The Grape Tray

May 3rd 2022 Newsletter

Taste 2019 DuMOL Chloe Chardonnay and 2018 Byron Nielson Chardonnay at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $10 per person.

Tuesday, 5/3/22. Available 12 noon -5:30 PM

Decanter 92 Points
2018 Byron Nielson Vineyard Chardonnay

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. $30

Jeb Dunnuck 98 Points
2019 DuMOL Chardonnay Chloe

The 2019 Chardonnay Chloe comes from the Russian River, yet it shows an almost Sonoma Coast-like vibrancy and minerality. Deep stone fruits, brioche, honeysuckle, and flower oil notes all define the nose, and it's beautifully balanced, medium to full-bodied, and incredibly textured, with a drop-dead gorgeous finish. This is another incredible Chardonnay from this estate that ranks with the crème de la creme of the vintage. $78

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Taste 2015 Staglin Estate Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $20 per person
Wednesday, 5/4/22. Available 12 noon-5:30 PM

Jeb Dunnuck 98 Points
2015 Staglin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Still showing brilliantly (and I don't expect that to change), the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate has the ripe, expansive, sexy style of the vintage front and center. Loads of crème de cassis, blueberries, crushed violets, and spice all soar from this beauty, which is powerful and rich, yet perfectly balanced. At the same quality level as the 2013, it's nevertheless in a much more approachable, flamboyant style. Drink it any time over the coming two decades or more. It's a gorgeous, gorgeous wine. $300

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Taste 2019 Lucienne Doctor’s Pinot and 2018 Cobb Rice Spivak Pinot at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person
Thursday, 5/5/22. Available 12 noon-5:30 PM

Lucienne Doctor's Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019

Winemaker Notes: Located in the middle stretch of the Santa Lucia Highlands, the 243-acre Doctor’s Vineyard experiences warmer temperatures and higher winds than Hahn’s other estate vineyards in the region. Certified sustainable, the vineyard ranges from 320 feet to 720 feet above sea level, with gently sloped hillsides and wide row spacing that offers greater sun exposure. The dry and slightly warmer climate here results in a riper more robust Pinot Noir, with expressive aromas of red cherry, plum and orange zest along with hints of sage, clove and white pepper. The wine has great mid-palate structure, smooth soft tannins, flavors of red cherry, bramble berries and a touch of warm spice on a refreshing lingering finish. $60

Wine Advocate 96 Points
2018 Cobb Rice-Spivak Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

The 2018 Pinot Noir Rice Spivak Vineyard is pure and expressive this vintage, with layered scents of red cherries, orange peel, saline and earth. The palate is soft, fresh and super spicy, its charming, juicy red berry fruits calling you in again and again for another sip. $82

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Wine Spectator 97 Points
Bollinger Brut Champagne La Grande Année 2014

Racy acidity drives this mouthwatering Champagne, enlivening the rich panoply of flavors. Features a fine and creamy mousse that's still a lively springboard for aromas and flavors of crème de cassis, glazed tangerine, roasted hazelnut, ground coffee, pickled ginger and white blossoms. Long and satiny, with minerally salt and chalk notes gaining momentum on the lasting finish. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Disgorged July 2021. Drink now through 2037. —A.N. $190 Our Price $TBD (Arrives GT 5/6/22) Limited

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 95 Points
Rocca di Montegrossi 2016 Geremia

The 2016 Geremia is a total knock-out. An exotic mélange of sweet dark cherry, plum, chocolate, licorice, spice and menthol races out of the glass. The 2016 is deep, dense and full of character. It is also easy to drink with minimal cellaring. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon work so well here in the way they express richness and structure, all with a real sense of Tuscan raw power. $60 Our Price $49.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 94 Points
2018 Dehlinger Chardonnay Estate

The 2018 Chardonnay Estate is an absolutely beautiful wine and classic Chardonnay from Goldridge soils. Orchard fruit, lemon confit, flowers and mint all grace this exquisite, wonderfully nuanced Chardonnay from Dehlinger. Bright saline notes confer energy. The 2018 is one of the most beautiful, nuanced Chardonnays I can remember tasting here. $42 (Arrives GT 5/4/22)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 93 Points
2017 Dehlinger Pinot Noir Altamont

