February 7th 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

February 7th 2023 Newsletter

On Deck for wine tasting next week at VRW:
2021 Bevan Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir
2020 Castalia Rochioli Pinot Noir

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 will arrive at 3:00 PM


Taste 2019 Riverain Tench Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $10 per person.
Tuesday, February 7th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Jeb Dunnuck 95+
2019 Riverain Tench Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

I was able to taste two wines from Riverain, both from the Tench Vineyard in Oakville. The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Tench Vineyard is rock-solid, with classic red, blue, and black fruits as well as notes of iron, rosemary, and leather. It's focused, medium to full-bodied, concentrated, and nicely structured on the palate. I like it today, but the cellar is going to be your friend as well. $150


Taste 2020 Kongsgaard Napa Chardonnay and 2020 Paul Hobbs Russian River Pinot Noir at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Wednesday, February 8th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

2020 Kongsgaard Napa Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: Our historic blend of the Hudson and Hyde vineyards shows the classic tangerine oil and creme brulee richness of aroma over intense marzipan and nectarine flavors. The palate is broad, but still well mannered. The finish is long and positively saline-dare we say "minerality"? Back when Robert Parker was visiting, he called this the Batard-Montrachet of Napa. CA Market Price $105-$300

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
2020 Paul Hobbs Pinot Noir Russian River

The quintessential 2020 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley is flush with cola spice, grenadine, and sappy forest floor, while the palate opens with generous ripe red fruits of cherry, beet root, and cinnamon. $70


Taste 2021 Pride Mountain Chardonnay and 2020 Pride Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Thursday, February 9th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

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

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


Wine Enthusiast 94 Points
2020 Domaine Laporte La Comtesse Sancerre

This fine, aromatic wine is one of the top cuvées from this producer. Its fruit is soft, full-bodied and densely powerful. The structure is shot with minerality and citrus and kiwi fruits. It is well-balanced, intense and will be ready from 2023. Organic. $45 (Available GT and VRW)

2019 Tempier Bandol Rouge

Winemaker Notes: There is something about the dark, inky Mourvèdre, plus the salty sea air caressing the vines every night, that typifies classic Bandol. This wine is complete, and ready to serve cooled down a touch. Blend: 75% Mourvèdre, 14% Grenache, 9% Cinsault, 2% Carignan. $70 Our Price $59.99 (Available GT)

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 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 94 Points
Renato Corino Barolo Rocche dell'Annunziata 2018

A broad, open red, revealing vibrant black cherry and blackberry flavors at the center, with accents of tar, iron, licorice and tobacco. Ends with complexity and a long fruity, savory and spicy aftertaste. Best from 2025 through 2043. 250 cases made, 100 cases imported. $85 Our Price $62.99 (Arrives GT 2/8/23)

Wine Advocate 96 Points
2018 Behrens Family Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Cemetery

Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Cemetery rolls effortlessly out of the glass with open-knit scents of fresh black and red currants, ripe blackberries and black raspberries, giving way to nuances of red roses, cedar chest, pencil lead and clove oil. Full-bodied, the palate delivers tightly wound layers of black fruit preserves and baking spices, framed by firm, grainy tannins and tons of freshness, finishing long and with great purity. $175 (Arrives GT 2/8/23)

2021 Cantina Puiatti Pinot Grigio

Winemaker Notes: Handsome luminous, intense color, complex nose with notes of white peach, pear, stone. The palate is articulated, rhythmic, with a long finish. $25 Our Price $19.95 (Available GT)

Jeb Dunnuck 90-92 Points
2020 Chateau De Beaucastel Cotes Du Rhone Coudoulet De Beaucastel

A year-in, year-out winner, the 2020 Côtes Du Rhône Coudoulet De Beaucastel offers outstanding quality as well as classic notes of darker fruits, roasted herbs, truffly earth, and some meaty, peppery, gamey nuances. With wonderful purity of fruit, ripe tannins, and a balanced, elegant mouthfeel, it will have over a decade of longevity. $30 Our Price $26.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
DR. H. THANISCH MÜLLER-BURGGRAEF Riesling Kabinett Mosel Bernkasteler Badstube 2020

Brilliant aromas of jasmine, peach, lime and slate mark this exuberant Riesling. Charming, harmonious and vibrant, with a long aftertaste echoing the fruit, floral and mineral notes. Drink now through 2028. 1,000 cases made, 750 cases imported. From Germany.—Bruce Sanderson. $24 Our Price $21.99 (Available GT and VRW)

2021 Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel

Winemaker Notes: Intense aromatics of currant and plum are complemented by savory notes of black olive, anise and allspice. A bright entry of briary black raspberry gives way to a bold palate of supple, lively tannins and a powerful, lingering finish. Pair with rich and meaty short ribs, braised pork belly, or gnocchi gorgonzola. $27 Our Price $21.95 (Available GT and VRW)


Taste 2018 Keenan Napa Cabernet, 2019 Mondavi Oakville Cabernet and 2019 Sinegal Estate Napa Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, February 10th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

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

Wine Spectator 94 Points
Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville The Estates 2019

Throws off some pretty gorgeous aromas of violet, anise and sweet bay leaf, with a core of ripe, streamlined boysenberry and blackberry pâte de fruit flavors following closely. The finish has a racy graphite edge, while the fruit and aromas just spill through. Approachable now, too. Drink now through 2034. 13,500 cases made. $85

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 98 Points
2019 Sinegal Napa Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is every bit as magnificent as it was last year. A heady, statuesque wine, the 2019 captures all the pedigree of the vintage. Inky red cherry fruit, mocha, licorice and spice race across the palate. The 2019 is bright, deep and powerful, with exceptional balance and tons of class. It's a stunning wine, to say the least. The move towards a slightly less pushed style, with less overt oak signatures, has paid off big time. This is a fabulous showing. $80


Taste 2020 Pride Mountain Merlot, 2019 Mondavi Napa Cabernet and 2016 Eisele Altagracia Napa Cabernet at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, February 11th. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

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

Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points
2019 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

The base 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley is certainly impressive, and since there are roughly 90,000 cases, it’s an incredible achievement. Classic darker currants, tobacco leaf, truffly earth, and spicy oak all define the bouquet, and it’s medium to full-bodied, with ripe tannins, terrific balance, and outstanding length. Based off 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec, buy a case and enjoy bottles over the coming 10-15 years. $50

Wine Advocate 95 Points
2016 Eisele Vineyard Altagracia Cabernet Sauvignon

The Altagracia is produced almost exclusively from estate fruit this year and was bottled at the end of June 2018. Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Altagracia comes bursting forth with vivacious black cherries, blackberries, wild blueberries and cassis notes with touches of cinnamon stick, cloves, forest floor, violets and dusty earth with a waft of violets. The palate is medium to full-bodied, firm and grainy with loads of iron and mineral accents, finishing long and perfumed. $135


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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