The Grape Tray

November 2nd 2021 Newsletter

Taste Two 2018 Napa Cabernets This Week at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $10: Taste the 2018 Tether Napa Cabernet and 2018 Hayfork Lewelling Ranch Napa Cabernet.

Available all day during operating hours Tuesday, 11/2 – Thursday, 11/4/21.

Wine Advocate 92 Points
2018 Tether Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

A blend of 97% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Malbec, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is deep garnet-purple in color. It leaps from the glass with warm cassis, baked plums and wild blueberries scents, plus hints of clove oil and dark chocolate. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is chock-full of crunchy fruit, framed by plush tannins and tons of freshness, finishing with a spicy kick. 2,039 cases were made. $50

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. Internet Price $75

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Wine Spectator 94 Points
2017 Aurelien Verdet Les Condemennes Chambolle Musigny Burgundy

Features black cherry and blackberry fruit, with a firm structure and notes of mineral and spice. This is all about finesse and clarity, revealing a stony underpinning. Supple and long, ending with a mouthwatering impression. Best from 2022 through 2040. 40 cases imported. $150 Our Price $107.99 (Arrives GT 11/3/21)

Wine Advocate 96 * 2019 Carlisle Winery Syrah Rosella's Vineyard

The 2019 Syrah Rosella's Vineyard is a stunning 100% Syrah made with 20% whole cluster, aged in 20% new French oak and harvested just before the 2019 Kincade fire started in Sonoma County on October 23. Opaque ruby-purple in color, its aromas are pure and defined with dark cherry fruit accented by classic notes of violet, milk chocolate and white pepper. The palate is pure, full and rounded, with juicy freshness and a long, layered, floral finish. It's a restrained, ultra-perfumed Syrah for lovers of a cooler climate expression. 302 cases were made. $49 (Arrives GT 11/3/21)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
2019 Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel

Plump and briary, this is a zesty update on old-school Zin, offering wild berry, underbrush and licorice flavors that build richness and structure on the lively finish. Drink now through 2028. 100,685 cases made. — TF $26. Internet Price $19.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Advocate 94+
2017 Ilaria Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon is made up of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec, 7% Cabernet Franc and 7% Merlot aged 22 months in 75% new French oak. Deep purple-black in color, it gives up expressive notes of baked blackcurrants, blackberry pie and spice cake with hints of licorice, tobacco and forest floor. Medium to full-bodied, rich and spicy in the mouth, it has a solid backbone of ripe, grainy tannins and background freshness, finishing on a compelling black tea note. 560 cases made. $50 (Back in stock GT and VRW 11/4/21)

Vinous 93 Points * 2018 Lucienne Lone Oak Pinot Noir

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. $50 Our Price $39.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Enthusiast 93 Points
2018 Ancient Peaks Santa Margarita Ranch Paso Robles Cabernet

A deep blackberry aroma meets with licorice and mushroom on the fresh and savory nose. The palate’s blackberry and blueberry core is partnered harmoniously with notes of chipped wood and toasted herbs as well as jubilant acidity. $20 Our Price $16.49 (Available GT and 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 Spectator 91 Points * TABLAS CREEK Patelin de Tablas Paso Robles 2019

A zesty red, with plenty of easygoing personality, offering black cherry, cracked pepper and spice flavors that glide toward polished tannins. Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Counoise. Drink now through 2028. 3,500 cases made. — TF $25 Internet Price $19.99 (Back in stock GT 11/3/21)

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2016 Hewitt Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon

Starting with the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, this ripe, sexy red comes all from Rutherford and has a big nose of sweet blueberries, plums, dark chocolate, tobacco, and spice. It's not for those looking for lightweight aromas and flavors, yet it wears its ripe fruit well, showing full-bodied richness, good purity, and a lively feel on the palate. Drink this hedonistic blockbuster over the coming 10-15 years. $150 Our Price $104.95 (Back in stock GT this afternoon)

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points
2018 Domaine Lafage Bastide Miraflors

Based on 74% Syrah and 26% Grenache brought up in in a combination of concrete tanks (for the Grenache) and one year old demi-muids (for the Syrah), the 2018 Cotes Du Roussillon Bastide Miraflors is a knockout bottle of wine. It offers loads of black fruits, roasted herbs, peppered meat, violets, and bacon fat as well as full-bodied richness, a round, opulent style, ripe tannins, and a blockbuster finish. It’s one of the finest values out there. $16 Our Price $13.99 (Back in stock GT this afternoon)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 96 Points
2018 Carlisle Radiant Ridge Vineyard Mourvedre

The 2018 Mourvèdre Radiant Ridge Vineyard is even better than the Syrah! More than that, it is one of the very finest wines I have tasted from Mike Officer in a decade of following Carlisle. Wow! Outrageously vivid and delicious in the glass, the 2018 dazzles with complexity and layers of nuance that unfold in the glass. Inky dark fruit, chocolate, wild flowers, spice and a good deal of whole-cluster savoriness give the Radiant Ridge Mourvèdre its beguiling exoticism. Previously, the Mourvèdre was used for the Integral bottling, but my sense is its real personality is expressed like this, on its own. Readers will not want to miss this exceptional wine from Mike Officer and Carlisle. $40 (Available GT)

Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points
2018 Chateau Leroy Beauval
Bordeaux Superieur

Lots of cedary spice, spring flowers, cured meats, truffle, and green tobacco define the bouquet of the 2018 Chateau Leroy-Beauval, and it's medium-bodied, with a silky, elegant texture, fine tannins, and a beautiful finish. This classic, elegant, complex Bordeaux has real character as well as the ability to keep for 10-15 years in cold cellars. This estate is located in the Entre-de-Mer region and the wine is a blend of 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the rest Cabernet Franc, brought up in new barrels, made by Matthieu Richard, who handles the wines of Badette. $27 Our Price $22.95 (Available 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, 11/5/21 (3:30 PM-6:00 PM): 2017 Taub Family Rutherford Cabernet, 2018 Peter Franus Mt Veeder Brandlin Cabernet and 2018 Alban Patrina Syrah.

Wine Spectator 92 Points
2017 Taub Family Rutherford Cabernet

Nicely compact, with a core of steeped red currant, plum and blackberry fruit that should unwind in the near future. Alder and licorice notes score the finish, with good latent energy. Best from 2022 through 2031. 1,500 cases made. — JM $75

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

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points
2018 Alban Patrina Syrah

Scheduled to be bottled in February of next year, the 2018 Patrina reveals a deep purple color as well as stunning red and black fruits, smoked meat, violets, and gamey, floral notes. Full-bodied, gorgeously textured, and flawlessly balanced, it's going to be a winner. $54

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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, 11/6/21 (1:00 PM-3:30 PM): 2020 Peter Michael L’Apres Midi Estate Sauvignon Blanc, 2019 Drouhin Roserock Eola-Amity Hills Pinot and 2019 Peter Michael Ma Danseuse Pinot.

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

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

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

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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