The Grape Tray

February 4th 2022 Newsletter

Wine Spectator 94 Points * RÉSONANCE Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2019

Vibrant and impeccably structured, with floral raspberry, crushed stone and savory tea accents that build tension toward refined tannns. Drink now through 2031. —T.F. $35 Our Price $29.95 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 91 Points * TEXTBOOK Merlot Napa Valley 2019

Spicy, with subtle ginger hints to the raspberry and red cherry flavors, which linger with vanilla bean notes. The polished finish is enlivened by hot stone accents and sanguine elements. Drink now through 2025. 2,041 cases made. — KM $27 Our Price $21.95 (Available GT)

Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points * 2019 The Paring Pinot Noir

Another stunning value from this label is the 2019 Pinot Noir, which comes from declassified grapes from the Hilt label. Black raspberries, black cherries, peppery herbs, and sappy flower notes give way to a medium-bodied, layered, incredibly elegant Pinot Noir offering purity and focus as well as good mid-palate concentration. As with all these wines from this label, it over-delivers. $25 (Available GT and VRW)

WOW*55% Off! * 2015 Nielson Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: The wine shows aromas of blackberries, rose petals, dried herbs, and earth. Flavors are driven by a dark fruit core, complemented by sandalwood, black pepper, and crushed stone. $20 Internet Price $13.99. GT and VRW Insider Price $8.95 (Arrives GT and VRW this afternoon) Delicious!

Wine Spectator 92 Points * RAPAURA SPRINGS Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough Classic 2021

Mouthwatering in its intensity, with passion fruit, Key lime, lemon blossom, ruby grapefruit and lime zest. Offers hints of tangerine and fresh grated ginger that linger on the long, expressive and sleek finish. Drink now. 103,000 cases made, 11,600 cases imported. — MW $13 Our Price $11.95 (Available GT and VRW)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 93+ Points * 2018 Capiaux Old Vine Russian River Pinot Noir

Sean Capiaux's 2018 Pinot Noir Old Vine is a blend from Widdoes and Starscape, both planted with Martini clone, which tends to give an especially aromatic, exotic Pinot. Blood orange, mint, spice, star anise and kirsch all lift from the glass. Like all of these Pinots, the Old Vine is a bit clenched today, and yet its potential is evident. This is such a pretty and distinctive wine with a ton of underlying energy that just needs a bit of time to be at its most expressive. $38 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

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 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Advocate 94 Points * 2019 Raúl Pérez • Ultreia Saint Jacques

The nose of the 2019 Ultreia Saint Jacques is nothing short of spectacular. It shows the varietal character and the juicy and round style of the Valtuille vineyards. It's harmonious, clean and expressive. They are using more and more stems with long macerations, malolactic in tanks and aging in 30% oak vats (he purchased from Alión) and 70% of the wine in used 225-liter oak barrels for one year. There is only one master blend, which is put into oak vats and bottled by 25,000- to 30,000-bottle lots. In 2019 he produced 110,000 bottles of this wine. $30 Our Price $18.99 (Available GT and VRW) (Mencía, known as Jaen in Portugal, is a grape variety native to the western part of the Iberian Peninsula. In Spain)

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 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 94 Points
Gaston Chiquet 2014 Brut Millésime Carte d’Or Dizy, Champagne

The 2014 Brut Millésime Carte d’Or is fabulous. Bright and beautifully sculpted, the 2014 is so impressive right out of the gate. Lemon peel, dried herbs, flowers, mint and sage all develop over time. Translucent and so expressive, the 2014 is a real knock-out. Disgorged: November, 2020. Drinking window: 2021 – 2028 $68 Our Price $62.99 (Available GT)

James Suckling 92 Points * 2020 Jermann Pinot Grigio

A fresh pinot grigio, showing sliced pineapple and mango with some lemon and green-apple undertones. It’s medium-bodied with pretty fruit and a zingy finish. Drink now. $24 Our Price $19.95 (Available GT and VRW)

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 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

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 (Back in stock VRW)

James Suckling 99 Points
Castiglion del Bosco Brunello di Montalcino 2016

The complexity and beauty to this is really something with cherry, walnut, tobacco and cigar-box character. Sweet cherries. It’s full-bodied and deep with super intensity and power. Layered and beautiful. Really refined tannins. Some whole-berry fermentation gives this added character. Goes on for minutes. $65 Our Price $59.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
RIDGE Three Valleys Sonoma County 2019

An engaging blend, well-knit and distinctive for its savory raspberry and cherry flavors that draw in bay leaf, Asian spice and smoked pepper notes. Tannins are ripe and briary. Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignane and Mataro. Drink now through 2029. —T.F. $30 Our Price $25.69 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

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Friday Wine Tasting, 2/4/22 (Available all day during operating hours) $15 per person and must be 21 or older to attend.

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 93 Points * Pride Mountain Vineyards 2019 Merlot

The 2019 Merlot is very pretty in this vintage. Floral and spice notes give the Merlot a striking aromatic upper register that is both distinctive and alluring. Sweet red cherry, cinnamon and rose petal all build nicely in the glass. Best of all, the Pride Merlot will drink well right out of the gate. $65

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

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points
2018 Cade Howell Mountain Estate Cabernet

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate comes all from the estate on Howell Mountain and is 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Malbec, and the balance Merlot and Petit Verdot. More blue fruits, bay leaf, candied violets, orange blossom, and floral notes emerge from this full-bodied beauty, which reveals a rounded, sexy texture, polished tannins, and a great finish. Give bottles just a few years in the cellar and it's going to keep for 15+. $160

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Saturday Wine Tasting, 2/5/22 (Available all day during operating hours) $15 per person and must be 21 or older to attend.

2018 Laird Cold Creek Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: The golden straw color draws you in, but the floral nose is what keeps you around. With notes of toasted caramel, elderflower and white nectarine. The wine has a balanced palate showcasing both creamy rich and bright acids. There are flavors of buttered popcorn, lilac and lemon zest. With its bright citrus finish, it leaves you yearning for the next sip, easily paired with seafood or your next movie night snuggled up next to your special someone. $30

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

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points * 2018 Odette Stag’s Leap Cabernet

Moving to the two reds, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is brilliant all the way, offering a smorgasbord-like bouquet of blueberries, raspberries, spring flowers, cured meats, tobacco, and assorted other spicy, floral nuances. I always find a subtle red fruit and mineral character in top Stags Leap Cabernet, and this beauty has it in spades. Full-bodied on the palate, this pure, plush, sexy Napa Valley Cabernet has sweet tannins, no hard edges, and a great finish. Seemingly all about sweet fruit and texture, it's nevertheless going to evolve for 20-25 years. $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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