The Grape Tray

August 2nd 2022 Newsletter

Taste 2019 M. Cellars Paso Cabernet and 2018 Phelps Insignia at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $20 per person.
Tuesday, August 2nd. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

2019 M Cellars Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon

Blackberry, cedar, licorice, black tea, warm brown spice, dark chocolate. Plush, generous, with a lifted finish, showcasing firm, polished tannins. $25 Our Price $20.99

James Suckling 99 Points
2018 Phelps Insignia Proprietary Red

Blackberry and black chocolate with mint, conifer and clove. Sweet tobacco, violets and flowers, too. Some graphite. Cool and complex. Full-bodied with ultra fine, dusty tannins and a wonderful, extremely long finish. Savory and refined. A classic-styled 2018. This needs time, but is so approachable and gorgeous. One of the best Insignias ever. Alive and changing all the time. 40% Stags Leap AVA. 87% cabernet sauvignon, 8% petit verdot, 3% malbec and 2% cabernet franc. Leave this for five or six years, but so wonderful now. $315 Internet Price $269.95

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Taste 2021 Beckmen Santa Ynez Sauvignon Blanc and 2016 Dunn Howell Mt Cabernet Sauvignon at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Wednesday, August 3rd. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Enthusiast 90 Point
2021 Beckmen Santa Ynez Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Lightly effervescent in the glass, this bottling smells of wet lawn, green pineapple and pomelo on the tightly woven nose. A vibrant blast of acidity kicks off the sip, and the quick hit of tension gives way to riper passion fruit and light guava flavors. $25 Our Price $15.99

Jeb Dunnuck 99 Points
2016 Dunn Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain

A different beast, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain is dense and concentrated, with gorgeous crème de cassis, lead pencil, violets, damp earth, and tobacco leaf all emerging from the glass. Full-bodied on the palate, it shows the vintage’s purity, balance, and elegance and is concentrated, has chalky, building tannins, a great mid-palate, and one heck of a finish. It reminds me of a great Saint-Julien from Bordeaux and will benefit from 7-8 years of bottle age and keep for 40-50 years. Bravo. $160 Our Price $145.99

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Taste 2018 Benovia Russian River Chardonnay, 2019 HDV Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay and 2019 Wayfarer Seaview Sonoma Coast Chardonnay at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Thursday, August 4th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

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

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

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
2019 Wayfarer Seaview Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

A beautiful, Burgundian nose of orchard fruits, white flowers, chalky minerality, and honeysuckle emerge from the 2019 Chardonnay Wayfarer Vineyard, a riveting, pure, flawlessly balanced Chardonnay that shines on all accounts. Picking up a kiss of green almond and toast with time in the glass, it has beautifully integrated acidity, a layered, rich yet light on its feet mouthfeel, and a great finish. This is just about as good as it gets in 2019 with regards to Chardonnay. Give bottles a year or two in the cellar and enjoy through 2032. $100 Our Price $89.99

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Wine Enthusiast 95–97 Points (Barrel Sample)
2019 Chateau Kirwan Margaux

With its new cellars, the estate is performing at top speed and this vintage keeps up the fine track record. Firm tannins and beautifully perfumed fruit are blending together to give a wine that has style as well as structured fruitiness, with all the elegance of great Margaux. Think long-term aging for this wine. ROGER VOSS. $60 (Arrives GT 8/3/22)

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 (Available GT and VRW)

James Suckling 93 Points
2017 Mauro Molino Barolo

Lots of white truffle, ripe strawberry and some watermelon on the nose, following through to a full body with round, chewy tannins and a beautiful, creamy-textured finish from the ripe tannins. Drink in 2023 and onwards. $45 Our Price $37.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 91 Points
SILENUS Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Tyros 2019

Juicy and ripe, but on a modest scale, allowing cassis and blackberry notes to hold sway without undue effort over a backdrop of loam, singed vanilla and tobacco. Drink now through 2030. 2,000 cases made.—J.M. $38 Internet Price $26.95 (Available GT and VRW 8/4/22)

Wine Spectator 90 Points
LUJON Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 2018

