The Grape Tray

January 28th 2022 Newsletter

2020 Tempier Bandol Rose, Magnum

Notes from Anthony Lynch: They say great wine is evocative of place. With Tempier rosé, all it takes is one sniff to be carried back to Provence, conceiving a dreamy fantasy of sunshine and ice-cold pink wine. Suddenly we are in the shade of a massive umbrella pine tree at Domaine Tempier, refreshed by a soothing breeze and generous sips of rosé. The cigales chirp buzzingly in the background, while the sound of laughter complements their constant hum. Your glass of Bandol, evocative of rosemary, ripe peaches, and citrus, is the perfect elixir to wash down the assortment of snacks that has spontaneously materialized: garlic-rubbed toasts with cured anchovies, olives marinated in herb-infused oil, and slices of salty saucisson. This is what Tempier rosé is all about—celebration, gaiety, and delicious simplicity. $125/magnum. (Arrives GT 2/3/22)

Wine Spectator 94 Points

THREE STICKS Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Gap's Crown Vineyard 2019

Big, rich and well-spiced, with a concentrated core of red currant, cherry and plum flavors backed by fresh acidity and firm tannins. Minerally in the midpalate, with a finish offering slate and hints of peppercorn. Drink now through 2027. —K.M. $75. Internet Price $63.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 98 Points

Cornell 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon
Spring Mountain, Sonoma, Napa Valley

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is elegant and nuanced from the very first taste. Over the last year, the 2018 has developed from a powerhouse into a much more refined wine. There is plenty of mountain tannin and structure, but those elements are completely enrobed by the fruit. Hints of iron, cedar, dried herbs, mint and sweet red cherry fruit emerge with a bit of time in the glass. The 2018 is a very rare, quintessentially elegant mountain Cabernet. Best of all, the 2018 won't take years to come together. I would drink it ahead of the 2016 or 2017, but if opened young it needs several hours of aeration. $185 (Available GT)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 94 Points
Bevan Cellars 2019 Ontogeny

The 2019 Ontogeny is another tremendous wine in this range. In fact, the 2019 is one of the very best Ontogenys I can remember tasting. Rich, sumptuous and unapologetically brash, the 2019 is a total rock-star. A touch of Malbec adds exuberance to the fruit, as if these wines needed any more richness. For readers who want to know what the fuss is about Bevan, Ontogeny is the place to start! $115 (Available GT and VRW)

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 (Available GT and VRW)

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 Internet Price $64.99 (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 95 Points
CLOS DES BRUSQUIÈRES Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2019

This is tight and grippy, but has a live wire of racy iron-edged minerality spreading out from the core, providing a matrix for the myriad of plum reduction, cherry paste, red licorice, sweet bay, lavender, cassis bush and juniper notes to build off of. A wild brambly feel drives the finish. Distinctive and should provide plenty intrigue as it ages. Best from 2024 through 2036. 8,500 cases made, 600 cases imported. — JM $50 (Back in stock GT) limited

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points
2019 Ridge Lytton Springs

The 2019 Lytton Springs checks in as 73% Zinfandel, 16% Petite Sirah, and the rest Carignan and Mataro. Revealing a translucent ruby/plum hue as well as beautiful cassis and red plum fruits supported by lots of savory herbs, orange blossom, cigar, and spice-driven aromas and flavors, this beauty hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, a seamless texture, moderate yet present tannins, and a great finish. While the Geyserville Cuvee has eclipsed the Lytton Spring in most vintages in the past decade, that's not the case in 2019. $45 Our Price $39.99 (Back in stock GT this afternoon)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 93 Points
Cornell 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Courtship Spring Mountain

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Courtship is a new wine from Cornell crafted mostly from younger vines on the estate. Bright red berry fruit, mocha and floral notes give the Courtship a very pretty, high-toned character. Medium in body, silky and wonderfully nuanced, the Courtship is a terrific introduction to these wines. Best of all, it will drink well right out of the gate. $85

Wine Spectator 93 Points
ROBERT MONDAVI Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville The Estates 2018

Rich and seductive in feel, with a lovely swath of loamy-edged steeped plum and blackberry compote flavors, backed with flashes of anise and sweet bay leaf. A loamy edge extends nicely in lockstep with the fruit on the finish. Textbook Oakville Cabernet. Best from 2022 through 2034. 9,791 cases made. — JM $90 Our Price $76.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Connoisseurs Guide 95 Points
 RIDGE Geyserville Alexander Valley 2019

In the very first Issue of Connoisseurs’ Guide, back in November, 1974, Ridge Geyserville was among the most highly praised wines. And, now four decades and five years later, the very same wine sits at the top of the ratings table. But there is an interesting difference. This wine is among the most mannerly Geyservilles ever. Yes, it is it's usually deep and complex self with ripe berries both black and blue profoundly expressed all joined with the richness and flavor length that has been prominent in the very best vintages. And, yes, that expected stratum of solid tannins shows up in the finish and promises a long and rewarding aging curve. This is Geyserville, and it still makes our palates sing and puts a smile on our faces. Buy it. 71% Zinfandel; 19% Carignane; 7% Petite Sirah; 3% Alicante Bouschet. $45.00 Our Price $39.99 (Back in stock GT)

  Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2019 Hartford Old Vine Russian River Zinfandel

The 2019 Zinfandel Russian River Valley is a gem and certainly a great candidate for those looking for a great Zinfandel, or those interested in the style and quality of this great estate. Classic red and blue fruits, sandalwood, cigar wrapper, and candied violets dominate the bouquet, and it's medium to full-bodied, with considerable structure, good purity, and a great finish. It will have 8-10 years of prime drinking. $40 Our Price $33.99 (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 94
BODEGAS Y VIÑEDOS VALDERIZ
Ribera Del Duero 2017

This full-bodied red is generous yet structured, featuring depth and balance. Ripe flavors of plum and currant mingle with cocoa, clove and mineral notes, supported by mouthcoating tannins and balsamic acidity. Harmonious and long. Best from 2022 through 2037. —Thomas Matthews $40 Our Price $28.49 (Available GT and VRW)

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Friday Wine Tasting, 1/28/22(Available all day during operating hours) $15 per person and must be 21 or older to attend.

Wine Spectator 93 Points
WILLAKENZIE Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2018

Captures the best of Willamette Valley, with a layered structure that’s crisp yet supple with plump raspberry, orange peel and Darjeeling accents that glide toward refined tannins. Drink now through 2029. 6,930 cases made. — TF $30

2019 Sea Smoke Ten Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

A brooding and intense wine. The aromas begin with notes of black cherry, tuberose and fig, then a myriad of savory spices, and a hint of jasmine. Firm, mature tannins—evidence of Ten’s Ageability are followed by a long, velvety finish. $100

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

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Saturday Wine Tasting, 1/29/22(Available all day during operating hours) $15 per person and must be 21 or older to attend.

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

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

2017 The Mascot Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Winery Notes: The Mascot is a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon made from distinct hillside vineyards; specifically the younger vines of BOND, Harlan Estate, and Promontory. It started out as a small project shared among the family, winemaking team, and close friends. Drawing fruit from blocks of recently replanted vineyards, The Mascot shares a glimpse into the evolution of its parent estates: a youthful snapshot of their future.

The growing season’s relative warmth is absent in the glass, replaced by freshness and a piquant tension. The nose draws forward notes of red fruit and elements—earth, warm spice, leather—often deferred to the finish. Lithesome tannins and vibrant acidity attend a crystalline structure that is finely wrought and radiantly transparent. $160

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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 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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