The Grape Tray

April 22nd 2022 Newsletter

Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points
2017 Byron Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard

Leading off the Sta. Rita Hills releases, the 2017 Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard comes from clones 777 and 667 and was completely destemmed and aged 16 months in 32% new French oak. Bright berry fruits, leafy herbs, spring flowers, candied violets, and subtle incense notes all emerge from the glass, and it's medium-bodied, beautifully balanced, elegant, and seamless on the palate. This is a classy, balanced Sta. Rita Hills effort that leads with its fruit. $38 Our Price $25.99 (Arrives GT and VRW this afternoon)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
ROBERT MONDAVI Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville The Estates 2018

Rich and seductive in feel, with a lovely swath of loamy-edged steeped plum and blackberry compote flavors, backed with flashes of anise and sweet bay leaf. A loamy edge extends nicely in lockstep with the fruit on the finish. Textbook Oakville Cabernet. Best from 2022 through 2034. 9,791 cases made. — JM $90 Our Price $76.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points
2017 Figgins Proprietary Red Wine

The 2017 Estate Red Wine is more Cabernet Sauvignon dominated and spent 23 months in a mix of new and neutral French oak. It's a stunning effort that has classy cassis and black raspberry fruits as well as notes of cedar pencil, dried flowers, graphite, and dried earth. Medium to full-bodied, seamless and elegant on the palate, it's not a massive wine yet has terrific concentration, beautifully balanced tannins, and acidity, and a great finish. It will benefit from 4-6 years of bottle age and keep for 20 years or more. $105 Our Price $90.99 (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
MORGAN Chardonnay Santa Lucia Highlands Highland 2019

Decadently spiced, with accents of roasted hazelnut and caramel to the well-knit baked apple and pear tart flavors. Dried mango hints line the open-textured finish. Drink now through 2025. 4,937 cases made.—K.M $28 Our Price $22.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

2020 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Rouge

Winemaker Notes: A cool, spicy, nose of blackberry and wintergreen, teriyaki and black pepper. On the palate, brilliantly juicy, with flavors of elderberry, graphite, tangy black cherry and bittersweet chocolate. The long, firmly tannic finish lingers with crunchy black fruit and foresty spice. Delicious now, but with the substance and balance to age for up to a decade. Blend: 36% Syrah, 34% Grenache, 19% Mourvedre, 8% Tannat, 3% Counoise. $28 Our Price $21.99 (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 92
TAITTINGER Brut Champagne Prélude NV

There's a pleasing viscosity to this elegant Champagne, with sleek acidity creating a mouthwatering frame for the flavors of wild cherry, toast point, preserved lemon and honeycomb. Offers a lingering, creamy finish. Drink now through 2023. 300 cases imported. — AN $98 Our Price $79.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Advocate 94
2016 Anthem Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard

Made of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard is deep garnet-purple in color and reveals expressive black cherries, blackberries and warm blackcurrants with hints of violets, black olives, Indian spices and cigar box. Full-bodied, rich and powerful, the palate is filled with well-poised black fruit layers and firm, grainy tannins, matched by bold freshness and finishing long. $125 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points
2017 Booker Oublié Paso Robles GSM

The 2017 Oublié is a blockbuster, ranking with the finest wines in the vintage. Based on 56% Grenache, 22% Mourvèdre, 22% Syrah, brought up in 50% neutral barrels, its vivid purple color is followed by a full-bodied, powerful, yet elegant red that has a great nose of cassis, blackberries, white flowers, leafy herbs, and hints of pepper. It packs some muscle yet stays flawlessly balanced. $75 (Available GT and VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 100 Points
2019 L'Aventure Estate Cuvée
Paso Robles Red

Pure perfection from Paso Robles, the 2019 Estate Cuvee checks in as 50% Syrah, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Petit Verdot that was raised in 81% new French oak. Incredible cassis and black berry fruits as well as violets, chocolate, graphite, and who knows what else emerges from the glass, and it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a concentrated yet weightless mouthfeel, building tannins, and a great finish. Stephan Asseo, who’s assisted more and more by assistant winemaker Patrick Davies, continues to keep his L’Aventure estate near the top of the pyramid in Paso Robles. This report looks at the 2019s and 2020s, and both appear to be beautiful vintages. The 2019s are some of the finest wines I’ve tasted at this estate and have a rare mix of power and vibrancy, with incredible aromatics and sensational purity and precision on the palate. $120 (Arrives GT 4/27/22)

