The Grape Tray

September 23rd 2022 Newsletter

On Deck for wine tasting next week at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW):

2021 Pisoni Family Lucia Estate Cuvée Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: Layers of black cherry, Mission fig, spiced plum, and berry crumble provide a stepping stone for more subtle hints of fresh sage, clove, and vanilla bean. . .$55

2020 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. CA Market Price $110-$165

Wine Advocate 95 Points
2019 DAOU Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Magnums

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve contains 20% Petit Verdot and 3% Merlot. It was made from free-run juice and matured 16 months in 50% new French oak. The nose is deep and savory, offering up layers of grilled meats, blackberries, dark spices, dried flowers and iron. The palate is silky and detailed with savory character and surprisingly fresh acidity, finishing long and spicy. $120/magnum. Our Price $97.95

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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 (Back in stock GT this afternoon)

Wine Spectator 94 Points
Groth Oakcross Proprietary Red Oakville 2019

A dynamic blend, combining deep structure with finesse and polish, this features black cherry and cassis flavors laced with toasty spice, red licorice and a hint of dusty herbs as it builds tension toward refined tannins. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2030. 1,150 cases made. $99 Our Price $85.99 (Available GT and VRW 9/24/22)

Wine Advocate 93+ Points
Roederer Brut Collection 242

Roederer's Brut Premier was created in the 1980s to prove to consumers that we could deliver consistent quality with a blend that compensated for less than perfectly ripe vintages," explains Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon. "We were blending in pursuit of maturity, of ripeness. The concept behind the Brut Collection is the opposite: we're looking for freshness—and we are embracing singularity, something we're emphasizing by enumerating each year's blend." This project has been in the making since 2012, when Lecaillon set aside 21,000 liters of wine to constitute a perpetual reserve aged in large tanks without malolactic fermentation. Sourcing has evolved too: less must is coming from cooperatives, and only vineyards cultivated without the use of herbicides inform the blend. A dedicated team oversees all this, visiting every grower three times per year. And vinification is parcel by parcel to deliver a maximum of blending components. Iteration 242 is based on the 2017 vintage (56%), supplemented by 34% reserve wines from the perpetual reserve established in 2012 and 10% foudre-aged reserve wines. Internet Price $55 (Back in stock GT and VRW 9/24/22)

Jeb Dunnuck 98 Points
2018 Arkenstone Estate Red

Flirting with perfection, the 2018 Estate Red is an off-the-hook beauty based on 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot, and the rest Malbec and Merlot. Full-bodied, flawlessly balanced, and both powerful and elegant, it offers a captivating bouquet of chocolate covered blue fruits, bay leaf/bouquet garni, violets, and candied orange zest. I’d be happy to drink a bottle today, but smart money will give it 2-3 years of bottle age. $225 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

Wine Advocate 92-94 Points
2020 DAOU Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

The 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is a barrel sample of free-run Cabernet Sauvignon (75%) and Petit Verdot (25%), matured for 16 months in 50% new oak. Still youthfully coiled, it hints at blueberry fruit with swirls of graphite, soy sauce and exotic spices. The medium-bodied palate is velvety in texture, savory in character and finishes with uplifting acidity. This is due to be bottled in May 2022. $60 Our Price $49.95 (Available GT and VRW 9/24/22)

2016 Burgess Cellars CONTADINA Napa CABERNET SAUVIGNON

Winemaker Notes: A dense and concentrated cabernet with aromas and flavors of confectionary blackberry and stewed cassis. The lush fruit is brought into balance by high tone herbal aromatics of mint, sage, and sweet tobacco. The distinctively thick-skinned Cabernet grapes provide a long velvety finish. $52 Our Price $44.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW 9/24/22)

Vinous 93-95 Points
L’Arlot Nuits Saint Georges Clos des Forets 1er Cru

The 2020 Nuits Saint-Georges Clos des Forêts Saint Georges 1er Cru is very elegant on the nose with brambly red berry fruit, touches of damp loamy soil and just a very slight ferrous aroma. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins, very focused and pure with just the right amount of acidity. Very harmonious, this is a gorgeous Clos des Forêts that should give 15-20 years of drinking pleasure (at least). -Neal Martin. $167 (Arrives GT 10/5/22)

