and earth. Full body, creamy texture and a long, flavorful finish. Tangy acidity drives the vivid and lively finish. Hard not to drink now. Drink or hold. $150 Available VRW (Limited)

2019 Rombauer Zinfandel, 375ml

Winemaker Notes: When poured, our classic California Zinfandel is a purple-ruby color with a bright crimson hue. On the nose, there are concentrated aromas of dried cherries that meld with warm vanilla, mocha and mulling spices. Lush flavors of ripe plum and raspberry jam flood the palate, followed by touches of dark chocolate in the background. Subtle and round tannins and great length make for a fresh and enticing finish. $18 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Advocate 97-98
2019 Peter Michael Ma Belle Fille

Ma Belle Fille is the highest of the Peter Michael vineyards, located at 1,200-1,800 feet. Planted to a field selection of Hudson, Old Wente, Montrachet and Calera clones, it is also the earliest ripening vineyard. A tank sample due to be bottled in just a few days, the 2019 Chardonnay Ma Belle Fille slips seductively out of the glass with tantalizing notes of warm apple slices, ripe nectarines and spice cake, giving way to a beautiful perfume of honeysuckle, beeswax and tangerine peel, plus a waft of cashews. Full-bodied, the palate delivers mouth-coating stone fruit and spiced apple flavors with a lively backbone and decadent oiliness to the texture, finishing on a long-lasting honey-nut note. $125 (Available VRW)

Wine Spectator 95 * HEITZ Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Martha's Vineyard 2015

Enticing, with the frankly ripe profile of the vintage showing off in a display of slightly exotic plum and blackberry coulis flavors, while dark licorice, menthol and sassafras notes course through. Sweet spice accents sparkle through the finish, revealing a lingering hint of singed juniper. The long finish features rippling acidity. Best from 2022 through 2038. 2,300 cases made. — JM $250 Our Price $238.99 (Arrives VRW this afternoon)

Wine Advocate 95 Points
2018 Hayfork Field Select Cabernet Sauvignon

A blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Petit Verdot, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Field Select was aged for 20 months in oak, 90% new. Deep garnet-purple colored, it charges out of the gate with exuberant notes of baked black plums, Black Forest cake and mulberries plus suggestions of fragrant earth, Provence herbs and tree bark. The palate has a firm backbone of grainy tannins and lively acidity framing the full-bodied, muscular black fruit, finishing long with a lifted perfume. 100 cases were made. $125 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

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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, 10/29/21 (3:30 PM-6:00 PM): 2019 Bosquet Des Papes Chante Le Merle Vieilles Vignes Chateauneuf, 2017 Ilaria Napa Cabernet and 2018 Odette Stag’s Leap Cabernet.

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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 Wine Tasting, 10/30/21 (1:00 PM-3:30 PM): J. Lassalle Cachet Or Brut, 2018 Hartford Court Sonoma Coast Lands Edge Pinot and 2019 Realm The Bard Proprietary Red.

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

Wine Spectator 94 Points
HARTFORD COURT Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Land's Edge Vineyards 2018

A refined and minerally style, with lithe acidity supporting well-knit flavors of cherry and raspberry. The plush finish lingers with creamy accents and plenty of spicy and toasty notes. Drink now through 2026. —K.M. $50

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

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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