Wine Advocate 94 Points
2011 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne
Blanc de Blancs

After the tightly coiled, hyper-concentrated 2008, Taittinger's 2011 Brut Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne represents a more immediate, charming rendition of this cuvée. Bursting from the glass with aromas of orchard and stone fruit mingled with notions of pastry cream, blanched almonds and mandarin, it's medium to full-bodied, pillowy and fleshy, with a soft and enveloping profile, lively acids and a pretty pinpoint mousse. Readers might think of the 2011 as a somewhat less reductive and less intense stylistic sibling of the 2006, and as it takes on more toasty complexity with bottle age, it will make for immensely seductive drinking. $200 Our Price $TBD (Arrives VRW this afternoon)

2019 Goldeneye Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: Showcasing the rich diversity of the Anderson Valley, this exuberant wine displays fresh, enticing aromas of juicy raspberry, summer strawberry, and red plum, as well as hints of bramble, black tea, anise, sweet saddle leather, and a touch of salinity. On the palate, bright acidity and firm, chewy tannins converge to create a supple texture that accentuates the Bing cherry and blackberry pie flavors, with sophisticated notes of nutmeg, cardamom, and savory umami emerging on the finish to create a sumptuous and cerebral drinking experience. $52 Our Price $44.99 (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
CLOUDY BAY Sauvignon Blanc
Marlborough 2021

Intense and fresh, with green apple, dried pineapple, candied ginger and lemon curd flavors that show a hint of ripe melon, followed by details of lemon verbena on the finish. Drink now. 77,000 cases imported. —MaryAnn Worobiec. $33 Our Price $29.99 (Available GT and VRW)

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

Wine Spectator 93 Points
HDV Chardonnay Napa Valley Carneros
Hyde Vineyard 2018

Elegantly fruity, with tropical nuances to the rich white fruit and spice flavors that are well-structured. Tangerine hints midpalate lead to a spicy finish that offers brioche accents. Drink now through 2024. 2,275 cases made. — KM $75

2016 Burgess Cellars CONTADINA Napa CABERNET SAUVIGNON

Winemaker Notes: A dense and concentrated cabernet with aromas and flavors of confectionary blackberry and stewed cassis. The lush fruit is brought into balance by high tone herbal aromatics of mint, sage, and sweet tobacco. The distinctively thick-skinned Cabernet grapes provide a long velvety finish. $52

Wine Advocate 94+
2018 Paul Hobbs Napa Cabernet Sauvignon Coombsville

This is the first vintage for this label. In fact, this replaces the "Napa Valley" label, but since all the wine now comes from the Coombsville AVA (and mostly from their estate), it now carries the Coombsville name.

Deep garnet-purple in color, the nose of the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Coombsville is redolent of Morello cherries, boysenberries and cassis with hints of lilacs, cinnamon stick and dried herbs. The medium to full-bodied palate has vibrant black fruit flavors with a a soft texture and nice tension, finishing with a red fruit lift. 6,677 cases were made. $120

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Saturday Wine Tasting, 4/23/22 (Available all day during operating hours) $15 per person and must be 21 or older to attend.

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

James Suckling 93 Points
2019 Shafer TD-9 Napa

Aromas of blackberries with old spice, dark cherries and cloves, following through to a medium to full body with a sold core of ripe fruit and a creamy and stony underlying character. Juicy and rich, yet not overbearing. Cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec and petit verdot. Drinkable now, but better in 2025. $60

2016 Heitz Cellars Lot C-91 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Brittany Sherwood, Director of Winemaking: While Joe pioneered the single vineyard movement in the Napa Valley, he recognized that you could convey a most pure and unique expression of place through the art of assemblage or blending. Lot C-91 was his proclamation, his testament to combining the power, elegance, and longevity of Cabernet Sauvignon coming exclusively from the single vineyards of Heitz Cellar. (Martha’s Vineyard-Oakville, Trailside Vineyard-Rutherford and Linda Falls-Howell Mountain)

Aged for nine months in large neutral casks and a combination of new and used French oak, the 2016 Lot C-91 exhibits the density and length of which only the truly great wines of the world are able to achieve. The presence of savory elements such as sage, rosemary, cured meats, and black pepper distinguishes this cuvée from any other. The conclusion of the Lot C-91 on the palate displays incredible complexity and harmony, and those who can afford to be patient will be rewarded for decades to come. $100

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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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