The Grape Tray

June 7th 2022 Newsletter

Taste 2016 Burgess Contadina Cabernet and 2018 Cade Howell Mt Estate Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Tuesday, 6/7/22. Available 12 noon -5:45 PM

2016 Burgess Cellars CONTADINA Napa CABERNET SAUVIGNON

Winemaker Notes: A dense and concentrated cabernet with aromas and flavors of confectionary blackberry and stewed cassis. The lush fruit is brought into balance by high tone herbal aromatics of mint, sage, and sweet tobacco. The distinctively thick-skinned Cabernet grapes provide a long velvety finish. $52

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points
2018 Cade Howell Mountain Estate Cabernet

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate comes all from the estate on Howell Mountain and is 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Malbec, and the balance Merlot and Petit Verdot. More blue fruits, bay leaf, candied violets, orange blossom, and floral notes emerge from this full-bodied beauty, which reveals a rounded, sexy texture, polished tannins, and a great finish. Give bottles just a few years in the cellar and it's going to keep for 15+. $120

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Ken Wright Cellars at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) on Wednesday, 6/8/22 from 3:30 PM-5:45 PM. $15 per person
Join us for an afternoon with Julianne Kennedy, Western Regional, and International Sales Manager for Ken Wright Cellars and Doug Hayes, Skurnick Wines and Spirits.

2021 Ken Wright Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: A brilliant core of red and bramble fruits dances with hints of cedar, passionfruit, rose petal, and turned earth. The palate is balanced, with a plush texture and a vibrant, juicy finish. $30 Our Price TBD

2020 Ken Wright Cellars Eola Amity Hills Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: Notes of blackberry, black cherry and candied raspberry with notes of cocoa nibs and caramel. Finishes with firm but velvety tannins. $45 Our Price TBD

2020 Ken Wright Cellars Yamhill Carlton Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: Notes of red plum, fresh fig and marionberry fruits with hints of magnolia blossom and graham cracker. Balanced but vibrant acidity. $45 Our Price TBD

Wine Enthusiast 93 Points * Ken Wright 2019 Carter Vineyard Pinot Noir (Eola-Amity Hills)

This is a thrilling wine. Aromas of cinnamon stick, dried satsuma, cherry, clove, black tea and spice lead to full, juicy fruit flavors with a lot of acidic drive. Lightly sandy tannins back it all up. It's much more about the future than the present. Fans of the winery will not be disappointed, and it will surely win some new ones. Best after 2026 with a long life beyond that. $67 Our Price TBD

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Taste 2018 and 2019 Spottswoode Lyndenhurst Cabernet Sauvignon at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person
Thursday 6/9/22. Available 12 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Spectator 93 Points
SPOTTSWOODE Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Lyndenhurst 2018

There's a well-endowed core of warmed cassis and steeped plum fruit here, splashed with a sassafras note and backed by roasted applewood and melted black licorice on the finish. Rich in feel throughout. Best from 2022 through 2034. —J.M. $85

Wine Advocate 93 Points * 2019 Spottswoode Lyndenhurst Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Lyndenhurst is composed of 77.7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.4% Cabernet Franc, 4.1% Petit Verdot, 5% Merlot and 3.8% Malbec. Deep garnet-purple in color, it skips out of the glass with lively blueberries, redcurrants and kirsch scents, plus hints of cedar chest, fragrant earth and rose hip tea. Medium-bodied, elegant and lively in the mouth, the palate is chock-full of bright and crunchy red and black fruits, finishing long and earthy. $90

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2020 Raeburn Russian River Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: Raeburn Chardonnay shows an array of complex fruit tones ranging from pear and Gravenstein apple to nectarine. The fruit is beautifully complemented with toasted oak, vanilla, and hints of Crème Brûlée with a balanced and elegant finish. $17 Our Price $14.29 (Back in stock GT and VRW this afternoon)

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2019 Chappellet Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Signature

Always a smoking value that readers shouldn't miss, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Signature sports a dense purple color to go with beautiful cassis and blueberry-like fruits as well as bouquet garni, spice, and obvious, rocky mineral-like aromas and flavors. Rich and medium to full-bodied, with notable structure and good acidity, it's going to keep for two decades in cold cellars. It's a candidate for the best Napa Cabernet under $100. 18,000 cases. $95 Our Price $83.99 (Available GT and VRW 6/8/22)

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2019 Hartford Court Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

Readers looking for an incredibly charming, delicious Pinot Noir that’s going to deliver the goods should check out the 2019 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley from Hartford Court. Revealing a translucent ruby/plum color, it has a wonderful nose of spiced red and black fruits, candied violets, orange blossom, and incense. Medium-bodied on the palate, it’s wonderfully balanced, with soft, supple tannins, nicely integrated acidity, and a great finish. Drink this beauty any time over the coming 5-6 years. $40 Our Price $32.99 (Arrives GT 6/8/22)

