May 17th 2022 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

May 17th 2022 Newsletter

2020 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc this week at VRW - By The Glass $10 (Available Tuesday-Saturday)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
CLOUDY BAY Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2020

Vibrant and intense, this offers a mouthwatering mix of lemon meringue, ruby grapefruit, lime sherbet and dried pineapple notes that leap out of the glass with equally intense aromatics. Hints of lemon verbena and dried ginger linger on the finish. Drink now. 75,000 cases imported. — MW $32


Taste 2019 Robert Craig Howell Mt Cuvee Cabernet and 2019 Orin Swift Mercury Head Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Tuesday, 5/17/22. Available 12 noon -5:45 PM

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 92 Points * 2019 Robert Craig Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain Cuvée

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain Cuvée is a new entry-level wine in this range. The addition of Merlot works so well in softening some of the young Howell Mountain contours. Even so, there is plenty of energy underpinning the bright red cherry fruit. Mint, pine and floral accents resonate across the persistent finish. The 2019 is a jewel of a wine and a fabulous value. $50

Wine Advocate 96-98 Points * 2019 Orin Swift Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Mercury Head

Medium to deep garnet-purple, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Mercury Head barrel sample has bold, ripe black cherry and black berry scents with an undercurrent of raspberry leaves, ripe red and black plums, pencil shavings and a waft of iron ore. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has wonderful intensity and depth with loads of mineral sparks among the crunchy black and blue fruits, supported by firm, grainy tannins, finishing long and earthy. Impressive! 6,500 cases are to be made. $135


Taste 2016 Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person
Wednesday, 5/18/22. Available 12 noon-5:45 PM

Wine Advocate 100 Points
2016 Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve, Magnum

Fontodi's 2016 Flaccianello della Pieve is a masterpiece. This review represents a composite of notes from two separate tasting sessions, one at the winery and a second bottle tasted repeatedly over the course of 24 hours at my own pace. In the case of the second sample, it ended up in a blind flight next to the 2016 Masseto, and as beautiful as that Merlot-based wine is, this wine paints an even more beautiful portrait of a perfect Tuscan landscape, thanks to that tangy Sangiovese typicity. This vintage shows amazing depth and poise, with a sheer sense of elegance that comes from the undisputed quality of fruit achieved in this balanced vintage. The bouquet opens to dark cherry, blue flower and tilled earth. The tannins are taut, almost crunchy, and the wine offers profound pedigree and persistence that is driven by the evident acidity. That depth is what stands out most. Until the 2013 vintage, Flaccianello was aged in barrique for 24 months. After that vintage, six months of the total aging time is spent in botte instead. This 2016 vintage includes a small part from clay amphorae for the first time. This slight change in the relationship of wine to barrel size has resulted in a more elegant and finessed wine. That point is especially underlined in this vintage. Because of cool spring temperatures during the flowering, yields were reduced by 20% in 2016 compared to 2015. Some 65,000 bottles were made. $570/magnum

Additional scores: Wine Spectator 97 Points and Vinous Media 100 Points


Taste 2018 BV Tapestry Reserve and 2019 Dalla Valle Collina Napa Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person
Thursday, 5/19/22. Available 12 noon-5:45 PM

James Suckling 94 Points
2018 Beaulieu Vineyards Tapestry Reserve

This is layered, with chewy tannins and attractive blackcurrant and blackberry character. Chocolate and walnut highlights. Full and flavorful, but not heavy in any sense of the word. Cabernet sauvignon, merlot, petit verdot and cabernet franc. Better in a year or two. $65

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2019 Dalla Valle Napa Collina Cabernet

The base 2019 Collina was originally made from the younger vines of the estate, yet those vines aren’t so young anymore, and this easily stands alone as a brilliant Bordeaux blend. Black cherries, currants, leafy herbs, and subtle floral notes all define the bouquet, and it’s darker, medium to full-bodied, and beautifully balanced on the palate. It’s undeniably delicious and perfect for drinking over the coming 10-15 years. $115


Wine Spectator 92 Points
JULES TAYLOR Pinot Noir Marlborough 2019

Bold, with English breakfast tea, dense tannins and dried sage flavors in balance with licorice-laced plum and black cherry flavors. A smoky thread of palo santo lingers on the finish, where the tannins firm up. Drink now through 2030. 2,000 cases made, 500 cases imported. — MW $24 Liquidation Price $15.45 (Available GT) Limited to stock on hand

Wine Spectator 90 Points
LUCY Rosé Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands 2021

A lovely blush, crisp yet richly fruity version, with floral raspberry and peach flavors that linger. Drink now. 2,527 cases made. From California.—T.F. $22 Our Price $18.99 (Available GT and VRW)

