February 14th 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

February 14th 2023 Newsletter

Taste Staglin Estate Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $35. Hollis Nelson, Staglin Family Estate will arrive at 3:00 PM
Tuesday, February 14th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

2019 Staglin Family Salus Napa Cabernet

Winemaker Notes: Welcome to High Definition Cabernet – the 2019 Salus is a generous and deliciously detailed display of exuberant dark fruits dynamically supported by a range of floral, earthy and herbaceous characters. Lifted floral notes slide into resinous rosemary underlain by tilled earth and powdered porcini mushrooms complexed with a puff of gunpowder, graphite and criollo cigar wrapper. Bursting lackcurrant and ripe raspberry deepened by crushed cacao nibs and fresh licorice root envelop the palate before sliding silkily through a delightfully delineated and lengthy exit. The hint of grip and grit on the finish portends a rewarding and delicious life for this wine. $115

Wine Advocate 97
2016 Staglin Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Estate

Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate bursts out of the glass with beautiful black cherry compote, warm cassis and freshly crushed blackberries scents plus touches of chargrill, violets, dark chocolate and pencil shavings and a waft of English lavender. Full-bodied, the palate features great intensity combined with fantastic freshness, textured by soft, finely grained tannins and lifted by the most gorgeous floral perfume, finishing long and layered. Beautiful wine. $300

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 97 Points
2018 Staglin Rutherford Estate Cabernet

Staglin's 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate favors energy and tension over volume, at least at this point in its life. Bright, aromatic and sumptuous, the 2018 is fabulous right out of the gate. Inky red/purplish fruit, lavender, rose petal, cedar and menthol race across the palate. The 2018 is bright and focused from start to finish, with impeccable balance, well-judged oak and tons of sheer appeal. It is one of the best recent editions I can remember tasting. Winemaker Fredrik Johansson captured the magic of the 2018 vintage and put it all into the bottle. I can't wait to see how this ages. $300

Wine Spectator 93 Points
2019 Staglin Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford

A broad, loamy and frankly toasted style, with a steady rolling wave of warmed cassis and plum sauce supported by freshly plowed earth, sweet tobacco and licorice root. A little toothy through the finish, with a plum skin note hinting at overextraction, but the fruit wins out and fans of the muscular style will be pleased with this. Drink now through 2038. 2,300 cases made. $325


Taste 2021 Flowers Sonoma Coast Pinot and 2021 Bevan Petaluma Gap Pinot at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $10 per person.
Wednesday, February 15th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

James Suckling 93 Points
2021 Flowers Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

This has nice tension and tannic framing. Full-bodied, firm and lightly chewy with freshness, and spicy character to the ripe strawberry and cherry on the finish. $55

2021 Bevan Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: The Bevan Petaluma Gap is a rich, powerful Pinot that delivers exactly what you’d expect from Bevan, tons of fruit in a balanced, seamless package. Black cherries, blackcurrants, graphite, and roasted herb notes all emerge from this full-bodied, powerful effort that has good acidity and length. $80


Taste 2019 Tether Napa Cabernet and 2018 Behrens Family Cemetery Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Thursday, February 16th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

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

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


2021 Carmel Road Monterey Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: Our Monterey Chardonnay is so rich, it doesn’t need oak. Refreshing acidity, courtesy of the cool climate, heightens the golden mango, tangerine, Asian pear, white flower, vanilla bean and butter cream flavors, leading to a long finish complexed with a hint of yeast from sur lie aging. $18 Internet Price $10.99 (Local GT and VRW customers will receive our instant rebate for a net price of $8.95)

Wine Spectator 93 Points

LUIGI PIRA Barolo Serralunga 2018

There is a good amount of cherry and red berry fruit in this expressive red, along with floral, wild herb and iron notes. Elegant and vibrant, with fine harmony and length. Best from 2024 through 2038. —B.S. $52 Our Price $45.99 (Available GT)

