July 18th 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

July 18th 2023 Newsletter

On deck for wine tasting next week at VRW:

2022 Pont Neuf Russian River Rose of Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: Made in the traditional Saignée method, the rosé is produced from juice that has been drawn off the juice and skins of our Pinot Noir, giving it a kiss of color, yet all the fragrance and delicious fruit flavors of fresh pinot. Drawing off the rosé also benefits the pinot noir by concentrating the juice to skins ratio in the resulting red wine. The lightly-colored rosé is fermented in stainless steel and neutral barrels at cold temperatures to retain its delicate flavors and freshness. The result is delightful; fresh fragrances and flavors of white peach, Alpine strawberries and minerals, framed with bright acidity, silky texture and crisp finish. $35

Vinous 93 Points
2019 Pride Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic Pride wine. Effusive aromatics meld into a core of dark blue/purplish fruit. Medium in body, but with terrific depth, 2019 has a lot going on. This is an especially refined vintage for the Cabernet Sauvignon. All the elements are so nicely balanced. Cedar, tobacco, licorice and dried herbs linger. $86


Taste 2021 Bichot Long Depaquit Chablis, 2020 Bichot Les Vaillons Long Depaquit Chablis and 2006 Chateau Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $20 per person.
Tuesday, July 18th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

James Suckling 90 Points
Albert Bichot Domaine Long-Depaquit Chablis 2021

An aromatic wine for a regular Chablis, with plenty of fresh-lemon, white-peach and tarte-au-citron character. Cooler and crisper on the palate than the nose suggested, but that makes it very clean and refreshing. Good length, the finish nicely supported by a touch of tannin. Drink now. $42

Wine Spectator 91 Points
Albert Bichot Chablis Les Vaillons Domaine Long-Depaquit 2020

Intense and complex, featuring lemon cake, apple, yellow plum and mineral flavors. Bright and fresh, with a lemon-infused aftertaste. Drink now through 2027. 1,173 cases made, 987 cases imported. $63

Wine Advocate 95 Points
2006 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape

As I stated last year, there is no Hommage a Jacques Perrin in 2006, but Beaucastel’s 2006 Chateauneuf du Pape is performing even better from bottle than it did last year. Its dense plum/ruby/purple color is followed by a big, sweet perfume of black truffles, camphor, earth, incense, new saddle leather, and loads of peppery, blackberry, and herb-infused, meaty, black cherry fruit. Deep, full-bodied, and dense, with sweet tannin, this explosively rich Chateauneuf is a stronger effort than the 2005, 2004, or 2003. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2028. CA Market Price $120-$170


Taste 2021 Palacio de Fefinanes Albarino Rias Baixas, 2019 Ruffino Modus and 2018 Renato Corino Barolo Rocche dell'Annunziata at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Wednesday, July 19th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Decanter Magazine 94 Points
2021 Palacio de Fefinanes Albarino Rias Baixas

One of the oldest, most respected Albarino producers in the Rias Baixas. Fefinanes no longer has the field to itself, but its wines are still a cut above most competition on the high street. This is Albarino at its most beguilingly refined, with a moreish contrast of concentrated stone-fruited fleshiness, delicate blossom, mint and classic Albarino saline freshness. $36

James Suckling 94 Points
2019 Ruffino Modus

Aromas of crushed stones, dark berries and blueberries follow through to a medium to full body with creamy tannins and a medium-chewy finish. Chocolate at the end. Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Two or three years of bottle age will bring this around nicely. Drink after 2024. 39% Sangiovese, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot $35

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

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


Taste 2021 Margerum M5 Santa Barbara Rhone, 2019 Lancaster Winemaker’s Cuvee Cabernet and 2018 Cliff Lede Magic Nights Napa Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Thursday, July 20th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Spectator 94 Points
MARGERUM M5 Santa Barbara County 2021

Structure meets polish in this full-bodied blend, which offers deep blackberry and raspberry flavors that interplay with licorice, smoked pepper and garrigue and finish with well-buffed tannins. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Counoise and Cinsault. Drink now through 2032. —T.F. $30

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 Advocate 94+
2018 Cliff Lede Napa Cabernet Sauvignon Magic Nights

Blended of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot and 3% Merlot, the deep garnet-purple colored 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Magic Nights prances out of the glass with showy notes of crème de cassis, blueberry coulis and chocolate-covered cherries plus hints of garrigue, pencil lead and beef drippings. Full-bodied, the palate is jam-packed with muscular, energetic black fruits, supported by firm, ripe tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long and savory. $110


Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
2013 Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill Brut

The 2013 Champagne Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill Brut, composed of 95% Pinot Noir, is the 20th release of this cuvée, and this version is robust, classic, and noble in its expression. The color is a medium straw, and the aromas are complex and compelling, with smoke, graham biscuit, currant, and orange marmalade. It has immediate appeal and charm. The palate is structured, yet refreshing, and savory with grip and an energetic citrus that doesn’t seem to taper. Drink 2024-2044. $360 Our Price $293.95 (Available GT and VRW 7/19/23)

2022 Roger Neveu Sancerre Cotes des Embouffants

Importer Notes: It is perfectly appropriate, then, that the “Côte des Embouffants” is now under the care of the Neveu family, who has roots in the village of Verdigny—just half a mile from the vineyard—since the 12th century. Today, brothers Éric and Jean-Philippe Neveu produce a fresh-cut-grass-and-citrus-inflected Sauvignon Blanc of incredible precision from this site. They ferment and age it only in tank and rack by gravity to preserve all the juicy, sun-ripened fruit and lively mineral snap conferred by this steep, limestone-covered hillside.

