August 30th 2022 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

August 30th 2022 Newsletter

Labor Day Holiday
We will be closed at GT and VRW on
Monday, September 5th

Taste 2020 Kistler Les Noisetiers Chardonnay and 2018 Shafer Relentless Syrah at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Tuesday, August 30th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

2020 Kistler Les Noisetiers Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: One heritage Californian selection of Chardonnay planted across fifteen vineyards, from Carneros to Sonoma Valley, to the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast. From those sites we produce eleven vineyard designate Chardonnays. We are wholly dedicated to the ideal of wines of site. It’s an unparalleled approach in the new world. $75

Jeb Dunnuck 96-98 Points
2018 Shafer Vineyards Relentless

A blend of 94% Syrah and 6% Petite Sirah, the 2018 Relentless looks to be just about sensational, offering a dense purple color as well as rich, loaded notes of blackberries, currants, smoked meats, peppery spice, and violets. Reminding me of a great Cornas on steroids with its gamy, exotic character paired with beautiful richness, it has fabulous purity, ripe, polished tannins, and a great finish. This will undoubtedly be a great vintage for this cuvée, and my money is on it being one of the best yet. $100 Our Price $89.95


Taste Chardonnay! 2019 Morgan Highlands, 2020 William Harrison Los Carneros and 2019 Paul Hobbs Russian River at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Wednesday, August 31st. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Spectator 92 Points
MORGAN Chardonnay Santa Lucia Highlands Highland 2019

Decadently spiced, with accents of roasted hazelnut and caramel to the well-knit baked apple and pear tart flavors. Dried mango hints line the open-textured finish. Drink now through 2025. 4,937 cases made.—K.M $28 Our Price $22.99

2020 William Harrison Los Carneros Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: This wine includes the Sangiacomo family’s Southern Sonoma vineyard, planted with the coveted “Hyde Clone” of Chardonnay. Along with the Robert Young selection from Catarina Ranch, and the workhorse Clone 4 from their El Novillero vineyard, we source a trifecta of their beautiful fruit. Barrel fermented and aged in 30% new oak, this wine boasts classic aromas of lemon zest and pineapple up front, with a subtle nuance of creme brulee underneath. 50% malolactic fermentation gives this Chardonnay a slightly rounder texture, offsetting its naturally bright acidity. $42

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2019 Paul Hobbs Russian River Chardonnay

Leading off the Chardonnay from Paul Hobbs, the 2019 Chardonnay Russian River Valley reveals a light gold hue as well as a classic, cleanly perfumed bouquet of honeyed citrus, crushed stone, white flowers, and brioche, with just a hint of toasted almond emerging with time in the glass. Medium-bodied, fresh, and lively on the palate, it gains more and more minerality as it sits in the glass. It’s flawlessly balanced, with an incredible mix of rich, ripe fruit and racy, bright acidity as well as outstanding length. This white is well worth searching out, and I would rank it with one of the top, base appellation blends in the vintage.


Taste Sauvignon Blanc! 2020 Scattered Peaks, 2021 Twomey Napa/Sonoma and 2021 Spottswoode Napa at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Thursday, September 1st. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

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

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

2021 Spottswoode Napa Sauvignon Blanc

Winemaker Notes: Layers of tropical fruits and floral aromas invite you into this intriguing and dynamic Sauvignon Blanc. Notes of fresh lime and grapefruit add tension and bring freshness on the approach, while yellow and white peach intermingle with subtle oak and a creamy meringue mid-palate. Hints of minerality and saline contribute to its long finish and complete this complex wine. Medium bodied, layered, and refreshing! $45


Montecillo ’20 “Singladuras” Albarino, Rias Baixas

Winemaker Notes: An attractive, pale lemon color with touches of green. Very elegant nose, with wine flavors such as jasmine and orange blossom followed by notes of sweet apple and dried herbs with a saline background. In the mouth it is rich and full of flavor, with a glycerine texture. It is marked by lively acidity that envelopes the notes of flowers and citrus mixed with aromatic herbs. Full-bodied, long and balanced. $24 Our Price $16.99 (Available GT and VRW 8/31/22)

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 93 Points
2018 Aston Estate Pinot Noir White Label Sonoma Coast

The 2018 Pinot Noir White Label shows a much more feminine, pretty, fruit-driven style carrying lots of red berries intermixed with peppery herbs, violets, and spicy nuances. Medium-bodied on the palate, it has a wonderfully polished, seamless mouthfeel, light tannins, and nicely integrated acidity. Enjoy this beautiful Pinot Noir over the coming 5-7 years. $45 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Advocate 93+
2021 Dönnhoff Norheimer Kirschheck Riesling Spätlese

