May 11th 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

May 11th 2023 Newsletter

On deck for wine tasting next week at VRW:

California Wine Advisors 97 Points
2020 Dalla Valle Collina Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

This highly-anticipated boutique Cabernet blend impresses with a silky smooth texture, plush tannins, and seriously delicious, dark fruit that remind us of best-selling trophy wines. We have judged the last ten Collina vintages and this is a strong candidate for the best-ever upon release. Flavors of dark chocolate and espresso lead to seductive layers of tightly-wound fruit complimented by seamlessly integrated French oak. This impressive new offering truly defies its humble price tag and may be enjoyed tonight (decant 1⁄2 hour). Our team rates this a solid 96+ rating now and predict it will evolve into 97 points over the next decade in our judgement. $115

Wine Spectator 94 Points * Frédéric Esmonin Ruchottes-Chambertin 2018

A deep, velvety red, this bursts with cherry, black currant, violet and graphite aromas and flavors, shrouded in smoky oak. It's intense and linear in profile, with excellent balance and a long, detailed finish. Best from 2024 through 2045. 100 cases imported. $185


Taste 2021 Treana Paso Robles Cabernet, 2019 Justin Isosceles and 2019 Daou Soul of a Lion Cabernet at VRW for $20 per person.
Thursday, May 11th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

2021 Treana Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: Treana is your quintessential Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon. From the depth of color and intense nose, this wine is made with structure and purpose. On the palate, flavors of beautiful rich blackberry, warm vanilla, toasted coffee and black cherry are finished with firm but refined tannins. $30

2019 Justin Isosceles Proprietary Red

Winemaker Notes: Deep ruby/purple core with a black secondary color, and lighter toward the rim with moderate plus viscosity and slow-forming, moderately stained tears. Very aromatic and complex with ripe black cherry and cassis fruit, vanilla, cinnamon, and licorice spice with sweet tobacco, cedar, leather, and camphor notes. Full-bodied with ripe complex black cherry, boysenberry, cassis, and blackberry fruit on entry with baking spice. Dusty tannins appear on the midpalate with cedar, dried tobacco leaf, and saddle leather as it progresses. The finish is long, fresh, and balanced with notes of bay leaf, dried red rose petal, oak, and sustained tannins. 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% abernet Franc, 10% Merlot. $90

Wine Advocate 97+ Points *2019 DAOU Vineyards Soul Of A Lion Cabernet

The 2019 Soul Of A Lion is a blend of free-run Cabernet Sauvignon (77%), Cabernet Franc (14%), and Petit Verdot (9%), aged 22 months in 100% new French oak. Opaque ruby in color, it offers aromatic contrast between dark, savory cherry fruit, chargrill and graphite, and top notes of green pepper and rose petals. The palate explodes with detailed flavors and its tannins are already resolved and chocolaty, with seamless acidity and exotic spicy layers emerging on the extended finish. Wow! $180. Internet Price $149.99


Wine Spectator 93 Points
CRAGGY RANGE Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough Te Muna 2022

This has an appealing supple, fleshy texture to the mango, salted melon and white peach notes, with a hint of litsea oil and feijoa fruit. Finishes with a touch of dried sage and fresh acidity. Drink now. 62,980 cases imported.—MaryAnn Worobiec. $20 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Advocate 95 Points * Marietta OVR Old Vine Red Lot 73 California Red

The NV OVR Lot 73 is composed mainly of Zinfandel with smaller portions of Syrah, Petite Sirah, Carignan and Barbera. Medium ruby, it offers intense red cherry, blood orange and apricot perfume with accents of rooibos tea leaves, red licorice, saline, lilac and loads of spicy nuances. The medium-bodied palate is light on its feet with soft tannins, bursts of refreshing acidity and detailed amaro accents on the long finish. This is so easy to drink! $17 Our Price $13.95 (Available GT and VRW 5/12/23)

2021 Puiatti Cantina Pinot Grigio

Winemaker Notes: Handsome luminous, intense color, complex nose with notes of white peach, pear, stone. The palate is articulated, rhythmic, with a long finish. $25 Our Price $19.95 (Available GT)

