January 31st 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

January 31st 2023 Newsletter

Save the Date!

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Staglin Estate at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) on Tuesday, 2/14/23.
Wine Tasting Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM. Hollis Nelson, Staglin Family Estate California Sales Manager will arrive at 3:00 PM


Taste 2019 To Kalon Wine Company Eliza’s Red at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $20 per person.
Tuesday, January 31st. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

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


Taste Krug Grande Cuvee 170th eme OR 2012 Taittinger Brut Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Wednesday, February 1st. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

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 99 Points
2012 Taittinger Brut Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne

This is a fantastic and refined Blanc de Blancs. So layered and complex, with lemon curd, chalk, hazelnuts, pastries, baked apples and almond croissants. Structured and tightly wound, with almost imperceptible bubbles. Delicious salty notes at the end. Beautiful. Drink or hold. $230


Taste 2019 Chateau Kirwan Margaux and Chateau Brane Cantenac Margaux at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Thursday, February 2nd. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Enthusiast 95–97 Points
2019 Chateau Kirwan Margaux

With its new cellars, the estate is performing at top speed and this vintage keeps up the fine track record. Firm tannins and beautifully perfumed fruit are blending together to give a wine that has style as well as structured fruitiness, with all the elegance of great Margaux. Think long-term aging for this wine. ROGER VOSS. $60

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


2020 Thread Feathers Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: Etched in aromas of sage, cedar and pencil shaving, this wine is robust and ripe, brawny and burly in style and approach, reflecting its Mt. Veeder source. The fruit is dark and broodingly rich. Thick layers of blackberry, black cherry, toffee and earthy tobacco framed within a foundation of firm, integrated tannin, and balanced power. Structured, age-worthy, and complex, the wine finishes on sustained savory notes of cardamom, clove, and freshly tilled earth. 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Malbec. $40 Our Price $33.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW 2/3/23)

2020 J. Lohr Hilltop Paso Cabernet Sauvignon, Half Bottle

Winemaker Notes: The 2020 J. Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon displays trademark aromas of blackberry, black currant, and toasted pastry crust. Dense and soft on the palate. Elegant layers of black and red currants leave a bright finish, accented by spice and pastry notes from extended oak aging. Blend: 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc. $16/375ml (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
Bruna Grimaldi Barolo Camilla 2018

Juicy and firm, setting the stage for macerated cherry and raspberry fruit complemented by hay, iron and earth. Compact and dense, despite a linear profile, with fine length. Best from 2025 through 2042. 2,500 cases made, 1,500 cases imported. $55 Our Price $38.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
LEMELSON Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Thea's Selection 2019

Detailed and refined, with handsome raspberry, forest floor and spiced tea flavors that add structure toward medium-grained tannins. Drink now through 2029. 7,300 cases made.—Tim Fish. $34 Our Price $26.99 (Back in stock GT 2/2/23)

2020 Pride Mountain Merlot

Winemaker Notes: Not only is this a great merlot, it is as beautiful a merlot as we have ever made. What makes it so special? As mandated by merlot, the 2020 is foremost about the fruit, with ripe mulberry and kirsch taking center stage to provide pure smile-inducing pleasure. But this is no simple fruit bomb. It permeates your senses with tangy elderberry, verbena, lemon grass and savory black pepper notes. It is fresh, nuanced and cerebral in addition to providing the comforting fruit pleasure and luxuriant mouthfeel we require from merlot. The finish rises with verve and excitement resulting in complex choreography if you look for it, but indulgent relaxed pleasure if you are just stretched out on the couch. This year’s 2020 Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot defines the essence of what makes merlot such a great varietal. $65 (Arrives GT 2/3/23)

2020 Pride Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: This wine exudes elegance and inner beauty. The seamless texture has enough weight to speak of its mountaintop origin but is more about creamy, silky, enveloping pleasure with not a single component out of place. The comforting flavors of black cherry, ripe plum, licorice, spice and cocoa are uplifted and made intriguing by aromatics of sweet tobacco, sandalwood, black pepper and lavender. This gorgeous cabernet simply resonates charm today and will age gracefully for decades. $78 (Arrives GT 2/3/23)

Wine Spectator 96 Points
To Kalon Vineyard Company Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville H.W.C 2018

This is densely packed, with layers of black currant, fig, blackberry and black cherry fruit paste inlaid with a loamy structure and framed by smoldering tobacco and chestnut. A flash of violet and a late echo of iron check in on the lengthy, muscular finish. Patience is required. Best from 2024 through 2042. 460 cases made. $250 (Limited) Available GT 2/2/23


Taste 2021 Brewer Clifton Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay, 2021 Occidental Freestone Pinot and 2019 Venge Igneous Napa Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, February 3rd. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

2021 Brewer Clifton Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: Brewer-Clifton Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay shows aromas of lemon, kiwi, orange blossom, and sweet basil. Flavors of jasmine, lime, ginger, and mineral notes. On the palate, orange zest and fresh sea salt. $40

2021 Occidental Freestone Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: The 2021 Freestone-Occidental is a very bright, high toned, marine influenced wine that could only have come from their ridgetop vineyards. Crystalline, vivid, mouth watering, with a salty mineral finish, the 2021 Freestone-Occidental evokes juicy red/purple berries and a near perfect balance of finesse and energy with beautifully sculpted tannins. $65

Jeb Dunnuck 94+ Points
2019 Venge Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Igneous

Classic Cabernet black fruits, tobacco, crushed rock, violets, and subtle herbal nuances all emerge from Venge’s 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Igneous, a medium to full-bodied, balanced Calistoga Cabernet that has beautiful purity of fruit. I like it today, yet it should age for 15+ years as well. $105


Taste 2019 DuMOL Estate Chardonnay, 2019 Ballentine Estate Napa Cabernet and 2019 Robert Craig Mt Veeder Cabernet at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, February 4th. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

Wine Advocate 96 Points
2019 DuMOL Estate Chardonnay

The 2019 Chardonnay Estate Vineyard features white peaches and baked quince with a streak of flint and spice, plus touches of spring flowers. The medium-bodied palate is lush and satiny, with abundant, spicy fruits, focused acidity and honeyed nuances driving the long finish. This energetic, powerful expression deserves another 2-3 years in bottle to unfold. $75

Jeb Dunnuck 91 Points
2019 Ballentine Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate

Lots of blue fruits, violets, tobacco, and a touch of chocolate define the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate, an elegant, balanced, seamless Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that represents a great value. Drink it over the coming 10-12 years. $60

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 95 Points
2018 Robert Craig Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Amentet Vineyard is a heady, explosive Mount Veeder wine. Iron, sweet red cherry, mint, dried flowers, licorice, mocha and rose petal all grace this wonderfully expressive, nuanced Cabernet. Best of all, the 2018 won't need more than a few years in bottle to be approachable. It's a gorgeous wine, that much is clear. The best is yet to come. $120


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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