June 20th 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

June 20th 2023 Newsletter

On deck for wine tasting next week at VRW:

Wine Advocate 98 Points
2021 Occidental Pinot Noir Freestone-Occidental

The 2021 Pinot Noir Freestone-Occidental is incredibly expressive and detailed! Its aromas open slowly from blueberry, rhubarb and cranberry to tones of bitter orange, amaro, mossy bark and lavender, continuing to reveal new accents with each return to the glass. Light-bodied, it floods the mouth with fragrant, detailed fruit supported by chalky tannins and focused, shimmery acidity that calls you in for another sip. It has a haunting finish loaded with spicy layers, and it's very difficult to put this delicious wine down. Drink it now for its transparency and perfume, or allow it to develop savory complexity in bottle over the next decade. $65

2021 Summer Dreams Stargazing Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: The wine is vibrant and complex with subtle dark fruits and berries, grandmother’s cherry pie, flowers, minerals, and a slight touch of rain-soaked earth, intertwined with a balance and very pleasing easy-going luxury. Should have been priced higher but what the hell. $75


Taste Ruinart Brut Blanc de Blancs and Ruinart Brut Rose at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Tuesday, June 20th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Spectator 93 Points
Ruinart Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne NV (2022)

This graceful blanc de blancs is light on its feet and bright on the palate, yet the creamy mousse carries a concentrated range of honeyed apricot, Meyer lemon peel, white blossoms and almond pastry. Reveals hints of chalk, smoke and spices on the finish. Drink now. $92

Wine Spectator 94 Points
Ruinart Brut Rosé Champagne NV (2022)

A gorgeous rosé in a rich, vinous style, this shows a satiny mousse and well-honed acidity, which buoy a detailed range of macerated raspberry fruit, dried apricot, grated ginger, graphite and chopped roasted almond flavors. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Drink now through 2025. $92


Taste Chardonnay: 2021 Ramey Russian River, 2019 Davis Estate Hungry Blonde and 2020 DuMol Charles Heintz Isobel at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Wednesday, June 21st. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Spectator 93 Points
RAMEY Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2021

 This powerful version offers mouthwatering lemon curd, lime blossom and mandarin orange flavors that show notes of fresh-grated ginger and lemon verbena. Sea salt minerality gains momentum on the finish, where grace notes of toasted green tea, citrus zest and white pepper linger. Drink now through 2030. 7,176 cases made.—M.W. $50

Wine Advocate 90 Points
2019 Davis Estates Hungry Blonde Chardonnay

The 2019 Chardonnay Hungry Blonde comes from the winery's own Carneros vineyard and includes just 15% new French oak. The result is slightly smoky, with attractive notes of grilled sweet corn and ripe peaches. Full-bodied, round, generous and easy to drink, it delivers touches of buttered toast on the finish. In the context of Napa Valley, it's a reasonably priced effort with broad appeal. $30

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points
2020 DuMOL Chardonnay Charles Heintz Vineyard Isobel

Layers of tropical fruit and herbs, along with medicinal herbs and saline, are found in the 2020 Chardonnay Charles Heintz Vineyard Isobel. The palate is rich, with compact concentration of green apple skin, lemon oil, and salty mineral earth. A long, persistent wine that is full of character, drink over the next 20 or so years. $75


Taste 2020 Cabernet from Bordeaux, Washington and Napa Valley at VRW for $15 per person.
Thursday, June 22nd. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Enthusiast 94 Points
2020 Matthews Winery Cabernet Sauvignon

The aromas are thoroughly captivating, with notes of scorched earth, cocoa, black currant, graphite and bittersweet chocolate. Plush, polished, seamless fruit flavors follow. There's a sophistication and intensity to it all that is mesmerizing. $32

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2020 Chateau Kirwan Margaux

Lots of smoky oak, ripe blackcurrants, blueberries, tobacco, and chocolaty notes emerge from the 2020 Château Kirwan, a richly textured, medium to full-bodied Margaux. A wine that blossoms with time in the glass, it's a plush, sexy, yet brilliantly balanced 2020 offering velvety tannins and a great finish, and while the oak is preset right on opening, it integrated beautifully with air. This beauty is going to put a smile on your face any time over the coming 20-25 years. $65

