January 18th 2022 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

January 18th 2022 Newsletter

Taste a 94 point Dundee Hills Pinot and a 94 point Rutherford Napa Cabernet this week at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15.

Available all day during operating hours Tuesday, 1/18 – Thursday, 1/20/22.

Wine Advocate 94 Points
2019 Arterberry Maresh Pinot Noir Dundee Hills

The 2019 Pinot Noir Dundee Hills is ethereal and perfumed this vintage. It offers pure scents of raspberry preserves, bergamot, tangerine and Angostura with wafts of sweet balsamic. The palate is soft, bright and super silky, with layer after layer of sweet fruit, spice and citrus, and it finishes long and perfumed. $30

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


Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points
2019 Domaine Lafage Cuvee Nicolas

All Grenache brought up in demi-muids and aged on lees for 8 months, the medium ruby/purple-hued color of the 2019 Cuvée Nicolas is followed by a killer bouquet of kirsch liqueur, savory spices, cured meats, and peppery garrigue. Rich, medium to full-bodied, and gorgeously textured, it has wonderful richness with no sensation of weight.

Cuvée Nicolas is named after Jean-Marc and Eliane’s son and comes from a blend of Grenache grown in the red schist soils of the foothills of the Pyrenees in Asprès with Grenache from the back schist soils of Maury. These low-yielding vines (19hl/ha) are around 65 years old and are planted on terraces with southern and southeastern exposure. $20 Our Price $15.99 (Arrives GT 1/20/22)

James Suckling 91 Points
2019 Nikolaihof Zwickl Gruner Veltliner

The haze of yeast, a result of unfiltered bottling, really gives this light gruner something special and the fruit of the 2019 vintage fits well with that. Nice, nutty apple character with a touch of creaminess from the suspended lees. Bright, crisp finish. From biodynamically grown grapes with Demeter certification. Drink or hold. Screw cap. $30 Our Price $24.99 (Available GT and VRW)


Winemaker Notes: Our 2017 ultra-premium Merlot from our own Mt. Veeder is structured and complex with a nose of black fruits, spice, and olive. It shows its earthy hillside terroir on the palate with hints of black cherries, roasted meats, and chocolate, and has a long, lingering finish. Drink between now and 2027. $80 (Available GT)

Wine Advocate 95 Points
2018 Paul Hobbs Chardonnay Ross Station Estate

The 2018 Chardonnay Ross Station Estate opens with toast and flint, segueing to golden apple, white flowers and salted almonds. The medium-bodied, satiny palate is singing, bursting with juicy, savory flavors and finishing very long. 317 cases produced. $85 (Available GT)

2018 Carmel Road Cabernet

Winemaker Notes: Our Cabernet is an exceptional varietal expression with rich, concentrated flavors of ripe black cherry, blueberry and deep red plum. The structured palate is balanced by aging in French and American oak barrels, imparting notes of baking spices and vanilla bean in its long, silky finish. $15 Our Price $9.95 (Available GT and VRW) Great Value!

Wine Advocate 92-94 Points
2019 Lerner Project Project 18 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Tasted as a barrel sample, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Project 18 has a deep purple-black color and pronounced notions of plum preserves, blueberry compote and cassis with hints of baker's chocolate, lavender and tobacco leaf. Rich, full-bodied and wonderfully pure in the mouth, it has lovely fine-grained tannins and impressive freshness, finishing with a skip in its step. Launched in 2016, Russell Bevan is the winemaker and a partner in this project. Produced from some of Bevan's favored vineyards, including Tench and Sugarloaf, these wines are unique enough from his own label and yet undoubtedly possess that Bevan sparkle. The addition of Armstrong Ranch vineyard on Diamond Mountain makes for an absolute jewell. $100 (Available GT)

2019 Lucia SLH Chardonnay

Starting with the appellation 2019 Chardonnay Santa Lucia Highlands, this light gold-hued effort has a big, exuberant bouquet of honeyed melon, pineapple, chalky minerality, and subtle toasty nuances. Beautifully textured, medium to full-bodied, and balanced, it's perfect for readers wanting to see the quality coming from the Santa Lucia Highlands, or the style of this label. It will keep for 4-6 years, if not longer, although there's no need to delay gratification. $48 (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
2017 Taub Family Rutherford Cabernet

