The Grape Tray

December 10th 2021 Newsletter

VRW Hours Next Week
Tuesday-Friday, 12 Noon-6:00 PM
Saturday, 12 Noon-4:00 PM


Wine Spectator 94 Points
STAGLIN Cabernet Sauvignon
Rutherford 2018

Rich and seductive, with velvety dark plum, mulberry and boysenberry fruit flavors gliding through, infused with anise, roasted apple wood and black tea notes. The fruit echoes persistently through the finish, where a violet notes adds additional charm. A very suave wine that nearly flaunts its texture. Drink now through 2035. 2,300 cases made. — JM $285 Our Price $269.95 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

 Jeb Dunnuck 96+ Points
2016 Capanna Brunello di Montalcino

The 2016 Brunello spent 36 months in classic Slavonian oak. The lifted aromatics upon opening quickly blow off and give way to more subtle floral tones, of fresh raspberry, dried herbs, and dusty earth. The palate is crisp and linear, with fine but angular tannins, refreshing citrus-like acidity, and a long finish. The 2016 is layered and complex within its transparency. There is a lot to love with this wine for those who enjoy traditional Sangiovese with brightness and lift. Check in now and over the next 20 years. $70 Our Price $60.99 (Arrives VRW this afternoon)

Wine Advocate 97 Points
2018 The Setting Alexander Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon

Deep garnet-black in color, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley has an extraordinary perfume of cassis laced with an array of classic Cabernet scents: cured meats, pencil shavings, violet, lilac, bay leaves and exotic spices. The palate is pure and lifted, with ripe, dusty tannins and bursts of freshness that highlight its perfume and perfectly ripe fruits, finishing very long and very layered. 575 cases were made. $85 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

2018 Staglin Family Salus Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: The poised 2018 Salus Cabernet Sauvignon feels like a modern portrait of yesteryear’s traditions. Well composed flavors of cassis and boysenberry redolent with raspberry liqueur, milled spices and subtle earth flow seamlessly into a balanced midpalate full of finely crafted detail. Filigreed tannins produce a delightfully delicate and textured wine with a finessed and silky structure that is drinking well right out of the gate yet hints at layers yet to be fully revealed. $115 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

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 (Back in stock VRW this afternoon)

2020 Cherrier Sancerre

Producer TASTING IMPRESSIONS: Aromas of citrus zest, lime juice, crushed stones, sea spray, preserved lemons. Richly aromatic, light on the tongue. Fresh notes of citrus, white fruit, fresh hay. $25 Our Price $21.99 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
2019 Alma de Cattleya Sonoma County Red Blend

Lots of ripe blackberries, peppery herbs, and assorted meaty notes emerge from the deep purple 2019 Red Wine, which offers medium to full body, a kiss of iron and minerality on the palate, ripe tannins, and a great finish. This is one heck of a delicious, textured red to enjoy over the coming 4-6 years or so. $27 (Available GT)

Wine Advocate 94 Points
2012 Champagne André Robert
Brut Collection d'Auteur

Disgorged in September 2020 with three grams per liter dosage, the 2012 Brut Collection d'Auteur is deep and vinous, unwinding in the glass with notes of pear, white flowers and freshly braked bread mingled with subtle hints of citrus zest and bee pollen. Full-bodied, elegantly muscular and seamless, with a deep and concentrated core, bright acids and a pretty pinpoint mousse, it's a seamless, understated blanc de blanc derived from holdings in prime lieux-dits Les Vaucherots, Les Coullemets du Midi, Les Finciarts and Les Chétillons. Internet Price $145 (Available GT)

2018 Jayson Napa Cabernet

Winemaker Notes: Jayson Cabernet Sauvignon has deep purple color in the glass, and displays classic varietal expression through an aromatic profile of intense floral notes, ripe blackberry, white pepper, and hints of leather and vanilla. On the dense, creamy palate, sweet plum, raspberry and ripe blueberry characters are accented by hints of cinnamon stick and brown sugar. A touch of earth contributes complexity over the long, luxurious finish. $85 Our Price $74.99 (Available GT)

Jeb Dunnuck 91 Points
2019 Alma de Cattleya Sonoma County Pinot Noir

Beautiful cherry and strawberry fruits as well as spice, flowers, and sandalwood emerge from the 2019 Pinot Noir, a medium-bodied, seamless Pinot Noir from this label that will drink nicely for 3-5 years. It has classic Pinot Noir elegance and complexity as well as California fruit. Internet Price $30 (Available GT)

Decanter 92 Points
Lanson Black Label Brut Champagne

50% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay and 15% Meunier from 100 villages in all, and including 30% reserves from 10 vintages back to 1995; a small proportion now being produced with malolactic. Black Label remains the confident barometer of Lanson, and Hervé Dantan’s first blend is a class act, a resounding statement of his talent in preserving the style and integrity of the house while meticulously polishing the edges. It’s a very important cuvée in the grand scheme of Champagne: one of the best and most consistent of the bargain set. $45 Our Price $39.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Vinous 96 Points
Rieussec 2010 Rieussec Sauternes, Bordeaux

The 2010 Rieussec is slightly more backwards on the nose. It is very focused with almond, saffron, orange pith and dried honey aromas that gain intensity with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with a harmonious entry. Impressive depth with lovely vanillary new oak, it is long and pure towards the finish. A Sauternes with pedigree. Superb. $99.95 (Available GT)

Bollinger Special Edition 007 Special Cuvee

Producer Notes: To the eye: a golden colour, distinctive of black grape varieties ; very fine bubbles. To the nose: a beautiful aromatic complexity ; ripe fruit and spicy aromas ; hints of roasted apples, apple compote and peaches. To the palate: a subtle combination of structure, length and vivacity ; bubbles like velvet ; pear, brioche and spicy aromas, notes of fresh walnut. $75 (Arrives GT this afternoon) Limited

2019 Banshee Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: This Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon is deep, purple-ruby in color with aromas of ripe fig, cassis, vanilla and hints of pine and peppercorn. A juicy entry on the mouth delivers plush, fine tannins with a velvety texture. This approachable, medium-bodied cabernet has densely layered flavors of dark plums with rustic notes of forest floor and spice. A finale of round tannins leads tproprieo a dry, smooth finish. $20 Our Price $15.45 (Available GT and VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2016 Hewitt Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon

Starting with the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, this ripe, sexy red comes all from Rutherford and has a big nose of sweet blueberries, plums, dark chocolate, tobacco, and spice. It's not for those looking for lightweight aromas and flavors, yet it wears its ripe fruit well, showing full-bodied richness, good purity, and a lively feel on the palate. Drink this hedonistic blockbuster over the coming 10-15 years. $150 Our Price $104.95 (Available GT and VRW)

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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

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

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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



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