The Grape Tray

March 8th 2022 Newsletter

Taste 2017 and 2018 Bordeaux at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW). Tasting Tuesday, 3/8- Thursday, 3/10/22. $15 per person.
Available all day during operating hours

James Suckling 94 Points * 2017 Château d'Issan Margaux

The plum and orange-peel character comes through here with subtle focus. Medium body and very fine, polished and refined tannins. A light, dusty texture to it. Yet, it’s always focused and bright. A blend of 65% cabernet sauvignon and 35% merlot. Needs time to soften, but already very pretty. Ethereal. Drink after 2022. $75

James Suckling 97 Points
2018 Malescot St. Exupery Margaux

A seductive Margaux with an intense nose of black fruit and red plums. Some herb and wood notes, too. It’s full-bodied with pretty, pure-berry flavors with some crushed stones and cement. The texture is silky and fine-grained and the tannins melt into the wine. Precise, flavorful finish with length. Try after 2024 $85

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2020 Grey Wolf Paso Cabernet

Winemaker Notes: Our Cabernet Sauvignon is fabulous! Driven by aromas black currants, blackberries and blueberries that come through on the nose. Hints of sage, tarragon, black pepper and molasses on the palate. Granite minerality and firm tannins create a lingering finish that round out this wonderful Cabernet. Drink now through 2026. $25 (Arrives VRW 3/9/22) We are tasting this wine at VRW on Wednesday.

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 (Available GT and VRW)

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. $290 (Available GT)

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points
Piña Cabernet Sauvignon Firehouse Vineyard Rutherford 2016

From a rocky vineyard in Rutherford, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Firehouse Vineyard is a regal, majestic Cabernet that has beautiful notes of crème de cassis, black raspberries, and toasted spices, with an almost mountain fruit-like quality in its aromatics as well as its structure and texture on the palate. Medium to full-bodied, seamlessly constructed, tannic and backward, yet also perfectly balanced, do your best to hide bottles for 4-5 years and it should cruise over the following two decades. $95 (Arrives GT 3/9/22)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
DONUM Pinot Noir Anderson Valley Single Vineyard 2018

Rich and well-structured, with an effusive blend of red fruit and spice flavors that feature loamy richness. Dark chocolate notes midpalate lead to a finish that lingers with hints of vanilla bean. Drink now through 2026. 730 cases made. — KM Internet Price $85 (Arrives GT 3/9/22)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
DONUM Pinot Noir Carneros Single Vineyard 2018

Lithe and powerfully spiced, with a mix of wild berry, plum tart and dried cherry flavors that are backed by firm acidity and fine-grained tannins. Finishes with a pure, minerally essence. Drink now through 2024. 1,700 cases made. — KM Internet Price $80 (Arrives GT 3/9/22)

Wine Enthusiast 97 Points
2018 O'Shaughnessy Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

This is such an outstanding wine at any price, but here we’re talking about outstanding value as well. Notes of iron and crushed rock lead to a lengthy balance of juicy red fruit and clove. With small amounts of Merlot, Malbec, Saint-Macaire and Cabernet Franc, it shows a deft hand at blending, with lasting notes of black pepper and nuanced oak. $75 Our Price $69.99 (Back in stock GT this afternoon)

Gregory Graham Red Hills Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Winemaker Notes: The Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is from the Crimson Hill Vineyard in the Red Hills district of Lake County. The vineyard is at 2,000 feet elevation and overlooks the southern end of Clear Lake. This 13-acre block was planted in 1995 with clone 7 Cabernet on 110R rootstock. The crimson red, volcanic soil provides the perfect site for growing great red wines. The climate is ideal for late season reds due to the vineyard basking in daily full sun with warm temperatures which are tempered by daily afternoon mistrals. The majority of the vineyard is contracted to Napa Valley wineries. $30 Our Price $23.99 (Arrives GT 3/9/22)

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 (Available 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 3/9/22)

Wine Spectator 96 Points
FRÉDÉRIC ESMONIN Ruchottes-Chambertin 2019

This red's depth and harmony are evident on the first sniff and sip. Delivers a deep well of balanced black cherry, plum, licorice, tar, sandalwood and toasty oak flavors, with dense structure and supple texture. Fresh and long, featuring dark fruit, mineral and spice that echo on the finish. Best from 2025 through 2047. 25 cases imported. — BS $200 (Arrives GT 3/9/22) One bottle available.

Wine Advocate 98 Points
2017 Hundred Acre Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Wraith

Deep garnet, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Wraith jumps with spicy scents of cumin seed, clove oil, cinnamon stick and fenugreek, leading to a core of prunes, blueberry pie and blackcurrant cordial, with touches of iron ore and red roses. The rich, full-bodied palate layers in red fruit nuances with a structure that is wonderfully elegant and ethereal, delivering silken tannins, seamless freshness and a long-lasting firework display for a finish. Internet Price $720 (Arrives GT 3/10/22) Limited

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Friday Wine Tasting, 3/11/22 (Available all day during operating hours) $15 per person and must be 21 or older to attend.

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

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

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points
2016 Piña Firehouse Vineyard Rutherford
Cabernet Sauvignon

From a rocky vineyard in Rutherford, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Firehouse Vineyard is a regal, majestic Cabernet that has beautiful notes of crème de cassis, black raspberries, and toasted spices, with an almost mountain fruit-like quality in its aromatics as well as its structure and texture on the palate. Medium to full-bodied, seamlessly constructed, tannic and backward, yet also perfectly balanced, do your best to hide bottles for 4-5 years and it should cruise over the following two decades. $95

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Saturday Wine Tasting, 3/12/22 (Available all day during operating hours) $15 per person and must be 21 or older to attend.

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
2019 Hartford Russian River Chardonnay

Readers looking for a pure, impeccably made Russian River Chardonnay should check out the 2019 Chardonnay Russian River Valley from Hartford Court. It has classic pineapple and honeyed orchard fruits, a rich, medium-bodied mouthfeel, good acidity, and subtle toasty, nutty background nuances. It's ideal for drinking over the coming 4-5 years $30

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

Wine Advocate 98 Points
2018 Cardinale Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Composed of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot, the 2018 Cardinale was aged in French oak barrels for 22 months, 81% new. Deep garnet-purple colored, it prances out of the glass with gregarious notions of warm cassis, black cherries and wild blueberries, followed by emerging earth scents with a tobacco and garrigue undercurrent. Medium to full-bodied, gracefully styled and refreshing, the vibrant black and blue-fruited palate offers a wonderfully fine-grained texture and bags of energy, finishing long with a skip in its step. 5,107 cases were made. $325

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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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