November 12th 2021 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

November 12th 2021 Newsletter

2017 Caymus Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: Each year, Caymus sets aside the best barrels of our Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley to produce Special Selection. Distinguished by extremely fine, velvety tannins and enjoyable upon release or with aging. A wine of structure with intense concentration of supple flavors and dark fruits. $230 Our Price $199.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
SOJOURN Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Rodgers Creek Vineyard 2019

Well-structured dried red berry and cherry flavors show lots of cedar and forest floor accents, backed by firm acidity. Features crisp minerality, with hints of white pepper lingering on the finish. Drink now through 2026. 800 cases made. — KM $48 Our Price $42.99 (Arrives VRW this afternoon)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 96 Points
2018 Forman St. Helena Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is absolutely impeccable. Best of all, it won't require years in the cellar to be enjoyable. In fact, it is quite expressive today. Juicy dark cherry, plum, mocha, spice, leather and cinnamon are some of the many notes that flesh out in the glass. Silky and supple, with no hard edges, Ric Forman's 2018 is a thing of beauty. The 2018 is a bit more open in the early going than Forman fans are likely to expect. Drinking window: 2026 – 2048. $115 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

Wine Enthusiast 92 Points
2019 Smith and Hook Cabernet Sauvignon

This bottling starts with approachable aromas of boysenberry, elderberry, purple flowers and a hint of thyme. The palate is polished and smoothly textured, yet complex in flavors, with savory smoked spice, roasted red-fruit and fennel-pollen elements working together. $20 Our Price $17.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Advocate 95 Points * 2019 Scarecrow M. Etain Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2019 M. Étain is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot. Deep garnet-purple colored, it sashays out of the glass with notes of violets, fallen leaves and incense over a warm cassis and plum preserves core, plus a waft of cardamom. Full-bodied, the ripe, opulent black fruit preserve flavors are beautifully framed by firm, grainy tannins and a lively backbone, finishing long and seductively spicy. 2,600 cases were made. $250 (Available GT and VRW 11/19/21)

Josh Raynolds, Vinous 95 Points * 2018 Lucia Vineyards Soberanes Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

Deep, shimmering ruby red. A highly perfumed bouquet evokes fresh red and blue fruits, baking spices and potpourri, and a zesty mineral overtone builds with air. Juicy, seamless and energetic on the palate, offering vibrant, mineral-accented raspberry, boysenberry and cherry preserve, rose pastille and spicecake flavors that deepen through the midpalate. Conveys a suave blend of power and finesse and finishes with slow-mounting tannins, fine delineation and impressive, floral- and mineral-driven persistence. $70 (Arrives GT 11/16/21)

2019 Lewis Mason’s Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: With high school behind him and college on the horizon it’s all sunshine and blue sky for Mason. His 2019 bottling is 100% Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, seriously fruited with hi-tone boysenberry, cassis and café mocha. Plush and poised on the palate, the future is bright for this Mason’s Cabernet. $65 Our Price $58.99 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
Melville Sta. Rita Hills Estate Pinot Noir 2019

The base appellation release from this estate always seems to deliver the goods and the 2019 Pinot Noir Estate Sta. Rita Hills is no exception. Bright Rainier Cherry, sea salt, white flowers, and spice all define the bouquet, and it hits the palate with medium-bodied richness, a silky, elegant texture, soft tannins, and just a wonderful finish. I’d happily drink a bottle. $42 Internet Price $35.99 (Available VRW)

2019 Ferren Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: This is the second vintage that we’ve worked around a core of Gap’s Crown Vineyard fruit for the Sonoma Coast bottling. The blend is roughly one-third Gap’s Crown with the other two-thirds comprised of mostly neutral barrels from the Lancel Creek, Silver Eagle, and Frei Road lots. Gap’s Crown is the crown jewel of the Petaluma Gap sub-region of the Sonoma Coast AVA. It’s a perfect centerpiece for the Sonoma Coast blend as it provides that lemon drop core to the mid palate that adds a bit of perceived sweetness to what might otherwise be an overly austere wine.

