March 21st 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

March 21st 2023 Newsletter

On Deck for wine tasting next week at VRW:

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
2019 Merus Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

A killer bottle of Napa Valley magic, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon from Merus is 97% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Petit Verdot. It’s a powerful, full-bodied, uber-ripe beauty that stays lively and balanced, with beautiful blue fruits, as well as smoked tobacco, chocolate, and scored earth-like aromas and flavors. A beast of a wine with a great mid-palate and velvety tannins, it should shed its considerable baby fat over the coming 4-6 years and have two decades of overall longevity. $180


Taste 2020 Walter Hansel Chardonnay and Pinot Noir at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Tuesday, March 21st. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

2020 Walter Hansel Estate Russian River Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: Produced from 40 year old vines. This Estate Chardonnay is light gold with notes of citrus, white peaches and solid acidity. The sparingly use of oak gives this wine a great freshness. $26

2020 Walter Hansel Estate Russian River Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: Walter Hansel selects estate grown fruit from a variety of vineyard sites for this offering. The predominant clone is from Rochioli cuttings that they have in various locations; they also add a small amount of Swan clone. $41

2020 Walter Hansel North Slope Russian River Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: Estate grown wine, produced from a field blend of clones 95 and 76. $32

2020 Walter Hansel Cuvee Alyce Russian River Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: There is a section of vineyard right in the middle of the North slope where the soils are very heavy adobe clay resulting in the vines struggling to produce a crop more than 1 ton to the acre. It is a field blend of clone 777 and 115. This minimal crop yield tends to produce wines that are big, rich, "over the top" flavors; perfect for "Alyce". $52


Taste 2020 Domaine Laporte La Comtesse Sancerre and 2020 Louis Jadot Corton Pougets Domaine des Heritiers at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $20 per person.
Wednesday, March 22nd. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

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

Wine Spectator 96 Points
LOUIS JADOT Corton Pougets Domaine des Héritiers 2020

Intense and tightly wound, this red is firmly structured and energetic, featuring cherry, strawberry, stone and spice flavors, with the acidity and tannins lending support for future evolution. All the components are there, this just needs a few years to knit together. Best from 2027 through 2045. 258 cases made, 129 cases imported.—B.S. $150


Taste 2012 Gloria Ferrer Anniversary Cuvee, Domaine Carneros Pompadour Brut Rose and Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Thursday, March 23rd. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

2012 Gloria Ferrer Anniversary Cuvee

VinePair Notes: After spending five years aging on the lees, this Pinot Noir-dominant sparkling wine is broad, succulent, and toasty, with plenty of nutty notes and warm spice to round out red and yellow apple fruit. There’s enough acidity, along with a fine line of earth, to provide tension in this well-crafted, limited-release bottle. $30

Wine Enthusiast 92 Points
Domaine Carneros NV Cuveé de la Pompadour Brut Rosé Sparkling

Yeasty and brimming in brioche and custard, this is a rich, generous and textured sparkling wine, made from blending 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay and given a minimum of two years of aging. Dried cherry and a hint of dried herb provide complementary contrast. $45

Wine Spectator 92 Points
Moët & Chandon Brut Champagne Impérial NV (2022) Magnum

An elegant version, fine and creamy in texture and backed by lively, orange peel acidity. A streak of smoke-tinged minerality underscores flavors of almond madeleine, poached pear, anise and preserved lemon. Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. Drink now. $160/magnum.


WOW!-Discounted 50%
Wine Advocate 88+ Points
2017 Mercer Wine Estate • Red Wine Blend Robert Willis Homestead Collection

A blend of 47% Syrah, 22% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec, 3% Petit Verdot and 1% each of Mourvèdre, Grenache, Cinsault, Cabernet Franc and Viognier, the 2017 Red Wine Blend Robert Willis Homestead Collection opens with roasted coffee, vanilla, mocha, maple foam, chocolate-covered blueberries and blackberry reduction. Medium to full-bodied, the wine is open-knit with flavors of bitter dark chocolate, before showing fine-grained tannins. The wine ends with black cherry skin and plum essence on the lingering finish. $20 Our Price $9.95 (Arrives GT 3/24/23)

