March 2nd 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

March 2nd 2023 Newsletter

On Deck for wine tasting next week at VRW:

Wine Advocate 95-97 Points
2021 Aubert Chardonnay Eastside Russian River

From a somewhat warmer site on thin, volcanic soils overlooking the Russian River, Eastside—originally a collaboration between Ulises Valdez and Mark Aubert—features a Montrachet selection planted on riparia rootstock. Despite plenty of new French oak in the élevage, there's only a faintly fumé, crushed-stone character on the nose, which nicely sets off the wine's white peach and lime notes. Full-bodied and generous but sturdily built, with an imposing structure, the 2021 Chardonnay Eastside is powerful and long on the finish. The crop was virtually wiped out by a spring frost in 2020, but the vines rebounded in 2021, yielding 1,400 cases. Auction $135+

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points
2019 Chappellet Vineyard Cabernet Franc

Similarly deep purple-hued, the 2019 Cabernet Franc (78% Cabernet Franc, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot and 2% Merlot) offers a kaleidoscope-like array of red, blue, and black fruits as well as spring flowers, cedarwood, and leafy herbs. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, it's another rich, concentrated, yet vibrant and fresh 2019, and it's going to evolve for 20 years or more. It's a brilliant bottle of wine! 3600 cases. $125


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


Wine Enthusiast 92 Points
2020 Bodegas Vegalfaro Rebel.lia Red

Aromas of cassis and purple plums with a hint of leather set the scene for black currant, blackberry, dark chocolate, coffee, clove and the tiniest hint of green bell pepper. Rigid tannins coat the tongue and then drop off into a floral scented finish. Tempranillo 65% and Garnacha 35%. $15 Our Price $11.49 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

Decanter 92 Points
2018 Byron Nielson Vineyard Chardonnay

Slightly restrained nose with nice stone fruit and floral character underneath. Light lemon sherbet notes with toasted pineapple on the palate, pleasingly dry and youthful finish. $30 Our Price $21.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
Bruna Grimaldi Barolo Camilla 2018

Juicy and firm, setting the stage for macerated cherry and raspberry fruit complemented by hay, iron and earth. Compact and dense, despite a linear profile, with fine length. Best from 2025 through 2042. 2,500 cases made, 1,500 cases imported. $55 Our Price $38.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
LEMELSON Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Thea's Selection 2019

Detailed and refined, with handsome raspberry, forest floor and spiced tea flavors that add structure toward medium-grained tannins. Drink now through 2029. 7,300 cases made.—Tim Fish. $34 Our Price $26.99 (Available GT and VRW)

2021 Margerum M5 Red Rhône-style Blend Santa Barbara County

Winemaker Notes: M5 is Margerum's Flagship wine. It is modeled after top wines from southern Rhône – Châteauneuf-du-Pape . The M is for Margerum & the 5 is for 5 grapes: Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, and Counoise. M5 is a Grenache based blend & has elegance and layers making it a versatile table and food wine. The overlying presence of Grenache flavors initially impacts the palate, followed by a finish complete with hints of jam, cocoa and dark berry contributions of Syrah and earthy Mourvèdre. It’s a “go to” wine since it drinks well with every occasion and almost every type of cuisine. Syrah adds richness and power, Mourvèdre adds earthy, old world, Counoise adds aromatics of watermelon and Cinsault add a spice component. $30 Our Price $23.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW 3/3/23)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
RAMEY Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2020

Impressive for its intensity and purity, with juicy Honeycrisp apple, pear, peach and nectarine flavors that sing out on a fresh frame. Reveals details of lemon blossoms, dried ginger and a touch of salted melon on the long, expressive finish. Drink now through 2033. —M.W. $45 Our Price $34.99 (Available GT and VRW 3/3/23)

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2020 Ornellaia Bolgheri Rosso Le Serre Nuove dell'Ornellaia

The Ornellaia 2020 Bolgheri Rosso Le Serre Nuove dell'Ornellaia (a proprietary blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot) is a generous and darkly toned red blend that has the extra fruit fiber, sweetness and generous plumpness of a warm vintage. The fullness of the fruit is on full display, but in a very relaxed and natural manner. The wine never feels like too much. The tannins are yielding and velvety, and this purebred Tuscan red wraps thickly over the palate. It's poised for near- and medium-term drinking. $75 Our Price $59.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points
2017 Byron Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard

Leading off the Sta. Rita Hills releases, the 2017 Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard comes from clones 777 and 667 and was completely destemmed and aged 16 months in 32% new French oak. Bright berry fruits, leafy herbs, spring flowers, candied violets, and subtle incense notes all emerge from the glass, and it's medium-bodied, beautifully balanced, elegant, and seamless on the palate. This is a classy, balanced Sta. Rita Hills effort that leads with its fruit. $38 Our Price $25.99 (Back in stock GT this afternoon)


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) 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) 559-226-6828
Tuesday-Friday 10:30 AM-5:30 PM
Saturday 10:30 AM-4:00 PM

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