From very old vines, the 2021 Norheimer Kirschheck Riesling Spätlese is clear, precise and elegant yet also complex on the nose that offers bright cherry and fruit aromas. On the palate, this is a light, refined and elegant, very delicate and light-footed Spätlese with remarkable finesse and fine phenolic grip. It's stimulatingly saline and grippy on the finish. 8% stated alcohol. Natural cork. Tasted at the domaine in July 2022. $45 Our Price $38.99 (Arrives GT 8/31/22)

2019 Calera Central Coast Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: This lush and alluring Pinot Noir offers a beautiful bouquet of raspberry, cherry, and wild strawberry aromas, with hints of sagebrush and dried herbs adding nuance and complexity. The vibrant red berry layers are echoed on the plush, mouthcoating palate, where a beam of cool-climate acidity adds poise and definition, carrying the flavors to a long, elegant finish. $30 Our Price $25.99 (Available GT)

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 Our Price $39.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
ALMA DE CATTLEYA Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma County 2021

Aromatic, intense and distinctive, delivering mouthwatering lemongrass, Meyer lemon, pomelo and white grapefruit flavors, with an intriguing touch of litsea oil that lingers on the fresh finish. Drink now. 2,000 cases made.—MaryAnn Worobiec. $22. Internet Price $19.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 91 Points
2021 La Cana Albarino

The 2021 La Caña is slightly fresher, with gorgeous citrus, tangerine, and lychee fruit as well as a medium-bodied, very pure, clean, vibrant style on the palate. It's another impeccably made, clean, crisp, juicy white that's going to shine with just about any food out there. $20 Our Price $16.95 (Back in stock GT 8/31/22)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
SPARKMAN Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley Holler 2019

Broad-shouldered and generous, this red layers in deep blackberry and cherry flavors, picking up mocha espresso and dusky spice accents as this moves toward polished tannins. Drink now through 2029. —T.F. $35 Internet Price $29.95 (Available GT and VRW)

2020 J. Lohr Hilltop Paso Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: The 2020 J. Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon displays trademark aromas of blackberry, black currant, and toasted pastry crust. Dense and soft on the palate. Elegant layers of black and red currants leave a bright finish, accented by spice and pastry notes from extended oak aging. Blend: 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc. $29 Our Price TBD (Arrives GT 8/31/22)

Wine Advocate 100 Points
2019 Spottswoode Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 89.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6.5% Cabernet Franc and 4.0% Petit Verdot. Deep garnet-purple in color, it needs of lot of swirling to unlock the most gorgeous perfume of bright black and red cherries, fresh blueberries and blackcurrant pastilles with hints of roses, cinnamon stick and orange peel. Medium-bodied, elegant and tightly wound, the palate shimmers with SO MUCH energy, featuring layer upon layer of floral, savory and crunchy black fruit notes, finishing long and minerally. This is a remarkably poised, seemingly effortless beauty that cannot fail to make your jaw drop. Forget it in the cellar for a good 3-5 years, at least, to allow all those nuances to fully emerge and then savor it over the next 30 years+. $245 (Available GT and limited) Spottswoode Lyndenhurst Cab support required when purchasing the estate Cabernet.


Taste 2019 Sean Minor Sonoma Coast Pinot, 2019 Darioush Caravan Cabernet and 2019 Baker and Hamilton Oakville Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, September 2nd. 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 Darioush Napa Caravan Cabernet

Winemaker Notes: Cabernet Sauvignon leads the way with its plush, velvety texture while Merlot and Cabernet Franc add savory top notes of bay leaf, hawthorn, and sandalwood. A flourish of rich, round fruits sweep across the midpalate, then culminate in an aromatic finish accentuated by dark chocolate reminiscent of a fine dusting of cocoa powder. $54

Wine Spectator 95 Points
BAKER & HAMILTON Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville 2019

This is packed with vivid boysenberry, mulberry and black currant fruit that bursts forth with energy, while being held in check by graphite, anise and apple wood notes that lend good underlying tension. Features bramble and warm stone accents on the finish, as the fruit races through. Best from 2023 through 2038. —J.M. 789 cases made. $125 (Available GT)


Taste 2020 Kistler Russian River Pinot, 2016 William Harrison Cabernet Franc and 2018 Cade Howell Mt Cabernet at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, September 3rd. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

2020 Kistler Russian River Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: The 2020 comes from a cooler Russian River site and offers a complex bouquet of red currants, smoked earth, ground pepper, and exotic floral and rose hip notes. Rich, medium-bodied, and seamless on the palate, its incredibly classy as well as perfectly balanced. $75

2016 William Harrison Cabernet Franc

Winemaker Notes: The fruit gives off aromas of black currant and Bing cherry, accompanied by Rutherford “dust”. Mineral and spice qualities that distinguish Cabernet Franc from the other Bordeaux varieties are also present, such as sage, graphite and wet stone. A mild hint of anise is layered in the background, lending a nice complexity. The mouthfeel is full and structured, securing a long life for this wine. $75

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


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) 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) 559-226-6828
Monday-Friday 10:30 AM-5:30 PM
Saturday 10:30 AM-4:00 PM

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