The Grape Tray

November 16th 2021 Newsletter

Taste 2017 Caymus Special Selection Cabernet this week at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15: Taste the 2017 Caymus Special Selection Napa Cabernet and 2018 Mount Veeder Napa Cabernet Sauvignon.

Available all day during operating hours Tuesday, 11/16 – Thursday, 11/18/21.

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

James Suckling 95 Points
2018 Mount Veeder Winery Napa Cabernet

Plenty of blueberry and chocolate aromas and flavors. It's full-bodied with round, fresh tannins. Lot of blue fruit and walnuts. Then crushed stones with the fruit at the finish. Flavorful, yet not overdone. Give this four or five years to come around. Try after 2025. $48

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Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points
2019 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape

The 2019 Châteauneuf Du Pape is the usual blend of roughly 30% Mourvèdre, 30% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Counoise, and the rest a mix of permitted varieties that was brought up in foudre. It offers a vivid ruby/purple hue as well as stunning aromatics of blueberries, violets, peppered beef, leather, and spring flowers. Medium to full-bodied, beautifully balanced, and elegant, it has just a kiss of classic Beaucastel wild, sauvage nuances, ripe, silky tannins, and a great finish. Give bottles 4-5 years of bottle age and enjoy over the following two decades. $100 Internet Price $84.99. GT and VRW email subscriber price $79.95 (Arrives GT 11/17/21)

Wine Advocate 91 Points
2013 Frank Family Napa Cabernet, Magnum

A beautiful elegance can be found in the 2013 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot aged 20 months in one-third new French oak. This is a good value for a Napa Cabernet. The color is a healthy dark ruby purple, the wine offers up beautiful blueberry and black raspberry fruit and is suggestive of a high-class Pomerol. The oak is pushed way to the background and the wine is medium to full-bodied with supple tannins and a long finish. Drinkable now, it should continue to evolve gracefully and hopefully even improve over the next 10 to 15 years $120. Our Price $104.99/magnum (Available GT)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 93 Points
2018 Alto Moncayo Veraton

Brilliant purple. Intensely perfumed, spice-tinged black and blue fruits, vanilla, candied flowers and cola on the nose, along with a smoky element that builds with air. Broad and fleshy on entry, offering juicy cherry cola, blueberry and mocha flavors sharpened by a jolt of spicy white pepper. Strongly echoes the blue fruit and spice notes on the very long, focused finish, which features lingering floral and mineral flourishes. $38 Our Price $29.99 (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
ALFRED GRATIEN Brut Champagne NV (2021)

Spice and graphite notes play with the ripe black cherry, Mandarin orange peel, brioche, verbena and chopped hazelnut flavors on display in this well-cut Champagne with a lively mousse. Chalky finish. Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. Drink now through 2024. 25,000 cases made, 1,500 cases imported. —Alison Napjus. $50 (Available GT and VRW 11/18/21)

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 Our Price $42.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Vinous, Antonio Galloni 95 Points
2019 Tyler Mae Estate Chardonnay

The 2019 Chardonnay Mae Estate Vineyard is a bright, effusive wine endowed with striking translucence and energy. Lemon peel white flowers, white pepper and mint open first. This is an especially airy, gracious Chardonnay. Time in the glass brings out striking textural richness to play all of those bright, high-toned notes. A mesmerizing wine of dimension and phenolic intensity, the 2019 is captivating from the get go. The way it changes in the glass bodes very well for the future. $75 Internet Price $66.99 (Arrives VRW 11/17/21)

Wine Spectator 91 Points
HARTFORD COURT Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2019

A spicy richness fills the broad textured apple pastry, dried apricot and ripe pear flavors in this white. Creamy midpalate, with a long and plush tasting finish. Drink now through 2025. 15,000 cases made.—K.M. $30 Our Price $23.99 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 97 Points
2018 Sinegal Estate Napa
Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon turned out beautifully. Rich, sumptuous and incredibly alluring, the 2018 will drink well right out of the gate. Dark red fruit, mocha, spice and licorice are some of the notes that build in the glass. I would give it a few years in bottle, or alternatively open it in advance. Aeration and the passage of time did wonders for the 2018. It spent 20 months in barrel, 85% new $140. Internet Price $74.99

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 Internet Price $54.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 93 Points * SPOTTSWOODE Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Lyndenhurst 2018

