August 3rd 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

August 3rd 2023 Newsletter

On Deck for wine tasting next week at VRW:

James Suckling 99 Points
2020 Lynch Bages Pauillac Bordeaux

A beautifully layered red with blackcurrant, hazelnut and lead-pencil character and fine, velvety tannins. Full-bodied and reserved. It’s like a tightly knit ball of polished tannins that are cashmere in texture. So very long and impressive. Give this time. A terrific Lynch. $150

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
2020 Chateau Pibran Pauillac Bordeaux

Based on 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon that saw 50% new oak, the 2020 Château Pibran is a classic wine in the vintage that has a pure, layered, medium to full-bodied style as well as textbook notes of darker berries, cassis, irone, and tobacco. With ripe tannins, a good spine of acidity, and plenty of texture, it's going to evolve for 15-20 years in cold cellars. $54


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


2020 Sea Smoke Sta Rita Hills Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: An elegant Chardonnay with aromas of Meyer lemon zest, fresh cut melon and honeycomb. The nose is complemented by mandarin and a slight nuttiness in the focused mid-palate and the refreshing cool climate acidity of our estate vineyard. $90 (Arrives GT 8/4/23)

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 Our Price $59.99 (Back in stock GT 8/4/23)

Wine Spectator 90 Points
PEDRONCELLI Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley Mother Clone 2020

A gutsy red that's easy to drink, with lively blackberry, licorice and savory peppercorn flavors that build toward zesty tannins. Drink now through 2030. 6,500 cases made.—T.F. $24 Our Price $17.49 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Enthusiast 96 Points
Domaine de la Cote 2021 La Côte Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills)

Extreme cool-climate qualities show on the nose of this bottling, including asphalt, olive tapenade and truckloads of tumbleweed, with dark-cherry elements adding a fruit tone. Flavors of Pasilla chile in tomato broth show on the utterly unique palate, where cranberry sauce and cracked rainbow peppercorn add to the attention-grabbing complexity. CA Market Price $170-$190 (Back in stock GT this afternoon)

James Suckling 96 Points
2019 Etude Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Lots of blackcurrant and crushed stone on the nose, as well as some dustiness. Full-bodied, very velvety and restrained. Beautiful energy at the end. This comes mostly from Coombsville, Rutherford and Oakville vineyards. Two or three years will bring this into the right space, but already so enjoyable to taste. $100 Our Price $81.99 (Back in stock GT this afternoon)

Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Independent 96 Points
KRUTZ 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa

The 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley is deep garnet-purple in color. Notes of cassis, baked plums, and boysenberries waft from the glass, followed by hints of dusty soil, Indian spices, and wild sage. The medium to full-bodied palate delivers bright, fresh, youthful fruit with a grainy texture and spicy lift on the finish. $52 (Available GT and 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 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

2022 Pedroncelli Giovanni & Giulia Dry Creek Sauvignon Blanc

Winemaker Notes: Intense aromatics and ‘very varietally correct’ quips our winemaker Montserrat Reece. True to the Sauvignon Blanc grape the bouquet has notes of fresh grass and peach. Citrus and tropical fruit flavors are layered with a touch of spice and honey. Refreshing and crisp. Please enjoy upon release or within a year or two as no aging is required. $20 Liquidation Price $11.95 (Limited to stock on hand at GT)

2020 Ramsay California Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: Deep purple-black in color with a rich nose of cedar, mint and black fruit. Full-bodied and structured, Ramsay California Cabernet bursts with layers of blackberry, boysenberry and blueberry. The wine has nice intensity, highlighting rounded tannins and a spicy earth-laced finish. $21 Our Price $16.99 (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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