November 29th 2022 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

November 29th 2022 Newsletter

Taste 2019 Opus One Proprietary Red today at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $25 per person.
Tuesday, November 29th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Advocate 97-99 Points
2019 Opus One

Winemaker Michael Silacci commented that usually the blends are finished in January or February after the vintage. This year, with the 2019s, he was still tweaking the blend, but he did mention that this is "pretty close to the final blend."

Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2019 Opus One leaps from the glass with notes of Black Forest cake, Morello cherries, mulberries and fresh blackcurrants plus hints of licorice, wilted roses, Sichuan pepper and iron ore. Full-bodied, the palate is jam-packed with juicy black, blue and red fruits, framed by velvety tannins and background freshness, finishing on a compelling earthy/mineral note. Tasted as a barrel sample, this is a truly magnificent Opus One in the making! $410. Internet Price $389.99


Taste 2020 Crossbarn Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, 2019 Tether Napa Cabernet and 2019 Beaulieu Vineyard Georges de Latour Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Wednesday, November 30th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2020 Crossbarn Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

The 2020 Chardonnay has a detailed, pretty perfume of white peaches and quince, with touches of lemongrass, green herbs and white flowers. The medium-bodied palate is satiny and fragrant, with a supporting streak of fresh acidity, and there's a touch of phenolic texture that draws out the long finish. $30

Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points
2019 Tether Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Another gem from winemaker Anna Monticelli, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is based on 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, and the rest Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc. Aged 21 months in 60% new French oak, it’s a medium to full-bodied, round, seamless effort with real class in its darker currant fruits as well as tobacco, violets, and toasted spice aromas and flavors. It will keep for a decade. $47

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


Taste 2019 Titus Napa Cabernet, 2020 Caymus Napa Cabernet and 2018 Faust The Pact Napa Cabernet at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Thursday, December 1st. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points
2019 Titus Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is a terrific value and has a classic Napa style in its ripe plum and mulberry fruits as well as toasty oak and chocolate-like aromas and flavors. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, it has ripe, supple tannins and the classic forward, delicious style of the vintage. Drink it over the coming 10-12 years as well. $50

2020 Caymus Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: A dark, scarlet red color, with powerful aromas of sweet ripe cabernet grapes. Initial impressions are fantastically appealing, brooding to expansive textural sensations of finely grained cacao tannins. The whole of the wine is balanced, rich, expressive and impressively complex. The backbone of fine tannin and sweet ripeness is a carryover from perfectly mature fruit. $95

James Suckling 96 Points
2018 Faust The Pact Coombsville Napa Cabernet

This is really something, showing focus and purity that highlights the unique character of this appellation. So much blue fruit, lavender and walnut with some herbal and sweet tobacco undertones It’s full-bodied, yet tight and poised. Lovely quality to the tannins. Exceptional. $125


2019 Chalk Hill Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: Our 2019 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is dark ruby in color and displays expressive aromas of bright cherry, plum, raspberry and baking spices. The palate is medium bodied with bright acidity and flavors that are characteristic of this cool-climate such as cherry, raspberry, and plum with subtle notes of dried herbs. It finishes with velvety soft tannins and lingering notes of vanilla. $29 Our Price $19.95 (Available GT and VRW 12/1/22)

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 Our Price $86.99 (Back in stock GT this afternoon)

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points
2019 Law Estate Wines Beguiling

More Grenache-dominated, the 2019 Beguiling is based on 88% Grenache and 12% Syrah. Aged 19 months in a mix of French oak and concrete, it has a terrific perfume of candied strawberries, blackberries, violets, cracked pepper, and new leather. This carries to a full-bodied Grenache with plenty of savory tannins, a seamless, elegant texture, flawless balance, and a great finish. $85 (Arrives GT 11/30/22)

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 (Back in stock GT and VRW 12/1/22)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
FAUST Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2019

Lush, with boysenberry, plum and blackberry compote flavors liberally laced with licorice snap and sweet spice accents. Reveals a glimmer of graphite on the finish to keep it honest. For the hedonist crowd. Drink now through 2032. 46,000 cases made. — JM $55. Our Price $44.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW 12/1/22)


