August 8th 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

August 8th 2023 Newsletter

On Deck for wine tasting next week at VRW:

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

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


Taste 2020 Bordeaux: Chateau Pibran Pauillac and 2020 Lynch Bages Pauillac at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $25 per person.
Tuesday, August 8th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

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

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


Taste Chardonnay: 2020 Joseph Carr Carneros, 2019 Hartford Court Four Hearts Russian River and 2020 Sea Smoke Sta. Rita Hills at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Wednesday, August 9th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

2020 Joseph Carr Carneros Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: This Chardonnay is sourced from the moderately cool and foggy Carneros AVA, which spans the foothills of the Mayacamas. The bouquet is vivid with aromas of lemon zest, fresh stone fruit and meringue. Flavors of ripe white peach, sweet lemon curd and hint of coconut emerge on the palate and linger through a refreshing finish. $20

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points
2019 Hartford Court Four Hearts Vineyard Chardonnay

Another Russian River release, the 2019 Chardonnay Four Hearts Vineyard brings plenty of ripe tropical fruit as well as medium to full body, a supple, layered mouthfeel, nicely integrated acidity, and building spice, toast, and green almond nuances. It's another thrilling, brilliant Chardonnay from this estate. Drink bottles over the coming 5-7 years. $55

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. $105


Taste 2020 Ramsay California Cabernet, 2016 Burgess Contadina Napa Cabernet and 2020 Daou Soul of a Lion Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Thursday, August 10th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

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


Winemaker Notes: A dense and concentrated cabernet with aromas and flavors of confectionary blackberry and stewed cassis. The lush fruit is brought into balance by high tone herbal aromatics of mint, sage, and sweet tobacco. The distinctively thick-skinned Cabernet grapes provide a long velvety finish. $52

Wine Enthusiast 97 Points * 2020 Daou Soul of a Lion Cabernet Sauvignon

Impressively dark in the glass, this bottling pairs intense purple fruit and flower on this nose with more roasted, umami-laden aromas. The elegant palate is a master class in tannin management, proving firm in structure yet soft in mouthfeel. Flavors of blackberry jam, cocoa, walnut and cracked pepper ride a lingering acidity into the finish. — Matt Kettmann. $170


2021 Valley Ghost Aglianico in stock! WOW- $10.99!

Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points
2021 Hartford Court Russian River Pinot

A youthful and saturated ruby hue, the 2021 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley is ripe and spicy, with aromas of fresh pine, cherry liqueur, and fresh wildflowers. Medium to full-bodied, with ample richness on the palate, it reveals notes of ripe berries, turned forest floor, and toasted baking spice, and it has a classic feel, with good structure and a long finish. Drink it over the next few years. 15,000 cases were produced. $42 Our Price $33.99 (Back in stock GT 8/9/23)

James Suckling 91 Points
2022 Donnhoff Estate Riesling Trocken

Very spicy for a dry Nahe riesling with plenty of mandarin orange and peach stone fruit. Strikingly dry and firm with ample structure, then a long zesty and mouthwatering finish. From organically grown grapes with Fair'n Green certification. Drink or hold. $23 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 91 Points
2019 Livio Felluga Friulano Friuli Colli Orientali

Lightly mouthwatering, with a streak of salinity underscoring flavors of baked white peach, ginger-infused pastry cream, biscuit and verbena. Long and silky on the herb-laced finish. Drink now through 2024. $27 Our Price $24.99 (Available GT and VRW)

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 Our Price $153.99 (Available GT)

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 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
Castello di Bossi Chianti Classico Berardo Riserva 2018

Rich, this lithe and vibrant red has settled in nicely, exhibiting cherry, blackberry, iron, sanguine and woodsy aromas and flavors. Beautifully balanced, lingering with fruit, mineral, savory and spicy notes. Drink now through 2035. 5,000 cases made, 2,000 cases imported. $42 Our Price $26.99 (Available GT and VRW)

James Suckling 92 Points * 2019 JAX Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Aromas of blackberries, blueberries, dark cherries, dried thyme and baking spices. It’s full-bodied with fine tannins and lively acidity. Creamy, with a flavorful, fresh finish. Drink or hold. $50 (Available GT and VRW)

2021 Venge Silencieux Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: The highest quality crop not witnessed in years. I know, I put a lot of eggs in the basket of vintage 2018. However, friends, brace yourself for some delicious, superior quality wines coming from 2021. Across the board—from Chardonnay through to Cabernet Sauvignon— we are looking at magnificent concentrations of color and flavor that forecast a stellar vintage to come. This vintage takes Venge’s Silencieux to another level. $80 (Available GT and VRW)

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. Our Price $109.99 (Back in stock GT 8/9/23)

Wine Advocate 95 Points * 2016 Eisele Vineyard Altagracia Cabernet Sauvignon

The Altagracia is produced almost exclusively from estate fruit this year and was bottled at the end of June 2018. Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Altagracia comes bursting forth with vivacious black cherries, blackberries, wild blueberries and cassis notes with touches of cinnamon stick, cloves, forest floor, violets and dusty earth with a waft of violets. The palate is medium to full-bodied, firm and grainy with loads of iron and mineral accents, finishing long and perfumed. $135 (Back in stock GT 8/9/23)


Taste 2022 Pont Neuf Russian River Rose of Pinot, 2020 Krutz Napa Cabernet and 2019 Etude Napa Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, August 11th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

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

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

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

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


Taste 2022 Ghost Block MorgaenLee Sauvignon Blanc, 2021 Chateau Campuget 1753 Costieres de Nimes Grenache and 2018 The Mascot Napa Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, August 12th. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

2022 Ghost Block MorgaenLee Sauvignon Blanc

Winemaker Notes: Beautiful aromatics of grapefruit and white peach jump from the glass followed by subtle tropical fruit notes of guava and papaya. $25

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

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


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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