November 1st 2022 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

November 1st 2022 Newsletter

Taste 2020 Pico Maccario Barbera d’Asti Lavignone and 2018 Plumpjack Oakville Estate Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Tuesday, November 1st. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Spectator 91 Points
Pico Maccario Barbera d'Asti Lavignone 2020

Graphite, blackberry and plum aromas and flavors highlight this juicy red, which is balanced and plushly textured, with just the slightest hint of oak. Drink now through 2025. 18,000 cases made, 8,000 cases imported. $20

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


Taste Petite and Bajan Grand Cru Ambrosie Brut, Charles Heidsieck Brut Rose and 2013 Andre Robert Terre du Mesnil Brut at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Wednesday, November 2nd. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Grand Cru Brut ‘Ambrosie’ NV

Aromas of small red berries, spring flowers, light herbs, golden toast. Silky texture, mouth-filling, ripe; lacy flavors of citrus, summer fruit. 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir. $54

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

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2013 Champagne André Robert Brut Terre du Mesnil

Disgorged in February 2021 with 5.2 grams per liter dosage, the 2013 Brut Terre du Mesnil is showing nicely, offering up a delicate bouquet of citrus oil, warm biscuits, crips yellow apple and marzipan. Medium to full-bodied, vinous and enveloping, it's a seamless, pillowy wine with a fleshy core of fruit built around a racy, vintage-typical spine of acidity. $96


Taste 2019 DeLille D2 Columbia Valley Red, 2016 Beringer Distinctions Napa Cabernet and 2018 Shafer Relentless Syrah at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Thursday, November 3rd. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Spectator 94 Points
DeLille D2 Columbia Valley 2019

Polish meets structure in this red, which offers well-defined black cherry, toasty spice and bay leaf accents as this slowly unfurls toward fine-grained tannins. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2030. 15,000 cases made. $50

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2016 Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Distinctions

First released in 2014 and made with the idea to highlight richness and opulence, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Distinctions includes slightly more valley floor fruit compared to the Knights Valley Reserve and offers a forward, sexy, incredibly satisfying style as well as lots of blackcurrant fruit, ripe tannins, and impeccable balance. Despite the richer, more forward style, it’s going to evolve just fine on its balance and concentration. $49

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


James Suckling 94 Points
2018 Etude Grace Benoist Pinot Noir

Vivid strawberry and dried-flower aromas here with hints of sandalwood. Medium to full body with firm, creamy tannins and a tangy finish. Opulent. Tight and focused. Pumice and black and white-pepper notes. A pretty wine already, but give it a year or two to open and soften. Drink after 2021. $42 Our Price $35.95 (Available GT and VRW)

Graham Six Grape Port

Winemaker Notes: Six Grapes has a seductive, rich aroma of ripe plums, cherries, and dark chocolate notes. On the palate, it's complex, with an excellent structure and a long, lingering finish. Six Grapes is one of Graham's original Port blends--it is a very full-bodied, luscious wine drawn from the same vineyards as Graham's Vintage Ports. Blended from two or three years' harvests, the wine is an average of five to six years old when it is lightly filtered and bottled. $25 Our Price $19.99 (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 93 Points * ETUDE Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2017

Packed with juicy black currant, plum and blackberry compote flavors that pump along the graphite-edged grip and a dark tobacco backdrop. Frankly toasted on the finish, but with ample fruit for balance. A serious Cab. Best from 2022 through 2034. —J.M. $100 Internet Price $81.99 (Back in stock GT 11/3/22)

Jeb Dunnuck 91 Points
Andrew Murray Tous les Jours Syrah 2018

Another value release from this terrific producer, the 2018 Syrah Tous Les Jours is all Syrah, from a mix of vineyards in the Santa Ynez Valley, that was mostly destemmed and brought up in neutral oak. It's deeper ruby/purple hue is followed by a ripe, textured, yet still complex, cool-climate-like Syrah that has lots of peppery herbs, smoke game, and assorted darker berry fruit aromas and flavors. It's California's answer to a terrific Saint Joseph and will evolve nicely for 4-6 years or more. $17 Our Price $14.95 (Available GT)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 94 Points
2019 Beckmen Purisima Mountain Ballard Canyon Syrah

The 2019 Syrah Purisima Mountain Vineyard is a wild, exotic wine. Blueberry jam, chocolate, spice, leather and licorice fill out the layers effortlessly. This unctuous, heady Syrah shows just how distinctive Ballard Canyon is. A year or two in bottle should help soften some of the harder edges. $36 Our Price $26.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2013 Champagne André Robert Brut Terre du Mesnil

Disgorged in February 2021 with 5.2 grams per liter dosage, the 2013 Brut Terre du Mesnil is showing nicely, offering up a delicate bouquet of citrus oil, warm biscuits, crips yellow apple and marzipan. Medium to full-bodied, vinous and enveloping, it's a seamless, pillowy wine with a fleshy core of fruit built around a racy, vintage-typical spine of acidity. $96 (Available GT)