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2020 Dönnhoff Riesling Tonschiefer

Predominantly from the Leistenberg plus first selections of the local crus, the 2020 Riesling Tonschiefer opens enormously pure and stony as well as citric on the earthy nose that is a terrific representative for the clayish slate terroir. Complex and juicy on the palate, this is a tensioned, finely reductive yet very intense and structured dry Riesling with fine phenolic grip and an expressive finish with salty-piquant and phenolic acidity. An impressive wine. 12% alcohol. Tasted at the domain in July 2021. $32 Our Price $28.99 (Arrives GT 6/8/22)

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. (Back in stock GT and VRW 6/8/22)

James Suckling 92 Points
2020 Pieropan Soave Classico

Lime and slate on the nose with some pretty, fresh floral notes, too. Medium body with very good balance and tension and persistent fruit. . Refined and compact expression. From organically grown grapes. Drink now. Screw cap. $20 Our Price $16.99 (Back in stock GT this afternoon)

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 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 95 Points
2019 Antinori Tignanello

The 2019 Tignanello is one of the most reserved, understated young wines I can remember tasting here. In so many vintages Tignanello is quite showy, but in 2019 the nervous energy and brightness of Sangiovese takes center stage. That’s intriguing, because the 2019 blend has a bit more Cabernet Sauvignon than normal, a decision made to compensate for some of the lighter qualities in the Sangiovese. With air the 2019 shows gorgeous depth and captivating inner perfume, even if it is clearly still coming together. The 2019 spent about 14 months in oak, with 50% new wood. Things are always in constant evolution at Antinori. This is the first vintage to incorporate some larger 500L barrels, an approach I think will work brilliantly. Drinking Window 2027 – 2041. $165. Our Price $TBD (Available GT and VRW 6/8/22)

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Friday Wine Tasting at VRW, 6/10/22 (Available 12 Noon-5:45 PM) $20 per person and must be 21 or older to attend.

Wine Spectator 94 Points
CARPINETO Cabernet Sauvignon Toscana Farnito 2015

A core of cherry and black currant flavors is wrapped in spicy black pepper, toasty oak and iron notes, all supported by dense, pointed tannins and lively acidity. Offers a long, smoky finish. Enjoy this now for the fresh primary fruit, or let mature into more tobacco, leather and woodsy elements. Best from 2022 through 2038. 16,500 cases made, 1,200 cases imported. — BS $39 Our Price $34.99

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 98 Points
2019 Sinegal Napa Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is every bit as magnificent as it was last year. A heady, statuesque wine, the 2019 captures all the pedigree of the vintage. Inky red cherry fruit, mocha, licorice and spice race across the palate. The 2019 is bright, deep and powerful, with exceptional balance and tons of class. It's a stunning wine, to say the least. The move towards a slightly less pushed style, with less overt oak signatures, has paid off big time. This is a fabulous showing. $80

Jeb Dunnuck 99 Points
2018 Keplinger Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Ranch Vineyard

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Ranch Vineyard, which includes 9% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, is another incredible wine from this winemaker. Revealing a deep purple hue as well as a killer bouquet of cassis, currants, lead pencil, graphite, and violets, it hits the palate with a full-bodied, sumptuous, layered mouthfeel that carries lots of velvety tannins as well as remarkable freshness. It's certainly a large-scaled, voluptuous 2018, yet it still has that vintage's laser-like focus as well as structure. It benefits from a decant if drinking any time today, but it’s going to drink nicely for 20 years or more. $200

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Saturday Wine Tasting at VRW, 6/11/22 (Available 12 Noon-3:45 PM) $15 per person and must be 21 or older to attend.

Wine Spectator 93 Points
DOMAINE DROUHIN Chardonnay Dundee Hills Arthur 2020

Expressive and delicately complex, with apple blossom, orange peel and zesty spice flavors that finish with a fresh lift of acidity. Drink now. —T.F. $40

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 94 Points
2019 Beckmen Purisima Mountain Ballard Canyon Syrah

The 2019 Syrah Purisima Mountain Vineyard is a wild, exotic wine. Blueberry jam, chocolate, spice, leather and licorice fill out the layers effortlessly. This unctuous, heady Syrah shows just how distinctive Ballard Canyon is. A year or two in bottle should help soften some of the harder edges. $36 Our Price $26.99

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points * 2018 Odette Stag’s Leap Cabernet

Moving to the two reds, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is brilliant all the way, offering a smorgasbord-like bouquet of blueberries, raspberries, spring flowers, cured meats, tobacco, and assorted other spicy, floral nuances. I always find a subtle red fruit and mineral character in top Stags Leap Cabernet, and this beauty has it in spades. Full-bodied on the palate, this pure, plush, sexy Napa Valley Cabernet has sweet tannins, no hard edges, and a great finish. Seemingly all about sweet fruit and texture, it's nevertheless going to evolve for 20-25 years. $160

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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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