The Grape Tray

November 30th 2021 Newsletter

Taste 2019 DuMol Chardonnay and Pinot Noir this week at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $10:

Available all day during operating hours Tuesday, 11/30 – Thursday, 12/2/21.

Wine Spectator 94 Points
DUMOL Chardonnay Russian River Valley Wester Reach 2019

Powerfully fresh and minerally, this complex white features concentrated pear tart and apple pastry flavors that are filled with crunchy acidity, showing hints of custard. Ends with buttery accents and tropical fruit notes on the richly spiced finish. Best from 2022 through 2027. 3,540 cases made. — KM $60

Wine Spectator 93 Points
DUMOL Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Wester Reach 2019

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 $75

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Wine Spectator 91 Points
CHALK HILL Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2019

Well-integrated flavors of Gala apple and ripe Bosc pear are swathed with creamy richness in this broad-textured style, with cooking spice accents lingering on the mouthwatering finish. Drink now through 2024. 28,500 cases made. — KM $26 Our Price $14.45 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
2015 Rocca di Frassinello Maremma Toscano

Aromas and flavors of mineral, black cherry, blackberry and tar highlight this rich, vibrant red. The tannins are well-integrated. Extends nicely on the finish. Sangioveto, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Best from 2018 through 2025. $52 Internet Price $44.99 (Arrives VRW this afternoon)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
TAUB FAMILY VINEYARDS Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford Morisoli Borges Vineyard 2017

Another late-release 2017 that bucks the vintage profile but has a complete feel, with juicy blackberry and plum notes mixed with a sleeker cassis accent, all backed by dark loam and roasted cedar notes. Shows a solid graphite underpinning on the finish to support it all. A very solid example of the muscular style. Best from 2022 through 2036. 68 cases made. — JM $125 (Arrives VRW this afternoon)

2018 “96 Points” Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: Toasty American Oak integrates with blueberries, dark plum and blackberries. Bold sweet tannins hold up a velvety mouthfeel, leading to a juicy finish with dark cherries, violets and baking spice. $16 Our Price $9.95 (Available GT and VRW)

James Suckling 97 Points
2016 Larkmead Dr. Olmo Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Impressive aromas of dried flowers, crushed blackberries and plums. Some sweet-tobacco undertones. Full-bodied, dusty and juicy with chewy tannins that are supple and savory, combining with the fruit. Flavorful and intense. So structured. $160 (Back in stock GT this afternoon)

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 Spectator 92 Points
LAIRD FAMILY Chardonnay Carneros Cold Creek 2017

This glistens with intense creaminess to the tropical fruit, pear tart and lemon curd flavors, focused and powerful. White chocolate and light smoky notes show on the long, powerful finish. Drink now through 2023. 2,200 cases made. — KM $30 Our Price $25.99 (Back in stock GT this afternoon)

James Suckling 96 Points
2018 Beaulieu Vineyard Reserve Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon

This is so aromatic with redcurrants, flowers and crushed stones. Some bark and rose stem, too. Full-bodied, yet so refined and textured with a lovely finish of fruit and hints of berry and light chocolate. So delicious now, but will develop nicely in the bottle. $85 Internet Price $69.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW this afternoon)

2018 Taub Family Howell Mt. Cabernet

Winemaker Notes: Deep garnet-purple in color with alluring, perfumed aromatics of violets, black cherries, crème de cassis, cedar, and cigar box with a hint of dried herbs and potpourri. Big, rich, full-bodied, and voluptuous in the mouth, the palate is superbly structured with soft tannins and fantastic freshness. Intense and concentrated flavors of blackberries, black currants, and blueberry compote with layers of licorice and chocolate mint. The dark fruit and well-integrated, refined tannins contribute to a lengthy, memorable finish. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. $75 (Available GT and VRW 12/2/21)

Wine Spectator 97 Points
BARICCI Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli 2016