Nicely compact, with a core of steeped red currant, plum and blackberry fruit that should unwind in the near future. Alder and licorice notes score the finish, with good latent energy. Best from 2022 through 2031. 1,500 cases made. — JM $75 Internet Price $64.99 (Back in stock GT this afternoon)

Vinous 91 Points
2018 Kali Hart Monterey Pinot Noir

Bright magenta. Lively raspberry, cherry, allspice and floral scents are energized by a bright mineral quality. Appealingly sweet and penetrating on the palate, offering red fruit preserve, bitter cherry and spicecake flavors that become more lively on the back half. Subtle tannins lend shape to a long, juicy finish that repeats the floral and spice notes. $20 Our Price $17.99 (Available GT and VRW)

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 (Available GT and VRW)

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 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

Antonio Galloni 95 Points * 2019 Kongsgaard Napa Chardonnay

The 2019 Chardonnay (Napa Valley) is superb. Powerful and resonant in the glass, with notable depth as well as structure, the 2019 is mesmerizing. Lemon peel, white pepper, chalk and mint lend brightness throughout. There is more than enough backbone to allow the 2019 to age gracefully for years to come. What a wine! $140 (Arrives VRW 1/21/22)


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

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points * 2019 Paul Hobbs Russian River Pinot Noir

Moving to the reds, the 2019 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley offers a medium ruby/purple hue to go with a beautiful perfume of mulberries, black cherries, Asian spices, and roasted herbs. Playing in the medium-bodied end of the spectrum, it still brings plenty of fruit, with a great mid-palate and outstanding length on the finish. It’s common in 2019 for the Russian River Valley Pinots to show a beautiful sense of freshness and elegance, and this wine delivers those qualities in spades. It can be drunk any time over the coming 7-8 years. $65

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 92 Points * 2019 Robert Craig Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain Cuvée

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain Cuvée is a new entry-level wine in this range. The addition of Merlot works so well in softening some of the young Howell Mountain contours. Even so, there is plenty of energy underpinning the bright red cherry fruit. Mint, pine and floral accents resonate across the persistent finish. The 2019 is a jewel of a wine and a fabulous value. $50

Wine Advocate 95 Points
2016 Eisele Vineyard Altagracia Cabernet Sauvignon

The Altagracia is produced almost exclusively from estate fruit this year and was bottled at the end of June 2018. Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Altagracia comes bursting forth with vivacious black cherries, blackberries, wild blueberries and cassis notes with touches of cinnamon stick, cloves, forest floor, violets and dusty earth with a waft of violets. The palate is medium to full-bodied, firm and grainy with loads of iron and mineral accents, finishing long and perfumed. $130


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

2016 Gambal Work Francesca Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: Francesca has what we call a “cool” profile that is dominated by a flinty nose followed by white flowers. Its attack is subtle but builds, fills the mouth and is linear in nature. The wine’s natural salinity awakens your taste buds and one can imagine this with hard cheeses or with a main dish such as seared scallops. The wine is delicious today, but we expect it will show its full potential in three to five years (2021-2023). $65

Wine Spectator 94 Points * ALEXANA Pinot Noir Dundee Hills Revana Vineyard 2018

This vibrant red is coiled with tension, offering dynamic raspberry and blueberry flavors that gather notes of spiced cinnamon and orange oil, building toward medium-grained tannins. Drink now through 2030. 1,858 cases made. — TF $55

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 95 Points * 2018 Robert Craig Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Amentet Vineyard is a heady, explosive Mount Veeder wine. Iron, sweet red cherry, mint, dried flowers, licorice, mocha and rose petal all grace this wonderfully expressive, nuanced Cabernet. Best of all, the 2018 won't need more than a few years in bottle to be approachable. It's a gorgeous wine, that much is clear. The best is yet to come. $120


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 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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