The Grape Tray

May 10th 2022 Newsletter

Taste 2018 Gemstone Alluvial Cabernet and 2016 Laird Jillian's Blend at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Tuesday, 5/10/22. Available 12 noon -5:45 PM

2016 Laird Jillian’s Blend

Winemakers Notes: This stunning red blend says “hello” immediately with a vivid purple hue with the slightest maroon rouge rim. The nose has balanced notes of boysenberry, ripe blueberry, baking spice and vanilla. The palate is plush and balanced with flavors of dark red cherries, mocha, and clove. The lasting, indelible finish leaves you yearning for the next sip. A perfect wine to drink on its own or as an accompaniment to your next cookout. Drink now through 2028. Internet Price $44

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points
2018 Gemstone Alluvial Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Alluvial Selection is terrific. A ripe, full-bodied, yet seamless profile as well as loads of classic Cabernet cassis and blue fruits, notes of spice and cedar notes, and silky tannins all define this beauty. Made in a pure, elegant, yet soft and fleshy style, it's already drinking nicely, and I see no need to delay gratification, although It certainly has 10-15 years of longevity ahead of it. $150

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Taste 2006 Chateau Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person
Wednesday, 5/11/22. Available 12 noon-5:45 PM

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Wine Advocate 95 Points
2006 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape

As I stated last year, there is no Hommage a Jacques Perrin in 2006, but Beaucastel’s 2006 Chateauneuf du Pape is performing even better from bottle than it did last year. Its dense plum/ruby/purple color is followed by a big, sweet perfume of black truffles, camphor, earth, incense, new saddle leather, and loads of peppery, blackberry, and herb-infused, meaty, black cherry fruit. Deep, full-bodied, and dense, with sweet tannin, this explosively rich Chateauneuf is a stronger effort than the 2005, 2004, or 2003. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2028. $110

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Taste 2020 Girard Napa Sauvignon Blanc and 2018 Arkenstone Howell Mt Sauvignon Blanc at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $10 per person
Thursday, 5/12/22. Available 12 noon-5:45 PM

2020 Girard Napa Sauvignon Blanc

Winemaker Notes: The lively nose is bursting with aromas of tangerine, tropical fruit and kiwi. Medium-bodied and laced with minerality, the palate tingles with vervy acid, bright pineapple, stone fruit, melon, and zesty lemon flavors leading into a refreshing finish. $20

Wine Advocate 94 Points
2018 Arkenstone Howell Mt. Sauvignon Blanc Estate

The 2018 Sauvignon Blanc Estate is a blend of 94% Sauvignon Blanc and 6% Semillon, aged for 11 months in one-third new French oak, one-third once-used barrels and one-third concrete. It springs from the glass with vibrant scents of white peaches, grapefruit and underripe pears with hints of honeysuckle, chalk dust and yuzu. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is laden with citrus and stone fruit layers plus a crisp backbone and satiny texture, finishing long and chalky. 550 cases were made. $105

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James Suckling 94 Points
2018 Schrader Double Diamond
Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon

An elegant, fruit-driven cabernet sauvignon with notes of red fruit and spices. Fresh herbs, such as thyme. It’s full-bodied and well balanced. The texture is pleasant and smooth with elegant tannins. The finish is long and flavorful. Internet Price $75 (Back in stock GT and VRW 5/12/22)

Wine Spectator 91 Points
RAMEY Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2019

Well-spiced baked apple and ripe pear flavors show lots of custardy notes in this white, which ends with firm acidity on the finish, with wet stone accents and savory nuances. Drink now through 2024. 11,858 cases made. — KM $42 Our Price $34.99 (Available GT and VRW)

James Suckling 91 Points
ColleMassari Vermentino Melacce 2020

Fresh apples and pears with hints of lemon sherbet and brazil nuts. Medium-bodied and tasty with a savory, almost salty finish. From organically grown grapes. Delicious now. $17 Our Price $12.95 (Available GT and VRW)

WOW*55% Off! * 2015 Nielson Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: The wine shows aromas of blackberri2)es, rose petals, dried herbs, and earth. Flavors are driven by a dark fruit core, complemented by sandalwood, black pepper, and crushed stone. $20 Internet Price $13.99. GT and VRW Insider Price $8.95 (Back in stock GT and VRW 5/11/22)