2020 Caymus Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: A dark, scarlet red color, with powerful aromas of sweet ripe cabernet grapes. Initial impressions are fantastically appealing, brooding to expansive textural sensations of finely grained cacao tannins. The whole of the wine is balanced, rich, expressive and impressively complex. The backbone of fine tannin and sweet ripeness is a carryover from perfectly mature fruit. $80


James Suckling 91 Points
2022 Domaine de la Solitude Cotes du Rhone Blanc

Effusive nose of ripe melon, apricot and orange blossom. Medium-bodied with ample ripeness, but a light-footed personality with lively acidity. 60% Clairette, 30% Viognier, 10% Grenache Blanc. $18 Our Price $14.99 (Available GT and VRW) Delicious!

2021 Caterwaul Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: Dark, complex and structured, the 2021 vintage delivers an unforgettable Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon profile that comes from having access to some of the finest vineyards in the Valley. The wine displays a completely opaque dark purple hue in the glass. Densely layered aromatic notes suggest plum reduction, quince, oolong tea, and cedar bark. The palate experience has an interwoven dark fruit core with lively peripheral notes that lean more towards brambly red fruit. Notes of blackberry paste, leather and cocoa nib dominate the mid palate while the lengthy finish expresses brighter notes of raspberry, dark cherry and blueberries. The sleek mouthfeel is framed by finely integrated tannins and a balanced acidity, allowing for immediate enjoyment or a little nap in the cellar. $55 (Arrives GT 6/22/23)

Wine Advocate 95 Points * 2021 Chappellet Chardonnay Calesa Vineyard

The 2021 Chardonnay Calesa Vineyard, matured in 35% new French oak, features intense lemon jelly and nectarine aromas on the nose with wafts of chalk and beeswax. The medium-bodied palate is wonderfully satiny and concentrated, its ripe fruit complemented by energetic acidity and well-integrated oak spices, and it boasts a lengthy, mouth-coating finish with soaring citrus flavors. 1,210 cases were made. $55 Our Price $47.99 (Arrives GT 6/21/23)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
Green & Red Zinfandel Napa Valley Chiles Mill Vineyard 2017

A wine that suggests a sense of place, this is refined and just a hint rustic, which adds to the authenticity. Notes of cherry and pomegranate are laced with hints of white pepper and bay leaf. Drink now through 2030. 910 cases made. $42 Our Price $29.99 (Arrives GT 6/21/23)

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 6/20/23)

2019 Domaine Lucien Boillot and Fils Gevrey Chambertin

Notes from Anthony Lynch: Old-vine Pinot Noir blended from several sites across Gevrey-Chambertin provides a textbook rendition of this village, all while staying honest to the soulful, pure-fruited Boillot style and the lusciousness of the vintage. Gevrey’s characteristic brawn is enveloped in a sumptuous cushion of dark fruit, rendering it immediately attractive notwithstanding the structure lurking beneath. You could cellar it for a decade…but why not just pull the cork now? $80 Our Price $71.99 (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
ZENATO Valpolicella Superiore Ripassa 2018

Enticing smoke and spice notes on the nose underscore flavors of baked blackberry, cured tobacco, bacon fat and rich earth in this sculpted red. Packs a rich profile on a medium- to full-bodied frame, yet this is well-balanced and poised, thanks to fresh acidity, a minerally underpinning and fine-grained tannins. Corvina, Rondinella and Corvinone. Best from 2023 through 2030. From Italy.—A.N. $32 Our Price $24.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Enthusiast 92 Points
2020 Bodegas Vegalfaro Rebel.lia Red

Aromas of cassis and purple plums with a hint of leather set the scene for black currant, blackberry, dark chocolate, coffee, clove and the tiniest hint of green bell pepper. Rigid tannins coat the tongue and then drop off into a floral scented finish. Tempranillo 65% and Garnacha 35%. $15 Our Price $11.49 (Available GT and VRW)

