The Grape Tray

December 7th 2021 Newsletter

Taste 2018 Hall Napa Cabernet and 2018 Kathryn Hall Napa Cabernet this week at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15:
Available all day during operating hours Tuesday, 12/7 – Thursday, 12/9/21.

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

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

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

Wine Spectator 97 Points * CROFT Vintage Port 2017 , Half Bottle

A beauty in the making, with waves of dark currant preserves, warmed fig and steeped blackberry fruit, all infused with chai spice, tobacco, singed alder and espresso cream accents. Very grippy on the finish, but this is long and smoldering too. Best from 2035 through 2060. 500 cases imported. — JM $50/375ml Our Price $37.99/375ml (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 93
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 Our Price $109.99 (Available VRW)

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 Our Price $69.95 (Available GT and VRW)

2019 Bernardus Monterey Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: The Bernardus 2019 Monterey Chardonnay exhibits bright white fruit aromas accented by caramel and subtle toasty oak notes. The palate is intense and beautifully focused with vibrant peach and tropical fruit flavors along with accents of crème brûlée. The long finish is supported by a refreshing acidity. An extraordinary example of Chardonnay from Monterey County! $30 Our Price $20.79 (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 (Available GT and VRW)

2018 William Harrison CABERNET SAUVIGNON, RUTHERFORD ESTATE

Winemaker Notes: Marked by intense aromas of blackberry compote, with subtler notes of cocoa nib, blueberry and fennel seed. The palate is full-bodied, with dense boysenberry flavors, a hint of roast coffee and smooth, fine-grained tannins. Complementary flavors of nutmeg and tobacco are attributed to our unique barrel program. The texture is dense and youthful, with vibrant tannin structure and a lingering finish. $75 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
MORGAN Chardonnay
Santa Lucia Highlands Highland 2019

Decadently spiced, with accents of roasted hazelnut and caramel to the well-knit baked apple and pear tart flavors. Dried mango hints line the open-textured finish. Drink now through 2025. 4,937 cases made.—K.M $28 Our Price $22.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 93 Points
Pehu-Simonet 2012 Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Verzenay Fins Lieux #6 Champagne

The 2012 Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Verzenay Fins Lieux #6 Les Basses Correttes is a very pretty, airy Champagne. Despite the radiant vintage and dosage of 2 grams per liter (higher than in some of the other wines), the 2012 comes cross as very bright and lifted, with plenty of citrus peel, chalk, white pepper and crushed rock nuances. This ethereal, brisk Champagne dazzles with subtlety and tension. Dosage is 2 grams per liter. Disgorged: May, 2019. $72 Our Price $62.99 (Available GT)

Wine Advocate 95-97 Points
2015 Doisy Daëne Barsac

The 2015 Doisy-Daene has a detailed bouquet, very correct, nothing showy or flamboyant as is typical of Denis Dubourdieu's Barsac. The palate is extremely well balanced and very pure: citrus fruit infusing the honeyed botrytis, veins of white peach and quince, leading to a very precise and sustained finish that leaves you with a smile on your face...and the wine ain't even finished yet! Just a wonderful wine - full of class and nascent joie-de-vivre. Chapeau Denis! $53 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
CHÂTEAU DOISY-VÉDRINES
 Barsac 2016, Half Bottle

A focused and forward style, offering a mix of peach, mango and flan notes lined with subtle ginger and marzipan accents. An almond cream echo lines the finish. Best from 2022 through 2036. 3,750 cases made. — JM $24.99/375ml (Arrives GT this afternoon)

Wine Advocate 95 Points
2017 Mount Eden Vineyards Chardonnay Estate

The 2017 Chardonnay Estate is beautifully expressed this vintage, scented of warm citrus, honeycomb and a singular undercurrent of spices. The palate is satiny with full, ripe fruit energized by bright freshness and mineral character, and the wine finishes very long, pure and uplifted. It improved slowly over several days and will benefit from time in the cellar or a long decant. 1,832 cases produced. $60 (Arrives GT 12/8/21)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 98 Points
Mount Eden Vineyards 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains, Central Coast

