April 11th 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

April 11th 2023 Newsletter

On Deck for wine tasting next week at VRW:

Wine Advocate 95-97 Points
2021 Peter Michael Winery Chardonnay La Carrière

I tasted the 2021 Chardonnay La Carrière as a finished tank sample the day before it was bottled. It comes from vines planted in 1994 on volcanic soils and was matured for 12 months in about 40% new French oak. It opens soft and creamy on the nose, gaining in intensity as it blossoms to scents of matchstick, saline, Meyer lemons and wafts of lemongrass. The medium-bodied palate has a satiny texture and focused acidity to support its expansive, perfumed fruit, and its classy new oak character is already well integrated. I love this juxtaposition of concentrated flavor and shimmery, energetic acidity. 2,128 cases were made. This will be released in February 2023. $130

2021 Fait Main Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: his unapologetically juicy, hedonistic wine celebrates all the corners of the Napa Valley. The nose shows rich strawberry, blackberry and chocolate notes that open up on the palate to a silky ripeness with excellent density. Velvety tannins support the full body and allow the long, fruit-filled finish to bloom. $120


This Saturday. Live Acoustic on the patio!
Phillips and Sagardia Acoustic Fusion Guitar will perform at Vintage Reserve Wine on Saturday, 4/15 from 1:30 PM-2:30 PM.


Taste 2009 Saint Pierre St. Julien and 2019 Vina Don Melchor Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $25 per person.
Tuesday, April 11th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Advocate 98 Points
2009 Saint Pierre St Julien Bordeaux

The all-time greatest wine I have ever tasted from Saint-Pierre, this estate, the smallest of the grand cru classes of St.-Julien, has an opaque purple color and a spectacular nose of subtle charcoal, creme de cassis, blackberry, and incense. Full-bodied, with striking intensity and flamboyantly rich, exuberant flavors bursting with extract, the St. Pierre has no hard edges, but rather massive, incredibly well-endowed blockbuster style, which should prove to be monumental. Give it 6-8 years to take on more definition and calm down, but this is a 30- to 40-year wine. Bravo! (RP). CA Market Price $105 Auction-$250.

Wine Spectator 94 Points
Viña Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon Puente Alto Puente Alto Vineyard 2019

This standout red offers svelte entry but quickly accelerates to a rich and well-structured palate, built around flavors of black cherry, plum and baking spices that never waver, gaining dimension from fresh mineral acidity and subtle loam and bay leaf nuances. Ends with rich, well-integrated and mouthcoating tannins as well as hints of cocoa. Drink now through 2028. 11,500 cases made, 4,000 cases imported. $150


Taste 2021 Mayacamas Mt Veeder Chardonnay and 2016 Louis Martini Monte Rosso Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Wednesday, April 12th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Antonio Galloni 95 Points
2021 Mayacamas Mt Veeder Chardonnay

The 2021 is a rich, phenolic wine that shows how distinctive this site is. Rich and layered with striking intensity, the 2021 is lights out today. Lemon oil, almond, dried flowers and earthy undertones open beautifully with aeration. $69

Wine Advocate 95+ Points
2016 Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Rosso Vineyard

Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, the deep garnet-purple colored 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Rosso Vineyard comes galloping out of the glass with notes of crème de cassis, warm plums, cast-iron pan and bouquet garni, plus touches of lavender and olives. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is chock-full of muscular fruit, framed by firm, grainy tannins, finishing with an herbal lift. 2,200 cases were made. $125


Taste 2021 Purple Hands Lone Oak Pinot Noir, 2019 Method Napa Cabernet and 2019 Venge Igneous Napa Cabernet at VRW for $15 per person.
Thursday, April 13th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Spectator 94
PURPLE HANDS Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Lone Oak Ranch 2021

Fragrant and gracefully multilayered, with expressive cherry and pomegranate flavors that mingle with black tea and orange peel accents. Ends with fine-grained tannins. Drink now through 2031. —T.F. $30

James Suckling 95 Points
2019 Method Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

A structured and powerful wine with blackcurrant, dark chocolate and hazelnut. Crunchy seeds. Flowers. It’s full and juicy. Plenty of fruit and a fresh finish. Clearly shows the excellence of the vintage with the pure fruit. Drink or hold. $32

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


James Suckling 93 Points
2019 Louis Martini Sonoma Cabernet

A delicious, savory cabernet with aromas and flavors of dried flowers and cherries. Medium body with round, creamy tannins. Savory and flavorful. Supple. Real cabernet character. $18 Our Price $15.99 (Arrives GT 4/12/23)

