November 8th 2022 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

November 8th 2022 Newsletter

Taste 2020 Matthews Winery Cabernet and 2018 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $20 per person.
Tuesday, November 8th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Enthusiast 94 Points
2020 Matthews Winery Cabernet Sauvignon

The aromas are thoroughly captivating, with notes of scorched earth, cocoa, black currant, graphite and bittersweet chocolate. Plush, polished, seamless fruit flavors follow. There's a sophistication and intensity to it all that is mesmerizing. $32

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
2018 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red

The 2018 Red Blend Proprietary Red could easily be mistaken for a great vintage from Château Latour, at least aromatically. Blackcurrants, scorched earth, lead pencil shavings, and a gorgeous sense of minerality all develop in the glass, and it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a deep, concentrated mouthfeel, building tannins (and plenty of them), and a great finish. This brilliant, world-class Cabernet is going to benefit from 4-5 years or more of bottle age and have 30+ years of longevity. The blend is 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, and 1% Cabernet Franc, all brought up in 95% new French oak. $240


Taste Michel Turgy Blanc de Blancs, Taittinger Prelude Brut and Roederer Collection 242 Brut at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Wednesday, November 9th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

DOMAINE MICHEL TURGY Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut Reserve Selection NV

Winemaker Notes: Hand-harvested. Pressed in an ancient wooden upright press, and fermented on indigenous yeasts in temperature-controlled,

stainless steel tanks. Aged for three years in bottle. Dosage 3 grams/L. Aromas of gardenia, honeysuckle, brioche. Flavors of lemon curd, sea salt, toast. Fine-grained and savory $52

Wine Spectator 92
TAITTINGER Brut Champagne Prélude NV

There's a pleasing viscosity to this elegant Champagne, with sleek acidity creating a mouthwatering frame for the flavors of wild cherry, toast point, preserved lemon and honeycomb. Offers a lingering, creamy finish. Drink now through 2023. 300 cases imported. — AN $98

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.” $55


Taste 2018 Etude Carneros Grace Benoist Carneros Pinot and 2018 Venge Family Reserve Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Thursday, November 10th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

James Suckling 94 Points
2018 Etude Carneros 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. $41

Wine Advocate 96 Points
2018 Venge Vineyards Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2018 Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon explodes with crème de cassis, baked plums and Black Forest cake scents, plus hints of candied violets, clove oil, cedar and unsmoked cigars. Big, full-bodied and richly fruited, the palate has a firm and grainy frame to support the generous black fruits and spicy accents, finishing very long. $205


Wine Enthusiast 92 Points
2020 Smith and Hook Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon

This widely available Cab is always hedonistically satisfying, clicking all the rich and delicious buttons for a reliably enjoyable experience. Aromas of cassis, caramel and black cherry cola on the nose lead into a creamy palate where polished tannins present hefty blackberry flavors, with marjoram, wood smoke and sagebrush elements adding complexity. $25 Our Price $19.99 (Available GT and VRW 11/9/22)

2022 Wine Spectator Top 100 #10
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)

Wine Advocate 94 Points
2012 Champagne André Robert
Brut Collection d'Auteur

Disgorged in September 2020 with three grams per liter dosage, the 2012 Brut Collection d'Auteur is deep and vinous, unwinding in the glass with notes of pear, white flowers and freshly braked bread mingled with subtle hints of citrus zest and bee pollen. Full-bodied, elegantly muscular and seamless, with a deep and concentrated core, bright acids and a pretty pinpoint mousse, it's a seamless, understated blanc de blanc derived from holdings in prime lieux-dits Les Vaucherots, Les Coullemets du Midi, Les Finciarts and Les Chétillons. Internet Price $145 (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
LEMELSON Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Thea's Selection 2019

Detailed and refined, with handsome raspberry, forest floor and spiced tea flavors that add structure toward medium-grained tannins. Drink now through 2029. 7,300 cases made.—Tim Fish. $34 Our Price $26.99 (Arrives GT 11/10/22)

2021 Staglin Family Salus Napa Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: The 2021 Salus Chardonnay provides an adventure for the senses. It welcomes with perfectly ripened citrus, delicate florals, and limestone minerality. The expressive aromas deliver baked pear tart, a hint of fresh nutmeg and twist of Meyer lemon. The palate showcases juicy apricot, brûléed white grapefruit drizzled with fir honey, and the surprising texture of silky mango. The richness of sun warmed fruit is beautifully balanced by acidity focusing the entire experience. Each sip induces a longing for another. $60 (Back in stock GT 11/9/22)