With very little new oak in the blend, this wine is perhaps our most purely mineral-driven. It’s a wine meant for glass pours at the oyster bar, or early afternoon at the Bistro with the seafood tower. Notes of lemon blossom, candied citrus, and mouthwatering saline minerals make this wine easily our most versatile and accessible Chardonnay. $60 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

2019 Ferren Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: As always, the Sonoma Coast Pinot noir is made with a selection of barrels from our two sources of Pinot - Frei Road Vineyard and Silver Eagle Vineyard. From the three blocks at Frei Road - two blocks of Dijon 943 and one block Dijon 115 - we use the 115 predominantly in the Sonoma Coast bottling for its exuberant blue-fruited quality. From Silver Eagle, we choose mostly neutral barrels to impart crunchy red fruit and firm palate feel. The wine continues to be made with minimal new oak and a low percentage of whole cluster for a style that is accessible and drinkable at a young age. Forrest floor, black truffle, and graphite frame a core of beautifully ripe fruit. The result is an unabashedly delicious wine that is equally at home when it is poured by the glass at The French Laundry, or serving as your go-to weeknight Pinot. $60 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

Wine Advocate 91 Points
2019 Hexamer Riesling Quarzit

The 2019 Riesling Quarzit is bright, pure and flinty on the stony/dusty but also charmingly fruity and very delicate picture-book nose. Round and lush on the palate, this is a charming but tensioned and grippy Riesling from Meddersheim. Due to the residual sugar, which is somewhere between medium dry and medium sweet, this is not an ascetic but tensioned and thrilling Riesling that delivers the quartzite terroir in an accessible style. The sweetness is more palatable compared to the Porphyr but for good reasons: The minor grip and complex acidity would be too challenging for a wine at this precise point. I am sure it will be fabulous after some years of bottle aging. To me, this is another picture-book Riesling form Harald Hexamer. Bottled with 11% alcohol. Tasted from AP 15 20 in January 2021. $20 Our Price $15.99 (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 91 Points
LEONILDO PIEROPAN Soave Classico 2020

A lithe and racy white, with lively flavors of Asian pear and melon punctuated by lime blossom and blood orange zest accents. This is bright and graceful, with more fruit and a salty mineral layer on the finish. Garganega and Trebbiano. Drink now through 2025. 5,488 cases imported.—Alison Napjus $23. Our Price $16.99 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 93 Points
2018 O'Shaughnessy Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) is a fabulous wine that overdelivers big time. Inky dark fruit, graphite, lavender, spice, menthol and licorice give the 2018 its distinctly savory, soil-driven personality. Time in the glass brings out attractive floral overtones. The tannins need time to soften, but there is a lot to look forward to. This is a very serious, polished wine. O'Shaughnessy's Napa Valley Cabernet remains one of the hidden jewels in Napa Valley $80 Our Price $69.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW)


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

Friday Tasting, 11/12/21 (3:30 PM-6:00 PM): 2018 Hartford Court Velvet Sisters Anderson Valley Pinot, 2016 Altamura Napa Cabernet and 2019 Familiar Air Napa Cabernet.


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

Saturday Wine Tasting, 11/13/21 (1:00 PM-3:30 PM): 2018 Ramey Russian River Chardonnay, 2018 Ehlers Estate Napa Cabernet and 2019 Lail Blueprint Napa Cabernet.

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2018 Ramey Russian River Valley Chardonnay

The 2018 Chardonnay Russian River Valley has aromas of citrus peel, quince and almonds with a unique, super-spicy undercurrent. The medium-bodied palate offers intense, ripe fruits in a seamless, silky package, and it finishes long and lush. 13,340 cases produced $42

Wine Spectator 93 Points
EHLERS ESTATE Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2018

Really solid, this red has a brambly edge, with plum, blackberry and red currant preserve notes showing good energy, thanks in part to a buried sassafras streak, all backed by a roasted apple wood- and licorice snap-fueled finish. Drink now through 2030. 2,541 cases made. — JM $72

Wine Advocate 92-94 Points
2019 Lail Blueprint Napa Cabernet

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Blueprint has a deep garnet-purple color and sings of wild blueberries, Morello cherries and red and black currant jellies with touches of dried mint, chocolate box and cedar chest. Medium to full-bodied, the palate bursts with crunchy black fruits, supported by fine-grained tannins and bold freshness, finishing long and lifted. A barrel sample, 2,000 cases will be made. $90

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) 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) 559-226-6828
Monday-Friday 10:30 AM-5:30 PM
Saturday 10:30 AM-4:00 PM

Back to Our Blog

Are you 21 years old, or older?