Mount Eden’s 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon represents the essence of what Cabernet Sauvignon is all about in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Deep, powerful and explosive, the 2016 simply has it all. A wine of tremendous depth and intensity. Readers, take note. This is world class Cabernet Sauvignon that in any other region would cost 2-3 times as much. Savory and expansive, with tons of mountain character and remarkable richness from low yields in 2016, the Cabernet Sauvignon is simply off the charts. It’s another utterly breathtaking wine from Mount Eden. $95 (Available GT)

New Vintage!
2018 Laird Cold Creek Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: The golden straw color draws you in, but the floral nose is what keeps you around. With notes of toasted caramel, elderflower and white nectarine. The wine has a balanced palate showcasing both creamy rich and bright acids. There are flavors of buttered popcorn, lilac and lemon zest. With its bright citrus finish, it leaves you yearning for the next sip, easily paired with seafood or your next movie night snuggled up next to your special someone. $30 Our Price $25.99 (Available GT)

2016 Laird Jillian’s Blend

Winemakers Notes: This stunning red blend says “hello” immediately with a vivid purple hue with the slightest maroon rouge rim. The nose has balanced notes of boysenberry, ripe blueberry, baking spice and vanilla. The palate is plush and balanced with flavors of dark red cherries, mocha, and clove. The lasting, indelible finish leaves you yearning for the next sip. A perfect wine to drink on its own or as an accompaniment to your next cookout. Drink now through 2028. $44 (Available GT)

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

Friday Wine Tasting, 12/10/21(Available all day during operating hours) $15 per person and must be 21 or older to attend.

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 94 Points
Domaine Eden 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon is fabulous. A rush of floral and spice notes leads into a core of racy purplish fruit. Lavender, sage, mint and a whole range of savory Cabernet aromatics play off the natural richness of the year so well. The 2017 is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon from Domaine Eden plus non-estate vineyards in Los Gatos and Saratoga, along with Merlot and Cabernet Franc from Mount Eden. That blend works so well. I loved it for its power and density. More importantly, the 2017 is a huge overachiever and a screaming value. $45

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 98 Points
Mount Eden Vineyards 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains, Central Coast

Mount Eden’s 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon represents the essence of what Cabernet Sauvignon is all about in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Deep, powerful and explosive, the 2016 simply has it all. A wine of tremendous depth and intensity. Readers, take note. This is world class Cabernet Sauvignon that in any other region would cost 2-3 times as much. Savory and expansive, with tons of mountain character and remarkable richness from low yields in 2016, the Cabernet Sauvignon is simply off the charts. It’s another utterly breathtaking wine from Mount Eden. $95

2018 Peter Michael L’Esprit des Pavot

Winemaker Notes: The 2018 ‘L’Esprit des Pavots’ presents a nearly black color with highlights of crimson ruby. An elegant, floral nose is heightened with accents of dark cherry, caramel, truffle, blackberry, cassis, and toffee. Generous essences of blueberry, blackberry, the black cherry are hallmarks of the Les Pavots terroir, along with plum and hints of mocha and vanilla bean. The Au Paradis terroir brings notes of currant and crème de cassis with meaty nuances. The palate is full-bodied and concentrated, exhibiting savory leather, tobacco, and white pepper with chestnut, black truffle, cedar, and supple tannins with a lingering finish. $120

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

Saturday Wine Tasting, 12/11/21(Available all day during operating hours) $15 per person and must be 21 or older to attend.

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points
2018 Hartford Court Velvet Sisters Anderson Valley Pinot

Coming from the Anderson Valley, the 2018 Pinot Noir Velvet Sisters has textbook savory, herbal, mineral style as well as wonderful darker cherry and exotic blueberry fruits, medium to full body, loads of floral and violet nuances, no hard edges, and a great finish. It's up-front and fruit-forward, yet it has plenty of tannins as well as remarkable purity and freshness. Drink this singular Pinot Noir over the coming 7-8 years. $70

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

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

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