December 30th 2022 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

December 30th 2022 Newsletter

Holiday Hours

Grape Tray (GT)
Friday, 12/30/22 10:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Saturday, 12/31/22 10:30 AM – 4:00 PM
Sunday, 1/1/23 Happy New Year!
Monday, 1/2/23 Closed
Tuesday, 1/3/23 10:30 AM – 5:30 PM

Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW)
Friday, 12/30/22 12:00 noon – 6:00 PM
Saturday, 12/31/22 12:00 noon – 4:00 PM
Sunday, 1/1/23 Happy New Year!
Monday, 1/2/23 Closed
Tuesday, 1/3/23 12:00 noon – 6:00 PM


Wine Spectator 93 Points
DOMAINE CARNEROS Brut Carneros 2018

A vivacious sparkler that's elegant and polished, offering Asian pear and lemon flavors that take on hints of fresh ginger, blanched almond and brioche flavors that glide on the long, vibrant finish. Drink now. From California.—T.F. $37. Our Price $32.69 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 98 Points
LOUIS ROEDERER Brut Champagne Cristal 2014

This vivid Champagne shows up-front and linear definition, thanks to rapierlike acidity, with finely meshed flavors of ripe black cherry and mandarin orange fruit, raw almond, anise and cardamom spice as well as a touch of honeycomb, which all unfurl and expand on the fine, creamy palate. Sleek acidity continues through to the finish, with additional racy character provided by a streak of minerally saline and chalk, which gains momentum through the midpalate and rings out on the well-cut, lasting finish. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Drink now through 2040. From France.—A.N $359 Our Price $313.95 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 96 Points
VILMART Brut Champagne Grand Cellier d'Or 2016

Gorgeous aromas and flavors of nectarine, chopped almond, dried white cherry, ground cardamom and ginger, lime blossoms, graphite and espresso crema are immediately present on the mouthwatering palate of this elegant Champagne. Buoyed by bright, well-integrated acidity, the flavors glide along on the fine, creamy mousse, underscored by a racy streak of salinity that drives the clean-cut finish. Shows beautiful harmony and expression. Disgorged October 2020. Drink now through 2036. From France.—A.N. $110 Our Price $106.99 (Available GT and VRW)

2021 Drouhin Roserock Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir 2021

Winemaker Notes: Roserock Pinot Noir is a cuvée selection from the estate’s 35 blocks, which are handpicked, sorted and individually fermented. While Pinot Noirs from the Eola-Amity Hills are typically known for their structure and power, Véronique Drouhin emphasizes Roserock’s elegant and refined qualities, making for a delicious and age worthy cuvée. $40 Our Price $36.95 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

Wine Spectator 94 Points
Drouhin Oregon Roserock Chardonnay Eola-Amity Hills 2020

Opulent and refined, with a vibrant core of acidity framed by pear, cantaloupe and toasty spice flavors that build depth and richness on the savory finish. Drink now. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. 1,557 cases made. $38

Wine Advocate 97 Points
2019 Marchesi Antinori Bolgheri Superiore Guado al Tasso

I've been tracking the increasing percentage of Cabernet Franc in the blend of this iconic Tuscan wine. The 2019 Bolgheri Superiore Guado al Tasso is made with 25% Cabernet Franc, with 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot. That this heat-resistant grape now makes up a quarter of the blend speaks to how vintners are gearing up to counter climate change. These are intelligent choices, and you can count on this wine to maintain that level of extreme elegance and intensity that it is known for (even when Merlot was a bigger part of the blend). Indeed, this is a new and improved Guado al Tasso with focused aromas of pencil shaving, white pepper and crushed stone that frame a rich core of black fruit. A fluttering of dried mint gives lift and power to the bouquet. This is a beautifully linear and powerful red blend. $170 Our Price $139.99 (Available GT and VRW this afternoon)

Wine Spectator 98 Points
Tenuta San Guido Bolgheri Sassicaia 2019

Supple and beautifully defined, with black cherry, black currant and blackberry fruit augmented by tobacco, iron and thyme. Firmly structured, tightening up as this lingers with an aftertaste of dark fruit, graphite and spice. Shows a sense of elegance as well as power and intensity. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2024 through 2045. 25,000 cases made, 5,000 cases imported. $270 Our Price $262.99

(Available GT and VRW 12/31/22)

James Suckling 94 Points
2019 Crossbarn Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Blueberries, purple fruit and lavender. Crushed stones and raspberries, too. Medium-bodied and so fresh and vivid, with creamy tannins and a really long finish. Touch of vanilla. Just delicious. $60 Our Price $49.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 94 Points
Hudson Vineyards Chardonnay Napa Valley Carneros 2020

Stunning, showing a generous and smooth mix of vibrant, juicy fruit with lemon curd, peach and Fuji apple, hints of dried tarragon, a touch of sea salt on ripe melon and a smidge of buttery pastry on the long finish. Drink now through 2028. 1,080 cases made. $75 (Available GT and VRW)

2021 Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel

Winemaker Notes: Intense aromatics of currant and plum are complemented by savory notes of black olive, anise and allspice. A bright entry of briary black raspberry gives way to a bold palate of supple, lively tannins and a powerful, lingering finish. Pair with rich and meaty short ribs, braised pork belly, or gnocchi gorgonzola. $27 Our Price $21.95 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 91 Points
Red Stitch Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2017

Hyper lush in feel, with waves of creamed plum, warm fig preserve and steeped blackberry rolling through, laced with black licorice and Christmas pudding notes. Has just enough of a spine to pull it off, but this is aimed purely at the hedonist set. Drink now through 2026. 385 cases made. $125 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

Wine Enthusiast 92 Points
2020 Talbott Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay

Zesty lemon-wedge aromas cut through a plump core of white peach, pineapple and sea salt on the nose of this bottling. Vibrant acidity enlivens the sip, where grapefruit peel and brisk apple lead into a nutty tone on the finish. $45 Our Price $31.99 (Available GT and VRW)

2021 Staglin Family Salus Napa Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: The 2021 Salus Chardonnay provides an adventure for th e senses. It welcomes with perfectly ripened citrus, delicate florals, and limestone minerality. The expressive aromas deliver baked pear tart, a hint of fresh nutmeg and twist of Meyer lemon. The palate showcases juicy apricot, brûléed white grapefruit drizzled with fir honey, and the surprising texture of silky mango. The richness of sun warmed fruit is beautifully balanced by acidity focusing the entire experience. Each sip induces a longing for another. $60 (Back in stock GT and VRW)


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

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