December 2nd 2022 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

December 2nd 2022 Newsletter

On Deck for wine tasting next week at VRW:

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points
2019 Beaux Freres Pinot Noir The Belles Soeurs

The 2019 Pinot Noir The Belles Soeurs is elegant with the perfume of raspberry, cherry pie, dried roses, and cinnamon. The palate is vibrant and tension-driven with rose hip, hibiscus, and orange zest. I love this for its focused and direct nature, which will warrant some time in cellar to unfold. Drink 2024-2037. $100

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
2019 Hourglass Blueline Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2019 Blueline Cabernet Sauvignon is another stunning wine in the lineup. Revealing a deep purple hue as well as beautiful cassis and blue-tinged fruits, it has lots of violet and lead pencil notes, medium to full body, perfect balance, and incredible tannins. A blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec, and the balance Cabernet Franc and Merlot, it's going to deliver the goods for upwards of two decades. $150

Wine Advocate 95 Points
2016 Eisele Vineyard Altagracia Cabernet Sauvignon

The Altagracia is produced almost exclusively from estate fruit this year and was bottled at the end of June 2018. Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Altagracia comes bursting forth with vivacious black cherries, blackberries, wild blueberries and cassis notes with touches of cinnamon stick, cloves, forest floor, violets and dusty earth with a waft of violets. The palate is medium to full-bodied, firm and grainy with loads of iron and mineral accents, finishing long and perfumed. $135


Wine Enthusiast 93 Points
2021 Banshee Sonoma Pinot Noir

This elegant, energized wine combines bright raspberry and red-cherry aromas with flinty, mineral accents and lip-smacking red and black cherry flavors. It shows great balance and will be fun to watch as it matures further. Best through 2030. $25 Our Price $19.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Riesling Kabinett Mosel Wehlener Sonnenuhr 2019

Fragrant, offering floral, apricot, peach and lime flavors, with an underlying line of stone. Precise and surgical, converges on the citrus- and spice-inflected finish. Drink now through 2030. 400 cases made, 224 cases. $27 Our Price $20.99 (Available GT)

International Wine Report 92 Points
BODEGAS SAN VALERO 'Plano Alto' 2019

The 2019 'Plano Alto' is fresh and inviting, as it opens to aromatics of black raspberries, wild cherries, pomegranate, sweet spices and fresh flowers which all jump from the glass. On the palate this is vibrant with fresh red berries, florals and spices. This is accessible today, but should continue to develop nicely over the next 2-3 years. $13 Our Price $11.29 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
BENOVIA Chardonnay Russian River Valley La Pommeraie 2018

Powerfully crisp, this is filled with juicy acidity backing the white fruit and dried herbal flavors. Firm and a touch fleshy midpalate, with a finish that lingers with flinty notes. Pure and refreshing. Best from 2022 through 2026. 442 cases made. — KM $52 (Available GT) Limited

Wine Spectator 95 Points
PAUL HOBBS Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Goldrock Estate 2018

Rich and contoured, with ferrous notes to the well-structured red currant, dark cherry and dried blackberry flavors. Supple minerality shows on the spicy finish, where light creamy accents linger. Best from 2021 through 2026. 801 cases made. — KM. Internet Price $85 (Available GT) Limited

Wine Spectator 93 Points
LUIGI PIRA Barolo Marenca 2018

This Barolo flashes its fruity side, with bright cherry and raspberry flavors accented by rose, tobacco and a hint of black pepper. Firms up yet remains vibrant, with a lingering, spicy aftertaste. Best from 2025 through 2042. —B.S. 200 cases imported $78 Our Price $70.99 (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 94 Points
2018 Dehlinger Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Altamont

A svelte and elegant style, with cedary accents to the concentrated core of cherry and raspberry flavors. Shows minerally richness midpalate, followed by a long and pure-tasting finish. Drink now through 2027. 900 cases made. $65 (Available GT)

Wine Enthusiast 96 Points
2019 Dehlinger Russian River Valley Chardonnay

Impressive in salty pineapple and an underlying richness of crème brûlée, this wine remains balanced within its luxurious layers, with persistent freshness throughout. Unfiltered, it offers structure, graceful elegance and length, while being cohesive on the finish. $45 (Available GT)

Wine Enthusiast 96 Points
2019 Dehlinger Goldridge Russian River Pinot Noir

Juicy layers of berry and cherry are met by spicy acidity in this deliciously well-made, structured and highly enjoyable wine, grown in the plentiful, generous soils for which it is named. Dusty texture provides a grip that takes on a stone-like minerality and pleasing complexity. $60 (Available GT)

Jeb Dunnuck 94+ Points
2019 Venge Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Igneous

Classic Cabernet black fruits, tobacco, crushed rock, violets, and subtle herbal nuances all emerge from Venge’s 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Igneous, a medium to full-bodied, balanced Calistoga Cabernet that has beautiful purity of fruit. I like it today, yet it should age for 15+ years as well. $105 (Available GT and VRW)


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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