The Grape Tray

May 31st 2022 Newsletter

Taste 2019 Faust Napa Cabernet and 2019 Turnbull Black Label Oakville Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Tuesday and Wednesday, 5/31 and 6/1/22. Available 12 noon -5:45 PM

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 $44.99

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points
2019 Turnbull Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Black Label

The deep purple-hued 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Black Label is another beauty that just screams “Oakville” with its darker currants, tobacco, black olive, and iron-laced aromas and flavors. Full-bodied on the palate, it has good acidity, a classic, focused mouthfeel, ripe tannins, and a great finish. It has 20-25 years of prime drinking. $165

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Taste Deutz Brut Classic Champagne, 2019 Carlisle Papa’s Block Russian River Syrah and 2017 Taub Family Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person
Thursday 6/2/22. Available 12 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Spectator 91
DEUTZ Brut Champagne Classic NV

A harmonious and mouthwatering Champagne, with a lovely mix of white cherry, pastry, grated ginger and smoky mineral riding the elegant mousse. Racy finish. Drink now through 2021. 3,000 cases imported. — AN $45 Our Price $43.95

Wine Spectator 94 Points
CARLISLE Syrah Russian River Valley Papa's Block 2019

A wine that offers a true sense of place, this Syrah is loaded with personality, featuring blackberry and currant flavors that take on licorice, smoky game and black pepper accents, finishing with big but polished tannins. Drink now through 2032. 313 cases made. — TF Internet Price $50

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. Internet Price $64.99

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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 (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 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
BENOVIA Chardonnay Russian River Valley La Pommeraie 2018

Powerfully crisp, this is filled with juicy acidity backing the white fruit and dried herbal flavors. Firm and a touch fleshy midpalate, with a finish that lingers with flinty notes. Pure and refreshing. Best from 2022 through 2026. 442 cases made. — KM $52 (Available GT and VRW)

Zinfandel Chronicles 93 Points
2019 Bruce Patch Schoolhouse Creek Vineyard Zinfandel

Medium to full bodied with mouth watering acidity and exceptional balance. Dark, brooding and chewy. Blackberry, black cherry liqueur, chocolate and pepper on the palate. Tremendous length on the finish with prominent tannins. The Petite Sirah in the blend is unmistakable and compelling. Give this wine some time in the cellar. Best over the next 5-7 years. 77% Zinfandel and 23% Petite Sirah. $35 Our Price $19.95 (Available GT) Last Call!

Wine Advocate 95 Points
2019 Failla Chardonnay Platt Vineyard

The 2019 Chardonnay Platt Vineyard is laced with hints of jasmine, lemon confit, mint, orchard fruit and tangerine oil. Time in the glass brings out light tropical overtones that take on a Riesling-like feel that is hugely appealing. $55 (Available GT)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 94 Points
Aubry 2014 Brut Ivoire et Ebène Jouy Lès Reims, Champagne

The 2014 Brut Ivoire et Ebène is a blend of 60% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Meunier and 10% Pinot Noir that captures the best of the Aubry style. Rich and effusive in feel, with notable depth, Ivoire et Ebène is so expressive. The weight and richness of the Pinot very much comes through in both the wine's flavor profile and overall feel. Red plum, cinnamon, licorice and chamomile linger on the creamy finish. Disgorged: February, 2021. $60 Our Price $56.99 (Available GT)

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)

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)

2020 The Dude Russian River Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: The 2020 The Dude Pinot noir reveals a vibrant aromas of cherry, cola and plum with exotic tones of black tea and baking spice. Beautifully layered, the palate seamlessly flows with a fresh core of ripe red fruits, fine-grained tannins and intriguing spice notes from the whole cluster and oak influence (35% New French Oak). Featuring the following Pinot Noir clones; Calera, Swan, Dijon 777 and Pommard 4. 550 cases produced $30 Our Price $19.99 (Available GT and VRW)

James Suckling 98 Points
2018 Ulysses Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Aromas of terra cotta, chocolate and hazelnut with iron and ink. Dusty. Full-bodied and round. Layered. Flamboyant and juicy. Rather soft and gorgeous. Some walnut and chocolate at the end. Persistent. Always there. Drinkable now, but will age wonderfully. $180 Our Price $169.99 (Available GT)