James Suckling 94 Points
2019 Etude Grace Benoist Carneros Pinot, Half Bottle

Dried strawberries with spices, such as cloves and peppercorns, as well as some dried flowers. Medium to full body with a pretty core of ripe pinot, fine and linear tannins and a long, fresh finish. Needs time to open, but vibrant and attractive now. Drink after 2023. $25 Our Price $22.49/375ml (Available GT and VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2020 Alma Rosa Winery Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills

The 2020 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills comes mostly from the El Jabali Vineyard and spent 10 months in barrel. It's a darker, richer, concentrated style of Pinot Noir that gives up ample red and black fruits, spices, dried herbs, and hints of loamy earth. Beautifully textured and medium to full-bodied, with ripe tannins, this is a brilliant Pinot Noir that readers will love. I'd drink bottles over the coming 4-5 years, but it will keep longer if you're so inclined. $48 Our Price $27.59 (Arrives GT 11/9/22)

2021 Rombauer Carneros Chardonnay, Half Bottles

Winemaker Notes: Ripe peach, citrus fruits, spice, and pie crust aromas all mingle and lift from the glass. The citrus, supported by notes of apricot, continues on the palate which is concentrated with a rich, creamy middle palate, and strong supporting acidity. The finish is long and marked with hints of vanilla. This wine will continue to build richness as it ages in the bottle. $22 Our Price $19.99/375ml (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Advocate 94 Points
2019 Crossbarn Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

The 2019 Pinot Noir has a medium ruby-purple color and lush scents of dried blueberries and cranberries, with nuances of blood orange, forest floor and violet. The medium-bodied palate has grainy tannins and rounded acidity to support its layered fruits, and it finishes long and flavorful. $38 Internet Price $32.99 (Available GT and VRW)

James Suckling 100 Points
2019 Beaulieu Vineyards Georges de Latour Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Wow! The aromas to this are really exceptional, with a tangerine edge to the blackcurrants, graphite, lead pencil, flowers and wet earth. It changes all the time. So expressive and refined. Full-bodied with great intensity and depth of fruit. The ultra-fine tannins display millions of layers. The texture on the palate is superb and lasts for minutes. This is the new 1974 George de Latour, which was a legend. Real Napa Valley red here. Drinkable now, to understand it, but truly great in five to six years and onwards. $150 (Arrives GT 11/11/22)

Wine Enthusiast 94 Points
2019 Vina Robles Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a rich and thoroughly satisfying Cab, starting with aromas of roasted boysenberry, cocoa, violet and toasty oak on the nose. The palate is cohesive and neatly woven, with rich black fruit, mocha and espresso flavors that are wrapped in firm but balanced tannins $26. Internet Price $21.99 (Available GT and VRW)


Taste 2021 Flowers Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, 2018 Arkenstone NVD Napa Cabernet and 2019 Checkerboard Impetuous Napa Proprietary Red at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, November 11th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

James Suckling 93 Points
2021 Flowers Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

A linear and tight white with sliced lemon and green apple, as well as hints of honeysuckle. Medium body with a creamy texture and a salty, jasmine undertone to the fruit at the finish. Solid. Phenolics. $45

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

2019 Checkerboard Impetuous Proprietary Red

Winemaker Notes: The 2019 vintage is a fresh fruit explosion. There are oodles of bing cherry, wild blackberry, and cassis along with caramel, savory herbs, blueberry and white rock. The wine broadens on the palate and stuns with a finish of fruit and baking spice-laden barrique. Yes, please! - Martha McClellan. $90


Taste 2019 Cattleya Cuvee Number 5 Chardonnay, 2020 Clos St Jean Vieilles Vignes Chateauneuf du Pape and 2019 Hayfork Lewelling Ranch Napa Cabernet at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, November 12th. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points
2019 Cattleya Wines Chardonnay Cuvee Number Five

Another classic Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, the 2019 Chardonnay Cuvee Number Five reveals a lighter gold hue as well as a thrilling nose of crushed citrus, lemon curd, white flowers, and honeyed minerality. Young, tight, medium-bodied, and vibrant, on the palate it has beautiful acidity and outstanding length. As with the 2019 Beyond The Threshold Chardonnay, it will benefit from a year or two of bottle age to gain additional complexity, and it should have a solid decade of prime drinking. $55

Wine Spectator 95 Points
CLOS ST.-JEAN Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes 2020

Leads with warm ganache and fig bread notes, followed quickly by raspberry reduction accents that take some time to unwind. Showcases plum pâte de fruit, sanguine and black licorice notes, with a flicker of Turkish coffee underscoring the finish and giving this a decidedly dark profile in the end. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Vaccarèse and Muscardin. Best from 2024 through 2038. —J.M. $65

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


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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