February 23rd 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

February 23rd 2023 Newsletter

On Deck for wine tasting next week at VRW:

2017 Quilt Reserve Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: Deep garnet in color. Baking spice aromas of cinnamon and clove are intertwined with dark stone fruits, blackberry pie, vanilla, white pepper and notes of oak and rose. A full bodied palate presents layers of dark black cherry, coffee, blackberry, dark currant and notes of milky chocolate. Beautifully rounded with an unctuous velvety mouth-feel. This refined wine is a sensational expression of what a Napa Valley Cabernet represents with a long, smooth finish and fine grained tannins. $110

James Suckling 93 points
2019 Chimney Rock Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon

A creamy, succulent red with aromas of mulberries, raspberries, walnut cream and sweet spices. Full-bodied with firm, velvety tannins. Plush, flavorful finish. Delicious already but better after 2023. $115


Wine Spectator 93 Points
RIDGE Three Valleys Sonoma County 2020

Opens with a juicy burst of cherry fruit, then turns brooding midway, with dark berry flavors accented by savory white pepper and bay leaf. Ends with broad-shouldered tannins. Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignan and Alicante Bouschet. Drink now through 2031. —T.F. $32 Our Price $27.99 (Available GT and VRW)

2020 Pedroncelli Mother Clone Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley

Winemaker Notes: The Mother Clone is a classic Dry Creek Zinfandel with aromas of ripe red berries with a touch of cinnamon and white pepper. Jammy berry and cherry flavors combine with vanilla, licorice, and baking spice. The dynamic berry-spice combination brings together round tannins and a zesty finish which are a hallmark of Pedroncelli's style. $23 Our Price TBD (Arrives GT this afternoon)

Wine Enthusiast 91 Points
2021 Chalk Hill Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Excellent balance and a sturdy structure of tannins give this full-bodied wine a hefty mouth-feel that backs up its nicely ripe and robust cherry and blackberry flavors. Best through 2028. $24 Our Price $18.49 (Available GT and VRW this afternoon)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 93 Points
2017 Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon Cinq Cepages

The 2017 Cinq Cépages is jam-packed with inky-dark fruit, crème de cassis, chocolate, cloves and licorice. Dense and full-throttle, the Cinq packs a serious punch. The Cinq is undoubtedly racy, but not as opulent as it can be. This is a fine showing for the Cinq. $85 Our Price $72.99 (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
RIDGE Geyserville Alexander Valley 2020

Deeply structured and briary, with a mix of red and black fruit accented by licorice, dill and savory underbrush flavors. Finishes with medium-grained tannins. Zinfandel, Carignan, Petite Syrah, Alicante Bouschet and Mataro. Drink now through 2030. 8,900 cases made. — TF $50. Internet Price $44.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 94 Points
Drouhin Oregon Roserock Chardonnay Eola-Amity Hills 2020

Opulent and refined, with a vibrant core of acidity framed by pear, cantaloupe and toasty spice flavors that build depth and richness on the savory finish. Drink now. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. 1,557 cases made. $38 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 97 Points
BARICCI Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli 2016

Fresh and vivid, this red features cherry, raspberry, plum, floral, black tea and mineral aromas and flavors. The well-defined fruit character is nicely balanced by earthy, savory elements, lively acidity and refined tannins. This is complete, with terrific finesse and complexity. Best from 2024 through 2048. 1,300 cases made, 275 cases imported. — BS $95 Our Price $83.99 (Available GT)

2020 Ken Wright Cellars Yamhill Carlton Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: Notes of red plum, fresh fig and marionberry fruits with hints of magnolia blossom and graham cracker. Balanced but vibrant acidity. $45 Our Price $37.99 (Available GT)


Taste 2020 Alban Patrina Syrah at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $10 per person.
Thursday, February 23rd. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

2020 Alban Patrina Syrah

Notes from John Alban: All over the world, wine geeks, like you and me, freak out over the unbelievable wines that can be produced by isolating unique parcels on distinct soils. That concept is at the heart of every vineyard designated wine including Reva, Lorraine, and Seymour’s. Today we are releasing 2020 Patrina. This wine is our recognition of the fact that there are very important and genuinely beautiful human elements to any wine no matter its origin. Patrina is our wide open opportunity to share what our farming, vine selections, and fermentations can make when combined with the climate of the Edna Valley and the many soil types surrounding us. We are blessed with concentration, deep fruits, and long silty tannins. South of the Santa Lucia range and so very close to the Pacific, our vineyards were isolated from the tragic fires that plagued much of California in 2020 and buffered enough from the heat of early September to retain their freshness. This wine is among my favorites for this offering yet produced. It is dark, full of black and blue berries, coco powder, and immediately pleasing and pure. It is, in our opinion, a wonderful and delicious expression of our farm and farming. $60


Taste 2019 Archery Summit Eola Amity Chardonnay, 2021 Sojourn Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and 2019 AXR Napa Cabernet Sauvignon at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, February 24th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Spectator 92 Points
Archery Summit Chardonnay Eola-Amity Hills 2019

Precise and polished, with green apple, floral lemon and toasty spice flavors that glide on the lingering finish. Drink now. 769 cases made. $48

International Wine Report 93 Points * SOJOURN Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 2021

The 2021 Sojourn Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir sees 50% new French oak and is fermented entirely with native yeast. Presenting a blue-ruby core with a silvery rim, it starts with lovely aromas of crushed blueberry, red and blue plum, dried violet flower, and wet autumn leaves. A well-balanced palate gifts perfect levels of acidity, rounded sweet tannins, and a blue-fruit and earth-driven finish. 2600 cases were made. $45

Decanter Magazine 97 Points
2019 AXR Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Jean Hoefliger sources grapes from the Denali Vineyard and V Madrone in St Helena, Furtado and Sleeping Lady in Yountville, and Ballard Vineyards on Spring Mountain. Restrained on the nose at first, with subtle dark fruits coated in fine graham cracker crumb, sweet cedar and chocolate. But the wine builds on the palate revealing dried strawberry, ripe boysenberry and traces of blue fruit, herbs and mineral flourishes, enrobed in palate-etching tannins. A tremendous wine. $60


Taste Pinot Noir: 2021 Sean Minor Sonoma Coast Signature, 2020 Castalia Rochioli and 2019 Sea Smoke Southing at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, February 25th. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

Wine Spectator 91 Points
SEAN MINOR Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Signature Series 2021

Bright, high-pitched style, with blood orange and damson plum notes racing through, flecked liberally with savory and thyme hints. Nice sleek feel on the finish. Drink now through 2027. 7,500 cases made.—J.M. $28

2020 Castalia Rochioli Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: As always the wine is sourced 100% from the Rochioli vineyards and should age for at least ten years and be in its prime from 4 to 7 years. Castalia Pinot Noir possesses the full-bodied complexity and subtle cherry essence that is so typical of the finest Russian River Pinot Noirs. Many fine restaurants in the greater Bay Area have recognized that reputation by serving Castalia Pinot Noir year after year. I am pleased to now offer a limited quantity of our most recent vintage to the general public. $60

2019 Sea Smoke Southing Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir, Magnum

Winemaker Notes: Each year, our goal for Southing is to create the ideal marriage of complexity and elegance. The ever-changing nose of the Southing exhibits fresh strawberry, geranium, Montmorency cherry; and subtle baking spices. The fine tannins and minerality are enhanced by our estate vineyard’s characteristic cool climate acidity. 100% Pinot Noir. CA Market Price $298-$320/magnum


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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