January 12th 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

January 12th 2023 Newsletter

Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday
We will be closed at both locations (GT and VRW) on Monday, January 16th


On Deck for wine tasting next week at VRW

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 94 Points
2021 Capiaux Cellars Chimera Pinot Noir

The 2021 Pinot Noir Chimera is a rich, heady wine. A burst of dark red cherry, plum, lavender, rose petal and blood orange are all dialed up. This bold, generous Pinot delivers the goods, big time. It's a fabulous entry-level offering from Sean Capiaux, if that term can even be used here. The Chimera is mostly young vines from Starscape, with dollops from Widdoes, Pisoni and Garys’. $36

Wine Advocate 97 Points
2019 Castiel Estate Howell Mt. Cabernet Sauvignon

After 22 months in 70% new French oak, there's scarcely a trace of it to be found on the nose of the stunning 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon. There's a touch of bay leaf, perhaps the slightest hints of bell pepper and pine, but also masses of cassis. Dark, dense and sturdy, this full-bodied masterpiece is rich, round and supple, with a long finish that leaves a lingering trail of mocha and dark chocolate that somehow avoids any sense of heaviness or excess. $185

Wine Spectator 94 Points
BEAUX FRÈRES Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2021

Sleek, graceful and elegantly proportioned, with expressive violet, raspberry, guava and black tea flavors that jump out of the glass and gather richness toward polished tannins. Drink now through 2032. —T.F. $75


WOW-75% OFF!
Wine Enthusiast 90 Points
Chateau St Jean Sonoma Chardonnay

This is a well-made, well-priced white, with a bright entry of pear, apple and vanilla pudding. It develops layers of baking spice and toast as it goes, offering a modest richness and creamy texture. $16 Our Price $3.95 (Available GT and VRW) Outstanding Value!

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
2019 Booker Vineyard Fracture Syrah

The 100% Syrah 2019 Fracture comes all from the Booker Estate Vineyard and is another pure, balanced, incredibly classy wine from this estate. Loads of darker fruits, ground black pepper, crushed stone, and scorched earth give way to a medium to full-bodied, powerful, concentrated Syrah that will benefit from 2-4 years of bottle age and cruise for 10-15 years. $105 Our Price $94.95 (Available GT and VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points
2018 AXR Winery Napa Chardonnay

Lots of stone fruits, brioche, and honeysuckle notes emerge from the 2018 Chardonnay, a solid, nicely balanced Chardonnay with a good mix of both richness and freshness. Opening up nicely with air, this rich, toasty, vibrant effort is ideal for drinking over the coming 2-4 years. $39 (Arrives GT 1/13/23)

Wine Enthusiast 95 Points
2021 Alma de Cattleya Sonoma Pinot Noir

This appellation blend by Bibiana Gonzalez Rave is a tremendously complex and simply delicious wine for a fair price. Aromas of cinnamon, sumac and raspberry paste are juicy yet dark and serious on the nose. There's a firm grip to the sip that frames the rich black raspberry core, with flavors of thyme, sage and cracked pepper adding more nuance. $35 Internet Price $29.99 (Back in stock GT 1/13/23)

Sommariva Prosecco Superiore di Conegliano-Valdobbiane Brut DOCG NV

Winemaker Notes: Fragrant floral tones and drying mineral notes characterize this luminous Prosecco Brut. The sparkling wine delivers frothy peach, herbal accents and a steady dose of citrus zest. $17 Our Price $13.99 (Back in stock GT 1/18/23)

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 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 (Available GT and VRW) Delicious!


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


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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