The Grape Tray

February 18th 2022 Newsletter

Presidents’ Day Holiday
We will be closed on Monday, 2/21/22 at both locations GT and VRW


2018 Wren Hop Ghost Story Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: Let's get this pun out of the way. This wine is scary good. There, we said it. This Pinot Noir arrives via the Petaluma Gap, an area known for creating natural acidity and an extended growing season. The marine layer creates apparition-like fog and eerie shadows before being ghost-busted by the sun.

All important for the flavor development cycle of grape clusters. Aromatically, the wine displays black raspberry compote, and graham cracker, while the palate unveils silky dark red fruit, blood orange, and Santa Rosa plum. Blow off the departed, this Pinot is for the living. $80 (Available GT)

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 (Back in stock GT)

Wine Enthusiast 92 Points
2018 Scott Family Dijon Clone Arroyo Seco Chardonnay

Lemon blossom, nectarine, damp sand and the lightest touch of butter make for a compelling nose. It's very racy on the palate, with a brisk lemon-juice flavor that cuts through the rounded tones of nectarine and apricot. $36 Our Price $16.99 (Available VRW) Email subscriber price $15

2018 Girard Napa Cabernet

Winemaker Notes: Supple red berry and tart cherry aromas on the nose develop into savory spices, cocoa and black plum flavors as they coat the palate. A textural experience, this wine is vibrant on the tongue with undulating flavors of raspberry jam, dusty minerality and vanilla lead to a powerful finish. $32 Our Price $27.49 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
FRATELLI GIACOSA Barolo Bussia 2015

Menthol and savory notes of juniper and sage mark this meaty red. Dense tannins lurk in the background, while the essence of cherry adds a fruity sweetness midpalate. Savory elements return on the lingering finish. Best from 2023 through 2042. 3,500 cases made, 500 cases imported. — BS $65 Our Price $53.99 (Available GT)

Wine Advocate 96+ Points
2018 Rudd Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Samantha's

Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Samantha's was aged for 22 months in French oak barrels, 68% new. Deep garnet-purple colored, it slips slowly out of the glass with captivating scents of black raspberries, Morello cherries, black currant pastilles and rose oil, followed by suggestions of cedar chest, pencil lead and black olives. The full-bodied palate is charged with amazing energy, featuring vivacious red and black berry layers and a firm backbone of grainy tannins, lifted by refreshing acidity and bags of crunchy fruit on the long finish. 617 cases were made. $205 Internet Price $194.99 (Available GT)

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2019 Fait Main Teeter Totter Napa Cabernet

Readers looking for a great value in Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon should jump on the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon, a rich, plum and blue-fruited Cabernet with medium to full-bodied richness, plenty of classic cedarwood, chocolate, and tobacco aromatics, silky tannins, lots of opulence, and a great finish. It tastes as if it cost two to three times the price, and I'd be thrilled to drink bottles any time over the coming 10-12 years. $65 (Available GT and VRW)

Bodegas Montecillo Singladuras Albarino 2020

Winemaker Notes: An attractive, pale lemon color with touches of green. Very elegant nose, with wine flavors such as jasmine and orange blossom followed by notes of sweet apple and dried herbs with a saline background. In the mouth it is rich and full of flavor, with a glycerine texture. It is marked by lively acidity that envelopes the notes of flowers and citrus mixed with aromatic herbs. Full-bodied, long and balanced. $21 Our Price $17.99 (Available GT and VRW 2/19/22)

Wine Advocate 95 Points
2013 Doyard Extra-Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru

The 2013 Extra-Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru has also turned out beautifully, unwinding in the glass with notes of citrus oil, peach, white flowers and freshly baked bread. Medium to full-bodied, seamless and complete, it's taut and chiseled, with serious reserves of concentration and a long, mineral finish. Disgorged in spring 2021, while its quality is apparent, this is predictably a little introverted out of the gates, so I look forward to revisiting it later this year. $125 Our Price $109.99 (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 VRW)

2021 Duckhorn North Coast Sauvignon Blanc

Winemaker Notes: The lush and alluring Sauvignon Blanc reveals aromas of lemon verbena, candied pineapple, lime and summer melon. On the palate it is silky and mouth-filling, with refreshing acidity framing the tantalizing citrus and tropical fruit flavors while carrying the wine to a long, focused finish. Blend: 93% Sauvignon Blanc, 7% Sémillon. $30 Our Price $23.95 (Available GT and VRW)

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 98+ Points
2018 Rudd Estate Oakville Estate Proprietary Red Wine

A blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Cabernet Franc, the 2018 Oakville Estate Proprietary Red Wine was aged for 22 months in French oak barrels, 55% new. Deep garnet-purple colored, it sashays out of the glass with flamboyant scents of candied violets, red roses, black raspberries and fragrant earth over a core of cassis, wild blueberries and Morello cherries with a waft of pencil lead. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is an exercise in poise, featuring beautifully balanced velvety tannins and seamless freshness framing the opulent black and red berry layers, finishing very long and perfumed. 670 cases were made. $310 Internet Price $294.99 (Available GT)

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Friday Wine Tasting, 2/18/22 (Available all day during operating hours) $25 per person and must be 21 or older to attend.

Wine Tasting at Vintage Reserve Wine

Hollis Nelson, Staglin Family Estate will be at VRW on Friday, 2/18/22 at 3:00 PM

2018 Staglin Family Salus Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: The poised 2018 Salus Cabernet Sauvignon feels like a modern portrait of yesteryear’s traditions. Well composed flavors of cassis and boysenberry redolent with raspberry liqueur, milled spices and subtle earth flow seamlessly into a balanced midpalate full of finely crafted detail. Filigreed tannins produce a delightfully delicate and textured wine with a finessed and silky structure that is drinking well right out of the gate yet hints at layers yet to be fully revealed. $115

Wine Advocate 94 Points * 2014 Staglin Family Vineyard • Cabernet Sauvignon Estate

Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate has a very pretty nose of fragrant earth, red and black currants, black plums and underbrush with hints of cigar box and pencil lead. Medium to full-bodied, it fills the mouth with expressive earth and black fruit flavors, supported by a seamless backbone of ripe tannins and great freshness, finishing long. $285

Wine Advocate 97
2016 Staglin Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Estate

Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate bursts out of the glass with beautiful black cherry compote, warm cassis and freshly crushed blackberries scents plus touches of chargrill, violets, dark chocolate and pencil shavings and a waft of English lavender. Full-bodied, the palate features great intensity combined with fantastic freshness, textured by soft, finely grained tannins and lifted by the most gorgeous floral perfume, finishing long and layered. Beautiful wine. $285

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Saturday Wine Tasting, 2/19/22 (Available all day during operating hours) $15 per person and must be 21 or older to attend.

Vinous 91 Points

2015 Center of Effort Edna Valley Chardonnay

Glistening yellow-gold. Ripe pear, peach nectar, honey and marzipan on the deeply perfumed nose. In a plush, weighty style, offering juicy orchard and pit fruit flavors and a spicy touch of candied ginger. Finishes broad and long, with a strong echo of sappy pit fruits and building florality. 30% new French oak. Drinking window: 2020 – 2024. $35

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 98 Points
2019 Sinegal Napa Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is every bit as magnificent as it was last year. A heady, statuesque wine, the 2019 captures all the pedigree of the vintage. Inky red cherry fruit, mocha, licorice and spice race across the palate. The 2019 is bright, deep and powerful, with exceptional balance and tons of class. It's a stunning wine, to say the least. The move towards a slightly less pushed style, with less overt oak signatures, has paid off big time. This is a fabulous showing. $80

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

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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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