A gutsy red that retains a sense of refinement, offering snappy blackberry, black tea and dusky spice flavors. Drink now through 2027. 667 cases made.—T.F. $28 Our Price $19.99 (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
LUCA Malbec Uco Valley Old Vine 2019

Unctuous and fine-grained flavors of dark currant and ripe cherry are supported by medium-grained tannins in this red, which is creamy midpalate, with concentrated chocolate mousse notes on the finish. Drink now through 2026. 13,000 cases made, 7,000 cases imported. — KM $35 Our Price $31.99 (Available GT and VRW 8/3/22)

Wine Spectator 90 Points
ALMA DE CATTLEYA Pinot Noir Sonoma County Rosé 2021

Pretty, sleek and floral, with peach and watermelon flavors that finish on a crisp, spicy accent. Drink now. 1,000 cases made. From California.—Tim Fish. $22 Our Price $18.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points
2019 Tether Napa Chardonnay

Another great release for this wine, the 2019 Chardonnay offers a pure, elegant, yet still powerful, medium to full-bodied style...It has a tropical edge as well as wonderful purity, a clean, elegant texture, and a great finish. $42 Internet Price $31.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

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 Internet Price $56.99 (Available GT and VRW)

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 (Available GT)

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
2019 The Hilt Pinot Noir Radian Vineyard

In the same realm, the 2019 Pinot Noir Radian Vineyard offers more red and blue fruits (black raspberries, cherries, blueberries) as well as ample minerality and graphite. It too is medium-bodied, utterly seamless, flawlessly balanced, and concentrated. As with all of these 2019s from Dees, it has slightly more texture and suppleness than past vintages and is going to drink nicely for a decade $105. Internet Price $94.99 (Available GT)

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Taste 2018 Ramey North Coast Claret, 2018 Crocker and Starr RLC Cabernet and 2020 Caymus Napa Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, August 5th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Advocate 94 Points
2018 Ramey North Coast Claret

Deep ruby-purple, the 2018 Claret is a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 9% Syrah and 2% Petit Verdot. It features blackcurrant aromas with accents of peppercorn, bacon, cedar, thyme and lavender. Full-bodied, its powerful, concentrated fruits are supported by finely grained tannins, and it has a long, still youthfully coiled finish. It will continue to unfold for several more years in bottle. 2,432 cases produced. $45 Our Price $37.99

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
2018 Crocker & Starr Cabernet Sauvignon RLC

Another cuvée from the estate in St. Helena, the 100% varietal 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon RLC spent 20 months in 60% new barrels. This medium to full-bodied, elegant red has classic blackberry and black cherry fruits, notes of tobacco leaf, cedarwood, and chocolate, silky tannins, and a terrific sense of purity and balance, which are the hallmarks of the vintage. It’s ideal for enjoying over the coming 10-15 years. $75

2020 Caymus Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: A dark, scarlet red color, with powerful aromas of sweet ripe cabernet grapes. Initial impressions are fantastically appealing, brooding to expansive textural sensations of finely grained cacao tannins. The whole of the wine is balanced, rich, expressive and impressively complex. The backbone of fine tannin and sweet ripeness is a carryover from perfectly mature fruit. $95

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Taste 2018 Shea Estate Pinot Noir, 2018 Beaulieu Vineyards Tapestry Reserve and 2019 The Setting Alexander Valley Cabernet at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, August 6th. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

Wine Spectator 93 Points
2018 Shea Willamette Valley Shea Estate Pinot Noir

Deeply structured but not weighty, with dynamic blueberry and raspberry flavors that take on notes of black tea and licorice as it moves towards refined tannins. Drink now through 2028. $45

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

Wine Advocate 97 Points
2019 The Setting Wines Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Opaque ruby-purple in color, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley is deeply scented with Morello cherry and blueberries accented by nuances of bouquet garni, violets, dark chocolate and graphite. The full-bodied palate is powerful, with intense, concentrated fruit, loads of ripe, grainy tannins and softened acidity to carry the long finish, which is a bit warm. It's a bold, ripe style that will benefit from another 5-7 years in bottle. $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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