The Grape Tray

March 1st 2022 Newsletter

Taste Justin Isosceles and Booker My Favorite Neighbor Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) $10 per person. Tuesday, 3/1- Thursday, 3/3/22
Available all day during operating hours

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points
2019 Booker My Favorite Neighbor

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is more elegant and focused, with medium to full-bodied aromas and flavors of cassis, redcurrants, green tobacco, and cedary spice. I love its texture, it has ripe, polished tannins, plenty of sweet fruit, and a great, great finish, all while staying in a relatively compact, and again, elegant package. As I’ve written in the past, it would cost three to four times the price from Napa. It’s worth noting the change in appellation from Paso Robles to San Luis Obispo County, which probably allows for a wider range of fruit. $60

2018 Justin Isosceles

Winemaker Notes: Full-bodied, with ripe black fruit, complex baking spice and amazingly ready to drink right out of the gate, you can try a bottle or two now, but make sure to save a few to enjoy this wine as it continues to evolve after some time in the cellar. $76 Internet Price $64.99

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James Suckling 94 Points
2018 Beaulieu Vineyards Tapestry Reserve

This is layered, with chewy tannins and attractive blackcurrant and blackberry character. Chocolate and walnut highlights. Full and flavorful, but not heavy in any sense of the word. Cabernet sauvignon, merlot, petit verdot and cabernet franc. Better in a year or two. $65 Internet Price $55.99. Half bottles $28.49 (Available GT 3/2/22)

2018 Adaptation by Odette Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: The 2018 Adaptation Cabernet Sauvignon is opaque purple in color, presenting notes of wild blackberries, luxardo cherries, plums, crème de cassis with hints of fresh spring flowers. This full bodied expression displays beautiful ripeness with elegant, very fine, well integrated tannins and a gorgeous silky texture. Built for near term appreciation and long term potential, this forward, upfront and approachable style can be enjoyed over the next decade. Blend: 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 2% Petite Sirah. $78 (Arrives GT 3/2/22)

James Suckling 93 Points
2019 Cecchi Storia di Famiglia Chianti Classico, Tuscany

This is a really delicious Chianti Classico with cherry, light chocolate and some floral and citrus undertones. Medium-bodied. It shows lovely depth and a layered texture with ripe, round tannins. Drink or hold. $22 Our Price $17.95 (Available GT and VRW 3/2/22)

2019 J. Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon, Half Bottles

Winemaker Notes: The 2019 J. Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon is exceptionally dark in color with aromas of blackberry, black currant, and toasted pastry crust. Dense and soft on the palate, with elegant layers of black and red currants leaving a bright finish. $20 Our Price $15.99 (Back in stock GT 3/2/22)

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)

2019 Bernardus Monterey Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: The Bernardus 2019 Monterey Chardonnay exhibits bright white fruit aromas accented by caramel and subtle toasty oak notes. The palate is intense and beautifully focused with vibrant peach and tropical fruit flavors along with accents of crème brûlée. The long finish is supported by a refreshing acidity. An extraordinary example of Chardonnay from Monterey County! $30 Our Price $20.79 (Available GT and VRW)

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 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2013 Champagne André Robert Brut Terre du Mesnil

Disgorged in February 2021 with 5.2 grams per liter dosage, the 2013 Brut Terre du Mesnil is showing nicely, offering up a delicate bouquet of citrus oil, warm biscuits, crips yellow apple and marzipan. Medium to full-bodied, vinous and enveloping, it's a seamless, pillowy wine with a fleshy core of fruit built around a racy, vintage-typical spine of acidity. $96 (Available GT)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 94 Points
Aubry 2014 Brut Ivoire et Ebène Jouy Lès Reims, Champagne

The 2014 Brut Ivoire et Ebène is a blend of 60% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Meunier and 10% Pinot Noir that captures the best of the Aubry style. Rich and effusive in feel, with notable depth, Ivoire et Ebène is so expressive. The weight and richness of the Pinot very much comes through in both the wine's flavor profile and overall feel. Red plum, cinnamon, licorice and chamomile linger on the creamy finish. Disgorged: February, 2021. $60 Our Price $56.99 (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 92 points
RED CAR Syrah Sonoma Coast 2018

A handsome red, expressive and elegantly layered, with cherry and red currant flavors accented by rose petal and savory garrigue. Drink now through 2030. 350 cases made. — TF $35 Our Price $30.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW 3/2/22)

James Suckling 94 Points
2018 Etude Carneros Estate Pinot Noir

Vivid strawberry and dried-flower aromas here with hints of sandalwood. Medium to full body with firm, creamy tannins and a tangy finish. Opulent. Tight and focused. Pumice and black and white-pepper notes. A pretty wine already, but give it a year or two to open and soften. $43 Our Price $35.95 (Available GT 3/2/22)

James Suckling 92 Points * 2019 Turnbull Estate Napa Cabernet

A solid and structured cabernet with blackberries, blueberries, currants and some walnuts. Full-bodied with firm, fine tannins and a long finish. Very attractive now, but it will age nicely. $55 Our Price $44.95 (Back in stock GT and VRW 3/2/22)

Jeb Dunnuck 98 Points * 2018 Peter Michael Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Au Paradis

Coming from Oakville, the Au Paradis gives up a deep ruby/purple hue as well as full-bodied aromas and flavors of blackcurrants, green tobacco, lead pencil, sandalwood, and dried flowers. Flawlessly balanced, full-bodied, with silky yet present tannins, it's one of those elegant, seamless wines that surprise you with its richness and depth. It reminds me of a great vintage from Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou and is a brilliant, elegant, complex Cabernet that will evolve for two decades or more. $250 (Available GT and VRW) Limited

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Friday Wine Tasting, 3/4/22 (Available all day during operating hours) $15 per person and must be 21 or older to attend.

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

Wine Spectator 94 Points
CARLISLE Syrah Russian River Valley Papa's Block 2019

A wine that offers a true sense of place, this Syrah is loaded with personality, featuring blackberry and currant flavors that take on licorice, smoky game and black pepper accents, finishing with big but polished tannins. Drink now through 2032. 313 cases made. — TF Internet Price $50

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

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Saturday Wine Tasting, 3/5/22 (Available all day during operating hours) $15 per person and must be 21 or older to attend.

James Suckling 94 Points
2018 Etude Carneros Estate Pinot Noir

Vivid strawberry and dried-flower aromas here with hints of sandalwood. Medium to full body with firm, creamy tannins and a tangy finish. Opulent. Tight and focused. Pumice and black and white-pepper notes. A pretty wine already, but give it a year or two to open and soften. $43

James Suckling 94 Points
2018 Beaulieu Vineyards Tapestry Reserve

This is layered, with chewy tannins and attractive blackcurrant and blackberry character. Chocolate and walnut highlights. Full and flavorful, but not heavy in any sense of the word. Cabernet sauvignon, merlot, petit verdot and cabernet franc. Better in a year or two. $65

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

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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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