November 18th 2022 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

November 18th 2022 Newsletter

On Deck for wine tasting next week at VRW:

2020 Kongsgaard Napa Chardonnay

Jeb Dunnuck 97+ Points
2018 Bacio Divino Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Janzen Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper Vineyard

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Janzen Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper Vineyard reveals a dense purple/blue color to go with more closed, backward (yet classic Missouri Hopper) notes of chocolaty dark fruits, tobacco leaf, espresso roast, and a hint of violets. Beautiful on the palate, it's a powerhouse that offers a monster mouthfeel, ripe, silky tannins, and a great finish. Despite all its concentration, it stays nicely balanced and has a wonderful sense of freshness, which is the hallmark of the 2018 vintage. This beauty will evolve for 25+ years. $165

Wine Spectator 96 Points
Antinori Toscana Tignanello 2019 (#5 Wine Spectator Top 100)

A supple, elegant red highlighted by bright cherry, black currant, violet, tobacco, iron and oak spice aromas and flavors. Though fluid and seemingly approachable now, this is well-structured and shows the balance to age. Fine length. Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2025 through 2042. 25,800 cases made, 5,000 cases imported. $145

Wine Advocate 94+
2018 Paul Hobbs Napa Cabernet Sauvignon Coombsville

This is the first vintage for this label. In fact, this replaces the "Napa Valley" label, but since all the wine now comes from the Coombsville AVA (and mostly from their estate), it now carries the Coombsville name.

Deep garnet-purple in color, the nose of the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Coombsville is redolent of Morello cherries, boysenberries and cassis with hints of lilacs, cinnamon stick and dried herbs. The medium to full-bodied palate has vibrant black fruit flavors with a a soft texture and nice tension, finishing with a red fruit lift. 6,677 cases were made. $120


Antonio Galloni, Vinous 91 Points
2017 The Paring Red

The Paring's Red overdelivers big time in 2017, as it so often does. A burst of dark red fruit tobacco, menthol, leather and spice open up first. Juicy and ample, with tons of voluptuousness, the 2017 is so expressive today. Hints of tobacco, cedar, licorice and grilled herbs add layers of aromatic complexity. $25 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
ROCHIOLI Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley 2021

Rich and succulent but also extremely elegant, with perfectly ripe nectarine and peach flavors and notes of melon at the core, plus details of lemongrass, dried ginger and a touch of sea salt. This has plump roundness, which is offset by vibrant, crisp acidity. 560 cases made Drink now. —M.W. $50 (Available GT and VRW)

2021 Hartford Old Vine Russian River Zinfandel

Winemaker Notes: The 2021 Hartford Russian River Valley Zinfandel is showing aromas of ripe plum, blackberry, black cherry which are highlighted with hints of white pepper and allspice. Blueberry, red raspberry, nutmeg and mocha flavors lead into a long, bright finish with supple tannins. $39 Our Price $33.99 (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 91 Points
SEAN MINOR Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Signature Series 2021

Bright, high-pitched style, with blood orange and damson plum notes racing through, flecked liberally with savory and thyme hints. Nice sleek feel on the finish. Drink now through 2027. 7,500 cases made.—J.M. $28 Our Price $19.49 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
WILLAKENZIE Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2018

Captures the best of Willamette Valley, with a layered structure that’s crisp yet supple with plump raspberry, orange peel and Darjeeling accents that glide toward refined tannins. Drink now through 2029. 6,930 cases made. — TF $30 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

Wine Advocate 94 Points
2019 Marietta Armé Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2019 Armé Cabernet Sauvignon has a medium ruby-purple color and layered aromas of red and black currants, violet, iron, underbrush and mushrooms. The medium-bodied palate is pleasantly rustic and a touch chewy, with bright acidity, pretty floral perfume and an earth-laced finish. $35 Our Price $26.95 (Available GT and VRW)

2021 Long Meadow Ranch Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc

Winemaker Notes: An excellent Rutherford growing season produced lovely uniform Sauvignon Blanc fruit that allowed for a relatively brief harvest period and resulted in an outstanding wine full of concentration and complexity. A mouthwatering acidity adds energy to elegant aromas of lemongrass, grapefruit, Bearss lime, honeydew melon, and kiwi that were retained in the precision of a slow cold fermentation. $25 Our Price $19.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points
2019 Tether Napa Chardonnay

Another great release for this wine, the 2019 Chardonnay offers a pure, elegant, yet still powerful, medium to full-bodied style...It has a tropical edge as well as wonderful purity, a clean, elegant texture, and a great finish. $42 Internet Price $31.99 (Available GT and VRW)

James Suckling 94 Points
Roederer Anderson Valley Estate Brut

Extremely fresh and floral with sliced apples, stones and some white peach. Bread dough, too. Fine bead. Medium to full body with crisp acidity and a steely finish. Hints of phenolics provide a fine texture. Vibrant acidity. About 15% reserve wine (mostly chardonnay) in this, from five vintages. 2.5 years on the lees. 60% chardonnay and 40% pinot noir. Drink or hold. $22 (Available GT and VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points
2018 Vineyard 29 Cabernet Sauvignon Ceanda

Another St. Helena release, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Ceanda checks in as 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, and the rest Petit Verdot and Merlot, all brought up in French oak. Black fruits, chocolaty herbs, graphite, violets, and acacia flower notes all emerge from the glass, and it hits the palate with a seamless, elegant texture, ultra-fine tannins, no hard edges, and a great finish. I'd be thrilled to drink a bottle any time over the coming 20 years or more. $150 (We will taste this wine at VRW in early December)


Taste 2019 Lemelson Thea’s Pinot, 2019 Mondavi Oakville The Estates Cabernet and 2019 Pahlmeyer Jayson Napa Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, November 18th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

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

Wine Spectator 94 Points
Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville The Estates 2019 (#6 Wine Spectator Top 100)

Throws off some pretty gorgeous aromas of violet, anise and sweet bay leaf, with a core of ripe, streamlined boysenberry and blackberry pâte de fruit flavors following closely. The finish has a racy graphite edge, while the fruit and aromas just spill through. Approachable now, too. Drink now through 2034. 13,500 cases made. $85

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


Taste 2019 Reynvaan The Unnamed Series Red, 2017 Etude Napa Cabernet and 2019 Peter Franus Mt. Veeder Cabernet at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, November 19th. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

Wine Spectator 94 Points
REYNVAAN Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon-Cabernet Franc Walla Walla Valley The Unnamed Series 2019

Expressive and multilayered, with vibrant red currant, black olive, violet and licorice tones that build polish and richness toward refined tannins. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Drink now through 2030. 525 cases made. From Washington.—Tim Fish. $28

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

Wine Spectator 94 Points
Peter Franus Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder Brandlin Vineyard 2019

Dense yet defined, with sappy kirsch, blackberry and boysenberry reduction laced with licorice snap, violet and apple wood notes. The long finish has heft but is very well-detailed, with an iron accent chiming in. One for the cellar. Best from 2024 through 2038. 270 cases made. $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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