January 17th 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

January 17th 2023 Newsletter

On Deck for wine tasting next week at VRW:

Wine Spectator 93 Points
THREE STICKS Chardonnay Sonoma Coast Durell Vineyard 2020

A stunning, expressive wine, with perfectly ripe peach, melon and lemon curd flavors, plus notes of toasted, salted almond, a touch of toasted herbs and sleek, wonderfully refreshing acidity that gives freshness and length to the spicy finish. Drink now. —M.W. $70


Taste 2016 Paul Hobbs Beckstoffer Las Piedras Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $20 per person.
Tuesday, January 17th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Advocate 98 Points
2016 Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Las Piedras

Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard opens with provocative notions of crushed rocks, fertile loam and truffles with a core of warm cassis, blackberry pie and wild blueberries with touches of camphor and cloves. Medium to full-bodied and built like a brick house, it packs in the muscular fruit layers with compelling red fruit sparks, framed by firm, grainy tannins and finishing very long and very earthy. 402 cases produced. $315


Taste 2018 Byron Nielson Chardonnay, 2019 Method Napa Cabernet and 2019 Castiel Estate Howell Mt Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Wednesday, January 18th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

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

Wine and Spirits 92 Points
2019 Method Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

An open, racy cabernet, this has the cool feel of stone in a deep well, that tannic depth completely filled by ripe plum fruit. Brighter notes of cherries and cranberries emerge with air, and the wine retains its lively feel, suggesting it will improve over the next several years in bottle. $32

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


Taste the 2018 Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet/Shiraz and 2019 Booker Fracture Syrah at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Thursday, January 19th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

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

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


*Back in stock this afternoon*
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!

Wine Advocate 92
Pol Roger Brut Reserve

The latest rendition of Pol Roger's NV Brut Reserve is based on the 2013 vintage and incorporates 25% reserve wines from the 2012, 2011 and 2010 vintages. Disgorged six months ago, the wine wafts from the glass with an alluring bouquet of green apple, brioche, pastry cream and buttered toast. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, impressively layered and complete, with a crisp but fleshy core of fruit, a youthfully frothy mousse and bright acids, concluding with a delicately chalky finish. This is one of the very finest—as well as among the most consistent—non-vintage brut bottlings from any of the Grandes Marques, and this release comes very warmly recommended. While it will be drinkable on release, it will reward some bottle age too. $55 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 91 Points
Antinori Chianti Classico Villa Antinori Riserva 2019

A dense, beefy red, with black cherry, blackberry, earth and iron flavors coursing through. Balanced, in a compact sort of way, with a lingering finish of earth and dark fruit. Bright acidity drives the finish. Best from 2024 through 2033. 6,000 cases imported. $35 Our Price $29.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 94 Points
ANTINORI Chianti Classico Marchese Antinori Riserva 2019

A harmonious red, offering an expression of cherry, blackberry and floral aromas and flavors offset by a vibrant, well-integrated structure. Shows iron, tobacco, smoke and a hint of wild herbs, which weigh in as this evolves on the palate toward a lingering aftertaste. Delivers finesse and energy. Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Best from 2024 through 2038. 5,000 cases imported.—Bruce Sanderson $45 Our Price $39.95 (Available GT and VRW 1/18/23)

James Suckling 93 Points
2018 Giacomo Grimaldi Barolo

Pleasant red-berry and cherry character here, together with hints of roasted nuts and perfumed bark. Some bright rose perfume, too. Medium-bodied with well-integrated tannins and bright fruit tinged with bitter spice. Controlled finish with some length. Give it a year to mellow. Try from 2024. $70 Our Price $59.99 (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 91 Points
MAURO MOLINO Barbera d'Asti Leradici 2020

A distinctive red, offering raspberry, blueberry and earth flavors, matched to a supple texture. Shows intensity and balance, with a hint of wild herbs on the savory finish. Drink now through 2025. 3,500 cases made, 1,000 cases imported. — BS $18 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Enthusiast 94 Points
2019 Vina Robles Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a rich and thoroughly satisfying Cab, starting with aromas of roasted boysenberry, cocoa, violet and toasty oak on the nose. The palate is cohesive and neatly woven, with rich black fruit, mocha and espresso flavors that are wrapped in firm but balanced tannins $26. Internet Price $21.99

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)

2018 Merus Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is a dense, full-throttle wine. A blast of inky dark fruit, chocolate, spice, new leather, lavender, graphite, and dried herbs makes a strong opening statement. There's not a ton of subtlety, but the 2019 is undeniably beautiful and vivid. It's unapologetically flamboyant though, and will be appreciated most by readers who enjoy this style. $155 (Back in stock GT and VRW)


Taste 2021 Beaux Freres Willamette Valley Pinot, 2019 Kenefick Ranch Chris’s Cuvee Napa Cabernet and 2019 AXR Napa Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, January 20th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

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

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

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


Taste 2019 Bodegas y Vinedos Valderiz, 2021 Capiaux Chimera Pinot and 2018 Mayacamas Mt Veeder Cabernet at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, January 21st. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

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

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 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


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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