The Grape Tray

March 11th 2022 Newsletter

Wine Spectator 93 Points
SALVESTRIN Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2019

This is chockablock with winey dark currant and juicy plum pâte de fruit notes, laced with hints of licorice root, tar and roasted apple wood. Offers ample structure, but it's racy and well-embedded in the fruit. Really vibrant throughout. Best from 2023 through 2036. —J.M. $50 (Available GT and VRW)

2019 Lewis Reserve Napa Cabernet

Winemaker Notes: The 2019 Reserve Cabernet is an extraordinary wine that projects with the phrasing and voice of a vintage Martin D-45 guitar. Cascading berry fruits are fleshy and broad with an ornate overlay of dark chocolate, granite and espresso forte topped with Adirondack spruce. Powerful, rich and resonant at its core, the wine sustains supple character to the final note. $190 Our Price $171.99 (Arrives GT 3/16/22)

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 (Back in stock GT and VRW this afternoon)

2020 Lewis Napa Valley Reserve Chardonnay

Lime skin, fig and green pear, followed by balsam and toasted brioche, our 2020 Napa Reserve Chardonnay opens with enticing aromas. Loaded with tree fruit and generously proportioned the palate is luxuriant and long with vanilla-laced lees at the finish. $80 Our Price $71.99 (Arrives GT 3/16/22)

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points
2018 Domaine Lafage Bastide Miraflors

Based on 74% Syrah and 26% Grenache brought up in in a combination of concrete tanks (for the Grenache) and one year old demi-muids (for the Syrah), the 2018 Cotes Du Roussillon Bastide Miraflors is a knockout bottle of wine. It offers loads of black fruits, roasted herbs, peppered meat, violets, and bacon fat as well as full-bodied richness, a round, opulent style, ripe tannins, and a blockbuster finish. It’s one of the finest values out there. $16 Our Price $13.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

Wine Advocate 92
2017 Anne Gros & Jean-Paul Tollot Minervois Les Fontanilles

The 2017 Minervois Les Fontanilles—a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Carignan and Cinsault—comes from a cool, north-facing plot surrounded by garrigue. The wine is medium to full-bodied and supple, with the red-toned fruit picking up hints of resinous herbs, like rosemary and bay leaf, on the finish. Half of the wine was aged in barrel, half in tank, but the wood isn't particularly prominent, maybe just adding a touch of roundness around the edges and hints of cedar and vanilla on the nose. $33 Our Price $26.99 (Available GT)

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2018 Cliff Lede Stag’s Leap Cabernet

Composed of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc, the deep garnet-purple colored 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District charges out of the gate with exuberant scents of boysenberries, blackcurrant cordial and warm black plums plus touches of bay leaves, damp soil, pencil shavings and sandalwood. The medium to full-bodied palate is bold, expressive and open for business with bags of juicy black fruit flavors and a velvety texture, finishing with an earthy kick and a burst of freshness. $80 Our Price $72.99 (Available GT and VRW)

2017 Switchback Ridge Peterson Vineyard Cabernet

Winemaker Notes: Intense dark fruit aromas of black cherry and black currant indicate the ripeness and purity of this beautiful Cabernet. The structural framework is sturdy, while tannin grips very gently, carrying the fruit flavors with a trace of vanilla into a long, graceful finish. $105 Our Price $90.99 (Arrives GT 3/16/22)

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points
2016 Robert Foley Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

 Lastly, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon (100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in 30% new oak) offers a touch more elegance as well as terrific notes of blue fruits, plums, dark chocolate, and violets. Full-bodied, ripe, and polished on the palate, it stays balanced, has solid underlying structure, and a great finish. If you’re looking for a rock star Cabernet under $100, this is for you. It will evolve for 15+ years or more. $105 Our Price $90.99 (Arrives GT 3/16/22)

2017 Ehlers Estate Portrait Proprietary Red

Winemaker Notes: The 2017 Ehlers Estate Portrait is a special red blend of the 4 Bordeaux varietals we have planted at the Estate. The wine is showing deep layers of garnet color. With only 50% Cabernet Sauvignon to give structure to the wine, the big personalities of the Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot really shine in this blend. Aromas of red berries, fig compote, ripe strawberries, cassis and violet flowers flowered aromas of vanilla, mocha and licorice. Long and balanced, the mouthfeel is rich but with silky tannins. Full finish with a long mineral post taste. Balanced acidity promises good aging potential to the wine. Ready to drink now, but it will age extremely well for 15-20 more years. $65 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
EHLERS ESTATE Cabernet Sauvignon St. Helena 1886 2018

Bright, ripe and forward in feel, with a gush of warm cassis and plum puree flavors lined with red licorice and sweet toast accents. The fine-grained finish lets the fruit play out easily. Drink now through 2028. 1,200 cases made. — JM $145 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

James Suckling 98 Points
2018 Ulysses Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Aromas of terra cotta, chocolate and hazelnut with iron and ink. Dusty. Full-bodied and round. Layered. Flamboyant and juicy. Rather soft and gorgeous. Some walnut and chocolate at the end. Persistent. Always there. Drinkable now, but will age wonderfully. $180 Our Price $169.99 (Arrives GT 3/31/22)

Additional Notes: 97 points Antonio Galloni, Vinous * The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is the best wine off Christian Moueix's (Dominus) Oakville ranch so far. Deep, creamy and generous, the 2018 captures the unqiue blend of fruit in a savoriness that is typical of the southern sector of Oakville where cooling winds from the south lend palpable freshness and vivacity to the vines. Black fruit, chocolate, spice, lavender and new leather are some of the many notes that build into the sumptuous finish. (AG)

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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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