December 30th 2021 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

December 30th 2021 Newsletter

VRW Hours This Week
Tuesday-Thursday 12 Noon-6:00 PM
Friday, 12/31/21 12 Noon-4:00 PM

GT Hours This Week
Monday-Thursday 10:30 AM-5:30 PM
Friday, 12/31/21 10:30 AM-3:00 PM

Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) and Grape Tray (GT) will be closed on Monday, January 3rd


Wine Spectator 93 Points
VILMART Brut Champagne Grand Cellier NV

Toasty hints of brioche, coffee liqueur and vanilla bean on the nose are more subtle on the palate of this plush-textured Champagne, where flavors of persimmon, yellow peach, blanched almond and Mandarin orange peel are underscored by minerally saline and chalk. Shows lovely balance and length. Disgorged July 2018. Drink now through 2026.—A.N. $77 Our Price $66.95 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 93 Points * COLENE CLEMENS Pinot Noir Chehalem Mountains Dopp Creek 2019

Slowly unfurls, opening with taut raspberry and stony mineral, then drawing in a rich and plush texture that glides toward refined tannins. Drink now through 2030. 4,408 cases made. —Tim Fish. $32 Our Price $27.99

2019 Thread Feathers Oakville Cabernet

Winemaker Notes: Bursting with black cherries, blackberry pie, and huckleberry preserves the nose. This stunning Cabernet is laced with black licorice and Asian spice notes that add a subtle and exotic component to the fruit aromas. The palate is dense and chewy with layers of mocha, cedar, and sweet vanilla layered around perfectly ripe tannin. The wine finishes with a touch of fine sweet cedar and cassis notes. Wine Specs: Case Productions: 400 Blend: 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Merlot, and 3%Cabernet Franc. $70 Our Price $37.99. GT and VRW insider price $29.95 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

Wine Advocate 97+
2019 Addax Chardonnay AK Cuvee

The 2019 Chardonnay AK Cuvee is winemaker Russell Bevan's barrel selection blend of roughly three barrels of Ritchie vineyard and two barrels of Rued vineyard. It prances out of the glass with showy notes of fresh apricots, nutmeg and mandarin peel, over a core of pear tart, shaved ginger and beeswax. The full-bodied, concentrated palate is full-on opulent, featuring layers of satin-textured stone fruit and baking spice flavors, finishing with epic length. So. Good. $125 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 94 Points
MARC HÉBRART Brut Champagne
Spécial Club 2016

This hedonistic Champagne is lush and juicy, with mouthwatering acidity serving as a springboard for the lacy mousse and the appealing range of nectarine, honeysuckle, Marcona almond and white cherry notes. Lightly chalky on the lingering, spiced finish. Disgorged September 2020. Drink now through 2031.—A.N. $103 (Available GT and VRW) Limited

2017 Pont Neuf La Source Russian River Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: A mere 53 cases were produced of this exceptional Pinot Noir. The 2017 Pont Neuf La Source’ Pinot Noir, like in previous vintages, was produced from Silver Eagle Vineyard - a single vineyard on Stoetz Ridge, which is the last ridge before the Sonoma Coastline. It’s a rolling terrain which separates the Sonoma Coast from the Russian River Valley. The Pinot Noir selections originated in Chambolle Musigny and Vosne-Romanée. They perform in great harmony in this vineyard and capture the elusive quality of Pinot Noir; its ability to deliver power and elegance. La Source is comprised of French clones 115 and 943 and offers balance of spice, forest floor, and berry fruits. It unfolds in the glass with a burst of energy, exotic aromas and a complete range of subtle small black fruits including cassis. This is one of the best Pinot and Chardonnay houses today, yet most haven’t heard of Pont Neuf. But when guests at the tasting room can taste them, they are wowed by their quality. $80


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 Enthusiast 92 Points
Yalumba Antique Muscat, Half Bottle

Aromatic nose of sultana, jasmine and fig. The palate is luscious, seamlessly integrated sweetness. Full and rich, combines perfectly fruit and spice. Long fresh finish. $19/375ml (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 (Available GT)


We will close the year of 2021 with two wine tastings at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW)

Available all day during operating hours. $15 per person.

#2. Thursday, 12/30/21:
Wine Spectator 97 Points
PIPER-HEIDSIECK Brut Champagne Rare 2008

Like a stallion out of the gate, this shows an initial explosion of power, in the form of mouthwatering flavors and fine texture, before quickly settling into an elegant gait. The racy acidity is seamlessly knit, buoying the lacy mousse and flavors of cassis, toasted brioche and tangerine, with accents of candied ginger, hazelnut and fleur de sel lingering on the long, creamy finish. Drink now through 2035. 2,000 cases imported. — AN $215 Internet Price $179.99

Wine Advocate 92 points
2019 Aurelien Verdet Le Prieure Hautes-Cotes de Nuits Burgundy

Bursting from the glass with notes of sweet berries, petals, peonies and raw cocoa, the 2019 Bourgogne Hautes-Cotes de Nuits Le Prieure is medium to full-bodied, velvety and charming, with lively acids, melting tannins and a succulent, spice-inflected finish. Deeper than the 2017 and more elegant than the 2018, this gets my nod as the finest Le Prieure of the three. Drink 2021-2033. $54 Our Price $45.99

Wine Advocate 95 Points
CLOS ST.-JEAN Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes 2019

Rich and seductive in style, featuring waves of warmed plum sauce and blackberry purée flavors laced with singed alder, licorice root and tobacco notes, with flashes of ganache and warm earth in the background. Everything stays well-defined through the finish, which offers a late echo of minerality. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Vaccarèse and Muscardin. Best from 2023 through 2038. —J.M. 900 cases made. $60 Internet Price $49.95


#3. Friday, 12/31/21:
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

Wine Advocate 93+ Points
2017 Salvestrin Cabernet Sauvignon Dr. Crane Vineyard

Blended with 10% Merlot, the deep garnet-purple colored 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Dr. Crane Vineyard gives up warm red and black fruits, earth and iron ore with notes of meats and cedar. The palate is full-bodied, firm and chewy with a good core, finishing long and mineral laced. $70

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


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) 559-878-3953

The Grape Tray (GT)
6023 N. Palm Avenue Fresno, CA 93704
Opus One Center (NW Corner Bullard and Palm) 559-226-6828

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