October 25th 2022 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

October 25th 2022 Newsletter

On deck for wine tasting next week at VRW:

Wine Spectator 93 Points
CHARLES HEIDSIECK Brut Rosé Champagne Réserve NV

A graceful rosé Champagne, with a creamy mousse caressing the palate while juicy acidity creates a mouthwatering frame for the white cherry, grilled nut, candied pink grapefruit zest, ground ginger and cardamom spice flavors. Long and lovely on the finish, drawing you back for sip after sip. Disgorged 2018. Drink now through 2027. 510 cases imported. — AN $87


Taste 2018 Ruffino Modus and 2019 Peter Michael Au Paradis Oakville Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $20 per person.
Tuesday, October 25th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Spectator 92 Points

RUFFINO Toscana Modus 2018

A ripe, opulent style, this red is saturated with black cherry, plum, cedar and spice flavors, yet remains fluid and lithe on the palate. Quickly gives way to tannins with the feel of bitter chocolate, with the fruit and floral notes enduring. Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Best from 2024 through 2038. 17,000 cases made, 12,000 cases imported.—Bruce Sanderson. $28

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
2019 Peter Michael Au Paradis

Hailing from Oakville, the 2019 Au Paradis is nuanced, with ripe redcurrant, fresh tobacco, and sweet baking spice. The palate is fully dry and has lift through its dark fruited profile. The midpalate is flush with roses and ripe red plum, giving way to a well-balanced, tannic structure. Drink 2024-2044. $260


Taste Henri Goutorbe Prestige Brut, Ruinart Blanc de Blancs and Vilmart Grand Cellier at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Wednesday, October 26th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Spectator 91 Points
HENRI GOUTORBE Brut Champagne Cuvée Prestige NV

Ripe and juicy aromas and flavors of dried cherry, licorice and candied lemon zest are balanced by crisp acidity in this bright Champagne, creating a mouthwatering impression through to the lightly spiced finish. Disgorged October 2019. Drink now through 2024. — AN $51

Wine Spectator 93 Points
RUINART Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne NV

Steeped apricot and candied ginger flavors are an aromatic entry for this graceful Champagne, backed by finely cut acidity and layered with accents of kumquat, toast point and salted Marcona almond. It's fresh and racy, yet there's an effortless quality to the integration that makes this hard to stop sipping. Long, minerally finish. Drink now through 2027. — AN. $70

Wine Spectator 94 Points
Vilmart Brut Champagne Grand Cellier NV (2022)

A mouthwatering Champagne that shows seamless integration of the plush and creamy mousse, rapierlike acidity and expressive range of peach, chopped nut, ripe green apple, star anise and honeysuckle aromas and flavors that persist on the long finish. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Disgorged January 2022. Drink now through 2027. $77


Taste 2019 Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet, 2019 Lewis Alec’s Blend and 2018 Cade Howell Mt Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Thursday, October 27th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

The Somm Journal 94 Points
2019 Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet

Notes of mountain brush and crushed violet integrate with this wine’s firm structure. It’s heady and plush, with chewy tannins and broad shoulders, and there’s an elegance to the uplifted and ripe notes of deep, dark boysenberry. Melted dark chocolate is so satisfying on the long finish. $60/magnum

Wine Spectator 93 Points
Lewis Alec's Blend Napa Valley 2019

Structured like Cabernet but racy like Syrah, this red offers bold black raspberry, toasty mocha and savory spice flavors that finish with refined tannins. Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Drink now through 2030. 1,000 cases made. $65

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


Dios Baco AMONTILLADO Sherry

Winemaker Notes: With its well-documented origin in the late 1970s, this light mahogany-colored Sherry turns every glass into a unique experience. All the years of care of this solera are perceptible in its delicate bouquet and its complex flavor. $27 Our Price $23.99 (Arrives GT 10/26/22)

Dios Baco Elite Oloroso

Winemaker Notes: Full-bodied with mahogany color, this Sherry is very rich, medium sweet with aromas of roasted hazel nuts and toffee. It shows nice acidity and finishes very clean, inviting another sip.

It has a depth of flavor and richness that makes it ideal for braising meat and game or for deglazing a pan for sauces. Try pairing it with roasted game birds or chicken, foie gras or with desserts such as almond or other nut-based cakes and cookies or creme brulee. $27 Our Price $23.99 (Arrives GT 10/26/22)

Austin Hope Austin Barrel 20 Cuvee Cabernet

Winemaker Notes: Our second release of the AUSTIN Cabernet Sauvignon remains focused on our goal to produce a wine true to "Paso Robles". On the nose savory aromas intertwine with rich dark fruit nuances. On the palate, flavors evolve into layers of juicy blackberry, spicy nutmeg, toasted coffee and fresh vanilla bean. This medium to full bodied wine is finished with refined tannins and a distinguishable zing of acid to balance. $20 (Back in stock GT 10/26/22)

Wine Spectator 98 Points
Louis Roederer Brut Champagne Cristal 2014

This vivid Champagne shows up-front and linear definition, thanks to rapierlike acidity, with finely meshed flavors of ripe black cherry and mandarin orange fruit, raw almond, anise and cardamom spice as well as a touch of honeycomb, which all unfurl and expand on the fine, creamy palate. Sleek acidity continues through to the finish, with additional racy character provided by a streak of minerally saline and chalk, which gains momentum through the midpalate and rings out on the well-cut, lasting finish. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Drink now through 2040. 9,181 cases imported. $359 Our Price $313.95 (Available GT and VRW 10/26/22)

