November 11th 2022 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

November 11th 2022 Newsletter

On Deck for wine tasting next week at VRW:

Wine Spectator 96 Points
(#3 Wine Spectator Top 100)
HDV Chardonnay Napa Valley Hyde Vineyard 2019

Stunning, showing a pure beam of white nectarine, mango and ripe Bartlett pear flavors that mingle with pound cake, toasted, salted hazelnut and nutmeg on a supple, rich frame, which draws focus from a bright thread of acidity. Drink now through 2030. —M.W. $78

Jeb Dunnuck 98 Points
2020 DuMOL Pinot Noir Estate Vineyard

The 2020 Pinot Noir DuMOL Estate Vineyard is resinous with pine, forested earth, and kirsch. The palate has another gear of intensity and is full with ripe tannins and a long finish. The palate gives way to cherry pit, rocky soil, and spice. Hold for a few years and drink over the following 15 or more years. $100

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2020 DuMOL Chardonnay Wester Reach

The 2020 Chardonnay Wester Reach is one of Dumol's larger cuvées—usually about 3,000 cases are produced—although there will only be 1,000 cases of the 2020 vintage available. Among Dumol's 2020s, it stands out for its transparency and delicacy rather than the density and concentration of the rest of the portfolio. It offers delicate scents of fresh apples and quince, toast, pie crust, spring blossoms and a stony undercurrent. The medium-bodied palate is bright, spicy and energetic, with a gently oily texture that drives the long, mineral finish. Drink it on its own, or paired with a wide range of dishes, over the next 3-5 years. $62

Wine Advocate 94 Points
2020 DuMOL Pinot Noir Wester Reach

The 2020 Pinot Noir Wester Reach is one of Dumol's larger cuvées, and production was normal despite the challenges of the vintage (3,750 cases). It has alluring purity on the nose, with scents of cranberries, rhubarb, tobacco leaves, orange peel and aniseed. The medium-bodied palate is concentrated and powerful without losing detail, framed by powdery tannins and refreshing acidity. It offers an array of spice and floral accents on the finish. Lovely! $75


Wine Enthusiast 92 Points
2019 Smith and Hook Cabernet Sauvignon

This bottling starts with approachable aromas of boysenberry, elderberry, purple flowers and a hint of thyme. The palate is polished and smoothly textured, yet complex in flavors, with savory smoked spice, roasted red-fruit and fennel-pollen elements working together. $20 Liquidation Price $15.25 (Limited to stock on hand at GT)

Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points
2020 Merry Edwards Winery Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley, Half Bottles

The 2020 Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley jumps out the glass with pristine ripe tropical fruit including guava, fresh white flowers, and grapefruit pith. The palate is ripe with sweet pink grapefruit candy, light vanilla spice, and sweet peach. Soft and rounded, the riper style of the 2020 Sauvignon Blanc makes it approachable now or over the next 6 years. $21/375ml (Arrives GT this afternoon)

2021 Hartford Court Russian River Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: Aromas of black cherry, blueberry, black currant, allspice and loam are followed by flavors of wild raspberries, dark berries and a crushed rock minerality. The dense entry is followed by a sweet and juicy mouth feel, supported by acidity, silky tannins and a subtle earthy finish. $40 Our Price $33.99 (Available GT)

Wine Enthusiast 92 Points
2019 FEL Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

This sleek, well-balanced wine pairs ample, juicy cherry and red-currant flavors with enticing oak accents of vanilla, toasted baguette and cinnamon. It’s smooth, supple and delicious. $44 Our Price $38.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 94 Points
2020 Staglin Estate Napa Chardonnay

The 2020 Chardonnay Estate offers terrific brightness to play off the natural vigor of this Rutherford site. Orchard fruit, mint, white flowers, white pepper and crushed rocks are all finely sculpted in a Chardonnay that impresses from start to finish. This is the first vintage aged partially in sandstone, which seems to add vibrancy and delineation. I am very curious to see how it ages. $150

Wine Spectator 97 Points
Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder 2018

This distinctive version leads with pine forest, sweet bay leaf and savory notes, with a core of steeped currant and bitter plum fruit, plus ample tobacco and warm stone notes in the background. The finish is chiseled in feel, with racy acidity taking just as prominent of a role as tannic grip. With range, character and energy to spare, this should cruise in the cellar. Best from 2025 through 2045. 2,650 cases made. $150 (Available GT) Limited

James Suckling 95 Points
2019 Pahlmeyer Jayson Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

A plush, full-bodied red with currant, olive, walnut and chocolate-nut character. It’s full and layered with so much unctuous fruit, but not heavy nor overpowering. Delicious and satisfying now, but will age nicely. $100 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

Wine Advocate 98 Points
2019 Continuum Proprietary Red Napa

Continuum's 2019 Proprietary Red is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Cabernet Franc, 7% Petit Verdot and 6% Merlot, all from the estate vineyard on Pritchard Hill. Aged in two-thirds new French oak, with the balance in second or third-use barrels and a single concrete amphora, it's remarkably dark in hue, a deep, saturated purple in the glass. On the nose, it's floral and herbal yet fruit-driven, with violets, sage and bay leaf adding nuance to black cherries, while the palate is full-bodied, plush and silky. There's an enticing yin-yang to the interplay between high-toned herbals and bass notes of dark chocolate in this dense, concentrated effort that finishes lush and long. It's a magnificent wine that should drink well for at least two decades. $300 (Back in stock GT) Limited


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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