May 18th 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

May 18th 2023 Newsletter

On deck for wine tasting next week at VRW:

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
2019 Lancaster Winemakers Cuvee Cabernet

The 2019 Winemaker's Cuvee is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 5% Malbec, and the rest Cabernet Franc and was aged for 15 months in 50% new French oak. It is rich with aromas of lavender, tobacco, and boysenberry compote and delivers ripe fruit through the mid-palate, with notes of blackcurrant, leather, and baking spice. This red has immediate appeal, but it will continue to evolve over the next 10 or more years. $105

Wine Spectator 92 Points
The Calling Chardonnay Russian River Valley Dutton Ranch 2021

Generous and expressive, with heavy juicy tangerine, lemon curd and Honeycrisp apple flavors that sing out on a mouthwatering frame, while hints of lemon verbena, ginger, citrus zest and green tea emerge on the finish. Drink now. 9,300 cases made. $33

Wine Spectator 93 Points
FLOWERS Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2021

This has racy, mouthwatering acidity coursing underneath the core notes of mulberry, bitter cherry and blackberry. Shows the streamlined tang of a coulis, while offering a range of additional bramble, anise and savory tea details through the finish. Delicious. Drink now through 2029. —J.M. $55.


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


2021 Three by Wade Blanc Chenin Blanc

Winemaker Notes: Our Chenin Blanc has a beautiful pale golden hue. On the nose there are fresh citrus and slightly tropical notes like lemon and even pineapple. On the palate there is crisp green apple that’s complemented by mouthwatering acid up front with a rich body on the mid palate that rounds everything out. Our 2021 vintage is a thirst-quenching wine to drink now or could be cellared for the next 1-3 years. $20 Our Price $17.99 (Available GT and VRW 5/19/23)

Wine Advocate 95 Points
2016 Eisele Vineyard Altagracia Cabernet Sauvignon

The Altagracia is produced almost exclusively from estate fruit this year and was bottled at the end of June 2018. Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Altagracia comes bursting forth with vivacious black cherries, blackberries, wild blueberries and cassis notes with touches of cinnamon stick, cloves, forest floor, violets and dusty earth with a waft of violets. The palate is medium to full-bodied, firm and grainy with loads of iron and mineral accents, finishing long and perfumed. $135 (Back in stock GT 5/23/23)

Jeb Dunnuck 91 Points
2016 Nielson Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

Sourced from sites in the Santa Maria Valley and aged 18 months in 40% new barrels, the 2016 Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley has slightly more density and depth in its black cherry, toasted spices, crushed flowers, and vanilla bean aromas and flavors. Clean, beautifully balanced, elegant, and with ample length, it delivers tons of Pinot Noir charm for not much buck. $20. Internet Price $13.99. GT and VRW Insider Price $8.95 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

2021 Rombauer Carneros Chardonnay, Half Bottles

Winemaker Notes: Ripe peach, citrus fruits, spice, and pie crust aromas all mingle and lift from the glass. The citrus, supported by notes of apricot, continues on the palate which is concentrated with a rich, creamy middle palate, and strong supporting acidity. The finish is long and marked with hints of vanilla. This wine will continue to build richness as it ages in the bottle. $22 Our Price $19.99/375ml (Available GT and VRW)

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 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
2018 QUINTA DO VALE MEÃO Douro Meandro

Nicely textured, with smooth tannins, this elegant, full-bodied red is packed with dark cherry, violet, red plum and anise notes that are harmonious and well-integrated. Details of mocha, wild herb and spice cascade onto the finish. Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca and Alicante Bouschet. Drink now through 2028. 17,500 cases made, 2,000 cases imported. — GS $20 Our Price $17.95 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Advocate 97 Points
2019 Eyrie Outcrop Dundee Hills Pinot Noir

The 2019 Pinot Noir Outcrop is a beautiful wine with arresting aromatics: a core of wild berries is accented by tea leaves, lavender, Campari and lemon peel. The light-bodied palate is grainy and fresh with surprising concentration for its approachable frame and a very long, detailed finish. $70 (Available GT)

Wine Advocate 97 Points

2019 Eyrie Estate Pinot Noir

The 2019 Pinot Noir Estate is expressive and transparent and offers incredible concentration for its weightless frame. Medium ruby in the glass, tones of flint, tar and burnt orange give way to a kaleidoscope of raspberries, red cherries, rose petals, pipe tobacco and forest floor. Medium-bodied, silky and seamless, it has a generous core of spicy fruit and a very long, layered finish. Streaked with flinty tones, it deserves to unwind in bottle for another 3-5 years, and it will be long-lived in the cellar. $50 (Available GT)


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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