There's a well-endowed core of warmed cassis and steeped plum fruit here, splashed with a sassafras note and backed by roasted applewood and melted black licorice on the finish. Rich in feel throughout. Best from 2022 through 2034. —J.M. $85 (Available GT)

Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points
2019 Tether Napa Chardonnay

Another great release for this wine, the 2019 Chardonnay offers a pure, elegant, yet still powerful, medium to full-bodied style...It has a tropical edge as well as wonderful purity, a clean, elegant texture, and a great finish. $42 Internet Price $31.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

Campo Viejo Cava Brut Rose

Winemaker Notes: A bright sparkling pink color. Pleasant and powerful on the nose with a strong presence of ripe red berries. Round and full on the palate. $10 Our Price $7.95 (Available GT and VRW)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 94 Points
2018 Mayacamas Mount Veeder Merlot

The 2018 Merlot is gorgeous. Floral and savory notes give the 2018 a striking bouquet. Deceptive in its mid-weight structure, the 2018 possesses remarkable depth and harmony. Rose petal, sage, mint and cinnamon complement the red berry fruit. The 2018 is such a distinctive wine. It can be enjoyed now, but readers who can cellar it will be in for a treat down the line. If opened young, a few hours of air does wonders in releasing all of the wine's fruit and structure. Dollops of Cabernet Franc round out the blend. The Merlot was aged in cask, while the Franc components were aged in barrel. Total time in oak was about 22 months. (AG) $60 (Arrives GT 11/17/21)

2018 Pont Neuf Pont Royal Russian River Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: The 2018 Pont Royal reveals a brilliant clarity both in appearance and focused flavors. The vineyard character shows in the forward citrus, fresh peach, custard and honied beeswax which are consistent hallmarks of Pont Royal. The texture is crisp, but with a satisfying fullness and great persistence of flavors. French oak takes a back seat to the fruit, adding nuanced aromas of toasted brioche and fine structure to the wine. We employed 80% new oak from the Vosges forest, contributing the delicate toast and vanilla aromas and playing perfectly with bright citrus fruit. Barrel-fermented, aged on the lees and bottled un-fined and unfiltered, this natural fermentation showcases the vineyard and the vintage. 90 cases produced. $60 (Back in stock GT 11/17/21)

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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, 11/19/21 (3:30 PM-6:00 PM): 2016 Mayacamas Mt Veeder Merlot, 2018 Sinegal Estate Napa Cabernet and 2016 Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet.

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 95 Points
2016 Mayacamas Mt Veeder Merlot

The 2016 Merlot is a fabulous wine from Mayacamas. It is also very clearly a wine from Mt. Veeder first and foremost. A whole range of floral, savory and mineral notes give the 2016 striking layers of nuance and complexity. Sweet red fruit, white pepper, mint and dried flowers all grace this sublime, super-expressive Merlot. There is so much going on. Readers will find a wine of superb complexity, nuance and character. Best of all, the 2016 can be enjoyed with only minimal cellaring. I loved it. $60

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 97 Points
2018 Sinegal Estate Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon turned out beautifully. Rich, sumptuous and incredibly alluring, the 2018 will drink well right out of the gate. Dark red fruit, mocha, spice and licorice are some of the notes that build in the glass. I would give it a few years in bottle, or alternatively open it in advance. Aeration and the passage of time did wonders for the 2018. It spent 20 months in barrel, 85% new. $140

James Suckling 99 Points
2016 Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet

Breathtaking. Exceptional integration of super ripe blackberries and the very finest oak. The tannins build up beautifully, forming wave upon wave as the wine flows across the palate. Then the wave breaks on your palate and shoots way out at the finish, so that you wonder where it will end and normal life begin again. Needs time to soften, but this is so, so good. $170

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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, 11/20/21 (1:00 PM-3:30 PM): 2019 Melville Sta. Rita Hills Estate Pinot, 2019 Sojourn Sonoma Coast Rodgers Creek Pinot and 2017 Kosta Browne Cerise Anderson Valley Pinot.

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

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

James Suckling 96 Points
2017 Kosta Browne Cerise Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

This has such deep, red-fruit aromas and a beautifully sappy edge, too. The vibrant fruit here is so striking and so deep with a glossy feel and very fine, silky tannins. This is so full of pleasure. So supple and silky. Drink or hold. $180

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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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