Additional Notes: 97 points Antonio Galloni, Vinous * The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is the best wine off Christian Moueix's (Dominus) Oakville ranch so far. Deep, creamy and generous, the 2018 captures the unqiue blend of fruit in a savoriness that is typical of the southern sector of Oakville where cooling winds from the south lend palpable freshness and vivacity to the vines. Black fruit, chocolate, spice, lavender and new leather are some of the many notes that build into the sumptuous finish. (AG)

Wine Advocate 93+ Points
Roederer Brut Collection 242

Roederer's Brut Premier was created in the 1980s to prove to consumers that we could deliver consistent quality with a blend that compensated for less than perfectly ripe vintages," explains Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon. "We were blending in pursuit of maturity, of ripeness. The concept behind the Brut Collection is the opposite: we're looking for freshness—and we are embracing singularity, something we're emphasizing by enumerating each year's blend." This project has been in the making since 2012, when Lecaillon set aside 21,000 liters of wine to constitute a perpetual reserve aged in large tanks without malolactic fermentation. Sourcing has evolved too: less must is coming from cooperatives, and only vineyards cultivated without the use of herbicides inform the blend. A dedicated team oversees all this, visiting every grower three times per year. And vinification is parcel by parcel to deliver a maximum of blending components. Iteration 242 is based on the 2017 vintage (56%), supplemented by 34% reserve wines from the perpetual reserve established in 2012 and 10% foudre-aged reserve wines. Internet Price $55 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

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Friday Wine Tasting at VRW, 6/3/22 (Available 12 Noon-5:45 PM) $15 per person and must be 21 or older to attend.

2020 Far Niente Napa Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: Richly aromatic with notes of white fig, and citrus blossom, this captivating Chardonnay slowly builds on the palate, progressing from silky notes of honeydew, nectarine, and lemon zest to a full finish supported by elegant, toasted oak. Crisp minerality and juicy acidity lift and support the generous fruit and provide the framework for graceful aging. This wine will continue to gain richness and complexity in the bottle and glass. $65

James Suckling 92 Points
2019 Turnbull Estate Napa Cabernet

A solid and structured cabernet with blackberries, blueberries, currants and some walnuts. Full-bodied with firm, fine tannins and a long finish. Very attractive now, but it will age nicely. $55 Our Price $44.95

Wine Spectator 92 Points
2018 EHLERS ESTATE Cabernet Sauvignon St. Helena 1886

Bright, ripe and forward in feel, with a gush of warm cassis and plum puree flavors lined with red licorice and sweet toast accents. The fine-grained finish lets the fruit play out easily. Drink now through 2028. 1,200 cases made. — JM $145

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Saturday Wine Tasting at VRW, 6/4/22 (Available 12 Noon-3:45 PM) $15 per person and must be 21 or older to attend.

James Suckling 92 Points * Taittinger Brut La Francaise

A dry, fresh and delicious Taittinger with aromas and flavors of apples, fresh lemons and minerals. Full-bodied. Precise. White pepper and salt at the end. 40% chardonnay and 35% pinot noir, the rest pinot meunier. Three to four years on the lees. Drink now. $50

2019 Ghost Block Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: Our 2019 vintage embodies the beauty of Oakville, with lovely aromas of blackberry and ripe plum along with sultry tones of dusty earth and leather with hints of sweet bay leaf and baking spices. On the palate, alluring layers of cassis, boysenberry and black cherry are met with subtle notes of tobacco leaf. The refined, beautifully integrated tannins create a harmonious experience that fills out your palate completely ending with a long elegant finish that leaves you with one word...exceptional. Internet Price $75

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points
2016 Robert Foley Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

 Lastly, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon (100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in 30% new oak) offers a touch more elegance as well as terrific notes of blue fruits, plums, dark chocolate, and violets. Full-bodied, ripe, and polished on the palate, it stays balanced, has solid underlying structure, and a great finish. If you’re looking for a rock star Cabernet under $100, this is for you. It will evolve for 15+ years or more. $105 Our Price $90.99

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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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