The Grape Tray

December 3rd 2021 Newsletter

Wine Spectator 93 Points
THE HESS COLLECTION Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder 2018

Lush and deeply fruity, with crushed plum, mulled blackberry and açaí berry compote flavors that meld nicely together, while melted black licorice, black tea and mulling spice notes add range and detail. Features a lushness that makes this approachable now, but shows a strong underlying iron spine that will let this evolve with cellaring. Best from 2023 through 2036. —J.M. $75 Our Price $63.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 93 Points * HALL Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2018

This packs in some serious plum compote and cassis flavors, liberally wrapped in dark licorice and finishing with a swath of sweet toast and tobacco on the broad finish. Nice mineral underpinning keeps it honest. Fairly accessible despite its heft. Drink now through 2034. 55,000 cases made. — JM $65 Internet Price $49.95 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Advocate 94 Points * 2018 Hartford Court Pinot Noir Warrior Princess

The 2018 Pinot Noir Warrior Princess was aged for 16 months in French oak barrels, 30% new. Medium ruby-purple colored, it springs from the glass with bold expressions of red currant jelly, pomegranate, rhubarb and wild thyme followed by hints of lavender, underbrush and tobacco leaf. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is tight-knit and intense, featuring loads of mineral and earth layers with a firm, grainy frame and long, energetic finish. 375 cases were made. $70 Internet Price $64.99 (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 95 Points
DOMAINE HUET Vouvray Demi-Sec Le Mont 2020

This refined white shows lovely purity, with persimmon, coriander, yellow apple and creamed peach notes, backed by vivid acidity. Elements of flint, marzipan and honeysuckle unwind on the long, alluring finish. A striking Chenin Blanc. Drink now through 2036. 400 cases made. — GS $45 Our Price $42.99 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
ARTERBERRY MARESH Pinot Noir Dundee Hills Old Vines 2018

Structured yet elegantly layered, this version offers pretty violet, raspberry and spiced tea accents that build tension toward polished, medium-grained tannins. Drink now through 2029. 1,598 cases made. — TF $39 (Available GT)

Wine Advocate 95-97 Points
2018 Kathryn Hall Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

A barrel sample of 97% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Merlot, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Kathryn Hall is opaque purple-black colored with a beautiful perfume of bold black currants, Black Forest cake and aniseed with candied violets, ripe red and black plums and rose hip tea notions plus a waft of forest floor. The full-bodied palate is a little closed and tightly wound with elegant, fine-grained tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long and fragrant. $190 Our Price $167.99 (Arrives VRW this afternoon)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 94 Points
Aubry 2014 Brut Ivoire et Ebène Jouy Lès Reims, Champagne

The 2014 Brut Ivoire et Ebène is a blend of 60% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Meunier and 10% Pinot Noir that captures the best of the Aubry style. Rich and effusive in feel, with notable depth, Ivoire et Ebène is so expressive. The weight and richness of the Pinot very much comes through in both the wine's flavor profile and overall feel. Red plum, cinnamon, licorice and chamomile linger on the creamy finish. Disgorged: February, 2021. $60 Our Price $56.99 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
2018 Cirq Russian River Pinot Noir

The 2018 Pinot Noir sports a medium ruby, plum, almost opaque hue as well as a killer bouquet of ripe black raspberries, redcurrants, roasted herbs, loamy earth, and sandalwood. Rich, almost full-bodied, and beautifully textured, with silky, polished tannins, this is another rock star of a Pinot Noir from Michael Browne that will deliver the goods over the coming 7-8 years, probably longer, although I have no idea why you would delay gratification. $225 (Arrives GT 12/8/21)

Wine Spectator 97 Points
CHÂTEAU COUTET Barsac 2011

White peach, pineapple, white ginger, orange zest and green fig notes are clear and racy, while green almond, brioche, pear and yellow apple details wait in reserve. Offers stunning range and polish, showing terrific energy and cut on the finish. This just makes you feel special when you drink it. An estate that has been rising steadily for a while now. Best from 2016 through 2035. 2,915 cases made. — JM Our Price $83.95 (Arrives GT 12/8/21)

Wine Advocate 98+
2016 d'Yquem Sauternes

Containing 135 grams per liter of residual sugar, the pale lemon-gold colored 2016 d'Yquem leaps from the glass with honeyed apricots, pineapple, green mango, crushed rocks, candied ginger, coriander seed and citrus peel with hints of orange blossom. The palate is very tightly wound, vibrant and refreshing with layer upon layer of minerals and spices, finishing with epic poise and persistence. $449.95 (2 bottles arrive GT 12/8/21)

2018 Ehlers Napa Estate Merlot

Winemaker Notes: The 2018 Ehlers Estate Merlot is a very soulful wine. The fruit for this wine comes from four different, small blocks picked at the right ripeness, but early enough to leave some of the natural acidity that is so lively in this varietal. Picking at the right time allows you to showcase the red fruit. 2018 was the perfect year for a longer hanging time, and our Merlot benefited from it. The wine shows a deep, vibrant purple color with aromas of cassis, raspberries, strawberry compote, and dry herbs. Oak notes of mocha, smoke, nutmeg and sweet spices accentuate the bouquet. This wine is full-bodied, with bright acidity and firm tannins. The finish is long and full of berries and licorice with a mineral finish. Enjoyable now, but will age well for 10-15 years more. $60 (Available GT)

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2018 Cliff Lede Stag’s Leap Cabernet

Composed of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc, the deep garnet-purple colored 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District charges out of the gate with exuberant scents of boysenberries, blackcurrant cordial and warm black plums plus touches of bay leaves, damp soil, pencil shavings and sandalwood. The medium to full-bodied palate is bold, expressive and open for business with bags of juicy black fruit flavors and a velvety texture, finishing with an earthy kick and a burst of freshness. $80 Our Price $72.99 (Available GT and VRW)

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 (Available GT and VRW)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 94 Points
Gaston Chiquet 2014 Brut Millésime Carte d’Or Dizy, Champagne

The 2014 Brut Millésime Carte d’Or is fabulous. Bright and beautifully sculpted, the 2014 is so impressive right out of the gate. Lemon peel, dried herbs, flowers, mint and sage all develop over time. Translucent and so expressive, the 2014 is a real knock-out. Disgorged: November, 2020. Drinking window: 2021 – 2028 $68 Our Price $62.99 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

James Suckling 95 Points
2018 Peter Michael L’Esprit des Pavots

Complex nose of red fruit, berries and wood, together with a floral note. It’s a full-bodied red with firm texture. Succulent and structured. The tannins are firm and lead to a long, savory finish. Lots of earth, spice, pine needle and chocolate to the currant-fruit character. 51% Knights Valley and 49% Oakville. Mostly cabernet sauvignon with cabernet franc, merlot and petit verdot. $110 (Available GT and VRW)

******************************************

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.

***************************************

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



Back to Our Blog