January 10th 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

January 10th 2023 Newsletter

On Deck for wine tasting next week at VRW:
Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points

2019 AXR Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Readers looking for a great value in Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon will love the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon, a rich, medium to full-bodied, beautifully fruited and textured 2019 offering sweet tannins, no hard edges, and a great finish. It way over-delivers. 1115 cases. $90

James Suckling 97 Points
2018 Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet/Shiraz

A blend of 57% cabernet sauvignon and 43% shiraz, this has a very impressively complete feel, a hallmark of the 2018 vintage wines, and there's a myriad of characters with cabernet's cedary and gently herbal notes sitting atop a core of rich red-plum and dark-berry shiraz fruit aromas. So integrated. The palate has a very silky texture, so plush and polished with a wealth of rich and intense dark-plum, dark-berry and blackcurrant flavors. The oak is completely soaked with ripe, fresh fruit. This is a great Bin 389. Drink over the next two decades. $65

Wine Spectator 97 Points
Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder 2018

This distinctive version leads with pine forest, sweet bay leaf and savory notes, with a core of steeped currant and bitter plum fruit, plus ample tobacco and warm stone notes in the background. The finish is chiseled in feel, with racy acidity taking just as prominent of a role as tannic grip. With range, character and energy to spare, this should cruise in the cellar. Best from 2025 through 2045. 2,650 cases made. $150


Taste 2018 Lewis Cuvee L Napa Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $20 per person.
Tuesday, January 10th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

2018 Lewis Cuvee L Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: From the outstanding 2018 vintage our Cuvee L is a league champion wine with serious World Series potential. The line-up card includes cascading black fruit, Mission fig and Turkish arabica coffee laced with cedary, oak-infused spices. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon the wine is lifted and expansive, leaving the yard with velocity and polish. $250


Taste 2016 Joseph Carr Rutherford Cabernet and 2019 Gemstone Alluvial Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Wednesday, January 11th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

2016 Joseph Carr Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: This Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from Napa’s acclaimed Rutherford AVA. Located in the center of Napa, Rutherford is bordered by the Mayacamas Mountains on the west and the Vaca Range on the east. The wine was aged in French Oak for 18 months and features notes of black currant, tobacco, coffee, black cherry, and toffee. Full bodied, plush tannins and integrated acidity lead to a persistent finish. $48

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points
2019 Gemstone Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Alluvial Selection

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Alluvial Selection comes from more cobbly, rocky soils closer to the Silverado Trail, and it's a bigger, richer wine, offering lots of iron, mineral, black herbs, leather, and assorted red and black fruits. This full-bodied, concentrated, balanced 2019 will keep for upwards of 20 years. $165


Taste the 2018 and 2019 Justin Isosceles at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Thursday, January 12th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Enthusiast 95 Points
2018 Justin Isosceles

Roasted meat, preserved plum and smoke aromas make for a pleasantly rugged nose on this bottling, which includes 9% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Franc. The palate is rugged and rich as well, with teriyaki, baked black plum and smoked meat flavors, with acid washing into the finish. $80

2019 Justin Isosceles

Winemaker Notes: Deep ruby/purple core with a black secondary color, and lighter toward the rim with moderate plus viscosity and slow-forming, moderately stained tears. Very aromatic and complex with ripe black cherry and cassis fruit, vanilla, cinnamon, and licorice spice with sweet tobacco, cedar, leather, and camphor notes. Full-bodied with ripe complex black cherry, boysenberry, cassis, and blackberry fruit on entry with baking spice. Dusty tannins appear on the midpalate with cedar, dried tobacco leaf, and saddle leather as it progresses. The finish is long, fresh, and balanced with notes of bay leaf, dried red rose petal, oak, and sustained tannins. 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot. $80


2021 Luli Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

Winery Notes: Luli Wines came about from a very special partnership between Sara Floyd and the Pisoni Family. Sara is a Master Sommelier from the San Francisco Bay Area with many years of experience in the restaurant and wine business. The Pisoni Family is from Monterey County, where they farm their eponymous vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands. $25 Our Price $22.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
2017 Taub Family Rutherford Cabernet

Nicely compact, with a core of steeped red currant, plum and blackberry fruit that should unwind in the near future. Alder and licorice notes score the finish, with good latent energy. Best from 2022 through 2031. 1,500 cases made. — JM $75 Our Price $64.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW 1/11/23)

Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points
2019 Raymond Reserve Napa Cabernet

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Reserve is also incredible, and given the large quantities here, it should be relatively easy to find. Lots of currants, tobacco, cedar, and dried herb notes emerge from the glass, and it’s medium to full-bodied, with nicely integrated oak, sweet tannins, and a great finish. Hats off to winemaker Stephanie Putnam for making such an impressive wine at this price point and quantity. Drink bottles over the coming 7-8 years. $50 Our Price $39.99 (Arrives VRW this afternoon)

Wine Spectator 94 Points
Bodegas y Viñedos Valderiz Ribera del Duero 2019

A harmonious red that marries power with finely detailed grace, offering a dense core of tannins tightly meshed with flavors of ripe black currant, fig cake, wild sage and mocha that slowly unfurl on the palate. Sleek and silky in texture, with a firm, lingering and well-spiced finish. Best from 2024 through 2032. 6,500 cases made. $40 Our Price $29.99 (Available GT and VRW 1/11/23)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
RUFFINO Toscana Modus 2018

A ripe, opulent style, this red is saturated with black cherry, plum, cedar and spice flavors, yet remains fluid and lithe on the palate. Quickly gives way to tannins with the feel of bitter chocolate, with the fruit and floral notes enduring. Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Best from 2024 through 2038. 17,000 cases made, 12,000 cases imported.—Bruce Sanderson. $28 Our Price $22.95 (Available GT and VRW)

Decanter 92 Points
2018 Byron Nielson Vineyard Chardonnay

Slightly restrained nose with nice stone fruit and floral character underneath. Light lemon sherbet notes with toasted pineapple on the palate, pleasingly dry and youthful finish. $30 Our Price $21.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW 1/11/23)

2021 Ghost Block MorgaenLee Yountville Sauvignon Blanc

Winemaker Notes: Beautiful aromatics of grapefruit and white peach jump from the glass followed by subtle tropical fruit notes of guava and papaya. Upon entry, the wine is smooth and rich and fills out mid-palate with the weight of the Semillon and sur lies aging, then evolves into bright acidity with undertones of white grapefruit and lemon zest creating a clean and silky finish. $25 Our Price $21.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

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 1/11/23)


Taste 2019 Echolands Walla Walla Syrah, 2018 Sojourn Oakville Cabernet and 2018 Arkenstone NVD Napa Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, January 13th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

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

Wine Spectator 93 Points
SOJOURN Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville 2018

Ripe, rich and focused, with a well-built core of dark currant, fig and blackberry paste flavors that drive along nicely, thanks to a racy graphite underpinning. This has some showy toast, but there's a tug of loam and ample fruit to keep this honest. Best from 2023 through 2034. —J.M. 800 cases. $79

Wine Advocate 94 Points
2018 Arkenstone Napa NVD Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2018 NVD Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and was aged for 22 months in French oak barrels, 80% new. Deep garnet-purple in color, the nose reveals notes of warm plums, baked black currants and black cherries with suggestions of clove oil, black tea, Chinese five spice and cedar. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is packed with firm, crunchy black berry flavors with bags of freshness and plush tannins, finishing with compelling energy. 1,200 cases were made. $95


Taste 2021 Chalk Hill Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, 2019 Unkown Brother Santa Barbara Syrah and 2019 Hourglass Blueline Napa Cabernet at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, January 14th. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

Wine Spectator 92 Points
Chalk Hill Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2021

Features pear drop, Fuji apple, ripe Bartlett pear and lemon blossom details that are elegant and restrained, but they weave in and out on a light, fresh frame that's quite impressive. Gains a savory element, thanks to a touch of toasted sesame seed. Drink now. 98,000 cases made. $25

2019 Unknown Brother Santa Barbara Syrah

Winemaker Notes: The wine opens with scents of warmed blackberry cobbler, red and black currant jelly, a bouquet of lilacs and violets, with nuances of black pepper and orange zest. On the palate the wine is bright and fresh but oh so layered, with waves of blueberry compote building to a crescendo of shaved chocolate, cranberry sauce with hints of garden mint and sweet pipe tobacco. Already drinking fabulously upon release, this wine will gain complexity in your cellar if you have the patience. $55

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
2019 Hourglass Blueline Napa 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


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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