2020 Colline Fossiles Cotes Catalanes Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: La Colline aux Fossiles, or Hill of Fossils, is a balanced and vibrant Chardonnay (100%) grown on the gentle slopes of the Tet river valley in the Roussillon. Walking through these vines you can find ancient fossils among the gravel washed down from the nearby mountains. $16 (Available GT)

Wine Advocate 92 Points
2017 San Giorgio Ugolforte Brunello di Montalcino

The San Giorgio 2017 Brunello di Montalcino Ugolforte (with 30,000 bottles made) is a little subdued when compared to the 2016 vintage, and it delivers broad aromas of plummy dark fruit, spice and crushed roses. The wine is mid-weight in texture, but there is a good amount of power packed within, thanks to the wine's structure and its compact fruit. $60 Our Price $49.99 (Available GT and VRW)


Taste 2021 Luli Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir, 2019 Arista Lucky Well Pinot Noir and 2021 Caterwaul Sonoma Caberne at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, June 23rd. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

2021 Luli Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

Winery Notes: Luli Wines came about from a very special partnership between Sara Floyd and the Pisoni Family. Sara is a Master Sommelier from the San Francisco Bay Area with many years of experience in the restaurant and wine business. The Pisoni Family is from Monterey County, where they farm their eponymous vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands. $25

Wine Advocate 97 Points
2019 Arista Winery Pinot Noir UV Lucky Well Vineyard

Medium ruby, the 2019 Pinot Noir UV Lucky Well Vineyard offers a lovely aromatic blend of fruit and earth, with layers of blueberries, orange peel, mushrooms, violet, moss and tobacco. The medium-bodied palate is structured with powdery tannins and energetic acidity that highlight its citrus and earthy nuances on the persistent finish. $100

2021 Caterwaul Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: The fruit for this bottling was sourced from the southeast corner of Sonoma County, almost touching the Napa County line. We were awestruck when we had the opportunity to purchase such high-quality old vine Cabernet Sauvignon from a site defined by gravelly loam soils in the shadow of Mount Saint Helena. This wine starts with opulent, mouth-coating, sleek dark fruit. The wine shows off an inky purple hue in the glass with a saturated violet halo. Vivid aromas suggest notes of roasted meat, cigar box, and crushed blueberries. The sumptuous palate expresses notes of currant reduction, cocoa, wild sage and dried black cherry. The plush, round mouthfeel is framed by exotic notes of baking spices and a fine tannin framework. We are so excited to see this wine come to life and believe this will be a benchmark for exceptional quality Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon at a fabulous price point. $45


Taste 2022 Turnbull Oakville Sauvignon Blanc, 2017 Beringer Distinctions Napa Cabernet and 2019 Groth Reserve Oakville Cabernet at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, June 24th. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

2022 Turnbull Oakville Sauvignon Blanc

Winemaker Notes: This aromatic and refreshing wines shows delicate aromas of white stone fruit blossoms, passion fruit, and a hint of wet flint. On the palate, the wine displays a soft entry with crisp acidity, adding structure and lift. Flavors of fresh white peaches couple with lemon zest and mineral notes to add complexity. $29

2017 Beringer Distinctions Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: A ruby hue sets up aromas of pomegranate, crème de cassis and acai, with notes of oak, cloves and black olive. Flavors showcase blue fruit led by blueberry alongside blackberry, a bit of licorice, walnuts and hazelnut. Opulent, well-balanced and high-toned, the wine shows good depth and a distinctive, lingering finish. Built for immediate enjoyment, the ample tannins frame the possibility that the Cabernet will continue to evolve and grow more complex as it ages. Enjoy over the next decade and longer. $50

Jeb Dunnuck 94+
2019 Groth Vineyards & Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

The deeper purple-hued 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is a terrific Oakville effort loaded with pure cassis fruit as well as notes of spicy oak, scorched earth, and tobacco. Classic Napa Cabernet in every way, it’s medium to full-bodied, has ripe, polished tannins, a terrific spine of acidity, and the balance and purity to evolve for 20-25 years if well stored. $170


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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