September 5th 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

September 5th 2023 Newsletter

On deck for wine tasting next week at VRW:

Just Released! 2019 The Mascot Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: The wine is beautifully supple with a broadly fanned aromatic spectrum and an effortless depth of fruit. From a center point on the palate, the 2019 vintage undulates outward in all directions. Gentle, velvety swells pause and fold in on themselves, their liquid whorls of refined tannin and gratifying acidity gliding across the surface of smooth curves before retreating gradually to reveal, on the finish, the burnished dimensions beneath. $180

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.


Taste Barolo: 2019 Mauro Veglio, 2019 Vietti Castiglione and 2018 G. D. Vajra Coste di Rose at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Tuesday, September 5th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

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)

Wine Advocate 94 Points
G.D. Vajra Barolo Coste di Rose 2018

With fruit from above the village of Barolo, the G.D. Vajra 2018 Barolo Coste di Rose shows a large aromatic scope and ample substance. This vineyard is characterized by very high density Diano sandstone (typical of the area), which explains the wine’s bigger sensorial impact. Its texture is velvety and smooth, and the wine offers lots of purple and red fruits with soft earth and perfumed flower. The vintage is open knit and broad in scope, perhaps lacking some of the brilliant focus you get in the cooler years. $90


Taste 2022 Hippolyte Reverdy Sancerre Rose and Sancerre along with 2018 Frederic Esmonin Ruchottes-Chambertin Grand Cru Burgundy at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $20 per person.
Wednesday, September 6th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

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

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

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 2020 Paul Hobbs Russian River Pinot Noir, 2021 McPrice Myers Bull By The Horns Cabernet and 2017 Whitehall Lane Leonardini Estate Cabernet Sauvignon at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Thursday, September 7th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points * 2020 Paul Hobbs Pinot Noir Russian River

The quintessential 2020 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley is flush with cola spice, grenadine, and sappy forest floor, while the palate opens with generous ripe red fruits of cherry, beet root, and cinnamon. $70

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

James Suckling 93 Points * Whitehall Lane Leonardini Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

A full-bodied red with aromas and flavors of dried violets, blackcurrants, cloves and some crushed gravel. Chocolate and caramel, too, yet it stays fresh and polished. Firm, fine-grained tannins. Try from 2023. $90


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 Our Price $45.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points
2012 Chateau Les Carmes Haut-Brion Pessac-Leognan

The 2012 Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion is terrific, with a beautiful, classy, incredibly impressive style that's drinking beautifully today. Offering up pure dark fruits (some blue fruits as well) to go with notes of smoked tobacco, scorched earth, graphite, and violets, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, a layered, seamless profile, impressively polished tannins, and a great finish. It's beautifully done, and while certainly showing what it has today, it's going to evolve for another 20-25 years. CA Market Price $145-$169. Our Price $154.99 (Available GT and VRW)

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 Our Price $47.99 (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 * 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 this afternoon)

James Suckling 92 Points
2022 La Cana Rias Baixas Albarino

A vibrant albarino with aromas of waxed lemons, thyme, fresh peaches, white pepper and grapefruit. Crunchy and zesty, with a medium body and delicious mineral undertones. Drink now. $22 Our Price $18.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 91 Points
Ployez-Jacquemart Brut Champagne Extra Quality NV (2021) Magnum

A nose of smoked almond and saline transitions on the creamy palate to flavors of white cherry, preserved lemon and clover honey in this graceful Champagne. A bright backbone of acidity and a note of chalky minerality drives the finish. Disgorged November 2020. Drink now through 2024. 40,000 cases made, 7,200 cases imported. $116/magnum. Our Price $103.99/magnum (Available GT)

Wine Spectator 91 Points
Red Stitch Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2017

Hyper lush in feel, with waves of creamed plum, warm fig preserve and steeped blackberry rolling through, laced with black licorice and Christmas pudding notes. Has just enough of a spine to pull it off, but this is aimed purely at the hedonist set. Drink now through 2026. 385 cases made. $125 (Available GT and VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
2019 Merus Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

A killer bottle of Napa Valley magic, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon from Merus is 97% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Petit Verdot. It’s a powerful, full-bodied, uber-ripe beauty that stays lively and balanced, with beautiful blue fruits, as well as smoked tobacco, chocolate, and scored earth-like aromas and flavors. A beast of a wine with a great mid-palate and velvety tannins, it should shed its considerable baby fat over the coming 4-6 years and have two decades of overall longevity. $180. Internet Price $154.99 (Available GT and VRW)


Taste 2021 The Calling Russian River Dutton Ranch Chardonnay, 2019 Barnett Spring Mountain Cabernet and 2017 Chateau St Jean Cinq Cepages at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, September 8th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

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

Decanter 93 Points
2019 Barnett Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon

Expressive dark fruit, graphite and cigar box aromas. Pure, rich and fresh palate of ripe blackberries, chalk-like minerality, earth and pops of mint and thyme. Fine-grained tannins and tangy blood orange-like acidity persist to a cocoa-dusted finish. $80

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 93 Points
2017 Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon Cinq Cepages

The 2017 Cinq Cépages is jam-packed with inky-dark fruit, crème de cassis, chocolate, cloves and licorice. Dense and full-throttle, the Cinq packs a serious punch. The Cinq is undoubtedly racy, but not as opulent as it can be. This is a fine showing for the Cinq. $85


Taste Sea Smoke: 2020 Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay and 2021 Sta. Rita Hills Ten Pinot Noir at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $20 per person.
Saturday, September 9th. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

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. $100

2021 Sea Smoke Ten Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: A brooding and intense wine. The aromas begin with notes of ground cacao, raspberry and Friar plum, followed by a mix of spices and a hint of lavender. Firm, mature tannins - evidence of Ten’s ageability - are followed by a long, velvety finish. 100% Pinot Noir (Ten Clones from which the wine takes its name) CA Market Price $110-$211.


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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