March 18th 2022 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

March 18th 2022 Newsletter

Wine Spectator 96 Points
KRUG Brut Champagne Grande Cuvée 169ème Édition NV (reviewed 2021)

A vivid Champagne, with a chiseled frame of acidity and a chalky underpinning cloaked in a fine mousse that caresses the palate with its gossamer-like texture. Lovely aromas of coffee liqueur, anise and verbena accent the layered flavors of tangerine, Macadamia nut, brioche and ripe plum, a profile that expands on the long, mouthwatering finish. There's power and expressive character to this, with a delicacy to its fine integration and length. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. Disgorged winter 2019 to 2020. Drink now through 2030. — AN $195 (We will taste this next week at VRW)

Wine Spectator 97 Points
PIPER-HEIDSIECK Brut Champagne Rare 2008

Like a stallion out of the gate, this shows an initial explosion of power, in the form of mouthwatering flavors and fine texture, before quickly settling into an elegant gait. The racy acidity is seamlessly knit, buoying the lacy mousse and flavors of cassis, toasted brioche and tangerine, with accents of candied ginger, hazelnut and fleur de sel lingering on the long, creamy finish. Drink now through 2035. 2,000 cases imported. — AN $215 Internet Price $179.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW 3/19/22)

James Suckling 93 Points
2019 Beringer Luminus Oak Knoll Napa Chardonnay

Dried apricot, pineapple, lemon curd, crushed stones and some hay on the nose. It’s full-bodied and buttery with concentrated mineral and ripe-fruit layers. Some spice, too. Excellent length. $30. Our Price $23.95 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
DR. H. THANISCH Riesling Kabinett Mosel Bernkasteler Badstube 2019

This white is juicy and shows a bit more flesh covering its spine of acidity, showcasing peach, apple and slate flavors. Harmonious, finishes with floral and citrus notes. Drink now through 2032. 200 cases made, 40 cases imported. — BS $34. Our Price $23.99 (Available GT)

Wine Enthusiast 91 Points
Bollig-Lehnert Piesporter Goldtropfchen Riesling Spatlese

Delicate but perfumed, this deft, sprightly Riesling offers rich, concentrated pink grapefruit and white peach flavors etched by lime and steel. It’s a juicy, thirst quenching wine that’s gobs of fun to drink young but should continue to drink beautifully through 2029. $23 Our Price $19.99 (Available GT)

Decanter Journal 92 Points
2018 BYRON Chardonnay, Nielson Vineyard Santa Maria Valley

Slightly restrained nose with nice stone fruit and floral character underneath. Light lemon sherbet notes with toasted pineapple on the palate, pleasingly dry and youthful finish. $33 Our Price $21.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Advocate 92 Points
2016 BYRON Pinot Noir Julia's Vineyard
 Santa Maria Valley

Pale to medium ruby in color, the 2016 Pinot Noir Julia's Vineyard has a bright nose of Bing cherry, wild blackberries, earth and stewed black tea leaves with saline and hints of charcuterie and potpourri. Medium-bodied and silky, it's much more giving in the mouth with black and red fruits and tons of Earl Grey tea-tinged spice, with soft, grainy tannins and great freshness, finishing long and layered. A delicate, earthy and pretty expression. 100 cases were made. $45 Our Price $25.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 94 Points
Gaston Chiquet 2014 Brut Millésime Carte d’Or Dizy, Champagne

The 2014 Brut Millésime Carte d’Or is fabulous. Bright and beautifully sculpted, the 2014 is so impressive right out of the gate. Lemon peel, dried herbs, flowers, mint and sage all develop over time. Translucent and so expressive, the 2014 is a real knock-out. Disgorged: November, 2020. Drinking window: 2021 – 2028 $68 Our Price $62.99 (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 91
DEUTZ Brut Champagne Classic NV

A harmonious and mouthwatering Champagne, with a lovely mix of white cherry, pastry, grated ginger and smoky mineral riding the elegant mousse. Racy finish. Drink now through 2021. 3,000 cases imported. — AN $45 Our Price $43.95 (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 90 Points
GEOFFROY Brut Champagne Expression NV

Creamy, offering flavors of Asian pear, biscuit and pickled ginger, with a minerally smoke- and chalk-laced underpinning, all backed by well-cut acidity. Snappy finish. Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Disgorged October 2019. Drink now. 350 cases imported. — AN $49 Our Price $45.99 (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 91 Points
HENRI GOUTORBE Brut Champagne Cuvée Prestige NV