James Suckling 92 Points
2019 Duckhorn Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Aromas of wet stone, gravel and blackcurrant. Full-bodied with fine, velvety tannins. Juicy, bright and fresh. Lovely dark fruit, with gravel and wet-stone notes adding very nice definition. Chocolate finish. Drink or hold. $75 Our Price $60.95 (Back in stock GT 4/13/23)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
SEGHESIO Zinfandel Sonoma County Sonoma 2021

Plush in texture, this Zin is generous with blackberry and cherry flavors that draw in accents of briar patch, black pepper and toasty cinnamon as it finishes with zesty tannins. Drink now through 2031. 95,000 cases made.—T.F. $26 Our Price $21.95 (Back in stock GT and VRW 4/12/23)

2020 Carmel Road Monterey Pinot Noir, Half Bottles

Winemaker Notes: This textured Pinot Noir showcases notes of red berry, warm spice, and earth tones with a pronounced minerality that reflects the cool coastal growing region. $8 Our Price $5.95/375ml (Arrives GT 4/12/23)

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points * 2020 Hoopes Vineyard Chardonnay

I was blown away by the 2020 Chardonnay, a clean, crisp, vibrant expression of Chardonnay that has medium to full-bodied richness, wonderfully integrated acidity, and a distinct sense of minerality in its citrus, stone fruit, and white flower-driven aromatics. It's shockingly good and tastes like it cost 3-4 times its price. $30 (Available GT and VRW)

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 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
Maldonado Chardonnay Sonoma County Parr Vineyard 2020

Packs flavors of salted butterscotch, dried honeysuckle and peach preserves that are generous and ripe, but the fresh acidity, floral highlights and notes of spices provide wonderful restraint and plenty of complexity on the finish. Drink now. 1,000 cases made. $38 (Arrives GT 4/12/23)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
Bollinger Brut Champagne Special Cuvée NV (2022)

A graceful Champagne, with flavors of black cherry, Asian pear, toast point and salted almond dancing across the palate. Bright and buoyant, with a fine, lacy mousse and delicate notes of lime blossom, ground coffee and exotic spices playing on the finish. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. Drink now. 15,000 cases imported. $90 Our Price $63.95 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 96 Points
VILMART Brut Champagne Grand Cellier d'Or 2016

Gorgeous aromas and flavors of nectarine, chopped almond, dried white cherry, ground cardamom and ginger, lime blossoms, graphite and espresso crema are immediately present on the mouthwatering palate of this elegant Champagne. Buoyed by bright, well-integrated acidity, the flavors glide along on the fine, creamy mousse, underscored by a racy streak of salinity that drives the clean-cut finish. Shows beautiful harmony and expression. Disgorged October 2020. Drink now through 2036. From France.—A.N. $110 Our Price $106.99 (Available GT and VRW)


Taste 2020 Carmel Road Monterey Pinot Noir, 2019 Buena Vista Napa Cabernet and 2019 Alpha Omega Napa Cabernet at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, April 14th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

2020 Carmel Road Monterey Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: This textured Pinot Noir showcases notes of red berry, warm spice, and earth tones with a pronounced minerality that reflects the cool coastal growing region. $15

James Suckling 94 Points
2019 Chateau Buena Vista Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Lovely nose of blueberries, currants, hazelnuts and mint chocolate. I like the texture of the tannins, which are plush and smooth, melting into the wine. Full-bodied, creamy and already delicious. Drink from 2023. $45

James Suckling 95 Points
2019 Alpha Omega Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Lots of blackberry and forest-floor aromas with pine needles and bark that follow through to a full body with a pretty framing of chewy yet medium-grained tannins and a flavorful finish. Fresh too. Try after 2025. $150


Taste 2020 Pali SB-SC Pinot Noir, 2017 Taub Family Napa Cabernet and 2017 Etude Napa Cabernet at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, April 15th. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

Wine Enthusiast 93 Points
Pali Wine Co. 2020 Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara County-Sonoma County)

This blend of grapes from the winery's estates in Santa Barbara and Sonoma shows of how distinct sides of the state can contribute to a complex wine. Aromas of dark plum, herb and light peppercorn on the nose lead into pomegranate, black raspberry, red rose and lavender flavors on the palate. MATT KETTMANN . $25

Wine Spectator 92 Points
2017 Taub Family Rutherford Cabernet

Nicely compact, with a core of steeped red currant, plum and blackberry fruit that should unwind in the near future. Alder and licorice notes score the finish, with good latent energy. Best from 2022 through 2031. 1,500 cases made. — JM $75

Wine Spectator 93 Points * ETUDE Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2017

Packed with juicy black currant, plum and blackberry compote flavors that pump along the graphite-edged grip and a dark tobacco backdrop. Frankly toasted on the finish, but with ample fruit for balance. A serious Cab. Best from 2022 through 2034. —J.M. $100


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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