June 29th 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

June 29th 2023 Newsletter

Independence Day Holiday * GT and VRW will be closed Monday, 7/3 and Tuesday, 7/4.


On deck for wine tasting next week at VRW:

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2019 Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Benchland Select

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Benchland Select is another gem, offering lots of cassis and darker cherry fruits as well as notes of lead pencil and crushed stone. Flawlessly balanced, medium to full-bodied, and as elegant and seamless as they come, it’s already impossible to resist (as are most 2019s) but I’ve no doubt this will evolve for 15-20 years in cold cellars. $140

Wine Spectator 95 Points
GREYWACKE Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2022

Distinctive, succulent and wonderfully complex, with honeysuckle, honey-preserved ginger, creamy lemon curd, ripe mango and floral notes, plus stone fruit flavors on a rich, smooth and mouthwateringly juicy frame. Reveals hints of spices that linger on the long, expressive finish. Drink now. From New Zealand.—M.W. $23 Our Price $19.95 (Available GT and VRW 6/30/23)

James Suckling 93 Points
Whitehall Lane Leonardini Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

A full-bodied red with aromas and flavors of dried violets, blackcurrants, cloves and some crushed gravel. Chocolate and caramel, too, yet it stays fresh and polished. Firm, fine-grained tannins. Try from 2023. $90

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 96 Points
2021 Paul Hobbs West Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

The 2021 Pinot Noir (West Sonoma Coast), a new wine in this range, is lights out. Rich, ample and bold, the 2021 races across palate with layers of purplish fruit, lavender, spice, menthol, licorice and spice. A dollop of stems adds nuance, but without dominating the overall balance. There's terrific acidity and structure to play off the natural fruit richness that is such a distinctive attribute of the best sites in the appellation. $84


Taste 2021 Alban Central Coast Viognier, 2020 Spottswoode Lyndenhurst Napa Cabernet and 2021 Caterwaul Napa Cabernet at VRW for $15 per person.
Thursday, June 29th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

2022 Alban Central Coast Viognier

Winemaker Notes: Something I hope you’ll enjoy sharing with your customers is our 2022 Central Coast Viognier: Medium straw color, deep rich nose of apricot, peach, and mango with ginger and exotic spices. Round and dense entry with classic Viognier oiliness, mouth coating while maintaining freshness with lush fruit, spice, creaminess, long with a surprising, gentle and bright upturn of acidity at the very end. The ’22 CCV cries out for some crab or shellfish but it will pair nicely with a wide array of cheeses or chicken dishes. $30

James Suckling 95 Points
2020 Spottswoode Lyndenhurst Cabernet Sauvignon

Aromas of blackcurrant, hazelnut and chocolate, with hints of mint and sage that follow through to a medium to full body, with wonderful soft and fine tannins that give a velvety texture and persistent finish. So balanced and refined. Subtle. Didn’t include wine from vineyards in Atlas Peak this year. An excellent 2020. Drinkable, but will improve so well in the cellar. $90

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


Antonio Galloni, Vinous 92 Points
2022 Bedrock Wine Company Ode to Lulu Rose

Bedrock’s 2022 Rosé Ode to Lulu, a blend of Mourvèdre, Grenache and Syrah is one of the more complete Rosés readers will come across. Deep and beautifully layered, Ode to Lulu is a complex wine that will be at home either as an aperitif or as a companion at the dinner table. Rich, red-toned fruit, crushed flowers and subtle earthy notes all open effortlessly. $24 Our Price $20.49 (Arrives GT 6/30/23)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
HARTFORD FAMILY Zinfandel Russian River Valley Old Vine 2021

Brambly and vibrant yet elegantly structured, with detailed blueberry and raspberry flavors accented by mineral, sandalwood and pepper notes that build toward zesty tannins. Drink now through 2032. —T.F. $42 Our Price $33.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW 6/30/23)

