The Grape Tray

January 4th 2022 Newsletter

Napa Cabernet Wine Tasting This Week at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15.
Available all day during operating hours Tuesday, 1/4 – Thursday, 1/6/22.

Wine Spectator 93 Points
Peter Franus Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder Brandlin Vineyard 2018

Textbook Mount Veeder Cabernet, with a lively mix of red currant, blackberry and boysenberry preserves laced with mulling spice, sweet bay leaf and singed mesquite, all carried by zesty acidity and juicy, integrated grip through the finish. Drink now through 2032. 200 cases made —J.M. $80 Our Price $73.99

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 96 Points
2018 Forman St. Helena Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is absolutely impeccable. Best of all, it won't require years in the cellar to be enjoyable. In fact, it is quite expressive today. Juicy dark cherry, plum, mocha, spice, leather and cinnamon are some of the many notes that flesh out in the glass. Silky and supple, with no hard edges, Ric Forman's 2018 is a thing of beauty. The 2018 is a bit more open in the early going than Forman fans are likely to expect. Drinking window: 2026 – 2048. $115

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Special Paul Hobbs Beckstoffer Las Piedras Cabernet Wine Tasting on Saturday, 1/8/21 -Reservation Required (See last page for details)

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2019 Bevan Ontogeny
Arrives GT 1/14/21. Limited

Wine Spectator 96 Points
ZENA CROWN VINEYARD Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills Slope 2018

A wine of presence and personality, with dynamic black raspberry and guava flavors that take on stony mineral and dusky spice accents as this gathers richness and tension toward broad-shouldered tannins. Best from 2022 through 2032. 487 cases made.—T.F $75 (Arrives GT 1/5/22)

James Suckling 95 Points * 2019 Hudson Carneros Chardonnay

Aromas of white peaches, spiced apples, dried honeysuckle, lemon pith, cedar and cloves. It’s full-bodied with fresh acidity and a vibrant, tight and textured palate. Long and focused. Richer style and density. Drink now or hold. $65 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Advocate 92 Points * 2018 Barnett Vineyards Merlot

The 2018 Merlot is a blend of 88% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 3.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3.5% Petit Verdot. Deep garnet-purple in color, it gives up earthy notes of truffles, damp soil and moss over a core of warm plums and blackberry pie. Medium to full-bodied, soft and plush, it has bags of juicy black fruit with a lively line and lifted finish. $70 Our Price $64.99 (Arrives GT 1/6/22)

Wine Spectator 91 Points
BODEGAS LA CANA Albariño Rias Baixas La Caña 2020

Firm acidity supports the round texture in this solid white, whose peach and lime flavors are balanced by brine and blanched almond notes. Reserved, but harmonious and deep. Drink now through 2026. $20 Our Price $16.29 (Back in stock GT and VRW 1/6/22)

James Suckling 92 Points
2019 Hirsch Kammern
Grüner Veltliner Kamptal

Sliced lemons and honey with some walnuts and stone. It’s medium-bodied with a pretty core of fruit and a walnut undertone at the end. Pineapple, too. From biodynamically grown grapes. Drink now. Screw cap. $30 Our Price $26.99 (Back in stock GT 1/5/22)

Jeb Dunnuck 100 points * 2019 Patria Oakville Ranch Avoyelles Prop Red

The 2019 Avoyelles Oakville Ranch checks in as 55% Cabernet Franc, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Petit Verdot, all from the Oakville Ranch Vineyard and aged 22 months in French oak. It has an insanely good bouquet of chocolaty red and black fruits, dried herbs, chocolate, and obvious minerality as well as full-bodied richness and depth on the palate. Complex, layered, multi-dimensional, and perfectly balanced, it's an incredible Cabernet Franc-dominated blend that will benefit from just a handful of years in the cellar and keep for 15-20 years. $150 (Arrives GT 1/12/22)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 92+ Points
2017 Behrens Family Winery The Anchor Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2017 The Anchor is rich, flamboyant and super-exotic. Crème de cassis, menthol, lavender and sweet spice all race out of the glass. This rich, sumptuous Cabernet is one of the many 2017s here that offer tremendous immediacy. It could use some time to soften, and yet there is good structure underneath. Blood orange, mint, sweet spice and rose petal overtones add dramatic lift on the finish. Drinking window: 2022 – 2032. $65 (Arrives GT 1/14/22)

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2020 Donnhoff Tonschiefer Nahe Trocken Riesling

Predominantly from the Leistenberg plus first selections of the local crus, the 2020 Riesling Tonschiefer opens enormously pure and stony as well as citric on the earthy nose that is a terrific representative for the clayish slate terroir. Complex and juicy on the palate, this is a tensioned, finely reductive yet very intense and structured dry Riesling with fine phenolic grip and an expressive finish with salty-piquant and phenolic acidity. An impressive wine. 12% alcohol. Tasted at the domain in July 2021. $33 Our Price $27.99 (Arrives GT 1/5/22)

