September 7th 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

September 7th 2023 Newsletter

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

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)

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

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


2021 Pico Maccario Lavignone Rosato

Winemaker Notes: Pale salmon in appearance, Lavignone Rosato is beautiful to look at. It is even better to drink, however, as the nose and palate are met by playful aromas of wild strawberry, watermelon, cranberry, fresh-cut grass, and river stone. A refreshing, but modest, backbone of acidity supports a round mouth-feel and velvety texture. The dry and balanced finish leaves the palate feeling clean and refreshed. $18 Liquidation Price $10.95 (Limited to supply on hand at GT)

Wine Advocate 96 Points
2018 Luciano Sandrone Le Vigne Barolo

One of my personal favorites, the 2018 Barolo Le Vigne is savory in character and packed with dark fruit. Ripe cherry and redcurrant cedes to spice, licorice and fragrant rose. The oak is integrated, but there are added accents of spice and dark tar. Le Vigne is a blend of fruit from Baudana in Serralunga d'Alba, Villero in Castiglione Falletto, Vignane in Barolo and Merli in Novello. (ML) $160 Our Price $139.99 (Available GT 9/8/23)

2021 Oberon Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: Irresistible aromas of rose petals and blueberry cobbler lead to ripe, supple silky tannins. Flavors of vibrant black cherry, candied blackberry, and red plum are complimented by notes of black currant and licorice, with a hint of coffee, dark chocolate and spice – all culminating into a lingering and delicious finish. $25 Our Price $19.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 90 Points
Ancient Peaks Sauvignon Blanc Paso Robles 2022

This impressive version offers fresh lemon-lime flavors that are bright and juicy, with a touch of crunchy sea salt. Notes of Honeycrisp apple show aromatic highlights of lemon verbena, lemongrass and fresh ginger on the finish. Drink now. 12,456 cases made. $18 Our Price $14.99 (Arrives GT this afternoon)

Decanter 95 points
2017 Ramos Pinto Unfiltered LBV Port, Douro

A regular medal winner at DWWA, this is a traditional LBV from an excellent year. Foot-trodden aged for years in wood before bottling without filtration. This wine has power and depth, with fresh, tight-knit fruit and gentle peppery-spicy grip. It already shows considerable floral finesse but will age and soften in bottle if laid down for another five years. Drinking Window 2022-2032. $28 Our Price $24.99 (Available GT and VRW 9/8/23)

James Suckling 91 Points
2022 Domaine de la Solitude Cotes du Rhone Blanc

Effusive nose of ripe melon, apricot and orange blossom. Medium-bodied with ample ripeness, but a light-footed personality with lively acidity. A cuvee based on 60% Viognier. $19 Our Price $14.99 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
BOLLINGER Brut Champagne Special Cuvée NV

Fine and seamless, with mouthwatering acidity well-meshed with a rich range of crème de cassis, poached apricot, gingerbread and almond extract flavors, plus accents of fleur de sel, Meyer lemon peel and star anise. Long and lively on the creamy finish. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. Drink now through 2028. —A.N. $95 Our Price $63.95 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
RUINART Brut Rosé Champagne NV

Bright and citrusy, this finely knit Champagne layers a racy streak of acidity and satiny texture with an expressive range of wild cherry, blood orange granita, red licorice, candied pink grapefruit peel and toast notes. Long, creamy finish. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Drink now.—A.N. $105. Our Price $74.95 (Available GT and VRW)

James Suckling 99 Points
Krug Grande Cuvée 171ème Édition Brut Champagne

The tightness and tension of this is impressive considering the youngest wine from this is 2015 (hot and dry year), with some wines going back to 2000. Ginger and orange zest. Some creme brulee. It's medium-bodied with apple, pie crust and floral character. It's salty and zesty yet, at the same time, complex and gorgeous. Chamomile and other floral teas highlight everything. Turns rich and flavorful at the finish. Terrific release. Really takes off at the end. Drink or hold. $300 Our Price $249 (Available GT this afternoon)


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 Our Price $27.99 (Available GT and VRW)

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

Back to Our Blog

Are you 21 years old, or older?