Winemaker Notes: A dense and concentrated cabernet with aromas and flavors of confectionary blackberry and stewed cassis. The lush fruit is brought into balance by high tone herbal aromatics of mint, sage, and sweet tobacco. The distinctively thick-skinned Cabernet grapes provide a long velvety finish. $52 Our Price $44.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW 12/1/22)

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
2021 Lucia Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

A stunning melange of three truly unique vineyard sites (52% Pisoni, 18% Garys’, and 30% Soberanes), the 2019 Lucia Pinot Noir exhales deeply as its ruby hue trickles down the side of the glass. Notes of spiced plum, black cherry and sage quickly fill the glass. This wine is initially tightly wound, but each passing minute allows for new layers and aromas to unfold. At first, subtle notes of dried raspberry and sous bois were most prominent, but time in the glass promotes the expression of richer, more powerful notes of black cherry, crushed strawberry, sandalwood, and baking spice. The trademarked coastal fog and stiff afternoon winds of the Santa Lucia Highlands provide the refreshing acidity necessary for a long life in bottle. $55 (Back in stock GT 11/30/22)

2018 Merus Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is a dense, full-throttle wine. A blast of inky dark fruit, chocolate, spice, new leather, lavender, graphite, and dried herbs makes a strong opening statement. There's not a ton of subtlety, but the 2019 is undeniably beautiful and vivid. It's unapologetically flamboyant though, and will be appreciated most by readers who enjoy this style. $155 (Back in stock GT and VRW 12/1/22)


Taste 2020 Ramey Russian River Chardonnay, 2019 Sinegal Estate Napa Cabernet and 2018 Vineyard 29 Ceanda St. Helena Napa Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, December 2nd. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

2020 Ramey Russian River Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: These are cool sites, with low vigor soil such as Goldridge Loam, planted between 1978 and 2013. The vineyards are mostly planted to UC Davis Clone 4, known for its prominent acidity and large clusters, with lesser percentages of Wente and aromatic clones like Rued. The 2020 vintage is comprised of 45% Westside Farms, 20% Kilcullen, 10% Dutton Sebastopol, 10% Frank Johnson, 9% Rochioli Allen, and 6% Bucher.

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 98 Points
2019 Sinegal Napa Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is every bit as magnificent as it was last year. A heady, statuesque wine, the 2019 captures all the pedigree of the vintage. Inky red cherry fruit, mocha, licorice and spice race across the palate. The 2019 is bright, deep and powerful, with exceptional balance and tons of class. It's a stunning wine, to say the least. The move towards a slightly less pushed style, with less overt oak signatures, has paid off big time. This is a fabulous showing. $80

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


Taste 2019 Foxen Santa Maria Pinot Noir, 2019 Darioush Napa Cabernet and 2016 Pina Firehouse Rutherford Cabernet at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, December 3rd. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points
2019 Foxen Santa Maria Pinot Noir

Leading off the reds, the 2019 Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley is a smoking good appellation Pinot Noir well worth seeking out. Ripe red and blackberry fruits, peppery herbs, flowers, and sous bois all show on the nose, and it’s nicely textured, fruit-forward, and ready to go. It’s going to put a smile on your face any time over the coming 3-5 years. $42

2019 Darioush Napa Caravan Cabernet

Winemaker Notes: Cabernet Sauvignon leads the way with its plush, velvety texture while Merlot and Cabernet Franc add savory top notes of bay leaf, hawthorn, and sandalwood. A flourish of rich, round fruits sweep across the midpalate, then culminate in an aromatic finish accentuated by dark chocolate reminiscent of a fine dusting of cocoa powder. $54

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points
Piña Cabernet Sauvignon Firehouse Vineyard Rutherford 2016

From a rocky vineyard in Rutherford, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Firehouse Vineyard is a regal, majestic Cabernet that has beautiful notes of crème de cassis, black raspberries, and toasted spices, with an almost mountain fruit-like quality in its aromatics as well as its structure and texture on the palate. Medium to full-bodied, seamlessly constructed, tannic and backward, yet also perfectly balanced, do your best to hide bottles for 4-5 years and it should cruise over the following two decades. $95


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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