James Suckling 98 Points
2016 Chateau Le Gay Pomerol

Exotic aromas of blackberries, truffle, earth and cedar follow through to a full body, rich and layered tannins and a long, long finish. Shows so much here. Exotic. Give it at least three or four years of bottle age. Exuberant. Try from 2023. $155 (Arrives GT 10/26/22)

Wine Advocate 95 Points
2016 Chateau La Gravette de Certan Pomerol

Made up of 75% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc and 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2016 La Gravette de Certan has a deep garnet-purple color and features lovely redcurrants, black raspberries and black cherries notes with a beautiful floral background of lavender and rose hip tea plus suggestions of sandalwood, cinnamon stick and menthol. Medium-bodied, refreshing, elegant and beautifully seamless, it offers layers of perfumed red and black fruits with a satiny texture and very impressive length. (LPB) $90 (Arrives GT 10/26/22)

Wine Spectator 96 Points
VILMART Brut Champagne Grand Cellier d'Or 2016

Gorgeous aromas and flavors of nectarine, chopped almond, dried white cherry, ground cardamom and ginger, lime blossoms, graphite and espresso crema are immediately present on the mouthwatering palate of this elegant Champagne. Buoyed by bright, well-integrated acidity, the flavors glide along on the fine, creamy mousse, underscored by a racy streak of salinity that drives the clean-cut finish. Shows beautiful harmony and expression. Disgorged October 2020. Drink now through 2036. From France.—A.N. $110 Our Price $106.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW 10/27/22)


Winemaker Notes: Pretty blue and dark fruits, orange zest, anise, and a hint of Moroccan spiced lamb. Supple and lush, with creamy milk-chocolate texture on the mid-palate. Easy to drink straightaway. $40 (Arrives VRW this afternoon)

Wine Spectator 91 Points
Veuve Clicquot Brut Rosé Champagne NV (2022)

Minerally on the nose and lacy in texture on the palate, this layers tangy mandarin orange peel acidity with rich hints of toasted brioche and vanilla as well as flavors of wild strawberry, candied ginger and pastry cream. Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. Drink now. $60 (Available VRW 10/26/22)

Wine Advocate 94+
2018 Plumpjack Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Estate

Composed of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Malbec and 5% Petit Verdot, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate displays a deep garnet-purple color and fragrant notes of Black Forest cake, crème de cassis and wild blueberries with nuances of red roses, Chinese five spice, camphor and black olive plus a hint of charcoal. Full-bodied, the decadently rich fruit has impressive freshness lifting the palate along with firm, finely grained tannins, finishing long and fragrant. $160 (Back in stock GT and VRW)


Taste 2017 Byron Fiddlestix Pinot, 2019 Spottswoode Lyndenhurst Cabernet and 2019 Venge Igneous Napa Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, October 28th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points
2017 Byron Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard

Leading off the Sta. Rita Hills releases, the 2017 Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard comes from clones 777 and 667 and was completely destemmed and aged 16 months in 32% new French oak. Bright berry fruits, leafy herbs, spring flowers, candied violets, and subtle incense notes all emerge from the glass, and it's medium-bodied, beautifully balanced, elegant, and seamless on the palate. This is a classy, balanced Sta. Rita Hills effort that leads with its fruit. $38

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2019 Spottswoode Lyndenhurst Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Lyndenhurst is composed of 77.7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.4% Cabernet Franc, 4.1% Petit Verdot, 5% Merlot and 3.8% Malbec. Deep garnet-purple in color, it skips out of the glass with lively blueberries, redcurrants and kirsch scents, plus hints of cedar chest, fragrant earth and rose hip tea. Medium-bodied, elegant and lively in the mouth, the palate is chock-full of bright and crunchy red and black fruits, finishing long and earthy. $90

Jeb Dunnuck 94+ Points
2019 Venge Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Igneous

Classic Cabernet black fruits, tobacco, crushed rock, violets, and subtle herbal nuances all emerge from Venge’s 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Igneous, a medium to full-bodied, balanced Calistoga Cabernet that has beautiful purity of fruit. I like it today, yet it should age for 15+ years as well. $105


Taste 2020 Paul Lato Le Souvenir Chardonnay, 2019 Paul Hobbs Goldrock Estate Pinot and 2017 Taub Rutherford Cabernet at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, October 29th. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
2020 Paul Lato Chardonnay Le Souvenir Sierra Madre Vineyard

From a great site outside of Santa Maria, the 2020 Chardonnay Le Souvenir Sierra Madre Vineyard is another ripe, powerful Chardonnay revealing musky notes of melon, honeyed lemon, toasted bread, and hints of almond paste and chalky minerality. Full-bodied, concentrated, and layered on the palate, it stays remarkably light on its feet, has good acidity, and a great finish that picks up some classic Santa Maria salinity and minerality. It's not for those looking for Chablis, but it’s beautifully done and a gorgeous California Chardonnay to drink over the coming 4-6 years. $80

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

Wine Spectator 92 Points
2017 Taub Family Rutherford Cabernet

Nicely compact, with a core of steeped red currant, plum and blackberry fruit that should unwind in the near future. Alder and licorice notes score the finish, with good latent energy. Best from 2022 through 2031. 1,500 cases made. — JM $75


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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