January 3rd 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

January 3rd 2023 Newsletter

Taste 2018 Caymus Special Selection Napa Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $20 per person.
Tuesday, January 3rd. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

2018 Caymus Special Selection Napa Cabernet

Winemaker Notes: Each year, we set aside the best barrels of our Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley to produce Special Selection. Distinguished by extremely fine, velvety tannins and enjoyable upon release or with aging. A wine of structure with intense concentration of supple flavors and dark fruits. Special Selection is the only wine in the world honored twice as Wine Spectator magazine’s “Wine of the Year.” $265 Our Price $225


Taste 2016 Marchesi de Frescobaldi Brunello di Montalcino Castelgiocondo and 2019 Marchesi Antinori Guado al Tasso at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Wednesday, January 4th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

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

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


Taste 2018 Domaine Carneros Brut, 2019 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs and Laurent Perrier Grande Siecle at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $20 per person.
Thursday, January 5th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 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

Wine Spectator 92 Points
Schramsberg Brut Blanc de Blancs North Coast 2019

Crisp yet luxurious and creamy, with vibrant lemon tart, apple and toasted almond flavors that glide on a long, plush finish. Drink now. 39,513 cases made. $42 Our Price $34.99

Wine Spectator 95 Points
Laurent-Perrier Brut Champagne Grand Siècle Grande Cuvée Nº25 NV (2022)

Reveals rich and concentrated flavors of pear tart and dried mango, roasted hazelnut and ground coffee, preserved lemon and candied ginger enlivened by a spine of racy acidity and an underlying streak of minerally smoke and brine. Offers a fine and creamy mousse, with pleasing viscosity to the overall impression. Long, spiced finish. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Drink now through 2032. $250 Our Price $224.99


WOW- AV Cabernet Discounted 59%
2018 Simi Alexander Valley Landslide Cabernet Sauvignon
Tasting Panel 93 Points

Smooth and lush, with bright notes of plum and berry. Tangy, ripe, and tannic; balanced and complex, with a rich, persistent finish.

Winemaker Notes: This vintage, the Landslide Vineyard produced a wine that is youthful, elegant, and with deep fruit character. Opaque and deep red with a vibrant ruby edge. The nose shows dark bramble, violet, and cassis, with notes of forest floor and subtle black peppercorn. Inviting, fresh, and intriguing, this wine will continue to integrate flavors and aromas over time. Savory, dense flavors of blackberry, dried blueberry, and dark chocolate are followed by a broad mid-palate and sturdy tannins. The finish is long and lingering. The acid balance makes this wine inviting, rich, and delicious. This Cabernet Sauvignon pairs beautifully with pappardelle pasta with duck and porcini ragu, braised short ribs and polenta, or grilled portobello mushroom on toasted brioche. $54 Our Price $21.95 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

Wine Enthusiast 93 Points
2017 Michele Chiarlo Tortoniano Barolo

New leather, truffle and camphor aromas mingle with a whiff of wild berries on this earthy red. The ripe, accessible palate doles out fleshy black cherry, crushed raspberry, culinary spice and game alongside taut, fine-grained tannins. Drink 2022–2027. $60 Our Price $49.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 94 Points
Echolands Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2019

Precise and elegantly structured, with multilayered boysenberry, forest floor and crushed stone flavors that build richness and tension toward refined tannins. Drink now through 2030. 800 cases made. $38 (Arrives GT 1/5/23)

James Suckling 91 Points
2021 CAMPO AL MARE Vermentino di Bolgheri DOC

A fresh, crisp white with lemons, stones, peach pits, buttercups and seashells. Medium-bodied, bright and refreshing with a saline touch. $24 Our Price $17.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Vinous 90 Points
2019 Feudo Maccari Saia Nero d'Avola

A dark and brooding mix of tobacco, plum sauce, rubbed sage and smoke smolders up from the 2019 Nero d'Avola Saia. It’s soft and enveloping with ripe black fruits and balsamic spices that resonate throughout. This leaves a bitter hint of cacao and traces of blackberry while finishing long and lightly structured. This beastly and full-throttle Nero d'Avola walks the tightrope of balance, yet it lands surefooted. $40 Our Price $30.99 (Available GT and VRW)

James Suckling 93 Points
Tenuta di Nozzole Chianti Classico Riserva 2019

This has intense spice and and floral character, with violets, bell peppers, morello cherries, cloves and tomato leaves on the nose. It’s medium-bodied with sleek tannins. Dense and compact palate. Some walnut notes at the end. $24 Our Price $19.99 (Available GT and VRW)

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)

2019 Kenefick Ranch Chris’s Cuvee Cabernet

Winemaker Notes: Aromatics of raspberry hard candies, underlined by fine dark chocolate shavings and cigar box. The palate is dark berry preserve supported by woven dusty fine tannins. Good to drink now and will cellar well for the next 10-15 years. $65 (Back in stock GT and VRW 1/5/23)

Wine Advocate 97 points * 19 Chateau Brane-Cantenac, Margaux

Derived exclusively from the château's holdings on the deep gravel soils of the plateau of Brane, the 2019 Brane-Cantenac has turned out brilliantly and merits a special effort to seek out. Wafting from the glass with aromas of wild berries, pencil shavings, violets, sweet loamy soil and cardamon, it's medium to full-bodied, layered and concentrated, with lively acids, ripe tannins and a beautifully seamless, perfumed profile. Retaining all the estate's signature elegance but with an extra dimension of depth and intensity, it's the finest Brane-Cantenac of the modern era and one of the great successes of the 2019 vintage. $89 (Available GT and VRW)


Taste 2020 Talbott Sleepy Hollow SLH Chardonnay, 2019 Crossbarn Napa Cabernet and 2017 Purlieu Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, January 6th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

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

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

Wine Advocate 93+
2017 Purlieu Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper

Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper features flamboyant notes of crème de cassis, blueberry pie and red currant jelly with nuances of sautéed herbs, tar and underbrush with a waft of pencil lead. Full-bodied, firmly textured and laden with muscular fruit, it has loads of earthy accents and a chewy finish. $190 Our Price $129.99


Taste 2020 Domaine Drouhin Roserock Chardonnay, 2019 Detert Oakville Cabernet and 2018 The Setting Alexander Valley Cabernet at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, January 7th. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

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 Spectator 94 Points
DETERT Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville 2019

Purely rendered, with a gorgeous beam of cassis and plum fruit driving from start to finish. Features flashes of violet, anise and black tea as well as an underpinning of warm earth, all allied to nicely coiled energy. The beautiful fruit takes a two-song encore as a final statement. Best from 2023 through 2036. —J.M. $100

Wine Advocate 97 Points
2018 The Setting Alexander Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon

Deep garnet-black in color, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley has an extraordinary perfume of cassis laced with an array of classic Cabernet scents: cured meats, pencil shavings, violet, lilac, bay leaves and exotic spices. The palate is pure and lifted, with ripe, dusty tannins and bursts of freshness that highlight its perfume and perfectly ripe fruits, finishing very long and very layered. 575 cases were 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) www.vintagereserve.biz 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)
www.grapetray.com 559-226-6828
Monday-Friday 10:30 AM-5:30 PM
Saturday 10:30 AM-4:00 PM

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