December 27th 2022 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

December 27th 2022 Newsletter

Holiday Hours

Grape Tray (GT)
Tuesday-Friday 10:30 AM- 5:30 PM
Saturday 10:30 AM – 4:00 PM

Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW)
Tuesday-Friday 12:00 noon – 6:00 PM
Saturday 12:00 noon – 4:00 PM


Taste 2019 Kathryn Hall Napa Cabernet Sauvignon at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Tuesday, December 27th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Spectator 94 Points
2019 Kathryn Hall Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

 Rich and fleshy in feel, but with a nice juicy edge for balance, this lets creamed plum and blackberry fruit spill forth, laced liberally with mocha, singed alder, sweet tobacco and melted black licorice. For the hedonist crowd. Drink now through 2035. 6,300 cases made. $225


Taste 2019 Beaux Freres Belles Soeurs Pinot, 2016 Burgess Contadina Napa Cabernet and 2019 Venge Igneous Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Wednesday, December 28th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

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


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

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


Taste J Cuvee 20 Russian River Brut, Charles Heidsieck Brut Rose and 2013 Andre Robert Terre du Mesnil Brut at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Thursday, December 29th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Spectator 92 Points
J Cuvée 20 Russian River Valley NV Sparkling Wine

Steely and full of snappy acidity, with accents of red apple, gingerbread and lemon tart that build richness and plushness on the lingering finish. Drink now. From California.—T.F. $40

Wine Spectator 93 Points
CHARLES HEIDSIECK Brut Rosé Champagne Réserve NV

A graceful rosé Champagne, with a creamy mousse caressing the palate while juicy acidity creates a mouthwatering frame for the white cherry, grilled nut, candied pink grapefruit zest, ground ginger and cardamom spice flavors. Long and lovely on the finish, drawing you back for sip after sip. Disgorged 2018. Drink now through 2027. 510 cases imported. — AN $87

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2013 Champagne André Robert Brut Terre du Mesnil

Disgorged in February 2021 with 5.2 grams per liter dosage, the 2013 Brut Terre du Mesnil is showing nicely, offering up a delicate bouquet of citrus oil, warm biscuits, crips yellow apple and marzipan. Medium to full-bodied, vinous and enveloping, it's a seamless, pillowy wine with a fleshy core of fruit built around a racy, vintage-typical spine of acidity. $96


James Suckling 90 Points
Zenato Valpolicella Superiore DOC 2019

Vibrant nose with spiced cherries, plums, dried herbs, cloves and some bark. It's medium-bodied with fine-grained tannins and juicy cherries. Fruity and caressing mouth-feel, before a medium finish. Drink now. $18 Our Price $15.99 (Available GT and VRW this afternoon)

2021 Carmel Road Monterey Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: Our Monterey Chardonnay is so rich, it doesn’t need oak. Refreshing acidity, courtesy of the cool climate, heightens the golden mango, tangerine, Asian pear, white flower, vanilla bean and butter cream flavors, leading to a long finish complexed with a hint of yeast from sur lie aging. $18 Internet Price $10.99 (Local GT and VRW customers will receive our instant rebate for a net price of $8.95)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
Marchesi de' Frescobaldi Brunello di Montalcino Castelgiocondo 2016

Starts out with macerated plum and cherry fruit, shaded by tobacco, iron and earth flavors. Dense, dusty tannins put the grip on the finish, yet this is also vibrant and finds a nice equilibrium in the end, with the fruit returning. Best from 2024 through 2042. 27,000 cases made, 2,500 cases imported. $66 Internet Price $59.95 (Available GT and VRW 12/29/22)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
DOMAINE EDEN Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains 2019

Rich and succulent, showing a broad range of flavors, from nutmeg-laced spices and candied orange zest to salted, toasted hazelnut, Fuji apple, lemon zest and dried thyme. Packs plenty of harmony on the long, expressive finish. Drink now through 2030. —M.W. $32 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Advocate 96 Points
2021 Liquid Farm Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County

Pale ruby, the 2021 Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County offers detailed aromas of cranberries, blackberries, oolong tea leaves, potpourri, earth, orange peel and fernet. Medium-bodied, it floods the mouth with layer after layer of bitters-tinged fruits, boasting fine, dusty tannins, addicting freshness and a very long, detailed finish. This way overdelivers for its modest appellation-wide status! $55 Our Price $39.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW) Delicious!

