The Grape Tray

August 19th 2022 Newsletter

On Deck for Wine Tasting at VRW next week:

Wine Spectator 94
DUMOL Chardonnay Russian River Valley Wester Reach 2019

Powerfully fresh and minerally, this complex white features concentrated pear tart and apple pastry flavors that are filled with crunchy acidity, showing hints of custard. Ends with buttery accents and tropical fruit notes on the richly spiced finish. Best from 2022 through 2027. 3,540 cases made. — KM $60

Wine Advocate 95+
2019 Tenuta Sette Ponti • Oreno

The Tenuta Sette Ponti 2019 Oreno celebrates the wine's 20th anniversary (1999-2019) with a special label and a heavy glass bottle. This blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot is beautifully ripe and generous with impeccable fruit throughout. Its primary intensity is delivered with energy and character, showcasing broad brush aromas of black fruit, exotic spice, cured tobacco and new leather. The tannins are quite strong in this edition and do make for a brief moment of astringency on the close. This is a thickly extracted blended Tuscan red, and it makes sense that its fiber and structure is also more compact and concentrated in 2019. $110

OwenBargreen.com 94 Points
2020 Ridge Pagani Ranch Zinfandel

Nearly all Zinfandel (90%), this has 4% Alicante blended in. Very juicy and bright, this shows ripe strawberry and bing cherry with prosciutto and green olive notes on the palate. Complex and delicious, this has a long way to go in the cellar. Vibrant, with a terrific mineral backbone, this weighs in at only 13.8% alcohol. $42

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 98 Points
2019 Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2019 Monte Bello is a wild, exotic wine. Huge, soaring aromatics meld into a core of heady, exotically ripe fruit. Not a shy wine by any means, the 2019 is atypically opulent, and yet all of the classic Monte Bello structure is there, underneath all of that fruit. The 2019 needs time in bottle to shed its baby fat, but there is a lot to look forward to. I imagine it will always be a pretty exuberant wine. Inky red fruit, blood orange, espresso, sweet American oak, cedar and pipe tobacco leave a lasting impression. In a word: magnificent! $245

OwenBargreen.com 93 Points
2020 Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel

The outstanding 2020 Ridge Vineyards ‘Lytton Springs’ Red Wine is a blend of 79% Zinfandel with 11% Petite Sirah and 10% Carignane. The beautiful red florals on the nose with potpourri, white pepper and ripe red fruits that mingle with shades of smoked brisket. The palate is plush and soft with a seamless mouthfeel and very lengthy finish. This has both the stuffing and finesse to cellar well for at least another decade.” -Owen Bargreen (August 2022) $50

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Wine Spectator 93 Points
ASTROLABE Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough Kekerengu Coast 2020

There's beautiful precision to this white, which offers yuzu, pomelo and Fuji apple flavors that are crisp and focused, with notes of green tea and white pepper, plus a hint of crunchy sea salt that lingers on the fresh finish. Drink now. —M.W. $25 Our Price $18.99 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

Wine Spectator 94 Points
GREYWACKE Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2021

This stunning white is aromatic, fresh and intense, with notes of lemon curd, yuzu, peach, ripe melon and honeysuckle that are effortless and mouthwatering, backed by lemongrass and candied ginger notes on the long, expressive finish. Drink now. —M.W. $23 Our Price $19.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
GROTH Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 2021

Tasting Note: Distinctive, with lanolin, honeysuckle and litsea oil accents to the ripe peach, citrus and apricot flavors at the core. Reveals mouthwatering acidity and sea salt minerality on the finish. Drink now. —M.W. $26 Our Price $23.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

2019 Darioush Signature Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: The hallmark of Darioush Signature Cabernet Sauvignon is its seamlessness, the result of decades of meticulous vineyard management of our cooler climate, Southern Napa Valley sites. Our estate vineyards in the Mount Veeder and Napa Valley AVAs have hit their stride, producing fruit with splendid concentration, compelling freshness, and graceful complexity. The final composition strikes a tightrope balance of energy, structure, and restraint; our flagship wine rewards with extraordinary depth and poise. $140 Our Price $125.99 (Arrives VRW this afternoon)

2020 Darioush Signature Napa Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: The hallmark of Darioush Signature Chardonnay is its progressive style of integrating precision, richness, and complexity. Grown from the winery estate and renowned Chardonnay vineyards of Los Carneros, these cooler Southern Napa Valley climes exhibit quintessential varietal characteristics while preserving inherent freshness and vibrancy. $70 Our Price $59.99 (Arrives VRW this afternoon)

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2016 Michele Chiarlo Barolo Tortoniano

The 2016 Barolo Tortoniano is an accessible and forthcoming wine that gives you the complexity and nuance of the Nebbiolo grape with a fruit-forward and food-friendly personality. There is a dry and astringent quality to the tannins that might need to smooth itself out with a few more years of cellar aging. Otherwise, the wine would pair with ravioli stuffed with minced meat and topped with extra cheese. $60 Our Price $49.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Enthusiast 93 Points
2017 Michele Chiarlo Tortoniano Barolo

