The Grape Tray

June 28th 2022 Newsletter

Taste Billecart Brut Nature, Pol Roger Brut Reserve and Vilmart Grand Cellier Brut at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Tuesday, 6/28/22. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

James Suckling 94 Points
Billecart Salmon Brut Nature

A dense, layered Champagne with a full body and lots of creamy texture. Lovely cooked apple and pie crust. 40% pinot meunier, 30% chardonnay and 30% pinot noir. The base was 2015, but in total it contains 10 harvests. It was bottled at the beginning of 2016 and disgorged in March 2020. Four years on lees. Fantastic release. Drink or hold. $70

Wine Advocate 92
Pol Roger Brut Reserve

The latest rendition of Pol Roger's NV Brut Reserve is based on the 2013 vintage and incorporates 25% reserve wines from the 2012, 2011 and 2010 vintages. Disgorged six months ago, the wine wafts from the glass with an alluring bouquet of green apple, brioche, pastry cream and buttered toast. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, impressively layered and complete, with a crisp but fleshy core of fruit, a youthfully frothy mousse and bright acids, concluding with a delicately chalky finish. This is one of the very finest—as well as among the most consistent—non-vintage brut bottlings from any of the Grandes Marques, and this release comes very warmly recommended. While it will be drinkable on release, it will reward some bottle age too. $55

Wine Spectator 93 Points
VILMART Brut Champagne Grand Cellier NV

Toasty hints of brioche, coffee liqueur and vanilla bean on the nose are more subtle on the palate of this plush-textured Champagne, where flavors of persimmon, yellow peach, blanched almond and Mandarin orange peel are underscored by minerally saline and chalk. Shows lovely balance and length. Disgorged July 2018. Drink now through 2026.—A.N. $77

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Taste 2019 Sean Minor Sonoma Coast Pinot and 2019 Sea Smoke Ten Sta. Rita Hills Pinot at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Wednesday, 6/29 and Thursday, 6/30/22. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Spectator 92 Points
Sean Minor Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2019

Rich and toasty, with hints of cedar bark to the dried red fruit and berry flavors that are well-knit. The creamy finish is long and plush, with accents of hot stone and cooking spices. Drink now through 2026. $25 Our Price $21.99

2019 Sea Smoke Ten Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: A brooding and intense wine. The aromas begin with notes of black tea, blackberry and orange rind, then a myriad of savory spices, and a hint of jasmine. Firm, mature tannins—evidence of Ten’s ageability—are followed by a long, velvety finish. 100% Pinot Noir produced from Ten Clones, from which the wine takes its name. $125

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James Suckling 90 Points
2020 Scattered Peaks Napa Valley Fumé Blanc

Sliced apples, pear skins, lemon rind, crushed stones and flint on the nose. Hint of vanilla, too. Medium-bodied with fresh acidity and a smooth, subtle palate. $20 Our Price $16.99 (Arrives GT and VRW this afternoon)

2021 J Vineyards Pinot Gris

Winemaker Notes: This Pinot Gris has an enticing bouquet of Fuji apple, ripe cantaloupe, and apricot. The crisp, clean mouthfeel is bursting with flavors of lemon and lime. A hint of kiwi and sweet orange blossom honey on the palate complements the fruit and acid. The lingering finish invites you to relax and enjoy another taste. In fact, it is the perfect sipper when entertaining with friends. This layered and well-balanced wine is a great accompaniment to a variety of foods, from Japan and Mexico, to India and China, all accented with a variety of spices. $17 Our Price $14.99 (Arrives GT 6/29/22)

2021 Twomey Napa/Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc

Winemaker Notes: This early and compressed harvest—coupled with lower yields and smaller berries—led to a finished wine that walks a delicate line between rich, textural depth and fresh, vibrant energy, hitting the topical, floral, citrus and mineral notes that we love from our Sauvignon Blanc. $32 Our Price $27.99 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

2021 Girard Napa Sauvignon Blanc

Winemaker Notes: Bright aromas of Meyer lemon, cantaloupe melon, and tropical fruits jump out of the glass. Medium-bodied and humming with energetic acidity, the palate reveals racy flavors of white peach, just-ripe pineapple, lemon zest, and stony minerality leading to a refreshing finish. $18 Our Price $14.99 (Available GT and VRW 6/29/22)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 93 Points * Pride Mountain Vineyards 2019 Merlot

The 2019 Merlot is very pretty in this vintage. Floral and spice notes give the Merlot a striking aromatic upper register that is both distinctive and alluring. Sweet red cherry, cinnamon and rose petal all build nicely in the glass. Best of all, the Pride Merlot will drink well right out of the gate. $65 (Available GT and VRW)

James Suckling 93 Points
2019 Beringer Luminus Oak Knoll Napa Chardonnay

Dried apricot, pineapple, lemon curd, crushed stones and some hay on the nose. It’s full-bodied and buttery with concentrated mineral and ripe-fruit layers. Some spice, too. Excellent length. $30. Our Price $23.95 (Back in stock GT and VRW 6/29/22)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 98 Points
2018 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve Georges de Latour