Wine Spectator 93 Points
Coho Headwaters Napa Valley 2018

Ripe but fresh, this lets alluring boysenberry and mulberry notes stretch out slowly, with a mix of singed apple wood and anise playing a supporting role. Reveals light bramble and violet hints that peek in on the well-fruited finish. Shows good embedded energy. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Best from 2023 through 2035. 810 cases made. $60 (Back in stock GT and VRW 12/29/22)

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 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

2021 M5 Red Rhône-style Blend Santa Barbara County

Winemaker Notes: M5 is Margerum's Flagship wine. It is modeled after top wines from southern Rhône – Châteauneuf-du-Pape . The M is for Margerum & the 5 is for 5 grapes: Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, and Counoise. M5 is a Grenache based blend & has elegance and layers making it a versatile table and food wine. The overlying presence of Grenache flavors initially impacts the palate, followed by a finish complete with hints of jam, cocoa and dark berry contributions of Syrah and earthy Mourvèdre. It’s a “go to” wine since it drinks well with every occasion and almost every type of cuisine. Syrah adds richness and power, Mourvèdre adds earthy, old world, Counoise adds aromatics of watermelon and Cinsault add a spice component. $30 Our Price $23.99 (Available GT)


Taste 2021 Melville Sta Rita Hills Estate Chardonnay, 2017 Mount Eden Cabernet and 2019 Mondavi Oakville The Estates Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, December 30th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Advocate 96 Points
2021 Melville Sta Rita Hills Chardonnay Estate

The 2021 Chardonnay Estate is scented of white peaches and quince with savory undertones of salted almonds, meringue and lemon peel. Medium-bodied, concentrated and expansive, it offers slowly unfurling savory layers, refreshing acidity and a long finish driven by a pleasing touch of anchoring texture. This is juicy and appealing yet layered and intense! 1,632 cases produced. $40

Jeb Dunnuck 97+ Points
2017 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

A brilliant, youthful, unevolved wine that will give Ridge's Monte Bello a run for its money, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon reveals a deep ruby/purple hue to go with a wonderful perfume of blackcurrants, blueberries, lead pencil, vanilla bean, exotic flowers, tobacco, and bouquet garni. Needing plenty of air to show at its best, it's medium to full-bodied on the palate and has a concentrated, powerful style, ripe tannins, flawless balance, and a great finish. A blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, and the rest Petit Verdot and Malbec, aged in used French and American oak, it's going to benefit from 4-6 years of bottle age and, I suspect, have 30-40 years of overall longevity. $110

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


Taste 2019 Domaine Eden Chardonnay, 2021 Melville Sta Rita Estate Pinot and 2019 Outpost Howell Mt Cabernet at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, December 31st. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

Wine Spectator 93 Points
DOMAINE EDEN Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains 2019

Rich and succulent, showing a broad range of flavors, from nutmeg-laced spices and candied orange zest to salted, toasted hazelnut, Fuji apple, lemon zest and dried thyme. Packs plenty of harmony on the long, expressive finish. Drink now through 2030. —M.W. $32

Wine Advocate 94 Points * 2021 Melville Sta Rita Hills Pinot Noir Estate

Medium ruby, the 2021 Pinot Noir Estate has alluring aromas of cranberry and orange jelly, forest floor and Angostura bitters. Medium-bodied, it floods the mouth with waves of juicy berry fruit supported by fine, chalky tannins, and it finishes long and layered. This was vinified using about 40% whole clusters. 7,824 cases produced. $44

Wine Advocate 94-96+ Points
2019 Outpost Howell Mt. Cabernet Sauvignon

Sporting a deep purple-black color, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon needs a little coaxing to begin, soon unfurling to reveal notions of crushed black cherries, wild blueberries and fresh blackcurrant, plus suggestions of tar, wet slate, fertile loam and black truffles. The medium to full-bodied palate is charged with wonderful energy, delivering loads of black fruit layers and a firm, grainy frame plus and lively backbone, finishing long and mineral laced. (Tasted as a barrel sample) $115


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

Back to Our Blog

Are you 21 years old, or older?