2020 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. CA Market Price $110-$165 (Available GT this afternoon)

2020 Sea Smoke Southing Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: Each year, our goal for Southing is to create the ideal marriage of complexity and elegance. The ever-changing nose of the Southing exhibits Montmorency cherry, sage, hibiscus and subtle baking spices. The fine tannins and minerality are enhanced by our estate vineyard’s characteristic cool climate acidity. CA Market Price $110-$165 (Available GT this afternoon)

Wine Advocate 96 Points
2019 Paul Hobbs Pinot Noir Goldrock Estate

Medium ruby-purple, the 2019 Pinot Noir Goldrock Estate unfolds slowly to blueberries, cranberries, tangerine peel, forest floor and mushroom, plus loads of spices in the undercurrent. Medium-bodied, it offers fragrant fruits, an abundance of finely grained tannins, seamless acidity and a long, perfumed finish. $85 Internet Price $79.99 (Arrives GT 10/6/22)

Wine Advocate 97+ Points
2019 DAOU Vineyards Soul Of A Lion Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2019 Soul Of A Lion is a blend of free-run Cabernet Sauvignon (77%), Cabernet Franc (14%), and Petit Verdot (9%), aged 22 months in 100% new French oak. Opaque ruby in color, it offers aromatic contrast between dark, savory cherry fruit, chargrill and graphite, and top notes of green pepper and rose petals. The palate explodes with detailed flavors and its tannins are already resolved and chocolaty, with seamless acidity and exotic spicy layers emerging on the extended finish. Wow! $180 Our Price $146.95 (Available GT)

Wine Advocate 95 Points
2019 DAOU Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Magnums

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve contains 20% Petit Verdot and 3% Merlot. It was made from free-run juice and matured 16 months in 50% new French oak. The nose is deep and savory, offering up layers of grilled meats, blackberries, dark spices, dried flowers and iron. The palate is silky and detailed with savory character and surprisingly fresh acidity, finishing long and spicy. $120/magnum. Our Price $97.95 (Available GT and VRW 9/24/22)

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Taste 2021 Luli Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir, 2019 Tether Napa Cabernet and 2017 Purlieu Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, September 23rd. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

2021 Luli Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

Winery Notes: Luli Wines came about from a very special partnership between Sara Floyd and the Pisoni Family. Sara is a Master Sommelier from the San Francisco Bay Area with many years of experience in the restaurant and wine business. The Pisoni Family is from Monterey County, where they farm their eponymous vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands. $25

Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points
2019 Tether Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Another gem from winemaker Anna Monticelli, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is based on 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, and the rest Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc. Aged 21 months in 60% new French oak, it’s a medium to full-bodied, round, seamless effort with real class in its darker currant fruits as well as tobacco, violets, and toasted spice aromas and flavors. It will keep for a decade. $47

Wine Advocate 93+
2017 Purlieu Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper

Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper features flamboyant notes of crème de cassis, blueberry pie and red currant jelly with nuances of sautéed herbs, tar and underbrush with a waft of pencil lead. Full-bodied, firmly textured and laden with muscular fruit, it has loads of earthy accents and a chewy finish. $190 Our Price $129.99

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Taste 2021 Merry Edwards Russian River Sauvignon Blanc, 2018 Purlieu Napa Cabernet and 2019 Outpost Howell Mt Cabernet at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, September 24th. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

2021 Merry Edwards Russian River Sauvignon Blanc

Winemaker Heidi von der Mehden: The special care we take to bring out the very best in this variety shows in our results. We use a specific mix of clones – two-thirds Shenandoah (Clone 1) and one-third Sauvignon Musqué – that results in a wine brimming with floral and tropical fruit aromatics with a citrusy, juicy core. Barrel fermentation and twice-weekly lees stirring help us create the characteristic creamy texture and rich body that you’ve come to know and share with your friends and family. $40

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2018 Purlieu Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Sporting a deep garnet-purple color, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon comes galloping out of the glass with energetic scents of ripe black cherries, fresh black berries and blackcurrant cordial plus nuances of unsmoked cigars, cedar chest and pencil lead with a waft of wild sage. Full-bodied, rich and decadent in the mouth, the palate is beautifully poised with bags of freshness countering the concentrated flavors and a fine-grained frame, finishing long with a minty kick. $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 Our Price $94.95

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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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