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 (Available GT and VRW)

2018 Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: Ruby in color, the Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon has notes of cassis, caramel, juniper and pomegranate. Lifted and vibrant on the nose, this wine is fresh on the palate with a juicy, fruit-forward core. Its silky mouthfeel will provide drinking pleasure through 2044 given proper cellaring conditions. 94.8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4.2% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc. Internet Price $90 (Back in Stock GT)

Wine Enthusiast 90 Point
2021 Beckmen Santa Ynez Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Lightly effervescent in the glass, this bottling smells of wet lawn, green pineapple and pomelo on the tightly woven nose. A vibrant blast of acidity kicks off the sip, and the quick hit of tension gives way to riper passion fruit and light guava flavors. $25 Our Price $15.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Advocate 94 Points
2018 Arkenstone Napa NVD Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2018 NVD Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and was aged for 22 months in French oak barrels, 80% new. Deep garnet-purple in color, the nose reveals notes of warm plums, baked black currants and black cherries with suggestions of clove oil, black tea, Chinese five spice and cedar. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is packed with firm, crunchy black berry flavors with bags of freshness and plush tannins, finishing with compelling energy. 1,200 cases were made. $95 (Arrives GT 11/2/22)

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2019 Hayfork Cabernet Sauvignon Lewelling Ranch

I loved the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Lewelling Ranch, which is made by the talented Haley Wight. A blend of 97% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Petit Verdot, it has a vibrant bouquet of blueberries, fresh plums, violets, and tobacco. Rich, medium to full-bodied, and opulent on the palate, it stays perfectly balanced and a joy to drink. There are a scant 475 cases. You won’t find many Cabernets better than this at the price. $85 (Arrives GT 11/2/22)

Wine Spectator 98 Points
Graham Vintage Port 2016

This offers a distilled plum and boysenberry essence, with a racy feel, as spearmint and graphite notes drive through. As the finish kicks in, this turns toward the dark side, with ganache, charcoal and tar elements. Has the showy ripeness of the vintage but is backed by a decidedly dry feel on the finish, imparting a sense of precision despite the heft. Best from 2030 through 2055. 6,325 cases made, 3,000 cases imported. $150 Our Price $109.99 (Available GT) Limited


Taste 2020 Kistler Sonoma Mountain Chardonnay, 2020 Mark Ryan The Dissident Red and 2019 Lewis Napa Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, November 4th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

2020 Kistler Sonoma Mountain Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: This wine is tremendously complex, with intense aromas of green apple & sea spray, flavors of flint & citrus, and is structured by vibrant acidity. As the wine opens, notes of roasted almonds, pineapple, lemon and butter become more evident. Big, lavish, full-bodied and mouth-watering, this is a true California-style Chardonnay. $75

Wine Spectator 92 Points
MARK RYAN The Dissident Columbia Valley 2020

A fruit bomb that's also well-structured, this generous red offers bold black cherry and raspberry flavors laced with vanilla and toasty spice. Finishes on a zesty, plump note. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2029. 5,600 cases made. From Washington.—Tim Fish. $48

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2019 Lewis Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

The deep purple-hued 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is a rocking fruit bomb of a wine that boasts loads of cassis and jammy berry fruits, notes of graphite, scorched earth, and tobacco, full-bodied richness, and a great finish. Drink this sexy, pleasure-bent beauty over the coming 10-12 years. $100


Taste 2021 Peter Michael L’Apres-Midi Sauvignon Blanc, 2018 Patz and Hall Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and 2018 Switchback Ridge Peterson Vineyard Napa Cabernet at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, November 5th. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

James Suckling 95 Points
Peter Michael L'Apres-Midi Sauvignon Blanc 2021

This is very complex and dense, with layers of fruit, dried apricot and pine needles, as well as maple-tree highlights. Dried lemons and pears, too. Phenolic and structured. Chewy. So flavorful. 7% semillon in this. $70

2018 Patz and Hall Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: Eighteen small, independent family-owned vineyard sites come together in this gorgeous display of Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. This is an approachable Pinot Noir showing alluring freshness and purity. The nose displays intense aromas of Bing cherry, strawberry, dried rose petal and licorice notes. Nicely dense and full on the palate, the fresh acidity and bright red fruit flavors resolve on a juicy, detailed finish. This 2018 offering has the essential elegance, purity and complexity that defines great Pinot Noir. $48

2018 Switchback Ridge Peterson Vineyard Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: A rich, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon with captivating aromas of blackberry, black cherry and dark currant. These flavors continue onto the palate with just a trace of cocoa vanilla and deliver a mouth-coating explosion of flavor! The tannins are abundant, yet chewy and ripe, and resolve in a long, elegant finish. $105


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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