The Grape Tray

May 6th 2022 Newsletter

Wine Enthusiast 91 Points
2018 Etude Carneros Pinot Gris

Creamy and viscous in stone fruit, mango and fig, this white is opulent in texture with a subdued, balanced sense of ripeness. The acidity is equally poised and integrated, providing lasting freshness to the fruit. $25 Internet Price $18.99 (Available GT and VRW) Insider Price $10.

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 Our Price $23.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 94 Points
MERRY EDWARDS Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley 2019, Half Bottle

Tasting Note: This white offers a complex mix of lime sherbet, makrut lime leaf, lemon curd and orange blossom flavors that are fragrant and complex on a fleshy, succulent frame, with notes of nectarine and ripe Crenshaw melon. Harmonious, with a fresh thread of acidity on the finish. Drink now. —M.W. $21/375ml (Back in stock GT 5/19/22)

2020 ALIANÇA VINHO VERDE

Winemaker Notes: Citrine and pale colour. Fruity fragrance with smooth marks of tropical fruits. Slightly acid but fresh on the mouth. The end is smoothly sweet. his wine is ideal as an appetizer or with a meal. It pairs especially well with oriental cuisine, seafood, light fish dishes and fresh salads. Due to its freshness it is particularly pleasant in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. $11 Our Price $5.99 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 94 Points
2017 Hewitt Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon is a big, plush wine. Raspberry jam, white chocolate, blood orange and sweet spice give this unctuous, flamboyant Cabernet tons of immediacy and overall appeal. This is an especially extroverted Cabernet done in a style that turns the volume up to eleven, or more. $135 Our Price $104.95 (Arrives GT 5/10/22)

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2019 Shafer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon TD-9

An incredible value, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon TD-9 includes slightly more Merlot and is 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 11% Malbec and the rest Petit Verdot. Round, sexy, full-bodied, and opulent, it has terrific aromatics of red and black currants, tobacco, chocolate, and lead pencil shavings. Drink this hedonistic yet balanced, elegant beauty over the coming 10-12 years. $60 (Available GT)

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
2018 Krutz Family Cabernet Sauvignon Napa

A terrific value, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley is all varietal and spent 22 months in 50% new barrels. This medium to full-bodied, elegant red has a deep purple hue, outstanding notes of currants, spring flowers, bouquet garni, and violets, moderate tannins, and a silky texture. It competes with wines at three times the cost. $40 (Available GT and VRW)

James Suckling 95 Points * 2019 Hudson Carneros Chardonnay

Aromas of white peaches, spiced apples, dried honeysuckle, lemon pith, cedar and cloves. It’s full-bodied with fresh acidity and a vibrant, tight and textured palate. Long and focused. Richer style and density. Drink now or hold. $65 (Available GT and VRW)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 95 Points * 2018 Robert Craig Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Amentet Vineyard is a heady, explosive Mount Veeder wine. Iron, sweet red cherry, mint, dried flowers, licorice, mocha and rose petal all grace this wonderfully expressive, nuanced Cabernet. Best of all, the 2018 won't need more than a few years in bottle to be approachable. It's a gorgeous wine, that much is clear. The best is yet to come. $120 Our Price $94.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 94 Points
FERREN Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2019

The salted butter, lemon bar, orange blossom and ripe melon flavors at the core of this white show generous purity and focus, with fresh acidity and with a hint of Himalayan salt on the long, expressive finish. The texture is smooth and lush, practically melting in your mouth. Drink now through 2031. 190 cases made. — MW $60 (Available GT) Limited

Wine Advocate 95-97 Points
2019 Aperture Soil Specific Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon

Still in barrel, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon (blended with 3% Merlot and 1% Malbec) has a deep ruby color and bursts from the glass with detailed aromas of violet, tar, cassis, liquid cherries and graphite. This young wine has a stunning perfume! The palate is pure and grainy. Bursts of freshness lift its perfume, and its pure flavors linger a long time in the mouth. 2,800 cases are expected to be made. $72 (Available GT. Last Call-4 bottles in stock)

2021 Rombauer Napa Sauvignon Blanc

Winemaker Notes: This wine is brilliant pale yellow with a bright green hue. It exudes aromas of key lime, mango, papaya and white nectarine with a hint of fresh-cut grass. The palate is fresh and enticing, as grapefruit, pineapple and passion fruit intertwine with Meyer lemon and lime, making the mouth water. Balanced yet lively acidity lingers on the palate inviting another taste. Boxwood on the finish gives the wine length and vibrant freshness. $26 Our Price $22.99 (Available GT and VRW)

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 (Available GT and VRW)

Pinot File-The Prince of Pinot 99 Points
2016 Joseph Swan Vineyards Trenton Estate Vineyard Pentagon Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

This one was only produced in one other year - 1997 - when it met the criteria for a separate bottling. • Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Seductive aromas of cherry, rose petal, spice box and sandy loam. The wine creates quite an impression on entry with a jubilee of well-spiced black cherry flavor. Very soft like the hair of an angel, with great purity of fruit flavor. Highly congenial at this age with immersed tannins and an extremely generous and lengthy finish. The wine packs plenty of flavor but leans more toward elegance than power. My notes say, “Fantastic!.” This is one of those wines you can still taste and remember where you drank it years later. My highest scoring Pinot Noir ever! $209 (Available GT and VRW)

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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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