The Grape Tray

February 25th 2022 Newsletter

Wine Spectator 92 Points
BEAULIEU VINEYARD Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2018

A polished and inviting style, with warm cassis and gently mulled plum fruit flavors gliding through atop pretty mocha, singed vanilla and loam accents, while a gentle savory echo adds range through the finish. Approachable now, but there's no rush. Drink now through 2032. 42,975 cases made. —James Molesworth. $33 Our Price $26.95 (Available GT and VRW 2/26/22)

2019 La Storia Alexander Valley Cabernet

Winemaker Notes: The 2019 La Storia Cab has a dense ruby-purple color followed by abundant varietal aromas and flavors of blueberries, blackberry, and black licorice with hint of herbs and minerals. The predominately French oak aging contributes aromas of cocoa dust, vanilla and smokey maple. The mouth feel is medium dense, fresh and juicy with balanced acidity and very soft tannins for a young wine. The alcohol content is balanced and the acidity is relatively high suggesting excellent longevity for this wine. Drink now or age for 5-7 years. Cheers. $30 Our Price $24.99 (Available GT and VRW this afternoon)

Jeb Dunnuck 97-99 Points
2019 Saxum James Berry Vineyard

Not yet bottled, the 2019 James Berry Vineyard will be a blend of 58% Grenache, 27% Mourvèdre, 6% each of Syrah and

Graciano, and the rest Counoise. It has a vivid purple hue as well as full-bodied aromas and flavors of kirsch, blackberries, lavender, violets, and pepper. Possessing off-the-charts purity, ripe, silky tannins, and flawless balance, it’s another example of this cuvée that’s going to just about top out the scale. $140 (Arrives GT 3/2/22) Limited

2018 Altamura Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: Our hillside and valley floor estate vineyards in Wooden Valley are at elevations of 700 to 1000 feet. Soil types on the ranch which are similar to the Rutherford Bench and the mountainous regions of Howell Mountain, Pritchard Hill and Mount Veeder called for several different clones of Cabernet Sauvignon on a number of different rootstocks upon planting in 1986. The vines are dry-farmed and vertically trellised. $135 Our Price $129.99 (Available GT)

2019 Banshee Sonoma Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: An exciting,yet friendly wine,bursting at the seams with aromas of macerated tart cherries, pomegranate and notes of earth of pine.The flavors combine both sweet and tart with a fruit driven front palate and very subtle oak influence. The finish is bright, slightly herbal, and delicate making this an excellent food wine, as well as a charming drinking experience by itself. $22 Our Price $17.99 (Available GT and VRW 2/26/22)

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 (Back in stock GT and VRW this afternoon)

Jeb Dunnuck 97-99 Points
2019 Saxum Booker Vineyard

The 2019 Booker Vineyard is a Syrah-dominated blend … this will be the last vintage for this cuvée. Blackberries, peppery stems, roasted meats, and spicy nuances all emerge from this powerful, ripe, concentrated, yet still impeccably balanced red. $140 (Arrives GT 3/2/22) Limited

2019 Alban Patrina Syrah

Winemaker Notes: Our vineyards are a patchwork of isolated soil types that you may recognize as Reva, Lorraine, Seymour’s and Pandora (very much wines of a place). Between and in route to these well healed sites are vineyards that are not so obviously distinct. We have blended these disparate and ‘disenfranchised’ blocks into a single wine we call Patrina. Like the Romani trails from which Patrina derives its name, we hope these bottles lead you to some great merriment, or more.

While the grapes for Patrina are raised with the same detail and attentiveness as the rest of our vineyards, and then fermented open top with indigenous yeast, gentle pump overs and a few punch downs once soft, it is bottled unfined and unfiltered after ‘just’ 22 months in barrel to preserve its youthful exuberance. All the density and concentration folks have come to expect from our reds with black and blue fruits, mineral notes, and flowers. $54 (Arrives GT 3/2/22)

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
2019 Alma de Cattleya Sonoma County Red Blend

Lots of ripe blackberries, peppery herbs, and assorted meaty notes emerge from the deep purple 2019 Red Wine, which offers medium to full body, a kiss of iron and minerality on the palate, ripe tannins, and a great finish. This is one heck of a delicious, textured red to enjoy over the coming 4-6 years or so. $27 (Back in stock GT 3/2/22)

Jeb Dunnuck 91 Points
2019 Alma de Cattleya Sonoma County Pinot Noir

Beautiful cherry and strawberry fruits as well as spice, flowers, and sandalwood emerge from the 2019 Pinot Noir, a medium-bodied, seamless Pinot Noir from this label that will drink nicely for 3-5 years. It has classic Pinot Noir elegance and complexity as well as California fruit. Internet Price $30 (Back in stock GT 3/2/22)

Wine Advocate 95 Points
2018 Dana Estates Onda Cabernet Sauvignon

Onda is a blend of all four of the estate vineyards and includes a vineyard planted in 1967, just below the Lotus vineyard. The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Onda is composed of 96% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Merlot. It was aged for 21 months in French oak barrels, 73% new. Deep garnet-purple colored, it delivers vibrant scents of crushed black cherries, warm cassis and wild blueberries with hints of dark chocolate, candied violets and fragrant earth. Full-bodied, rich and plush in the mouth, the purely fruited palate is layered with loads of fragrant accents, finishing with a red berry lift. 1,052 cases were made. $220 (Arrives GT this afternoon) Limited

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Mike Reedy (AKA Winemaker Mike) is moving to Nevada. Friday and Saturday will be our last time to taste wine with our buddy!

Friday Wine Tasting, 2/25/22 (Available all day during operating hours) $15 per person and must be 21 or older to attend.

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

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

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

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Saturday Wine Tasting, 2/26/22 (Available all day during operating hours) $15 per person and must be 21 or older to attend.

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2019 La Colline Aux Fossiles Chardonnay

All Chardonnay brought up in used demi-muids, the 2019 La Colline Aux Fossiles sports a medium gold hue to go with terrific stone fruits, caramelized citrus, white flowers, and honeysuckle-like aroma and flavors as well as a beautiful sense of minerality that emerges with time in the glass. Medium to full-bodied and beautifully textured, with a layered mouthfeel and a great finish, it's another knockout Chardonnay from the team of Eric Solomon and Jean-Marc Lafage. $17

Wine Spectator 94 Points
LOUIS JADOT Beaune Clos des Couchereaux Domaine des Héritiers 2019

This intense red delivers an extra layer of vibrant cherry, berry and floral flavors, with stone and spice notes. Though linear in profile, it's well-delineated and has depth, ending in an aftertaste that echoes cherry, spice and mineral notes. Best from 2025 through 2043. —B.S. 75 cases imported. $64

2017 Pont Neuf La Source Russian River Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: A mere 53 cases were produced of this exceptional Pinot Noir. The 2017 Pont Neuf La Source’ Pinot Noir, like in previous vintages, was produced from Silver Eagle Vineyard - a single vineyard on Stoetz Ridge, which is the last ridge before the Sonoma Coastline. It’s a rolling terrain which separates the Sonoma Coast from the Russian River Valley. The Pinot Noir selections originated in Chambolle Musigny and Vosne-Romanée. They perform in great harmony in this vineyard and capture the elusive quality of Pinot Noir; its ability to deliver power and elegance. La Source is comprised of French clones 115 and 943 and offers balance of spice, forest floor, and berry fruits. It unfolds in the glass with a burst of energy, exotic aromas and a complete range of subtle small black fruits including cassis. This is one of the best Pinot and Chardonnay houses today, yet most haven’t heard of Pont Neuf. But when guests at the tasting room can taste them, they are wowed by their quality. $80

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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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