James Suckling 93 Points * 2020 Fritz Haag Juffer Spatlese

Very attractive, juicy wine with so much ripe melon, plus hints of lemon zest and pie crust. Long and elegant with beautifully integrated natural-grape sweetness. Drink or hold. $30 Our Price $25.99 (Back in stock GT 5/12/23)

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 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
SCHRAMSBERG Brut North Coast Mirabelle 31st Bottling NV

Plush and expressive, featuring fresh apple and cherry flavors, with brioche and hazelnut accents that glide on the alluring finish. Drink now. 8,600 cases made.—Tim Fish. $30 Our Price $25.95 (Available GT and VRW)

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 Our Price $38.99 (Available GT and VRW)

2021 Clos Sainte Magdeleine Cotes de Provence Rose

Producer Notes: Using a similar blend to the Cassis rosé, Sack has crafted what is perhaps the quintessential Provençal refresher—an uplifting nectar of bright citrus, fresh berry fruit, wild herbs, and salty sea air—that is a far cry from the countless technological, mass-marketed examples in production throughout the region. $32 Internet Price $27.99 (Back in stock GT 5/16/23)


Taste 2021 Sandhi Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay, 2021 Chappellet Napa Mt. Cuvee and 2018 Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, May 12th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Spectator 92 Points
SANDHI Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills 2021

Complex and seamless, there's plenty to admire in this white wine. Shows spiced, poached pear, dried apple, grilled lemon and fresh tangerine flavors that are juicy and generous, with details of sage, white pepper and toasted sesame seed on the finish. Drink now. 4,536 cases made.—MaryAnn Worobiec. $35

 2021 Chappellet Mountain Cuvee Napa

Winemaker Notes: This beautifully aromatic wine leaps out of the glass with concentrated notes of red currant, boysenberry, cassis, roasted coffee and dark chocolate, along with savory undertones and notions of sweet oak. On the palate it is rich and mouthcoating, with a seamless texture and supple tannins framing luxurious layers of dark berry fruit, barrel spice and fresh herbs. 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Petit Verdot, 14% Merlot, 12% Malbec, 5% Cabernet Franc. $60

2018 Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: Ruby in color, the Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon has notes of cassis, caramel, juniper and pomegranate. Lifted and vibrant on the nose, this wine is fresh on the palate with a juicy, fruit-forward core. Its silky mouthfeel will provide drinking pleasure through 2044 given proper cellaring conditions. 94.8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4.2% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc. Internet Price $90


Taste 2022 Cliff Lede Napa Sauvignon Blanc, 2018 Rusack Ballard Canyon Estate Syrah and 2019 Mt. Brave Mt. Veeder Cabernet at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, May 13th. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

2022 Cliff Lede Napa Sauvignon Blanc

Notes from Christopher Tynan, Director of Winemaking: Vivid and inviting, the 2022 Sauvignon Blanc brims with energy and an elegant vivaciousness. The refreshing aromatics soar on layers of casaba melon, pineapple, and honeysuckle flowers. Flavors of kiwi, white peach, mango, and cucumber glide seamlessly along the palate with accents of sea salt, warm brioche, and persimmon tinged on the long and brightly tuned finish. A splendid note of flinty minerality persists on the tongue as this wine of poise and contemplation bids the taster for another sip. $34

Wine Enthusiast 91 Points * 2018 Rusack Ballard Canyon Estate Syrah

Focused aromas of elderberry and blackberry are spiced by licorice, white pepper and graphite on the ripe nose of this bottling, which includes 10% Petite Sirah. There is a thick presence to the palate, where heavy flavors of stewed berry, plum and smoked wood show. $36

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 96 Points
2019 Mt. Brave Mt. Veeder Cabernet

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic Mount Veeder wine loaded with strong savory and mineral accents. Black fruit, graphite menthol and licorice lend complexity to this huge, explosive Cabernet Sauvignon. The tannins are pretty fierce at this stage, so readers should plan on being patient. $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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