With delightful floral notes, lip-smacking lemon and lime zestiness, and a zippy, chalky finish, this generously perfumed and incredibly refreshing bottling suggests that, nearly 250 years later, our old pal Poupart may have been onto something. $30 (Arrives GT 7/20/23)

2019 Pont Neuf La Vogue Russian River Pinot

Winemaker Notes: The best wines of Burgundy’s Cotes de Nuits come to mind. Aromas of sweet earth, red fruits, leather, truffles, and Porcini mushrooms take us on a walk through the woods. Leafy forest floor, aromatic spices and fresh cut wood are well integrated and become appetizing accents. The fruit flavors of “La Vouge” are inspired by the wild; berries, currants, cherries, and Damson plums with their soft, sweet flesh and perfectly balanced acidity. The 2019 La Vouge is a prime candidate for cellaring. $70 (Arrives GT 7/20/23)

2019 Pont Neuf Pont Royal Russian River Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: The 2019 Pont Royal reveals a brilliant clarity both in appearance and focused flavors.

Consistent vineyard characters show in the forward citrus, fresh peach, custard and honied beeswax, hallmark traits of this vineyard. The texture is crisp, with a satisfying texture and great persistence of flavors. Pont Royal is a chameleon; one moment floral and lilting, bold, rich and deep the next. French oak takes a back seat to the fruit, adding nuanced aromas of toasted brioche and fine structure to the wine. We employed 80% new oak from the Vosges forest, aged 4 years, contributing the delicate toast and vanilla aromas and playing perfectly with bright citrus fruit. Barrel-fermented, aged on the lees and bottled un-fined and unfiltered, this natural fermentation showcases the vineyard and the vintage. 90 cases produced. $65 (Back in stock GT 7/20/23)

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 Our Price $41.95 (Available GT and VRW)

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 (Back in stock 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 7/20/23)


Taste 2022 Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc, 2021 Sinegal Estate Details Sonoma Cabernet and 2019 O’Shaughnessy Napa Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, July 21st. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

2022 Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc

Winemaker Notes: Pretty and pure with aromas of citrus, white peach, and juicy pear, this beautiful Sauvignon Blanc is layered and complex. Apple clafoutis and floral aromatics invite you in. Rich and textural, this wine perfectly balances viscosity and acidity. Sea spray and salted lemon with some grapefruit pith carries through its long finish. Delicious and refreshing! Blend: 98% Sauvignon Blanc, 2% Semillon

Jeb Dunnuck 90-92 Points
2021 Sinegal Estate Details Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon Details is a terrific entry level wine from this team and has everything you'd want from a value-priced Cabernet Sauvignon. Black cherries, mulberries, gravelly earth, and leafy tobacco define the bouquet, and it's medium-bodied, round, supple, and nicely textured, with a forward, charming style that's going to drink nicely right out of the gate. $50

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2019 O'Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

The base 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley is terrific, and while I don’t know the price, I suspect it’s a great value. Deep purple-hued, with terrific mulled currant and blackberry fruits, it has lots of ripe herbal, chocolaty spice notes, full-bodied richness, sweet tannins, and a great finish. This is pure Napa Valley goodness to drink over the coming 10-15 years. $85


Taste 2022 Groth Napa Sauvignon Blanc, 2021 Chamisal SLO Pinot Noir and 2019 Cade Howell Mountain Estate Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, July 22nd. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

Wine Spectator 92 Points
GROTH Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 2022

Effusive and intense, with a mouthwatering quality to the lingering notes of lemon blossoms, pomelo, fresh-cut Honeycrisp apple and candied ginger preserved in honey. Drink now. 25,000 cases made.—M.W. $30

2021 Chamisal San Luis Obispo Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: A vibrant and fresh Pinot Noir wine influenced by the proximity of the cool California coast. The close proximity to the coast is vital for the freshness and vibrancy of this wine that generates bright notes of red cherry and raspberry with light tannins and a vibrant acidity. $25

Wine Advocate 94+
2019 Cade Howell Mt Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2019 Cade Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is blended of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 3% Malbec. Deep garnet-purple in color, it charges out of the glass with vibrant black cherry preserves, wild blueberries and mulberries scents, giving way to a core of cassis and star anise plus a waft of chocolate box. Full-bodied, concentrated and packed with bright black fruits, it has a fine-grained texture and long, energetic finish. $129


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 12:00 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

Back to Our Blog

Are you 21 years old, or older?