The 2017 Pinot Noir Altamont is a wine of real breadth. Dark cherry, plum, lavender, spice and hard candy all flesh out in the glass. Rich, plush and enveloping, the Altamont captures all of the natural intensity of the year. A touch of stems adds character, but is not especially evident. $54 (Arrives GT 5/4/22)

Wine Spectator 95 Points
Carlisle Zinfandel Sonoma Valley Rossi Ranch 2019

Vibrant and expressive, with compelling cherry and raspberry flavors laced with spice, cinnamon and orange zest. Builds richness and texture toward refined, briary tannins. Drink now through 2030. —T.F.$50 Internet Price $52 (Arrives GT 5/4/22)

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
2019 Emerson Brown Cabernet Sauvignon Napa

The appellation 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley is a big winner and another remarkable achievement from Keith Emerson. It’s another finesse-driven effort offering beautiful red and black fruits as well as floral, dusty earth, and spicy nuances. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, with silky tannins and a great mouthfeel, I finished my notes with “crazy good at the price.” It will keep for a solid decade, although there’s no need to delay gratification. $50 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 95 Points
PETER MICHAEL Chardonnay Knights Valley La Carrière 2020

Aromatic and vibrant, revealing orange blossom and wildflower honey notes up front, with a terrifically concentrated core of lemon curd, peach and mango. Fresh and juicy, with hints of vanilla custard and a touch of sea salt toffee lingering on the long, expressive finish. Drink now through 2030. —M.W. $105. Internet Price $119.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Advocate 97+
2019 Addax Chardonnay AK Cuvee

The 2019 Chardonnay AK Cuvee is winemaker Russell Bevan's barrel selection blend of roughly three barrels of Ritchie vineyard and two barrels of Rued vineyard. It prances out of the glass with showy notes of fresh apricots, nutmeg and mandarin peel, over a core of pear tart, shaved ginger and beeswax. The full-bodied, concentrated palate is full-on opulent, featuring layers of satin-textured stone fruit and baking spice flavors, finishing with epic length. So. Good. $125 (Available GT and VRW)

2018 William Harrison CABERNET SAUVIGNON, RUTHERFORD ESTATE

Winemaker Notes: Marked by intense aromas of blackberry compote, with subtler notes of cocoa nib, blueberry and fennel seed. The palate is full-bodied, with dense boysenberry flavors, a hint of roast coffee and smooth, fine-grained tannins. Complementary flavors of nutmeg and tobacco are attributed to our unique barrel program. The texture is dense and youthful, with vibrant tannin structure and a lingering finish. $75 (Back in stock GT 5/4/22)

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Friday Wine Tasting at VRW, 5/6/22 (Available all day during operating hours) $15 per person and must be 21 or older to attend.

Wine Spectator 94
DUMOL Chardonnay Russian River Valley Wester Reach 2019

Powerfully fresh and minerally, this complex white features concentrated pear tart and apple pastry flavors that are filled with crunchy acidity, showing hints of custard. Ends with buttery accents and tropical fruit notes on the richly spiced finish. Best from 2022 through 2027. 3,540 cases made. — KM $60

Wine Spectator 92 Points
2017 Taub Family Rutherford Cabernet

Nicely compact, with a core of steeped red currant, plum and blackberry fruit that should unwind in the near future. Alder and licorice notes score the finish, with good latent energy. Best from 2022 through 2031. 1,500 cases made. — JM $75

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

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Saturday Wine Tasting at VRW, 5/7/22 (Available all day during operating hours) $15 per person and must be 21 or older to attend.

JAMES SUCKLING 97 Points
2020 EISELE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC

Lots of tropical fruit with mango and pineapple character. Ripe pear with some crushed stone. Lavender and green papaya, too. Full-bodied, lightly chewy and phenolic. Structured. Needs time to open, but a fantastic finish. Bitter-lemon and salty notes at the end. Better in 2024. $120

Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points
2019 Mondavi Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

The base 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley is certainly impressive, and since there are roughly 90,000 cases, it’s an incredible achievement. Classic darker currants, tobacco leaf, truffly earth, and spicy oak all define the bouquet, and it’s medium to full-bodied, with ripe tannins, terrific balance, and outstanding length. Based off 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec, buy a case and enjoy bottles over the coming 10-15 years. Best after 2022. $52

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

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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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