January 26th 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

January 26th 2023 Newsletter

On Deck for wine tasting next week at VRW:

Wine Spectator 95 Points
Krug Brut Champagne Grande Cuvée 170ème Édition NV (2022)

A lovely, mouthwatering Champagne, with a vivid and finely detailed panoply of baked nectarine, lime blossom, ground coffee, mandarin orange peel, candied ginger and salted almond notes set in a lithe, limber frame. Seamlessly knit, with a sense of buoyant vitality, this has a harmonious, elegant frame for the richly expressive flavor range. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Meunier. Disgorged winter 2020 to 2021. Drink now through 2027. $210

James Suckling 98 Points
2019 To Kalon Wine Company Eliza’s Red

Amazing aromas of lead-pencil shavings to the blackcurrants and dark cherries. Sweet tobacco and licorice, too. Full-bodied with very fine tannins that spread across the palate. Extremely long. Slightly more cabernet franc this year, with 60%, the rest cabernet sauvignon. Hard not to drink now, but will deliver even more in four to five years. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. $225


Back in stock-Again!
2015 Nielson Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: The wine shows aromas of blackberries, rose petals, dried herbs, and earth. Flavors are driven by a dark fruit core, complemented by sandalwood, black pepper, and crushed stone. $20 Internet Price $13.99. GT and VRW Insider Price $8.95 (Available GT and VRW)

2020 Sobon ReZerve Zinfandel

Winemaker Notes: Another remarkable bottling of ReZerve Zin from our finest vineyards. Beautiful aromas of blackberry, cocoa, and mulberry highlight the wine. The flavor of ripe plum, berry, and chocolate bring out the true old-vine character of this, our finest offering. $26 Our Price $19.99 (Available GT and VRW 1/27/23)

James Suckling 95 Points
2019 Pahlmeyer Jayson Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

A plush, full-bodied red with currant, olive, walnut and chocolate-nut character. It’s full and layered with so much unctuous fruit, but not heavy nor overpowering. Delicious and satisfying now, but will age nicely. $100 Our Price $86.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points
2019 Tether Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Another gem from winemaker Anna Monticelli, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is based on 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, and the rest Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc. Aged 21 months in 60% new French oak, it’s a medium to full-bodied, round, seamless effort with real class in its darker currant fruits as well as tobacco, violets, and toasted spice aromas and flavors. It will keep for a decade. $47 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points
2019 Amici Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Made with the goal of great Napa Cabernet at $50 bucks, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley succeeds admirably, offering gorgeous cassis, violet, and chocolaty aromatics as well as medium to full-bodied richness, a balanced, layered mouthfeel, and silky tannins. It competes with wines at three times the cost. The blend is 88% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% each of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, aged 20 months in 75% new barrels. $50 (Back in stock GT this afternoon)

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 (Available GT and VRW)

Antonio Galloni 97 Points
2018 Dunn Howell Mt Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain is elegant, deep and classy. Inky dark purplish fruit, savory herbs, menthol, licorice and spice. The purity of the fruit is remarkable today. There is plenty of youthful Howell Mountain tannin, so readers will have to be patient. Bright floral accents lift the red/purplish berry fruit nicely. This is such an expressive, alluring Cabernet. By Antonio Galloni on October 2021. $190 Our Price $164.99 (Arrives GT this afternoon)


Taste 2021 My Favorite Neighbor Chardonnay, 2020 My Favorite Neighbor Cabernet and 2017 Booker Oublie Paso Robles GSM at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Thursday, January 26th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Advocate 97 Points
2021 My Favorite Neighbor Chardonnay

The 2021 Chardonnay is very ripe in style with scents of banana chip, apple pie, jasmine, allspice and brown sugar. The full-bodied palate is packed with ripe, spicy fruits and plenty of refreshing acidity, and it finishes long with a satiny, mouth-coating texture. It's an old-school style reminiscent of Napa that fans of ripe, oaked Chardonnays will enjoy. $60

Wine Advocate 95 Points
2020 My Favorite Neighbor Cabernet

Deep ruby-purple, the 2020 My Favorite Neighbor Cabernet Sauvignon has pretty tones of green bell pepper, dried herbs, thyme, lavender and cedar over a core of red and black currant. The full-bodied palate is ultra juicy and packed with alluringly herbal fruit, and it boasts integrated oak, a soft, approachable frame and a long, perfumed finish. $50

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points
2017 Booker Oublié Paso Robles GSM

The 2017 Oublié is a blockbuster, ranking with the finest wines in the vintage. Based on 56% Grenache, 22% Mourvèdre, 22% Syrah, brought up in 50% neutral barrels, its vivid purple color is followed by a full-bodied, powerful, yet elegant red that has a great nose of cassis, blackberries, white flowers, leafy herbs, and hints of pepper. It packs some muscle yet stays flawlessly balanced. $75


Taste 2020 Three Sticks Durell Chardonnay, 2017 Taub Rutherford Cabernet and 2018 Groth Oakville Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, January 27th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

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

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

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 94 Points
2018 Groth Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon (Oakville) is fabulous. Moreover, it shows the important strides that have been made here in recent years. A wine of depth as well as energy, the Oakville Cabernet is both complete and absolutely delicious. Time brings out a whole range of leather, spice and chocolate notes to play off a core of intense, dark-fleshed fruit. I would prefer to cellar the 2018 for at least a few years. In a word: impressive. $70


Taste 2021 Liquid Farm Santa Barbara Pinot, 2019 Black Stallion Napa Cabernet and 2018 Merus Napa Cabernet at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, January 28th. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

Wine Advocate 96 Points
2021 Liquid Farm Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County

Pale ruby, the 2021 Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County offers detailed aromas of cranberries, blackberries, oolong tea leaves, potpourri, earth, orange peel and fernet. Medium-bodied, it floods the mouth with layer after layer of bitters-tinged fruits, boasting fine, dusty tannins, addicting freshness and a very long, detailed finish. This way overdelivers for its modest appellation-wide status! $55

James Suckling 92 Points
2019 Black Stallion Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

A fragrant nose of mulberries, plums, cedar, cloves and vanilla. Medium-to full-bodied with fine, firm tannins and vivid acidity. Structured, with fruity character and a creamy texture. Chewy finish. Try from 2023. $36

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


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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