The Grape Tray

September 2nd 2022 Newsletter

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


On deck for wine tasting next week at VRW

James Suckling 99 Points
2019 Peter Michael Les Pavots

This is very perfumed with blackberry and pine-cone aromas, as well as raspberries and black cherries. Full-bodied with firm, velvety tannins that are tight-grained. Creamy and beautiful. Currant and graphite flavors come through. Lightly chewy at the end. 60% cabernet sauvignon, 21% merlot, 14% cabernet franc and 5% petit verdot. Drink after 2025. $256 Our Price $229.95

2018 Outpost Howell Mt. Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: The 2018 Outpost Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is composed of the very best vineyard blocks planted at 2,200 feet in elevation and augmented with complementary lots from our famed True Vineyard. It immediately intoxicates the senses with layered aromas of jasmine flowers, blackberry pie, elderberry syrup and bay laurel, but the depth of flavor and length of finish are what belie this wine’s greatness. Imagine a mix of umami flavors with dark plums, savory thyme, and Baker’s chocolate, layered with ample chalky tannin. It has everything one might want in a Howell Mountain Cabernet, balancing hedonism & restraint. $115

Wine Advocate 94-96+ Points
2019 Outpost Howell Mt. Cabernet Sauvignon

Sporting a deep purple-black color, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon needs a little coaxing to begin, soon unfurling to reveal notions of crushed black cherries, wild blueberries and fresh blackcurrant, plus suggestions of tar, wet slate, fertile loam and black truffles. The medium to full-bodied palate is charged with wonderful energy, delivering loads of black fruit layers and a firm, grainy frame plus and lively backbone, finishing long and mineral laced. (Tasted as a barrel sample) $115

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2018 Bouchaine Carneros Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: A tangy fresh cherry nose opens to cocoa, cola, and notes of nutmeg. The juicy lip-smacking entry shows lovely cherry and wild strawberry flavors with gorgeous rose petals and baking spices in the background. Smooth tannin and vibrant acidity make this a perfect wine for food pairings. $35 Our Price $27.99 (Available GT and VRW) Delicious!

2019 Sea Smoke Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: An elegant Chardonnay with aromas of orange zest, ripe melon and honeysuckle. Complemented by mango and a slight nuttiness in the focused mid-palate and the refreshing cool climate acidity of our estate vineyard. CA Market Price $105-$140 (Arrives GT 9/7/22)

Wine Spectator 95 Points
WINE & SOUL Douro Pintas 2019

High-toned and floral on the nose, this expressive red offers a lovely core of crushed black and red berry and cherry fruit underscored by a rich streak of loamy minerality. Tightly meshed, with dense tannins providing weight and definition, while accents of garrigue, balsamico and spice box lend fine detail. Like a racehorse at the gate, this is raring to go. Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz and Rufete. Best from 2024 through 2034. 49 cases imported —A.N. $120 Our Price $109.99 (Available GT) Additional Rating: Wine Advocate 97 Points

Wine Enthusiast 94 Points
2020 Margerum M5 Red

This annual blend is truly a benchmark for Grenache-based Rhône blends from California. This vintage’s mix of 49% Grenache, 31% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, 5% Counoise and 5% Cinsault offers aromas of dark raspberry, rose petal, cinnamon, sumac and dried meat on the nose. The acid- washed, delicately tannic palate is fresh, with currant and raspberry, yet loaded with oregano, dried flower and more game flavors. $29 Our Price $22.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2019 O'Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

The base 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley is terrific, and while I don’t know the price, I suspect it’s a great value. Deep purple-hued, with terrific mulled currant and blackberry fruits, it has lots of ripe herbal, chocolaty spice notes, full-bodied richness, sweet tannins, and a great finish. This is pure Napa Valley goodness to drink over the coming 10-15 years. $85 (Available GT)

2020 Thread Feathers Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: Etched in aromas of sage, cedar and pencil shaving, this wine is robust and ripe, brawny and burly in style and approach, reflecting its Mt. Veeder source. The fruit is dark and broodingly rich. Thick layers of blackberry, black cherry, toffee and earthy tobacco framed within a foundation of firm, integrated tannin, and balanced power. Structured, age-worthy, and complex, the wine finishes on sustained savory notes of cardamon, clove, and freshly tilled earth. 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Malbec. $40 Our Price $33.99 (Arrives GT 9/16/22)

Wine Spectator 94 Points
Peter Franus Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder Brandlin Vineyard 2019

Dense yet defined, with sappy kirsch, blackberry and boysenberry reduction laced with licorice snap, violet and apple wood notes. The long finish has heft but is very well-detailed, with an iron accent chiming in. One for the cellar. Best from 2024 through 2038. 270 cases made. $85 (Arrives GT 9/16/22) Limited

Jeb Dunnuck 90 Points
Peter Franus Brandlin Vineyard Zinfandel 2018

Coming all from Mt. Veeder and a blend of 90% Zinfandel, and the rest Mourvèdre, Charbono, and Carignan, the 2018 Zinfandel Brandlin Vineyard has lots of black and blue fruits as well as classic Zinfandel candied orange, violet, and incense-like aromas and flavors. Nicely textured, medium-bodied, and beautifully balanced, drink this charming red over the coming 4-6 years $45. Internet Price $39.99 (Arrives GT 9/16/22)

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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

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)

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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

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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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