February 2nd 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

February 2nd 2023 Newsletter

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


Wine Spectator 89 Points
NINE HATS Pinot Gris Columbia Valley 2020

Fleshy and fragrant, with pretty melon, apricot and jasmine flower accents that sail on a soft, supple finish. Drink now. 2,539 cases made. —Tim Fish. $14 Our Price $11.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Enthusiast 90 Points
2019 Cambria Tepusquet Vineyard Viognier

Dried lemon-peel, mango and persimmon aromas emerge on the nose of this bottling. There's a tart Meyer lemon edge to the palate, where cantaloupe and lychee flavors arise. $27 Our Price $21.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
REGIS BOUVIER Morey-St.-Denis En La Rue de Vergy 2019

Aromatic, this red exudes violet, incense, wild strawberry, cherry and spice flavors. Taut, this firms up as it builds to the finish -- without losing any intensity or length. Enjoyable now. Drink now through 2035.—B.S. $74 (Arrives GT 2/7/23)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 93 Points
2018 Keenan Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Bold and juicy, Keenan's 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is super-expressive today. Dark cherry, plum, grilled herbs, mocha, spice and licorice are all front and center. The 2018 is deep and fleshy yet retains a classic, mid-weight feel that works so well. Drink it over the next decade. $65 Our Price $56.49 (Arrives GT 2/7/23)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
Bollinger Brut Champagne Special Cuvée NV (2022)

A graceful Champagne, with flavors of black cherry, Asian pear, toast point and salted almond dancing across the palate. Bright and buoyant, with a fine, lacy mousse and delicate notes of lime blossom, ground coffee and exotic spices playing on the finish. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. Drink now. 15,000 cases imported. $90 Our Price $63.95 (Available GT and VRW)

James Suckling 92 Points
2018 Maritana Russian River La Riviere Chardonnay

A pretty chardonnay with cooked-apple and pineapple character. Some vanilla and cream, too. It’s full-bodied and layered with lots of fruit and attractive, toasted-oak and yogurt undertones. Typical and luscious. Drink now. $55 (Available VRW 2/4/23)

Wine Enthusiast 97 Points
2020 Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel

This seamless, polished but also firm and well-structured wine achieves power with grace. Wonderful black fig, black olive and plump blackberry flavors ride a full body backed by good, well-integrated tannins. This classic from Ridge's Sonoma County property consists of 79% Zinfandel plus 11% Petite Sirah and 10% Carignan. Best from 2025–2040. JG. $50 Our Price $44.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2019 Booker Vineyard Oublie

The 2019 Oublie checks in as 34% Grenache, 31% Syrah, 27% Mourvèdre, and the balance Tannat and Petite Sirah. This cuvée used to be a kitchen sink-like catch-all, but today, it seems to always be a classic GSM-like blend. The 2019 boasts a deep purple hue to go with terrific blackberry and darker cherry fruits as well as notes of spice, chocolate, and ground pepper. Deep, rich, medium to full-bodied, and perfectly balanced, it has another 10-15 years of prime drinking. $75 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
Marchesi de' Frescobaldi Brunello di Montalcino Castelgiocondo 2016

Starts out with macerated plum and cherry fruit, shaded by tobacco, iron and earth flavors. Dense, dusty tannins put the grip on the finish, yet this is also vibrant and finds a nice equilibrium in the end, with the fruit returning. Best from 2024 through 2042. 27,000 cases made, 2,500 cases imported. $66 Internet Price $59.95 (Available GT and VRW)

2021 Pride Mountain Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: Our string of fresh exuberant chardonnays continues with the glorious 2021 vintage. Soaring aromatics of mint, sage, lemon peel, beeswax, white pepper and rain on pavement complement the classic fruit flavors of crisp apple and pear. This wine is filled with verve and energy from start to finish, possessing rounded luxuriance in the attack and an exciting crispness that builds with each second in your mouth. A beautiful wine that is precisely the chardonnay we want to be making. $48 (Available GT)

2019 Pont Neuf Pont Royal Russian River Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: The 2019 Pont Royal reveals a brilliant clarity both in appearance and focused flavors. Consistent vineyard characters show in the forward citrus, fresh peach, custard and honied beeswax, hallmark traits of this vineyard. The texture is crisp, with a satisfying texture and great persistence of flavors. Pont Royal is a chameleon; one moment floral and lilting, bold, rich and deep the next. French oak takes a back seat to the fruit, adding nuanced aromas of toasted brioche and fine structure to the wine. We employed 80% new oak from the Vosges forest, aged 4 years, contributing the delicate toast and vanilla aromas and playing perfectly with bright citrus fruit. Barrel-fermented, aged on the lees and bottled un-fined and unfiltered, this natural fermentation showcases the vineyard and the vintage. 90 cases produced. $65 (Back in stock GT)


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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