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 $105-$189. (Our limited second allocation will arrive GT 6/30/23)

Wine Spectator 97 Points
Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder 2018

This distinctive version leads with pine forest, sweet bay leaf and savory notes, with a core of steeped currant and bitter plum fruit, plus ample tobacco and warm stone notes in the background. The finish is chiseled in feel, with racy acidity taking just as prominent of a role as tannic grip. With range, character and energy to spare, this should cruise in the cellar. Best from 2025 through 2045. 2,650 cases made. $150 (Back in stock GT 6/30/23)

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
2019 Stewart Tartan Napa Proprietary Red

Checking in as a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, and the balance Malbec and Petit Verdot, the 2019 Red Blend Tartan is one heck of an impressive red blend, as well as a smoking value. Cassis, sappy herbs, chocolate, and spicy notes all give way to a round, medium to full-bodied, expansive beauty with remarkable purity and freshness. Drink it over the coming decade. $50 (Back in stock GT this afternoon)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
LUIGI PIRA Barolo Marenca 2018

This Barolo flashes its fruity side, with bright cherry and raspberry flavors accented by rose, tobacco and a hint of black pepper. Firms up yet remains vibrant, with a lingering, spicy aftertaste. Best from 2025 through 2042. —B.S. 200 cases imported $78 Our Price $70.99 (Available GT)


Taste Cabernet Sauvignon: 2021 Amici Olema Sonoma, 2021 McPrice Myers Bull by the Horns Paso and 2018 Altamura Napa at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, June 30th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

2021 Amici Olema Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: The 2021 Olema Cabernet Sauvignon opens with aromas of black cherry, plum and hints of cedar box. Full-bodied and balanced, this wine shows flavors of wild berries, licorice, and black olive on the palate. Silky tannins are matched with a rich fruit core throughout the long finish. Blend: 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Malbec, 5% Petite Sirah, 4% Merlot. $25

Wine Advocate 94 Points
2021 McPrice Myers Cabernet Sauvignon Bull By The Horns

Deep ruby, the 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon Bull By The Horns has pleasingly herbal touches of bay leaves and dried herbs over a core of blackcurrant, game meat, tar and pencil shavings. The full-bodied palate has abundant, grainy tannins, uplifting, juicy acidity and a long finish with iron and herbal tones. This overdelivers for the price! $25

2018 Altamura Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: Our hillside and valley floor estate vineyards in Wooden Valley are at elevations of 700 to 1000 feet. Soil types on the ranch which are similar to the Rutherford Bench and the mountainous regions of Howell Mountain, Pritchard Hill and Mount Veeder called for several different clones of Cabernet Sauvignon on a number of different rootstocks upon planting in 1986. The vines are dry-farmed and vertically trellised. $135


Taste 2022 Rochioli Russian River Estate Sauvignon Blanc, 2021 Rochioli Russian River Estate Pinot and 2021 Occidental Freestone-Occidental Pinot at (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, July 1st. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

2022 Rochioli Russian River Estate Sauvignon Blanc

Winemaker Notes: Sixty five percent is from the original Sauvignon Blanc vineyard planted in 1959, twenty percent is from our rare clone 376 and fifteen percent is from our 36-year-old hillside vineyard. This wine is stainless tank fermented at a cool temperature to preserve its intense varietal character and firm acidity. Classic Sauvignon Blanc character with gooseberry, touch of grass and citrus. Stainless steel aged with no wood and pure flavors. Crisp, clean and rich on the finish. $55

2021 Rochioli Russian River Estate Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: This Estate is a blend of our many different vineyard sites, with fifty-six percent Little Hill, sixteen percent from Sweetwater, sixteen percent from West Block, eight percent Big Hill, and four percent East Block. This full bodied wine is complex and rich with the typical Rochioli character and the Classic Russian River Valley charm. Aged in French oak for 15 months, the wine displays a full body and silky texture finish, with a balanced structure. $100

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


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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