May 16th 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

May 16th 2023 Newsletter

On deck for wine tasting next week at VRW:

James Suckling 98 Points
2021 Pahlmeyer Napa Chardonnay

Sliced cooked apples with biscuit and pie crust undertones, as well as hints of spices with some salted caramel. Hints of apricot. Full-bodied with a firmness and depth. Creamy-textured phenolics and great length. One of the best I have tasted. It is rich and flavorful, yet it shows great depth and length. Drinkable, but better in two or three years. $115

Additional Scores: Wine Spectator 94 and Wine Advocate 95


Taste 2019 Les Vins des Vienne Cote du Rhone Amet and 2018 Frédéric Esmonin Ruchottes-Chambertin at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Tuesday, May 16th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

2019 Les Vins des Vienne Cote du Rhone Amet

Winemaker Notes: Our new range of organic wines “Amet,” a roman word referring to environmental conservation. A beautiful blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah from 30-year-old vines in Rochegude, just north of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. The terraced vineyard is composed of pebbles overlaying red clay soils. The handpicked grapes are de-stemmed and fermented by the natural yeasts at harvest. Certified Organically Grown. $19

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 Terras Gauda Abadia de San Campio Albarino, 2020 Chakana Estate Malbec and 2020 Eisele Altagracia Napa Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Wednesday, May 17th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

James Suckling 90 Points
Terras Gauda Abadia de San Campio Albarino 2021

A fresh and zingy albarino with sliced green apples and lime zest. Elegant on the palate with a fresh streak of acidity cutting it through, before a slightly saline finish. $20

Antonio Galloni's Vinous 93 Points
2020 Chakana Estate Malbec

The 2020 Malbec Chakana Estate Selection (From Paraje Altamira & Gualtallary, Uco Valley) was a third aged in used barrels and a third in foudres. A mild purple huge. The nose presents gentle notes of fresh plum, violets, and hints of thyme over a pleasant bed of oak. Indulgent with slightly reactive tannins, the flow is juicy and fairly compact - Joaquín Hidalgo. $25

Wine Advocate 92-94 Points
2020 Eisele Altagracia Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon Altagracia was tasted as a finished blend barrel sample. Deep purple-black in color, it has a fragrant nose of potpourri and Indian spices over a core of kirsch, warm cassis and plum preserves, plus a waft of camphor. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is wonderfully juicy and perfumed, with alluring elegance and freshness, finishing long. $150


Taste Chardonnay: 2020 HDV Hyde Vineyard, 2020 Maldonado Parr Vineyard and 2020 DuMol Estate Sonoma Coast at VRW for $15 per person.
Thursday, May 18th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Spectator 96 Points
HDV Chardonnay Napa Valley Hyde Vineyard 2020

A stunning, expressive white, with a savory, minerally edge that's distinctive and crisp, imparting elegance and restraint on the core of Honeycrisp apple, Meyer lemon and pureed mango flavors. Reveals hints of lemon thyme, nutmeg, toasted sesame seed and additional spices that linger on the fresh finish. Drink now through 2031. From California.—M.W. $85

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

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points
2020 DuMOL Chardonnay DuMOL Estate Vineyard

The 2020 Chardonnay DuMOL Estate Vineyard is another super-fragrant wine with notes of green apple Jolly Rancher candy, fresh white blossoms, and a delicate hint of flint. The palate is ripe and inviting, and the wine juicy and long on the finish, with lemon curd and fresh herbs. Drink it over the next 20 years. $75


Vinous Media 94 Points
2018 Rusack Reserve Pinot Noir

The 2018 Pinot Noir Reserve (Sta. Rita Hills) stands out in this range for its texture and breadth. Inky red and purplish berry fruit envelop the palate as the 2018 shows off its curves. The blend of 70% John Sebastiano and 30% Fiddlestix is compelling. This is such an alluring Pinot. $45 Our Price $39.99 (Available GT)

2022 Coateaux D’Aix en Provence Rosé La Chapelle Du Seuil

Winemaker Notes: Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault, Rolle and Sauvignon blanc. The highest vineyards in Aix-enProvence at 350-500 meters above sea-level. Soil is clay-chalk-rock mix, remarkably complex due to its situation on an ancient fault line. Plates form layers of iron rich calcaire, clay/calcaire, galet, and marneux. Vines have an average age of 30 years-old. Fermented and aged in stainless steel tank. $20 Our Price $16.49 (Available GT and VRW 5/18/23)

2022 Côtes De Provence Rose La Bernarde

Winemaker Notes: Bright and minerally focused, displaying blood orange rind, wild strawberry and delicate floral aromas in the glass. Energetic and precise on the palate, offering raspberry, red currant, pomelo, nectarine and crushed rocks notes. Blend: 40% Grenache, 35% Cinsault, 25% Syrah - Certified Organic. $21 Our Price $16.99 (Available GT and VRW 5/18/23)

