August 1st 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

August 1st 2023 Newsletter

On deck for wine tasting next week at VRW:

2018 The Mascot Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: The Mascot is a Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon made from distinct hillside vineyards; specifically, the younger vines of BOND, Harlan Estate, and Promontory. It started out as a small project shared among the family, winemaking team, and close friends. Drawing fruit from blocks of recently replanted vineyards, The Mascot shares a glimpse into the evolution of its parent estates: a youthful snapshot of their future.

The subtle, ethereal power of the vintage, which reveals itself first in the deep, brooding aromas of dark fruit, black tea, and herbal notes. The texture expands around a lifted structure, as powdery tannins gently resolve. This diffused, enigmatic softness is anchored on the mid-palate by a gratifying density, which prepares the senses for a flourish of hidden energy and vivid detail that illuminates the finish. $175


Taste 2021 The Setting Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc and 2017 Hundred Acre Ark Cabernet Sauvignon at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $50 per person.
Tuesday, August 1st. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Advocate 96 Points
2021 The Setting Wines Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc

The 2021 Sauvignon Blanc is a gorgeous oak-matured example reminiscent of top-quality Bordeaux Blanc. It's surely a relief for winemaker Jesse Katz, who chose not to make this cuvée in 2020. "This vineyard is out in Dry Creek and it was too close to the fires," Katz explains. "Everyone says that whites weren't affected, but no—we skipped the vintage there, even for the whites." Aged six months in 38% new French oak, it opens with alluring tones of matchstick that quickly give way to luxurious white peach, lemongrass, kiwi and tarragon plus wafts of river stone and exotic spice. The medium-bodied palate surprises with its concentrated, expansive flavors and boasts an ultra satiny texture. Energetic yet seamless, it calls you back for another sip on the long finish and is a pleasure to drink! 494 cases were made. $55

Wine Advocate 98 Points
2017 Hundred Acre Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Ark Vineyard

Deep garnet-black colored, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Ark Vineyard unfurls sensuously from the glass with provocative scents of baked black cherries, plum preserves and crème de cassis, with emerging suggestions of fragrant earth, black truffles, Chinese five spice and dusty soil. Full-bodied, rich and oh-so-spicy on the palate, it has a rock-solid backbone of grainy tannins and lively acidity supporting the opulent fruit, finishing very long and exotic. This is a surprisingly decadent and powerful expression of 2017! $680


Taste 2021 Rombauer Proprietor’s Selection Carneros Chardonnay, 2018 Maldonado Farm Worker Proprietary Red and 2019 Stag’s Leap Artemis Napa Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Wednesday, August 2nd. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

2021 Rombauer Proprietor’s Selection Carneros Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: Expressive and concentrated aromas of grapefruit and lime sorbet with hints of clove are present in the glass. It is rich and intense on the palate with sweet peach, clove, and freshly baked pastry flavors. There is a bright refreshing acidity that gives way to more stone fruit flavors that continue to build on the very long and concentrated finish. $80

2018 Maldonado Farm Worker Proprietary Red

Winemaker Notes: Hints of vanilla bean, boysenberry & fresh tobacco . Boasting, ripe summer plum and the suggestion of dried Morel mushroom. A lengthy fruit-driven finish. portraying its youthful, playful side. Cabernet, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. $33

James Suckling 93 Points
2019 Stag’s Leap Artemis Napa Cabernet

Cassis, dried blueberries, violets, ink, graphite, dried leaves and cigar box on the nose. Full-bodied with firm, polished tannins. Smooth and supple with excellent balance and length. Drink from 2023. $80


Taste 2021 Chamisal SLO Chardonnay, 2019 Chimney Rock Stag’s Leap Cabernet and 2019 Chimney Rock Stag’s Leap Tomahawk Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $20 per person.
Thursday, August 3rd. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Enthusiast 90 Points
2021 Chamisal SLO Chardonnay

Melon, white flower and ash aromas are delicate and clean on the nose of this bottling. There's a firm tension to the sip, where bright citrus, light stonefruit and lemon curd flavors ride lingering acidity into a crisp apple finish. $15

James Suckling 93 points
2019 Chimney Rock Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon

A creamy, succulent red with aromas of mulberries, raspberries, walnut cream and sweet spices. Full-bodied with firm, velvety tannins. Plush, flavorful finish. Delicious already but better after 2023. $115

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 96 Points
2019 Chimney Rock Cabernet Sauvignon Tomahawk Vineyard Stags Leap District Napa

