February 28th 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

February 28th 2023 Newsletter

On Deck for wine tasting next week at VRW:

Wine Advocate 97+ Points
2019 Andremily EABA

The 2019 EABA ("end all be all") is a blend of 61% Syrah, 24% Mourvèdre, 13% Grenache and 2% Viognier and was made with 65% whole clusters. Fruit comes from several vineyards in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, including Bien Nacido, White Hawk, Larner, Harrison-Clarke, G2 and Alta Mesa. It was matured for about 22 months in 55% new French barriques and 600-liter demi-muids and 45% used French barriques, and it was bottled on August 21, 2021. Opaque ruby-purple in color, it offers beautiful, pure scents of licorice, tar, blueberry and black cherry jam, charcuterie, pepper, olive and fried savory herbs, offering up more nuances as it spends time in the glass. Medium-bodied, it has abundant, super-fine tannins, seamless acidity and slowly expanding, spicy flavor layers, finishing very long and alluringly floral. Its notable length, detail and latency suggest this will continue to improve in bottle over the next 5-7 years and will be long lived in the cellar. $160


New Hours for The Grape Tray
Tuesday 10:30 AM – 5:30 PM
Wednesday 10:30 AM – 5:30 PM
Thursday 10:30 AM – 5:30 PM
Friday 10:30 AM – 5:30 PM
Saturday 10:30 AM – 4:00 PM
Closed Sunday and Monday


Taste 2018 Quintessa Proprietary Red at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Tuesday, February 28th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

James Suckling 99 Points * 2018 Quintessa Rutherford Proprietary Red

This is beautifully polished with firm, dusty tannins to the blue fruit, as well as chocolate and cedar character. Some much earthier character, too, from mushrooms to bark. Forest flowers. Perfumed. It’s full-bodied with round tannins and a soft, creamy finish. Some iron and iodine to this. So attractive at the finish. From biodynamically grown grapes. $225


Taste Zinfandel: 2020 Pedroncelli Mother Clone Dry Creek, 2020 Ridge Three Valleys Sonoma County and 2020 Ridge Lytton Springs at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Wednesday, March 1st. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

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

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

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


Taste 2020 Emmolo Napa Merlot, 2019 Quilt Napa Cabernet and 2017 Quilt Reserve Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Thursday, March 2nd. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

2020 Emmolo Napa Merlot

Winemaker Notes: The enveloping color of black cherries, this wine unfolds with an array of scents that are both savory and lush - sweet spice and rosemary are layered onto ripe cherries and dried apricot. Earthy notes of tree bark on a dewy morning mingle with a homey hint of sweet dough and cinnamon. Entry on the palate is extravagantly soft, leading into a balance of rich flavors and lively fruit. Juicy cherry carries over from the nose, along with bright pomegranate and the warmth of baking cocoa. The smooth, long finish features the alluring character of spiced mocha. $55

2019 Quilt Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: While the majority of the fruit comes from the floor of the Napa Valley to achieve the richness and elegance desired, we also relied on some grapes grown in the well-drained gravelly soils of the side slopes and at low elevations in the more mountainous areas for a blend with more structure and complexity than we could have achieved had we used fruit grown solely in a single region. Napa Valley AVAs: Oakville, St. Helena, Atlas Peak, Coombsville, Calistoga, and Howell Mountain. $55

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


New Vintage!
Jeb Dunnuck 91 Points
2016 Nielson Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

Sourced from sites in the Santa Maria Valley and aged 18 months in 40% new barrels, the 2016 Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley has slightly more density and depth in its black cherry, toasted spices, crushed flowers, and vanilla bean aromas and flavors. Clean, beautifully balanced, elegant, and with ample length, it delivers tons of Pinot Noir charm for not much buck. $20. Internet Price $13.99. GT and VRW Insider Price $8.95 (Arrives GT and VRW 3/1/23)

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 (Back in stock GT 3/1/23)

Wine Spectator 94 Points
Bedrock Zinfandel California Old Vine 2021

Spry and briary, this Zinfandel is fun to drink, with lively black cherry, licorice and dried sage flavors, which take on richness and cracked pepper accents toward zesty tannins. Drink now through 2031. 4,000 cases made. $35 Our Price $24.99 (Arrives GT 3/1/23)

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. $24 Our Price $21.99 (Available GT and VRW)