Wine Spectator 94 Points
Renato Corino Barolo Rocche dell'Annunziata 2018

A broad, open red, revealing vibrant black cherry and blackberry flavors at the center, with accents of tar, iron, licorice and tobacco. Ends with complexity and a long fruity, savory and spicy aftertaste. Best from 2025 through 2043. 250 cases made, 100 cases imported. $85 Our Price $68.99 (Arrives GT 5/16/23)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
SUAVIA Soave Classico Monte Carbonare 2020

Silky and mouthwatering, this well-honed white expands on the palate with rich flavors of pineapple, blood orange granita, clover honey and lime blossoms, while remaining graceful and focused throughout. Delivers delicate spice and mineral notes on the long finish. Drink now through 2028. 3,500 cases made, 1,500 cases imported.—Alison Napjus. $30 Our Price $26.99 (Available GT and VRW)

James Suckling 94 Points
Luigi Pira Barolo Margheria 2018

Aromas of cherries and raspberries, enriched by perfumed oak. Full-bodied with a dense, silky bead of fruit and tannin that gives good length. The fruit and oak tannins are nicely integrated here, giving a grainy, velvety framework to the wine. The fruit persists nicely. Excellent quality here, but give it another couple of years for even better integration. Best from 2024. $70 Our Price $59.99 (Arrives GT 5/16/23)

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 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Enthusiast 97 Points
Domaine de la Cote 2021 Bloom's Field Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills)

This estate bottling shows the most vivid and accessible fruit qualities compared to the rest of the 2021 lineup. Dark berry aromas meet with rose, carnation, achiote and turned earth on the nose. The tightly structured palate's dark-fruit core is decorated in eucalyptus leaf, kalamata olive and strong, dank herb flavors. MATT KETTMANN. CA Market Price $110+ (Arrives GT 5/31/23)

Wine Enthusiast 95 Points
Domaine de la Cote 2021 Memorious Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills)

This very young wine possesses an immensely layered profile, so expect lots of exciting evolution in the years to come. Dense aromas of bay leaf, wild mint, damp peppercorns and yerba santa relay the stem inclusion on the nose. Tense, angular tannins frame the palate, where muddled elderberry and plum flavors play against the intense herbaceousness. Drink 2025–2040. MATT KETTMANN. CA Market Price $101+ (Arrives GT 5/31/23)

2020 Thread Feathers Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: Etched in aromas of sage, cedar and pencil shaving, this wine is robust and ripe, brawny and burly in style and approach, reflecting its Mt. Veeder source. The fruit is dark and broodingly rich. Thick layers of blackberry, black cherry, toffee and earthy tobacco framed within a foundation of firm, integrated tannin, and balanced power. Structured, age-worthy, and complex, the wine finishes on sustained savory notes of cardamon, clove, and freshly tilled earth. 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Malbec. $40 Our Price $33.99 (Back in stock GT 5/19/23)


Taste 2021 Trinquevedel Tavel Rose, 2021 Kistler Sonoma Coast Pinot and 2020 Paul Hobbs Russian River Pinot at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, May 19th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Enthusiast 93 Points
Château de Trinquevedel 2021 Tavel Rose

Pale garnet in color and gorgeously perfumed with blossoms and watermelon, this crisp, blackberry-flavored rosé juxtaposes zesty black fruit flavors against a deep, penetrating undertone of crushed stone and spice. A stately expression of Tavel that's likely to drink beautifully year-round and for at least another vintage or two to come. $21

2021 Kistler Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: Our goal in crafting our Pinot Noirs is to capture the elusive Pinot character expressed in each of our exceptional coastal sites. We strive to produce elegant, harmonious wines which are impressive for their purity, balance, and lingering perfume. From these sites there is a progression of color and length of character as we move towards the coast. $75

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
2020 Paul Hobbs Pinot Noir Russian River

The quintessential 2020 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley is flush with cola spice, grenadine, and sappy forest floor, while the palate opens with generous ripe red fruits of cherry, beet root, and cinnamon. $70


Taste 2018 Rusack Reserve Pinot, 2019 Ballentine Napa Cabernet and 2020 Dalla Valle Collina Napa Cabernet at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, May 20th. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

Vinous Media 94 Points
2018 Rusack Reserve Pinot Noir

The 2018 Pinot Noir Reserve (Sta. Rita Hills) stands out in this range for its texture and breadth. Inky red and purplish berry fruit envelop the palate as the 2018 shows off its curves. The blend of 70% John Sebastiano and 30% Fiddlestix is compelling. This is such an alluring Pinot. $45

Jeb Dunnuck 91 Points
2019 Ballentine Vineyards Napa Cabernet Sauvignon Estate

Lots of blue fruits, violets, tobacco, and a touch of chocolate define the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate, an elegant, balanced, seamless Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that represents a great value. Drink it over the coming 10-12 years. $60

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


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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