2019 Alban Patrina Syrah

Winemaker Notes: While the grapes for Patrina are raised with the same detail and attentiveness as the rest of our vineyards, and then fermented open top with indigenous yeast, gentle pump overs and a few punch downs once soft, it is bottled unfined and unfiltered after ‘just’ 22 months in barrel to preserve its youthful exuberance. All the density and concentration folks have come to expect from our reds with black and blue fruits, mineral notes, and flowers. $54 (Available GT and VRW)

2020 Oakville Winery Zinfandel

Winemaker Notes: Oakville Winery's very special (Oakville designate) Zinfandel is back for another killer vintage. Similar to previous vintages, an incredible balance between both sweet and spicy notes lead you to some great merriment, or On the nose: black pepper, cedar, dill and anise. The palate confirms the aromas with underlying dark berries. The wine is medium-bodied with smooth and supple tannins. It is a well-balanced Zinfandel, leaving the you with a mouthwatering finish of spice and dark fruit. $25 Our Price $20.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Advocate 92 Points
2016 BYRON Pinot Noir Julia's Vineyard
 Santa Maria Valley

Pale to medium ruby in color, the 2016 Pinot Noir Julia's Vineyard has a bright nose of Bing cherry, wild blackberries, earth and stewed black tea leaves with saline and hints of charcuterie and potpourri. Medium-bodied and silky, it's much more giving in the mouth with black and red fruits and tons of Earl Grey tea-tinged spice, with soft, grainy tannins and great freshness, finishing long and layered. A delicate, earthy and pretty expression. 100 cases were made. $45 Our Price $25.99 (Back in stock GT 5/18/22)

Vinous 91 Points * 2018 Lisini San Biagio Montalcino, Tuscany

The 2018 San Biagio, a 100% varietal Sangiovese, balances tart cherry, peppery herbs, leather and dark earth tones to create a savory and wonderfully inviting display. The textures are soft; yet its fruits are ripe and fleshy, with notes of sour citrus and juicy acids maintaining freshness while keeping the energy high. This is dangerously delicious, finishing long with echoes of blackberry and spice. While I wouldn’t hold the 2018 too long in the cellar, it will make a lot of people very happy over the next few years. Drinking window: 2020 – 2024. $22 Our Price $17.99 (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 Our Price $70.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 91 Points
HENRI GOUTORBE Brut Champagne Cuvée Prestige NV

Ripe and juicy aromas and flavors of dried cherry, licorice and candied lemon zest are balanced by crisp acidity in this bright Champagne, creating a mouthwatering impression through to the lightly spiced finish. Disgorged October 2019. Drink now through 2024. — AN $51 Our Price $47.99 (Available GT)

Wine Advocate 95 Points
2019 Familiar Air Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Malbec. Deep garnet-purple colored, it bursts with gregarious notions of stewed black plums, black cherry preserves and wild blueberries with hints of violets, fallen leaves, cinnamon stick and tapenade. Full-bodied, rich and concentrated, the palate is packed with expressive, juicy black and blue fruits, finishing very long and very fragrant. $90 (Available GT and VRW)

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 (Available GT and VRW)

2018 Carmel Road Cabernet

Winemaker Notes: Our Cabernet is an exceptional varietal expression with rich, concentrated flavors of ripe black cherry, blueberry and deep red plum. The structured palate is balanced by aging in French and American oak barrels, imparting notes of baking spices and vanilla bean in its long, silky finish. $15 Our Price $9.95 (Available GT and VRW)


Friday Wine Tasting at VRW, 5/20/22 (Available 12 Noon-5:45 PM) $15 per person and must be 21 or older to attend.


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

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

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2019 Turnbull Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Reserve

A killer value that’s up with the best at the price point, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Reserve offers medium to full-bodied aromas and flavors of currants, plums, chocolate, iron, and a touch of tobacco. Nicely concentrated, beautifully balanced, and elegant, it’s a terrific wine well worth seeking out. Drink bottles over the coming 10-12 years or so. $95


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

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

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
2018 Scarlett Rutherford Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Looking at the two wines from bottle, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon sports a dense purple color as well as impressive cassis fruit intermixed with lots of graphite, crushed stone, violets, and spice. This rich, full-bodied beauty has a ripe, seamless texture, plenty of opulence, silky tannins, and a great finish. Drink it over the coming 15-20 years. Internet Price $70

Wine Advocate 95 Points
2018 Hayfork Field Select Cabernet Sauvignon

A blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Petit Verdot, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Field Select was aged for 20 months in oak, 90% new. Deep garnet-purple colored, it charges out of the gate with exuberant notes of baked black plums, Black Forest cake and mulberries plus suggestions of fragrant earth, Provence herbs and tree bark. The palate has a firm backbone of grainy tannins and lively acidity framing the full-bodied, muscular black fruit, finishing long with a lifted perfume. 100 cases were made. $125


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) 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) 559-226-6828
Monday-Friday 10:30 AM-5:30 PM
Saturday 10:30 AM-4:00 PM

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