New leather, truffle and camphor aromas mingle with a whiff of wild berries on this earthy red. The ripe, accessible palate doles out fleshy black cherry, crushed raspberry, culinary spice and game alongside taut, fine-grained tannins. Drink 2022–2027. $60 Our Price $49.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Advocate 92 points
2020 Tenuta San Guido Guidalberto Toscana IGT Cabernet-Merlot

The 2020 Guidalberto is taut and tight with plenty of tart cherry and wild berry. The wine offers great freshness and tension with bay leaf, spice, wild cherry and pressed lavender buds. There is a hint of black olive too. The blend is equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. $60 Our Price $51.99 (Available GT and VRW)

James Suckling 94 Points
2017 Pecchenino San Giuseppe Barolo

A rather soft and rich young Barolo with strawberry and floral character and hints of watermelon. It’s full-bodied and layered. Rich finish. So attractive now, but will age nicely. Try after 2023. $60 Our Price $51.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

James Suckling 97 Points
2017 Cordero di Montezemolo Monfalletto Barolo, Piedmont

This shows a lot of tar and roses with dried strawberries as well. Full-bodied with very, very fine tannins that coat your mouth, yet they are so velvety and set up the overall, focused and pure-fruit impression of the wine. Fantastic young Barolo. From organically grown grapes. Better in 2026, when the tannins will be more resolved. $55 Our Price $47.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 90 Points
TENUTA SAN GUIDO Toscana Le Difese 2020

Rich, evoking plum and cherry flavors, with earth and tobacco notes. Reveals refined tannins, with good acidity to remain fresh and linger on the finish. Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. Best from 2023 through 2037. 26,666 cases made, 1,000 cases imported. — BS. $42 Our Price $36.99 (Available GT)

2017 Ehlers Estate Portrait Proprietary Red

Winemaker Notes: The 2017 Ehlers Estate Portrait is a special red blend of the 4 Bordeaux varietals we have planted at the Estate. The wine is showing deep layers of garnet color. With only 50% Cabernet Sauvignon to give structure to the wine, the big personalities of the Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot really shine in this blend. Aromas of red berries, fig compote, ripe strawberries, cassis and violet flowers flowered aromas of vanilla, mocha and licorice. Long and balanced, the mouthfeel is rich but with silky tannins. Full finish with a long mineral post taste. Balanced acidity promises good aging potential to the wine. Ready to drink now, but it will age extremely well for 15-20 more years. $65 (Available GT)

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Taste 2020 MacRostie Russian River Chardonnay, 2019 Dehlinger Goldridge Pinot Noir and 2019 Chappellet Signature Napa Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, August 19th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Spectator 93 Points
2020 MACROSTIE Chardonnay Russian River

Distinctive and aromatic, with jasmine, orange blossom and fresh lime zest flavors that are fragrant and precise, plus terrific intensity and juiciness on a sleek, mouthwatering frame. Features succulent notes of lemon curd and peach at the core. Drink now through 2032. 350 cases made. — MW $38

Wine Enthusiast 96 Points
2019 Dehlinger Goldridge Russian River Pinot Noir

Juicy layers of berry and cherry are met by spicy acidity in this deliciously well-made, structured and highly enjoyable wine, grown in the plentiful, generous soils for which it is named. Dusty texture provides a grip that takes on a stone-like minerality and pleasing complexity. $60

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2019 Chappellet Signature Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

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

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Taste 2018 Willakenzie Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, 2018 Penfolds Bin 704 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and 2018 Paul Hobbs Napa Coombsville Cabernet Sauvignon at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, August 20th. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

Wine Spectator 93 Points
WILLAKENZIE Pinot Noir Willamette
 Valley 2018

Captures the best of Willamette Valley, with a layered structure that’s crisp yet supple with plump raspberry, orange peel and Darjeeling accents that glide toward refined tannins. Drink now through 2029. 6,930 cases made. — TF $30

James Suckling 95 Points
2018 Penfolds Bin 704 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

A beautiful, aromatic wine with blackcurrant, cool fruit and hints of minerals and tar. Full-bodied, yet polished and really well manicured. Long and creamy. Shows tension, energy and refinement. Drink after 2024, but so beautiful already. Hard not to drink. $75

Wine Advocate 94+
2018 Paul Hobbs Napa Cabernet Sauvignon Coombsville

This is the first vintage for this label. In fact, this replaces the "Napa Valley" label, but since all the wine now comes from the Coombsville AVA (and mostly from their estate), it now carries the Coombsville name.

Deep garnet-purple in color, the nose of the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Coombsville is redolent of Morello cherries, boysenberries and cassis with hints of lilacs, cinnamon stick and dried herbs. The medium to full-bodied palate has vibrant black fruit flavors with a a soft texture and nice tension, finishing with a red fruit lift. 6,677 cases were made. $120

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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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