2021 Mirabeau Classic Cotes de Provence Rose

Winemaker Notes: Pale peach color with brighter pink reflections. Elegant on the nose, electrifying and rich, with aromas of cherry, vineyard peach, apricot, orange zest and freesia. A hint of strawberries and cream. Ample and generous in the mouth, with a good acidity that confers instant freshness. Notes of dried peach and ripe strawberry and a slight grip give some real layered depth to this enchanting Rosé. 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Cinsault. $19 Our Price $15.95 (Available GT)

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 (Back in stock GT 3/1/23)

2021 Hartford Court Russian River Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: Aromas of black cherry, blueberry, black currant, allspice and loam are followed by flavors of wild raspberries, dark berries and a crushed rock minerality. The dense entry is followed by a sweet and juicy mouth feel, supported by acidity, silky tannins and a subtle earthy finish. $40 Our Price $33.99 (Back in stock GT 3/1/23)

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
2019 Stewart Napa Tartan Proprietary Red

Checking in as a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, and the balance Malbec and Petit Verdot, the 2019 Red Blend Tartan is one heck of an impressive red blend, as well as a smoking value. Cassis, sappy herbs, chocolate, and spicy notes all give way to a round, medium to full-bodied, expansive beauty with remarkable purity and freshness. Drink it over the coming decade. $50 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 95 Points *BOSQUET DES PAPES Châteauneuf-du-Pape Chante Le Merle Vieilles Vignes 2019

Steeped plum and cherry compote notes are the main marker here, though chestnut, sweet bay, singed alder and tobacco flavors all make their presence known. Tar and licorice root accents underline the finish, giving this a toothy, old school edge. Rock solid, throwback-styled Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Best from 2024 through 2038. —J.M. $89 Our Price $69.95 (Available GT)

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points
Figgins Figlia Proprietary Red 2019

The 2019 Figlia is a blend of Merlot and Petit Verdot that was raised in a mix of used barrels and oval botti. It has exotic red and blue fruits as well as pretty floral and sappy herb nuances on the nose. These all carry to a medium to full-bodied, pure, seamless, gorgeous Merlot that has silky tannins, no hard edges, nicely integrated acidity, and a great finish. $70 Our Price $61.99 (Available GT)


Taste 2020 Staglin Salus Napa Chardonnay, 2019 Stewart Tartan Napa Proprietary Red and 2019 Chimney Rock Stag’s Leap Cabernet at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, March 3rd. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

2021 Staglin Family Salus Napa Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: The 2021 Salus Chardonnay provides an adventure for th e senses. It welcomes with perfectly ripened citrus, delicate florals, and limestone minerality. The expressive aromas deliver baked pear tart, a hint of fresh nutmeg and twist of Meyer lemon. The palate showcases juicy apricot, brûléed white grapefruit drizzled with fir honey, and the surprising texture of silky mango. The richness of sun warmed fruit is beautifully balanced by acidity focusing the entire experience. Each sip induces a longing for another. $60

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
2019 Stewart Tartan Napa Proprietary Red

Checking in as a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, and the balance Malbec and Petit Verdot, the 2019 Red Blend Tartan is one heck of an impressive red blend, as well as a smoking value. Cassis, sappy herbs, chocolate, and spicy notes all give way to a round, medium to full-bodied, expansive beauty with remarkable purity and freshness. Drink it over the coming decade. $50

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


Taste 2021 Tyler Santa Barbara Chardonnay, 2021 Chalk Hill Sonoma Coast Pinot and 2020 Kapcsandy Family Estate Cuvee Cabernet at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, March 4th. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

Wine Advocate 95 Points
2021 Tyler Santa Barbara Chardonnay

The 2021 Chardonnay over delivers for its appellation-wide status. It has pretty scents of quince, poached pear, spring honey, chalk and roasted almonds. The medium-bodied palate is satiny, savory and expansive with dynamic flavor layers and a very long finish. $25

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

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
2020 Kapcsandy Family Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Cuvee

Incorporating 5% Merlot and brought in before the Glass fire, the 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Cuvée is an outstanding effort that certainly appears to be smoke-free. Cassis, ripe plums, graphite, and tobacco define the aromatics, and it's medium to full-bodied, with ripe tannins and outstanding length. This is the only 2020 released and just 300 cases were produced. $150


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
Tuesday-Friday 10:30 AM-5:30 PM
Saturday 10:30 AM-4:00 PM

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