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve is fabulous. Inky, rich and explosive, the 2018 is a fine addition to the lineage of one of Napa Valley's most historic wines. Inky red fruit, chocolate, leather and licorice all open in the glass. Aeration brings out floral top notes, raspberry and a hint of blood orange. There is plenty of depth, but the tannins are finer than they were a few years ago. Shorter time on the skins and a reduction in barrel fermentations really allow the pedigree of these Rutherford sites to come through. The 2018 is sensational. $150. Our Price $109.99 (Back in stock GT 6/29/22)

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2018 Cliff Lede Stag’s Leap Cabernet

Composed of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc, the deep garnet-purple colored 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District charges out of the gate with exuberant scents of boysenberries, blackcurrant cordial and warm black plums plus touches of bay leaves, damp soil, pencil shavings and sandalwood. The medium to full-bodied palate is bold, expressive and open for business with bags of juicy black fruit flavors and a velvety texture, finishing with an earthy kick and a burst of freshness. $80 Our Price $72.99 (Available GT and VRW)

2018 Justin Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon, Half Bottle

Winemaker Notes: With attractive aromas of black fruit and spice, this smooth, ready-to-drink Cabernet Sauvignon is made with the same care as the highest quality, traditionally crafted Bordeaux styled wines. The grapes are hand-picked and berry-sorted for consistent quality and flavor. Justin Cabernet Sauvignon then spends more than a year in traditional small oak barrels to impart depth and complexity, highlighting the exceptional balance of flavors and textures that the unique climate and soils of Paso Robles add to the classic Cabernet character in this exceptional wine. $18. Our Price $14.99/375ml (Available GT and VRW)

2018 Hartford Three Virtues Russian River Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: Three Virtues Vineyards Chardonnay is handcra¬fted from three vineyards located in the heart of the Russian River Valley AVA. Exotic honeysuckle aromatics and a rich texture. Ripe pear and apple aromas and flavors with citrus and focused fruit characters are framed by nice acidity. $40 Our Price $23.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
2019 Fait-Main Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard

Certainly in the same league as the 2018, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard is another full-bodied, ripe, incredibly sexy wine that has an incredible bouquet of red and blue fruits, sandalwood, crushed stone, and exotic spices. As with the 2018, it's flawlessly balanced and has a round, lush texture, supple tannins, and a great finish. The 2018 is more straight and classic, and the 2019 is more up-front, sexy, and exuberant. Both are incredible wines. $240 (Available GT and VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 98-100 Points
2018 Booker Fracture Syrah

The inky colored 2018 Fracture is another wine that’s going to push at the upper limits of the grading scale. Awesome crème de cassis, charred meats, graphite, plenty of minerality, and subtle oak nuances all flow to a powerful, full-bodied, beautifully balanced Syrah. Similar in style to the 2017 with its powerful yet elegant vibe as well as good acidity, it’s a magical Paso Robles Syrah in the making. $96 Our Price $89.95 (Available GT and VRW 6/29/22)

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Taste 2019 Ferren Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, 2016 Beringer Distinctions Napa Cabernet and 2018 Dana Estates Vaso Napa Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, 7/1. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

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

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2016 Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Distinctions

First released in 2014 and made with the idea to highlight richness and opulence, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Distinctions includes slightly more valley floor fruit compared to the Knights Valley Reserve and offers a forward, sexy, incredibly satisfying style as well as lots of blackcurrant fruit, ripe tannins, and impeccable balance. Despite the richer, more forward style, it’s going to evolve just fine on its balance and concentration. $49

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2018 Dana Estates Vaso Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Vaso is cut from the same cloth, offering beautiful purity and richness. It’s slightly more pure and darker than the spicier 2017 and has notes of cassis, redcurrants, dark chocolate, tobacco, and violets. Full-bodied on the palate, it has silky tannins, terrific overall balance, and just loads of character and charm. It’s in the running for the greatest Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon under $100

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Taste 2017 Copain Dupratt Chardonnay, 2019 L’Aventure Cote a Cote and 2019 Turnbull Oakville Reserve Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, 7/2. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
2017 Copain Chardonnay Dupratt

From a small 20-acre family-farmed vineyard, the 2017 Chardonnay Dupratt has a richer, deeper bouquet of orange blossom, honeysuckle, and candied lemons. Despite the richer nose, it has racy acidity, medium to full body, and a rounded, beautifully textured mouthfeel. Brought up in 10% new French oak, it’s another beautiful wine from winemaker Ryan Zepaltas. $60 (Email subscriber price $18.45)

Jeb Dunnuck 100 Points
2019 L'Aventure Cote A Cote

Another magical wine from this estate is the 2019 Côte à Côte, a blend of 34% each of Grenache and Mourvèdre, with the balance Syrah. Brought up in 29% new French oak, it boasts a dense purple color as well as incredible aromatics of blue fruits, smoked game, violets, black pepper, and spring flowers. One of those incredibly complex, nuanced wines that still brings depth and richness on the palate, it’s perfectly balanced, has ultra-fine tannins, and a gorgeous finish. It’s the finest vintage of Côte à Côte ever produced. Drink it over the coming 15+ years. $105

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

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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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