August 17th 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

August 17th 2023 Newsletter

On deck for wine tasting next week at VRW:

Wine Advocate 94-96 Points
2021 Daou Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is blended with 23% Petit Verdot, made entirely with free-run juice, and it will be matured for 16 months in 50% new French oak. Opaque ruby, it offers pure aromas of cassis, violet, grilled meats, desert sage and bell pepper. The full-bodied palate is powdery, energetic and detailed with a long, layered finish. $65

2022 Merry Edwards Russian River Sauvignon Blanc

Winemaker Notes: The stunning 2022 Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc is the result of impeccable farming along with our practices of barrel fermentation and lees-stirring. The maritime influence at our vineyards means that even when we have unprecedented heat, as we did in 2022, our grapes are able to hold onto delicate flavors and juicy acidity. This wine opens with enticing aromas of Meyer lemon, white pineapple, lime zest and white blossoms. On the palate, ripe yellow stone fruit and lemon grass mingle with notes of honeydew and marzipan. The texture is silky, but the bright acidity keeps the wine fresh and lively. — Winemaker Heidi von der Mehden. $50

2021 Merry Edwards Russian River Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: The aromas on the nose are red-fruit driven, featuring ripe raspberries and fresh strawberries with a pretty hint of vanilla. On entry, this wine is bright and buoyed by refreshing acidity, and a persistent core of tannins brings elegant texture. Hints of yellow fruit skin and gravel give way to a slightly spicy finish highlighted by notes of blood orange and cherry cola. $60

Wine Advocate 100 Points
2019 Harlan Estate

The head-spinning 2019 Harlan Estate is truly amazing stuff. Gentle cedar notes lead into layered dark chocolate and cassis, somehow impossibly rich yet savory. Full-bodied, concentrated and supple, this is dense, packed with flavor but seemingly weightless, with a lush, lingering finish that combines intensity with freshness to compel sip after sip. Like all truly great wines, it's full of somehow harmonious contradictions. $1680


Taste Shafer Vineyards and Winery: 2022 Red Shoulder Ranch Carneros Chardonnay, 2021 TD-9 Napa Cabernet and 2021 One Point Five Napa Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $20 per person.
Thursday, August 17th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

2022 Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch Carneros Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: The 2022 Red Shoulder Ranch is a refreshing, vibrant Chardonnay characterized by its lush, glass-filling aromas of white flowers, lemon zest, and exotic fruit. On the palate it offers a graceful balance of energy and richness, with flavors of white melon, apricot, ripe pineapple, flint, honey, and Crème Brûlée. With its pure, Chablis-like acidity this vintage offers effortless structure and elegant balance with a long, delightful finish. $70

2021 Shafer TD-9 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: In its first vintage as a Cabernet Sauvignon, TD-9 fills the glass with irresistible aromas and flavors of fresh black cherries, black currant, red plum, thyme, rose petal, and cocoa. Lush and mouth-filling, this 2021 offers the kind of complexity and structure that ensures many years of enjoyment ahead. 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec. $75

2021 Shafer One Point Five Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: One Point Five is Shafer's signature Cabernet Sauvignon, reflecting the timeless elegance of top Napa Valley vineyards. This wine honors the founding partnership of John and Doug Shafer, who said they'd worked together so long theirs wasn't a second-generation story but a generation and a half. The long, sunny 2021 summer created idyllic growing season. The fruit developed rich color with clean, elegant, and pure aromas and flavors. 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petite Verdot, 2% Merlot, 1% Malbec $125


WOW-47% Off!
Natalie MacLean Wine Reviews 90 Points
2019 Simi Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

The Simi 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon has a splash or two of Merlot, Malbec, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, Carignane, Zinfandel grapes adding complexity and depth to the wine. A full-bodied, smoky, fresh and juicy Cab loaded with dark fruits, dark cherry, cracked black pepper, chocolate and smoky notes right to the very long and plushy end. Pour with steaks from the grill. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: rib steak on the barbie, garlic and herb rib roast, baseball sirloin burger. $35 Our Price $18.55

WOW-47% Off!
2019 Simi Russian River Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: Opens with notes of baked pear, caramel, hazelnut and honeysuckle. The palate is warm and weighty with pear, citrus, butterscotch, shortbread cookie, and baking spice. $35 Our Price $18.55

Wine Spectator 93 POINTS
Chianti Classico Cavaliere D'oro Riserva 2017

This has settled down, despite a swath of dense tannins, delivering cherry, strawberry, earth, eucalyptus and mineral flavors. Well-defined, with a firm, yet long finish. Sangiovese and Merlot. Drink now through 2037. 20,000 cases made, 18,000 cases imported. —Bruce Sanderson. $23 Our Price $17.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
Lewis Chardonnay Russian River Valley Barcaglia Lane 2021

Exudes smoky, toasty overtones to the grilled peach, Meyer lemon, ripe melon and dried pineapple flavors, while spicy accents of clove, nutmeg and orange bitters linger on the rich, expansive finish. Drink now. 300 cases made. $80 Our Price $74.99 (Arrives GT 8/18/23)

2021 Lewis Sonoma Russian River Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: A soaring, sensational wine the 2021 Sonoma Russian River Chardonnay is our best in years. Shot-through with citrus and tropical fruits, blossoms and exotic spices the fragrance is sublime. Casting a wide arc of vibrant fruit, mineral intrigue and vivid detail the wine comes full circle with a superb succulent finish. $65 Our Price $59.99 (Arrives GT 8/18/23)

2019 Dehlinger Altamont Russian River Pinot Noir

The 2019 Pinot Noir Altamont is a gorgeous wine. At present, the Altamont is quite closed, as if all of its energy is focused inward. Wild red cherry, lavender, rose petal, kirsch, mint and blood orange all run through the 2019. There's lovely depth and density here. $65 (Arrives GT 8/18/23)


Taste 2021 Resonance Willamette Valley Pinot, 2019 JAX Napa Cabernet and 2018 Frank Family Reserve Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, August 18th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Spectator 94 Points * RÉSONANCE Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2021

Precise and elegantly structured, with detailed raspberry, savory tea and crushed stone accents that gather richness and tension toward refined tannins. Drink now through 2031. 10,870 cases made.—T.F. $40

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

Jeb Dunnuck 94+ Points
2018 Frank Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford Reserve

Largely in the same style, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford Reserve reminds me of a top Pauillac with its darker blackcurrant fruit as well as notes of lead pencil, crushed stone, cedar, and smoked tobacco. Rich and full-bodied, it has wonderful purity of fruit and the balance and structure to evolve for two decades. $95


Taste 2021 Hartford Court Russian River Pinot, 2017 Beringer Distinctions Napa Cabernet and 2014 Arrowood Reserve Speciale at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, August 19th. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points
2021 Hartford Court Russian River Pinot Noir

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

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

Wine Advocate 95 Points
2014 Arrowood Vineyards & Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Speciale

Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Speciale has a black forest cake and crème de cassis-scented nose with touches of charcoal, black soil, mocha and salami plus a hint of cigar box. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is packed with black fruit and savory layers with beautifully ripe, fine-grained tannins and just enough freshness, finishing with great persistence. 1,103 cases produced. $100


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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