Jeb Dunnuck 91 Points
2020 Operation Dragoon Cotes du Rhone

A blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah, the 2020 Côtes du Rhône reveals a medium ruby hue to go with a pretty, juicy nose of blackberries, red plums, pepper, and violets. It's wonderfully textured and balanced, with fine tannins and a clean finish. It's another beautiful, undeniably delicious wine from this label $20. Our Price $17.49 (Arrives GT 3/22/23)

Wine Spectator 90 Points
PEDRONCELLI Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley Mother Clone 2020

A gutsy red that's easy to drink, with lively blackberry, licorice and savory peppercorn flavors that build toward zesty tannins. Drink now through 2030. 6,500 cases made.—T.F. $24 Our Price $17.49 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

2021 Roar Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir, Half Bottles

Winemaker Notes: Fruit-driven and wrapped in leather and sagebrush, this blend melds elements from all of our vineyards. This approachable Pinot integrates the best of north and south within the Santa Lucia Highlands. $30/375ml (Arrives GT 3/22/23)

2021 Hahn Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: Vivid red ruby in the glass, this wine opens with aromas of red fruit, cherry, blackberry and hints of earthiness, delicate toast and vanilla spice. The palate is rich, with refined silky tannins, medium acidity and flavors of cherry, red plums, raspberry and subtle notes of allspice on a long elegant finish. $26 Our Price $22.99 (Available GT and VRW)

2021 Roar Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: A harmonious blend of tropical fruit, toasty texture, and minerality. It seemlessly melds the different faces of northern and southern vineyards for a quaffable staple that will make you all warm inside. $52 (Arrives GT 3/22/23)

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2019 Unwritten Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

A step up over the 2018, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley is gorgeous juice, offering lots of cassis, tapenade, chocolaty oak, and spicy notes in a round, lush, sexy package. The tannins are first rate, and this will last for 15 years. It's well worth checking out. $175. (Arrives GT 3/22/23)


Taste 2021 Evening Land Seven Springs Pinot, 2019 Hahn Santa Lucia Highlands Reserve Pinot and 2019 Barnett Spring Mountain Cabernet at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, March 24th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Spectator 94 Points
EVENING LAND Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills Seven Springs 2021

A lovely, delicate Pinot, with aromas of fresh violet opening to elegantly multilayered raspberry, guava and forest floor accents, which glide on the graceful finish. Drink now through 2031. 3,388 cases made. —Tim Fish. $45

Wine Spectator 92 Points
2019 Hahn Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands SLH Reserve

Elegant and burnished, with concentrated dark cherry, plum and berry flavors backed by rich acidity and medium-grained tannins. Asian spice notes and underbrush accents fill the finish. Drink now through 2026. 1,540 cases made. $43

Decanter 93 Points
2019 Barnett Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon

Expressive dark fruit, graphite and cigar box aromas. Pure, rich and fresh palate of ripe blackberries, chalk-like minerality, earth and pops of mint and thyme. Fine-grained tannins and tangy blood orange-like acidity persist to a cocoa-dusted finish. $80


Taste 2019 Luli Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay, 2021 Roar Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir and 2019 O’Shaughnessy Howell Mountain Cabernet at (VRW) for $20 per person.
Saturday, March 25th. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

Jeb Dunnuck 91 Points
2019 Luli Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay

The 2019 Chardonnay Santa Lucia Highlands is also terrific. Coming from a great, cooler region south of Monterey, it has a vibrant nose of melon and ripe orchard fruits as well as some spice and toasty notes. Balanced, medium-bodied, and nicely textured, with a juicy spine of acidity, it's well worth seeking out and would be one heck of a house white to drink over the coming couple of years. $25

2021 Roar Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: Fruit-driven and wrapped in leather and sagebrush, this blend melds elements from all of our vineyards. This approachable Pinot integrates the best of north and south within the Santa Lucia Highlands. $55

Jeb Dunnuck 98+ Points
2019 O'Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain is an incredible wine, and it flirts with perfection. Full-bodied and concentrated, it has flawless balance and elegance as well as just textbook Howell Mountain notes of blue fruits, cassis, violets, graphite, and background oak. I love its tannins, it has remarkable purity of fruit, and a great, great finish. It has some appeal today yet deserves 4-5 years of bottle age and should have over two decades of longevity. $110


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

Back to Our Blog

Are you 21 years old, or older?