Ripe and juicy aromas and flavors of dried cherry, licorice and candied lemon zest are balanced by crisp acidity in this bright Champagne, creating a mouthwatering impression through to the lightly spiced finish. Disgorged October 2019. Drink now through 2024. — AN $51 Our Price $47.99 (Available GT)

Decanter 92 Points
2020 Pascal Jolivet Sancerre, Loire

The 2020 vintage is the best for a decade, according to Pascal Jolivet - early picked, with a good generosity and ripeness of fruit. In this vintage, Jolivet decided to make less single-vineyard wine in order to further improve the quality of the Sancerre Blanc. The blend is made from vines grown on limestone, limestone clay and flint, with parcels vinified separately before blending. When you taste this next to the Pouilly-Fumé (now labelled Blanc-Fumé), it's more restrained in character, more linear. Lemon citrus, mouthwatering acidity, quite textured, almost chalky. Fresh and mineral, this is a gastronomic interpretation of Sauvignon Blanc that would be delicious with shellfish, sushi or white fish. Drinking Window 2021-2023. $35 Our Price $28.99 (Available GT and VRW)

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)

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 (Available GT and VRW)

2019 Ghost Block Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: Our 2019 vintage embodies the beauty of Oakville, with lovely aromas of blackberry and ripe plum along with sultry tones of dusty earth and leather with hints of sweet bay leaf and baking spices. On the palate, alluring layers of cassis, boysenberry and black cherry are met with subtle notes of tobacco leaf. The refined, beautifully integrated tannins create a harmonious experience that fills out your palate completely ending with a long elegant finish that leaves you with one word...exceptional. $75 (Arrives GT 4/6/22)


Friday Wine Tasting, 3/18/22 (Available all day during operating hours) $15 per person and must be 21 or older to attend.

2020 Peter Michael L’Après-Midi Estate Sauvignon Blanc

Winemaker Notes: The 2020 ‘L’Après-Midi’ is visually compelling with a translucent, silver color accented by a bright, pale golden hue. The bouquet is reminiscent of neroli, expressing vine and orange blossom along with a vibrant oyster shell and granitic minerality heightened by fresh lime, lemon fruit, and gooseberry, with a hint of pine needle and verbena. The flavors are introduced with a touch of freshness and glycerol, carrying elegant white spring flowers—jasmine and white vine rose with a resounding array of fruit, Vosges lemon candy, gooseberry, grapefruit to mandarin, and guava. The finish is balanced, precise, mineral-driven, and elegant, revealing white currant, apricot, acacia honey, and quince paste. The 2020 ‘L’Après-Midi’ will benefit from several years of cellaring to develop further complexity and express the originality of the vintage. $70

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 95 Points
2018 Kenefick Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon Chris's Cuvée

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Chris's Cuvée captures all of the intensity of this Calistoga site. Black fruit, leather, licorice, smoke, grilled herbs and chocolate all build in the glass. Ample and resonant, with tremendous richness the 2018 is positively stellar. Give the firm yet well-integrated tannins a bit of time to soften. $65

Wine Advocate 94 Points
2013 Eisele Vineyard Altagracia Cabernet Sauvignon

Both 2013s are clearly the finest Eisele wines made under the administration of François Pinault and his top lieutenant, Frédéric Engerer, who also runs the show at Château Latour. The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Altagracia is a beauty. Dense, opaque purple, a big sweet kiss of blueberry and black raspberry fruit intermixed with forest floor and violets is followed by a lush, medium to full-bodied wine with terrific concentration, light tannin and an approachable style even for a 2013. It should drink well for 15 or more years. $130


Saturday Wine Tasting, 3/19/22 (Available all day during operating hours) $15 per person and must be 21 or older to attend.

2017 Switchback Ridge Peterson Vineyard Cabernet Napa

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

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

Wine Advocate 94 Points
2019 Ilaria Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Malbec and 3% Petit Verdot. Deep garnet-purple colored, it skips out of the glass with lively notes of wild blueberries, black cherries and menthol, plus hints of pencil shavings and bay leaves. Medium to full-bodied, it has a serious structure with flirtatious, flamboyant fruit, offering plenty of layers and an earthy finish. $70


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) 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) 559-226-6828
Monday-Friday 10:30 AM-5:30 PM
Saturday 10:30 AM-4:00 PM

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