The Grape Tray

April 12th 2022 Newsletter

Taste 2018 Phelps Insignia at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person
Wednesday, 4/13/22-Available 12 noon-5:30 PM

James Suckling 99 Points
2018 Phelps Insignia Proprietary Red

Blackberry and black chocolate with mint, conifer and clove. Sweet tobacco, violets and flowers, too. Some graphite. Cool and complex. Full-bodied with ultra fine, dusty tannins and a wonderful, extremely long finish. Savory and refined. A classic-styled 2018. This needs time, but is so approachable and gorgeous. One of the best Insignias ever. Alive and changing all the time. 40% Stags Leap AVA. 87% cabernet sauvignon, 8% petit verdot, 3% malbec and 2% cabernet franc. Leave this for five or six years, but so wonderful now. $315 Internet Price $274.95

Additional Scores: WA 97 points and JD 97 points

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Taste Walter Hansel Cuvee Alyce Pinot and Altamura Napa Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) $15 per person.
Tuesday, 4/12/22 - Thursday, 4/14/22. Available all day during operating hours

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 93 Points
Walter Hansel Winery 2019 Pinot Noir
 Cuvée Alyce

The 2019 Pinot Noir Cuvée Alyce is a dark, powerful wine. Black cherry, plum, cedar, lavender, spice and menthol infuse the Alyce with notable depth. Dense and muscular, the Alyce is a decidedly potent, backward Pinot. All it needs is a bit of time to be at its best. $50

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

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Just Released!
Wine Spectator 96 Points
HDV Chardonnay Napa Valley
 Hyde Vineyard 2019

Stunning, showing a pure beam of white nectarine, mango and ripe Bartlett pear flavors that mingle with pound cake, toasted, salted hazelnut and nutmeg on a supple, rich frame, which draws focus from a bright thread of acidity. Drink now through 2030. —M.W. $78 (Arrives GT and VRW 4/13/22)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 97 Points
2018 Staglin Rutherford Estate Cabernet

Staglin's 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate favors energy and tension over volume, at least at this point in its life. Bright, aromatic and sumptuous, the 2018 is fabulous right out of the gate. Inky red/purplish fruit, lavender, rose petal, cedar and menthol race across the palate. The 2018 is bright and focused from start to finish, with impeccable balance, well-judged oak and tons of sheer appeal. It is one of the best recent editions I can remember tasting. Winemaker Fredrik Johansson captured the magic of the 2018 vintage and put it all into the bottle. I can't wait to see how this ages. $300 Our Price $269.95 (Back in stock GT 4/13/22)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 94 Points
2020 Staglin Estate Napa Chardonnay

The 2020 Chardonnay Estate offers terrific brightness to play off the natural vigor of this Rutherford site. Orchard fruit, mint, white flowers, white pepper and crushed rocks are all finely sculpted in a Chardonnay that impresses from start to finish. This is the first vintage aged partially in sandstone, which seems to add vibrancy and delineation. I am very curious to see how it ages. $150 (Arrives GT 4/13/22)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
ALLAN SCOTT Pinot Noir Marlborough 2020

Delivers a core of juicy, vibrant cherry, cranberry and pomegranate notes, with tomato leaf, spice, white pepper, tobacco and a hint of cocoa on the velvety finish. Drink now through 2040. 20,000 cases made, 1,000 cases imported. — MW $22. Our Price $19.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
HEINRICH Blaufränkisch Burgenland Leithaberg 2017

A deep, polished red, boasting black cherry, blackberry and violet aromas and flavors. Solidly built, yet with ample richness and fruit to counter the firm structure. The finish evokes earth and tobacco accents. Drink now through 2029. 134 cases made, 120 cases imported. — BS $35 Our Price $27.99 (Available GT and VRW 4/15/22)

2019 Venge Silencieux Napa Cabernet

Winemaker Notes: Wow! This wine is incredibly satisfying to behold as it opens in the glass. Wonderfully aromatic and expressive, the 2019 vintage opens with scents of sweet cassis, anise, blackberries, roasted coffee, blue herbs and barrel vanillin. On the palate, the tannins are firm, upfront and balanced throughout, with all pockets of the mouth left yearning for another sip. Full-bodied and extracted with ripe black fruit, blueberries, charred caramel and a delightful hint of fresh herbs that concentrate into a lengthy finish. This wine is approachable upon release and cellar worthy in proper aging conditions. Best now through 2032. $60 Our Price $49.95 (Available GT and VRW)

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 (Available GT and VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points
2019 Domaine Lafage Cuvee Nicolas

All Grenache brought up in demi-muids and aged on lees for 8 months, the medium ruby/purple-hued color of the 2019 Cuvée Nicolas is followed by a killer bouquet of kirsch liqueur, savory spices, cured meats, and peppery garrigue. Rich, medium to full-bodied, and gorgeously textured, it has wonderful richness with no sensation of weight.

Cuvée Nicolas is named after Jean-Marc and Eliane’s son and comes from a blend of Grenache grown in the red schist soils of the foothills of the Pyrenees in Asprès with Grenache from the back schist soils of Maury. These low-yielding vines (19hl/ha) are around 65 years old and are planted on terraces with southern and southeastern exposure. $20 Our Price $15.99 (Available GT and VRW)

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 (Back in stock GT 4/13/22)

Wine Spectator 94 Points
FRÉDÉRIC ESMONIN Gevrey-Chambertin Les Jouises Vieilles Vignes 2019

This velvety red is hallmarked by juicy morello cherry and raspberry fruit, floral, graphite and licorice aromas and flavors. Balanced and refreshing, with plenty of grip from its refined tannins. Superb length. Best from 2025 through 2045. 35 cases imported. —Bruce Sanderson. Our Price $59.99 (Available GT) Limited

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

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

2019 Vine Cliff Napa Black Label Cabernet

Winemaker Notes: Our 2019 Vine Cliff Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a Full-bodied wine with crushed baking chocolate, stewed cherries and baking spices on the nose. Dried herbs and firm tannins compliment this wine through a rich finish. $75

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
2019 Hourglass Blueline Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2019 Blueline Cabernet Sauvignon is another stunning wine in the lineup. Revealing a deep purple hue as well as beautiful cassis and blue-tinged fruits, it has lots of violet and lead pencil notes, medium to full body, perfect balance, and incredible tannins. A blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec, and the balance Cabernet Franc and Merlot, it's going to deliver the goods for upwards of two decades. $150

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Saturday Wine Tasting, 4/16/22 (Available all day during operating hours) $15 per person and must be 21 or older to attend.

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. Internet Price $75

2018 Elyse Yountville Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

This single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is produced from our 1.3 acre estate vineyard and quickly displays the unique terroir of Hoffman Lane. Notes of raspberry and saddle leather dominate the nose, with just a kiss of menthol and mint to remind you of this vineyard’s unique sense of place. Vibrant acidity mixed with refined tannins will allow this wine to be enjoyed for decades to come. $95

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 98 Points
2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve Georges de Latour

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve is fabulous. Inky, rich and explosive, the 2018 is a fine addition to the lineage of one of Napa Valley's most historic wines. Inky red fruit, chocolate, leather and licorice all open in the glass. Aeration brings out floral top notes, raspberry and a hint of blood orange. There is plenty of depth, but the tannins are finer than they were a few years ago. Shorter time on the skins and a reduction in barrel fermentations really allow the pedigree of these Rutherford sites to come through. The 2018 is sensational. $150

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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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