August 29th 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

August 29th 2023 Newsletter

On deck for wine tasting next week at VRW:

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
2018 Peter Michael Les Pavot

More minerality, graphite, and scorched earth notes emerge from the 2018 Les Pavots. Full-bodied and uber-concentrated, it reveals building tannins, awesome mid-palate depth, and one heck of a great finish. It's a serious, powerful, blockbuster beauty that also holds onto perfect balance and a beautiful sense of elegance. It will keep for two decades or more. $235

Wine Spectator 94 Points
Frederic Esmonin Ruchottes-Chambertin Grand Cru 2018

A deep, velvety red, this bursts with cherry, black currant, violet and graphite aromas and flavors, shrouded in smoky oak. It's intense and linear in profile, with excellent balance and a long, detailed finish. Best from 2024 through 2045. $185


Taste Chardonnay: 2021 Sandhi Sta. Rita Hills, 2021 Paul Hobbs Russian River and 2019 Arista UV El Diablo Russian River at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Tuesday, August 29th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Spectator 92 Points
SANDHI Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills 2021

Complex and seamless, there's plenty to admire in this white wine. Shows spiced, poached pear, dried apple, grilled lemon and fresh tangerine flavors that are juicy and generous, with details of sage, white pepper and toasted sesame seed on the finish. Drink now. 4,536 cases made.—MaryAnn Worobiec. $35 Our Price $29.99 (Available GT and VRW)

James Suckling 94 Points
2021 Paul Hobbs Russian River Chardonnay

Cooked apple, pie crust, stone, and vanilla bean aromas with hints of flint. Full body. Crunchy fruit with sliced apple. Hints of oak. Dense in the center palate yet firm and focused. Excellent. Drink or hold. $75

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points
2019 Arista Winery Chardonnay UV El Diablo Vineyard

The 2019 Chardonnay UV El Diablo Vineyard is flush with fresh green apple fruit, Meyer lemon, dusty earth, and flinty reduction. Full-bodied and rich with texture, the palate is ripe with pineapple candy, vanillin, and baking spice. This was a solid wine to start the flight. Drink over the next 15 years. $100


Taste 2018 The Mascot Napa Cabernet and 2019 Harlan Estate at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $52 per person. (We will open one bottle of each wine and the serving size will be one ounce)
Wednesday, August 30th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

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

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 Pinot Noir: 2017 Copain Edmeades, 2021 Walter Hansel Estate and 2021 Walter Hansel South Slope at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Thursday, August 31st. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Jeb Dunnuck 94 Points
2017 Copain Pinot Noir Edmeades Vineyard

The first vintage for this cuvée from Ryan, the 2017 Pinot Noir Edmeades Vineyard comes from mid-valley and was brought up in 27% new French oak. It's a beautiful wine with blueberry and wild strawberry fruits as well as complex spice, dried flowers, and some loamy soil notes. Medium-bodied, seamless, and silky on the palate, it's a lovely, layered wine that shines for its texture and balanced. $60

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 92 Points
2021 Walter Hansel Estate Pinot Noir

The 2021 Pinot Noir The Estate Vineyards is gracious, elegant and silky. Crushed red/purplish berry fruit, spice and mint are nicely laced together in a juicy, mid-weight Pinot that delivers the goods. The 2021 offers tons of immediacy, but marries that with a good bit of energy. This is a very serious wine with a bright, bright future. $42

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 96 Points
2021 Walter Hansel South Slope Pinot Noir

The Walter Hansel 2021 Pinot Noir The South Slope Vineyard is a classic Steven Hansel wine. A rush of dark cherry, plum lavender, rose petal and licorice are all dialed up. This boisterous, exuberant Pinot Noir has a ton of character. Plush contours wrap it all up together in style. The 2021 will be nearly impossible to resist on release. What a knockout! $47


Wine Advocate 94 Points
2019 Mauro Veglio Barolo

The Mauro Veglio 2019 Barolo opens to a medium-dark appearance and concentration. The wine's more saturated approach is transferred to the bouquet with red and purple fruits, tangy cedarwood, potting soil and pressed rose. This is a classic expression of Nebbiolo that represents a blend of fruit from three villages: Arborina and Gattera in La Morra, Castelletto in Monforte d'Alba and Serralunga d'Alba. An ample 30,000 bottles were released. $45 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