2021 Merry Edwards Russian River Sauvignon Blanc, Half Bottles

Winemaker Heidi von der Mehden: The special care we take to bring out the very best in this variety shows in our results. We use a specific mix of clones – two-thirds Shenandoah (Clone 1) and one-third Sauvignon Musqué – that results in a wine brimming with floral and tropical fruit aromatics with a citrusy, juicy core. Barrel fermentation and twice-weekly lees stirring help us create the characteristic creamy texture and rich body that you’ve come to know and share with your friends and family. $21/375ml (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Enthusiast 95 Points
2021 Alma de Cattleya Sonoma Pinot Noir

This appellation blend by Bibiana Gonzalez Rave is a tremendously complex and simply delicious wine for a fair price. Aromas of cinnamon, sumac and raspberry paste are juicy yet dark and serious on the nose. There's a firm grip to the sip that frames the rich black raspberry core, with flavors of thyme, sage and cracked pepper adding more nuance. $35 Internet Price $29.99 (Available GT and VRW)

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 (Available GT and VRW)

James Suckling 92 Points
Burklin-Wolf Pfalz Estate Riesling Trocken 2020

Open pear and reine-claude plum nose with delicate baking-spice aromas!. Generous and well-structured palate with a long, refreshing finish that’s supported nicely by a touch of chalky tannin. From biodynamically grown grapes. Drink or hold. $22 Our Price $19.99 (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 Our Price $59.99 (Available GT and VRW)

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 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Advocate 94+
2018 Paul Hobbs Napa Cabernet Sauvignon Coombsville

This is the first vintage for this label. In fact, this replaces the "Napa Valley" label, but since all the wine now comes from the Coombsville AVA (and mostly from their estate), it now carries the Coombsville name.

Deep garnet-purple in color, the nose of the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Coombsville is redolent of Morello cherries, boysenberries and cassis with hints of lilacs, cinnamon stick and dried herbs. The medium to full-bodied palate has vibrant black fruit flavors with a a soft texture and nice tension, finishing with a red fruit lift. 6,677 cases were made. $120 (Available GT and VRW)


Taste 2018 AXR Napa Chardonnay, 2019 Amici Napa Cabernet and 2016 Whitehall Lane Leonardini Estate Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, February 17th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points
2018 AXR Winery Napa Chardonnay

Lots of stone fruits, brioche, and honeysuckle notes emerge from the 2018 Chardonnay, a solid, nicely balanced Chardonnay with a good mix of both richness and freshness. Opening up nicely with air, this rich, toasty, vibrant effort is ideal for drinking over the coming 2-4 years. $39

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

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2016 Whitehall Lane Leonardini Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Composed of 97% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Petit Verdot, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Leonardini Estate was aged for 26 months in French oak, 65% new. Deep garnet-purple in color, warm cassis, blackberry pie and mulberries scents slowly unfurl, giving way to nuances of pencil lead, mossy tree bark and truffles with a waft of cardamom. Full-bodied, the palate is delivering mouth-filling black fruit and compelling tension with a plush texture and a long, savory finish. $85


Taste 2020 Sans Liege The Offering GSM, 2020 Thread Feathers Mt Veeder Cabernet and 2018 Silver Oak Napa Cabernet at (VRW) for $20 per person.
Saturday, February 18th. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

2020 Sans Liege The Offering GSM

Winemaker Notes: Within the refuge of the cottage a fire dances in the wood burning stove while outside a coastal storm rages. The windows show you redwoods and sassafras trees being assailed by rain. You pick up your book to settle in for the afternoon and take in a long breath. Scents of dark cherry, chocolate shavings, and baking spices linger in the air from the morning’s baking project and they meld with the more savory aromas of herbs de provence & white pepper from the kitchen. As you exhale you happily ease into quietude. 44% Grenache, 36% Syrah, 20% Mourvedre. $33

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 cardamon, clove, and freshly tilled earth. 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Malbec. $40

2018 Silver Oak Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: The 2018 Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is ruby in color with notes of strawberry, fresh carnation, black pepper and vanilla. is wine builds in strength and body across the mid-palate with a blackberry character on the ¬nish and bright cherry return.With integrated tannins, it’s expressive yet luxurious with an even, balanced ¬nish. Given proper cellaring conditions, this wine will continue to improve through 2043. The 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet is comprised of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15.2% Merlot, 5.1% Cabernet Franc, 3.2% Petit Verdot and 0.5% Malbec Internet Price $175


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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