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
2017 Wren Hop Dark Carnival Russian River Pinot Noir

The 2017 Pinot Noir Dark Carnival offers a medium to full-bodied, balanced, incredibly charming style that carries classic cherry and strawberry fruits as well as notes of forest floor and spice. Coming from the Wren Hop vineyard in the Russian River, destemmed and brought up in new oak, it has a rich, opulent texture, good freshness, and a great finish. It’s a classic, powerful Russian River Pinot Noir to enjoy over the coming 5-7 years. $80 (Arrives GT 1/5/22)

Wine Spectator 93 Points * 2018 MC4 Cabernet Sauvignon St. Helena Martin & Croshaw Vineyard 2018

This delivers a pure, savory and licorice-flecked beam of cassis and plum puree flavors, with a glint of iron on the sleek finish. Concentrated, but streamlined in feel. Drink now through 2032. 250 cases made. — JM $75 (Arrives GT 1/14/22)

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Friday Wine Tasting, 1/7/22(Available all day during operating hours) $15 per person and must be 21 or older to attend.

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

Wine Spectator 96 Points
ZENA CROWN VINEYARD Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills Slope 2018

A wine of presence and personality, with dynamic black raspberry and guava flavors that take on stony mineral and dusky spice accents as this gathers richness and tension toward broad-shouldered tannins. Best from 2022 through 2032. 487 cases made.—T.F $75

Wine Advocate 95+ 2019 Realm The Tempest

Deep garnet-purple colored, the nose offers gorgeous notes of baked blueberries, black cherries and mulberries with hints of menthol, dark chocolate and licorice. Full-bodied, rich and velvety, the mouth is packed with loads of spicy layers, while bright sparks of red fruit offer compelling energy, culminating with a long, perfumed finish. This is a wonderfully poised, polished Merlot. 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. $150

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Saturday Wine Tasting, 1/8/22(Available all day during operating hours) $15 per person and must be 21 or older to attend.

Decanter 95 Points
2017 Marengo Barolo La Morra

Marco Marengo manages little more than four hectares in La Morra. These grapes were sourced from Brunate, Bricco Viole, Pugnane and Fontanezza. It exhibits leafy lightness with orange peel and cocoa powder. The attack is firm, muscular yet ripe. Dense on the mid palate, it has bracing acidity combined with eminently savory orange fruit. The finish is chiseled, with a good length of fruits and licorice. $50 Our Price $43.99

Wine Spectator 94 Points * GIULIA NEGRI Barolo La Tartufaia 2017

A suave version, almost elegant even, offering macerated strawberry and cherry fruit, with accents of menthol, mineral and tobacco allied to a sleek frame. Balanced and persistent, stretching out nicely on the finish. Best from 2024 through 2040. 383 cases imported —B.S. $63

Wine Advocate 95
2015 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino, Magnum

The Altesino 2015 Brunello di Montalcino shows beautiful depth and latitude, with broad fruit aromas of dark cherry and cassis that recall the warmth and golden sunlight of the vintage. The wine is deceivingly streamlined in terms of mouthfeel, but that slim and buttoned-down backbone supports a broad range of flavors and sensations, from lavender essence and camphor ash to moist soil and toasted spice. All of these elements are delivered with impressive harmony and unity, and I expect that this wine will continue on a slow, steady and satisfying aging trajectory over the next 10 years or more. Fruit is sourced from across 21 hectares of vines with tufaceous limestone soils and Alberese rock, which contributes to the freshness and balanced structure of the wine. The wine was bottled in June 2019 (with 150,000 bottles made), and this wine was released in January 2020. $130/magnum

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Special Paul Hobbs Wine Tasting at VRW Saturday, 1/8/22 at 3:00 PM. $29 per person.
Reservation Required

We will open a bottle of this 98 Point Napa Cabernet. Each person will receive a 3 oz serving of this $275 Cabernet. If you would like to join the group, please call Stan at 559-226-6828 or email stan@grapetray.com to confirm your reservation.

Seating is limited since a bottle will only provide a 3 ounce serving for eight people.

Wine Advocate 98 Points * 2016 Paul Hobbs Beckstoffer Las Piedras Cabernet Sauvignon

Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard opens with provocative notions of crushed rocks, fertile loam and truffles with a core of warm cassis, blackberry pie and wild blueberries with touches of camphor and cloves. Medium to full-bodied and built like a brick house, it packs in the muscular fruit layers with compelling red fruit sparks, framed by firm, grainy tannins and finishing very long and very earthy. 402 cases produced. $275

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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 12:00 Noon -6:00 PM
Saturday 12:00 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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