2020 Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel

Winemaker Notes: An expressive burst of aromas of deep dark fruits lead into layered tones of lifted red fruit and a soft, luscious mid-palate. A juicy, vibrant entry with notes of black cherry, black raspberry, fig, baking spice and fresh Santa Rosa plum, is interwoven with supple, textured tannins and acidity on the long, complex finish. Pair well with grilled steak, sausage and peppers with cheesy polenta, and pasta dishes with tomato-based sauces such as baked rigatoni or pappardelle Bolognese. Pairs well with semi-hard cheeses such as dry jack – our favorite is from a local Sonoma producer, Vella Cheese Company – and aged cheddar or gouda. $20 (Available GT and VRW 5/11/22)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
FAUST Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2018

Distinctive, with sweet bay leaf, sassafras and a sanguine note all taking the lead, while a core of gently mulled red currant and blackberry fruit follows. Shows a nice herbaceous/brambly energy through the finish. Drink now through 2028. 40,000 cases made. — JM $55 Internet Price $44.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 93 Points * New Vintage!
FAUST Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2019

Lush, with boysenberry, plum and blackberry compote flavors liberally laced with licorice snap and sweet spice accents. Reveals a glimmer of graphite on the finish to keep it honest. For the hedonist crowd. Drink now through 2032. 46,000 cases made. — JM $55. Our Price $TBD (Available GT and VRW 5/12/22)

Dr. Loosen Dr. L Dry Riesling 2020

Winemaker Notes: This well-rounded Riesling is the dry counterpart to the lightly sweet Dr. L Riesling. Together, these two wines provide a glimpse into the unique stylistic diversity of Riesling, capturing the elegant and racy characteristics of steep, slate-soil Mosel vineyards at a very reasonable price. They are produced with grapes from contracted growers throughout the Mosel River valley who work closely with brothers Ernst and Thomas Loosen to achieve excellent quality in every vintage. $13 Our Price $11.39 (Back in stock GT)

2020 Kosta Browne Russian River Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: Perfectly clean and precise with bright red fruits. Cranberry, boysenberry, and layered baking spices complement the alluring hint of vanilla. On the palate, this wine has a polished, expressive texture and bountiful red fruit. A pleasing tension on the palate finishes with inspiring length and integrated tannins. $112 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

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)

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points
2019 DuMOL Pinot Noir Jentoft Vineyard Ryan

Another Russian River cuvée, the 2019 Pinot Noir Jentoft Vineyard Ryan is a deeper ruby, translucent color and has a gorgeous array of black raspberry and cherry fruits supported by ample spice box, savory flowers, rose petals, and dried bouquet garni-like nuances. Rich, medium to full-bodied, and fleshy, with the more rounded, supple style of the vintage, it's ideal for enjoying over the coming 7-8 years, probably longer, but there's no need to delay gratification more than a year or two. $94 (Available VRW)

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Friday Wine Tasting at VRW, 5/13/22 (Available 12 Noon-5:45 PM) $15 per person and must be 21 or older to attend.

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. $62

James Suckling 95 Points * 2018 Larkmead Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Pretty aromas of currants, walnuts and fresh tobacco follow through to a full-bodied palate with dusty, chewy tannins and lots of berry, coffee and lightly toasted-oak undertones in the aftertaste. Needs some time to resolve the tannins. Very drinkable now, but better after 2025. $135

2018 Justin Isosceles

Winemaker Notes: Full-bodied, with ripe black fruit, complex baking spice and amazingly ready to drink right out of the gate, you can try a bottle or two now, but make sure to save a few to enjoy this wine as it continues to evolve after some time in the cellar. $76

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Saturday Wine Tasting at VRW, 5/14/22 (Available 12 Noon-3:45 PM) $15 per person and must be 21 or older to attend.

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

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

Jeb Dunnuck 100 points * 2019 Patria Oakville Ranch Avoyelles Prop Red

The 2019 Avoyelles Oakville Ranch checks in as 55% Cabernet Franc, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Petit Verdot, all from the Oakville Ranch Vineyard and aged 22 months in French oak. It has an insanely good bouquet of chocolaty red and black fruits, dried herbs, chocolate, and obvious minerality as well as full-bodied richness and depth on the palate. Complex, layered, multi-dimensional, and perfectly balanced, it's an incredible Cabernet Franc-dominated blend that will benefit from just a handful of years in the cellar and keep for 15-20 years. $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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