Wine Advocate 95 Points
2019 Vietti Barolo Castiglione

This is the most accessible Barolo from Vietti and the wine that casts the biggest net in terms of fruit sourcing from across many MGA sites. The 2019 Barolo Castiglione is a layered and generous wine that reflects the main takeaways offered by this very successful vintage. In fact, because this wine is not from a single site, it speaks more to the quality of the vintage than it does to any one specific vineyard. The Castiglione reveals generous richness and concentrated cherry fruit with dark saturation and good structure that comes from the thicker skins developed on Nebbiolo grapes this year. It concludes with a salty mineral note that adds focus and elegance. $75 Our Price $61.99 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

2022 Domaine Hippolyte Reverdy Sancerre Rose

It's hard to imagine a wine as refreshing and enlivening as Reverdy’s Sancerre, but the domaine's Sancerre rosé gives their classic white a serious run for its money. Vigneronne Julie Guiard uses direct-press Pinot Noir vinified in stainless steel to create this snappy, saline expression of Sancerre's stony soils. While its delicate aromas of tart cranberry and white cherry set it apart, it makes for an all-star apéritif just as much as her iconic blanc. $35 Our Price $28.99 (Available GT)

2022 Domaine Hippolyte Reverdy Sancerre

Importer Notes: Does it get more classic than this? Like Chablis and Muscadet, Sancerre is a quintessential white wine appellation of France, beloved for its famous Kimmeridgian limestone and crisp blancs that sing at apéro hour. This AOC also happens to be home to half a dozen vignerons named Reverdy. Domaine Hippolyte Reverdy, a family farm that has been making wine for many generations—since the 1600s—is our favorite, producing Sancerres with trademark notes of fresh spring flowers and a zesty, mineral finish. $40 Our Price $34.99 (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 92 Points
The Calling Chardonnay Russian River Valley Dutton Ranch 2021

Generous and expressive, with heavy juicy tangerine, lemon curd and Honeycrisp apple flavors that sing out on a mouthwatering frame, while hints of lemon verbena, ginger, citrus zest and green tea emerge on the finish. Drink now. 9,300 cases made. $33 Our Price $27.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Advocate 94 Points
2021 McPrice Myers Cabernet Sauvignon Bull By The Horns

Deep ruby, the 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon Bull By The Horns has pleasingly herbal touches of bay leaves and dried herbs over a core of blackcurrant, game meat, tar and pencil shavings. The full-bodied palate has abundant, grainy tannins, uplifting, juicy acidity and a long finish with iron and herbal tones. This overdelivers for the price! $25 Our Price $19.95 (Back in stock GT 8/30/23)

Wine Spectator 94 Points
Frederic Esmonin Ruchottes-Chambertin Grand Cru 2018

A deep, velvety red, this bursts with cherry, black currant, violet and graphite aromas and flavors, shrouded in smoky oak. It's intense and linear in profile, with excellent balance and a long, detailed finish. Best from 2024 through 2045. $185 (Back in stock GT 8/30/23)


Taste 2020 Alban Patrina Syrah, 2018 Beringer Distinctions Napa Cabernet and 2019 Lancaster Winemaker’s Cuvee Napa Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, September 1st. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

2020 Alban Patrina Syrah

Notes from John Alban: This wine is among my favorites for this offering yet produced. It is dark, full of black and blue berries, coco powder, and immediately pleasing and pure. It is, in our opinion, a wonderful and delicious expression of our farm and farming. $60

Jeb Dunnuck 91 Points
2018 Beringer Distinctions Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Distinctions is another well-made wine with lots to love. Plenty of black and subtle blue fruits, notes of tobacco leaf, smoked earth, and graphite, medium to full body, and a seamless texture all make for an undeniably delicious red that’s ideal for drinking any time over the coming 10-15 years. $60

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
2019 Lancaster Winemaker’s 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


Taste 2022 Walter Hansel Dry Creek Sauvignon Blanc, 2019 Simi Alexander Valley Cabernet and 2019 Mondavi Reserve To Kalon Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, September 2nd. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

2022 Walter Hansel Dry Creek Sauvignon Blanc

Winemaker Notes: Produced from fruit purchased from a variety of sites and clone. The fermentation was very slow but steady and continued for well over a month. The result is a fabulous representation of this varietal with a vibrant nose and long, lingering finish. 506 cases produced. $20

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

Jeb Dunnuck 98 Points
2019 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve To Kalon

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve To Kalon shows beautiful elegance and poise, with classic cassis and currant fruits supported by complex dried herb, unsmoked tobacco, and flowery incense nuances. Coming from gravelly, well-drained soils, it’s full-bodied, has classic To Kalon opulence, ripe tannins, and a great finish. It’s an utterly classic Napa Valley beauty to enjoy over the coming 30-40 years. $225


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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