The 2019 Chimney Rock Tomahawk Cabernet is the most potent wine in this lineup. This big, strapping Stag’s Leap Cabernet offer sup copious dark fruit, grilled herbs, spice, leather and lavender, all wrapped into a bundle of power and energy. The 2019 needs cellaring and it’s a compelling Cabernet in the making. $160


2021 Chateau de Campuget 1753 Costieres de Nimes Grenache

Winemaker Notes: This wine is of a beautiful complexity. The dress is deep ruby. The nose is on red fruit (cherry) mixed with spicy notes. In the mouth, the tannins are tender and supple, marked by finesse and elegance. $22 Our Price $17.95 (Arrives GT 8/3/23)

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
Louis Roederer Brut Collection 243

The NV Champagne Collection 243 Brut is the third release and is based on the 2018 vintage, with the addition of 30% of the perpetual reserve started in 2012 and 10% reserve wine that has been aged in oak. It is ripe and balanced, with yellow flowers, honeycomb, and plum, and it has elegant concentration and underlying tension, precise mousse, and rich salinity, with lingering notes of croissant and delicate smoke. $68 Our Price $54.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 94 Points
ASTROLABE Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2022

Checking all the boxes, this stunning version is fresh and vibrant yet also complex and full of flavor, from toasted green tea and lemon thyme to mouthwatering passion fruit, yuzu and mango. Ends with hints of white pepper, lemon blossoms and sea salt on the long, expressive finish. Drink now. —M.W. $23 Our Price $16.99 (Available GT and VRW)

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 Our Price $33.99 (Available GT and VRW)

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)

Wine Spectator 94 Points
CASTELLO ROMITORIO Brunello di Montalcino 2018

A graceful red hallmarked by cherry, strawberry, rose, mineral and Mediterranean herbs. Lacy and succulent yet firm, ending on the minerally side. Vibrant and long. Best from 2025 through 2042. —B.S. $77 Our Price $68.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
Fanti Brunello di Montalcino 2018

Sleek and focused, with a supple feel to the cherry, raspberry, hibiscus and chalky mineral flavors. Well-balanced, finishing with a crisp feel now that should stretch out nicely in time. Best from 2025 through 2042. —B.S. $49 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 95 Points
Castello Romitorio Brunello di Montalcino Filo di Seta 2018

A rich, concentrated red, expressing plum, cherry, earth, iron and tobacco aromas and flavors. Shows sweetness from the ripe fruit midpalate, along with a balanced, harmonious texture. Features fine length backed by vibrant acidity and refined tannins. Best from 2025 through 2043. 620 cases made, 170 cases imported. $150 Our Price $141.99 (Available GT)


Taste 2017 Merryvale Starmont Carneros Pinot, 2020 Delille D2 Proprietary Red and Opus One Overture at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, August 4th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

James Suckling 91 Points
2017 Merryvale Starmont Carneros Pinot Noir

This has a rich and vibrant, red-cherry and plum nose with a wealth of ripe-fruit flesh and bold, crunchy and rich tannins. $23

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2020 Delille D2 Proprietary Red

The 2020 D2 Proprietary Red Wine was made from 61% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot. The nose is as brilliant as always, with focused, dark red fruits, hints of black cherry skin and oak essence that sways out of the glass. Full-bodied and mineral tensioned, the palate offers fine-grained tannins with succulent healthy fruit flavors before ending with a fresh, food-friendly finish. At these prices, buy the entire case. About 108,000 bottles were filled after the wine rested in 68% new French oak for 20 months. Bravo! $50

Opus One Overture (2022 release)

Winemaker Notes: A timeless expression of our estate vineyards, Overture is full bodied but approachable in its youth. Overture shows generous dark fruit aromas and flavors with a soft, supple mid-palate. $150


Taste 2022 Diatom Santa Barbara Chardonnay, 2019 Eyrie Outcrop Pinot and 2019 O’Shaughnessy Howell Mt Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, August 5th. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

Wine Spectator 92
Diatom Chardonnay Santa Barbara County 2022

Offers grilled pineapple, white peach and lemon blossom flavors that are robust and effortless on a sleek, juicy frame, with fresh-cut green apple, tarragon and sea spray notes emerging on the mouthwatering finish. Drink now. 17,000 cases made. $25

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

Jeb Dunnuck 98+ Points
2019 O'Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain is an incredible wine, and it flirts with perfection. Full-bodied and concentrated, it has flawless balance and elegance as well as just textbook Howell Mountain notes of blue fruits, cassis, violets, graphite, and background oak. I love its tannins, it has remarkable purity of fruit, and a great, great finish. It has some appeal today yet deserves 4-5 years of bottle age and should have over two decades of longevity. $110


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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