Fresh and vivid, this red features cherry, raspberry, plum, floral, black tea and mineral aromas and flavors. The well-defined fruit character is nicely balanced by earthy, savory elements, lively acidity and refined tannins. This is complete, with terrific finesse and complexity. Best from 2024 through 2048. 1,300 cases made, 275 cases imported. — BS $95 Our Price $83.99 (Arrives GT this afternoon) Limited

2019 Anthill Farms Peters Vineyard Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: Light, brilliant ruby—just as we always expect of this wine. Peters Vineyard once again offers tons of immediacy with aromas and flavors of raspberry, cherry, cola infused wet soil and perfumed carnation. This is gracious Sonoma Coast pinot, inviting and vibrant with a touch of tension and outstanding length this vintage. The middle weight and immediately integrated character of Peters never fails to draw us in and is hard to not drink right now for all of its fresh, spicy beauty. $52 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

Wine Spectator 95 Points
ARISTA Chardonnay Russian River Valley UV-El Diablo Vineyard 2018

Big, rich and powerful, with concentrated apple and peach pastry flavors that are filled with cooking spice and custardy accents, followed by notes of buttered toast on the finish. Drink now through 2026. —K.M 350 cases made $85 (Arrives VRW this afternoon) Limited

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

Friday Chateauneuf du Pape Tasting, 12/3/21(3:30 PM-6:00 PM): 2019 Clos Des Brusquieres, 2019 Bosquet Des Papes Chante Le Merle Vieilles Vignes and 2019 Chateau Beaucastel.

Wine Spectator 95 Points
CLOS DES BRUSQUIÈRES Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2019

This is tight and grippy, but has a live wire of racy iron-edged minerality spreading out from the core, providing a matrix for the myriad of plum reduction, cherry paste, red licorice, sweet bay, lavender, cassis bush and juniper notes to build off of. A wild brambly feel drives the finish. Distinctive and should provide plenty intrigue as it ages. Best from 2024 through 2036. 8,500 cases made, 600 cases imported. — JM $50

Wine Spectator 95 Points *BOSQUET DES PAPES Châteauneuf-du-Pape Chante Le Merle Vieilles Vignes 2019

Steeped plum and cherry compote notes are the main marker here, though chestnut, sweet bay, singed alder and tobacco flavors all make their presence known. Tar and licorice root accents underline the finish, giving this a toothy, old school edge. Rock solid, throwback-styled Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Best from 2024 through 2038. —J.M. $89

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

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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, 12/4/21 (1:00 PM-3:30 PM): 2018 Arnot Roberts Trout Gulch Santa Cruz Mt Chardonnay, 2017 Etude Napa Cabernet and 2017 Taub Family Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper Cabernet.

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 93 Points
Arnot-Roberts 2018 Chardonnay Trout Gulch Santa Cruz Mountains

The 2018 Chardonnay Trout Gulch is loaded with personality and class. Citrus, dried flowers, mint and sage are some of the many nuances that grace this Chardonnay from the southern reaches of the Santa Cruz Mountains. In 2018, the Trout Gulch has more overt body and less of the sizzling cut it has had in some previous editions, which means it will drink nicely with just another year or two in bottle. There is still plenty of energy, but more mid-palate depth and less austerity than in some years. $ Drinking window: 2020 – 2028. $45

Wine Spectator 93 Points * ETUDE Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2017

Packed with juicy black currant, plum and blackberry compote flavors that pump along the graphite-edged grip and a dark tobacco backdrop. Frankly toasted on the finish, but with ample fruit for balance. A serious Cab. Best from 2022 through 2034. —J.M. $100

Wine Spectator 93 Points * TAUB FAMILY VINEYARDS Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper Vineyard 2017

This late release is a beauty, with the fruit-forward profile of the vintage, showing lush plum, raspberry and cassis flavors, without the slight midpalate gap shown by many wines of the vintage. There's also a nicely filled-in finish that delivers a second rush of anise, bramble and sweet tobacco notes. Drink now through 2030. 260 cases made. — JM $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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