September 12th 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

September 12th 2023 Newsletter

Wine Cabinet for Sale * Le Cache Contemporary 1400. List Price $5395.
The current owner purchased this cabinet used two years ago. He would like to find a good home for this beautiful storage unit since he needs a larger cabinet to store his collection.
Dimensions: H 72” x W31” x D29” Holds 172 bottles. Great condition. $2500 or best offer. Contact James: 559-908-2456


On deck for wine tasting next week at VRW:

Jeb Dunnuck 93-95 Points
2020 Chateau Giscours Margaux

One of the most seamless Margaux in the vintage, the 2020 Château Giscours checks in as 56% Cabernet Sauvignon and 44% Merlot, brought up in 50% new French oak. Offering a wonderful, rich, powerful style that's classic Giscours, it has lots of cassis and darker currant fruits as well as notes of dried flowers, sandalwood, licorice, and earth. The tannin quality is spot on, which is rare in Margaux in 2020, and it has medium to full body, a great mid-palate, and a silky, layered mouthfeel. It's a beautiful Margaux. $75

2022 Peter Michael L’Apres Midi Sauvignon Blanc

Winemaker Notes: The light gold 2022 ‘L’Après-Midi’ rises from the glass with an array of lemon and orange blossoms, jasmine, pear, and yellow peach with flourishes of baking spices and lemon curd. A bright, expressive entry with juicy, well-integrated acidity gives way to a plush mouthfeel with apricot, passion fruit, and vanilla cream highlights. The exuberant 2022 ‘L’Après-Midi’ finishes with notes of mango, lemon zest, and lime blossom. $82

2021 MacMurray Ranch Estate Russian River Pinot Noir

Winemaker Notes: The MacMurray Estate Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir opens with aromas of lavender and boysenberry, giving way to flavors of dark cherry, pomegranate and vanilla. This luscious wine has a silky mouthfeel, framed by subtle hints of oak from barrel aging. $30


Taste Chardonnay: 2019 Simi Russian River, 2020 Maldonado Sonoma Parr Vineyard and 2020 Kongsgaard Napa at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Tuesday, September 12th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

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

Wine Spectator 92 Points
Maldonado Chardonnay Sonoma County Parr Vineyard 2020

Packs flavors of salted butterscotch, dried honeysuckle and peach preserves that are generous and ripe, but the fresh acidity, floral highlights and notes of spices provide wonderful restraint and plenty of complexity on the finish. Drink now. 1,000 cases made. $38

2020 Kongsgaard Napa Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: Our historic blend of the Hudson and Hyde vineyards shows the classic tangerine oil and crème brûlée richness of aroma over intense marzipan and nectarine flavors. The palate is broad, but still well mannered. The finish is long and positively saline–dare we say “minerality?” Back when Robert Parker was visiting, he called this the Bâtard-Montrachet of Napa. CA Market Price $125-$300.


Taste 2021 Clos Sainte Magdeleine Cotes de Provence Rose, 2020 Chateau Fuisse Pouilly Fuisse Les Brules and 2020 Faiveley Le Clos du Roy Mercurey Premier Cru Burgundy at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $25 per person.
Wednesday, September 13th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

2021 Clos Sainte Magdeleine Cotes de Provence Rose

Producer Notes: Using a similar blend to the Cassis rosé, Sack has crafted what is perhaps the quintessential Provençal refresher—an uplifting nectar of bright citrus, fresh berry fruit, wild herbs, and salty sea air—that is a far cry from the countless technological, mass-marketed examples in production throughout the region. $32

Wine Spectator 95 Points
2020 Chateau Fuisse Pouilly-Fuissé Les Brules

Though opulent and expressive, this white is also complex and displays superb balance. Boasts butterscotch, vanilla and buttered pastry elements that frame a core of peach and lemon tart, supported by well-integrated acidity. Builds almost seamlessly to the long, spice- and pastry-filled finish. Drink now through 2030. 375 cases made, 100 cases imported. $130

Wine Advocate 93 Points
2020 Faiveley Le Clos du Roy Mercurey Premier Cru, Burgundy

The 2020 Mercurey 1er Cru Clos du Roy wafts from the glass with aromas of cherries, raspberries and plums mingled with hints of raw cocoa and forest floor. Medium to full-bodied, supple and seamless, it's lively and refined, with velvety tannins and a polished, charming profile that marks it out as another of the more elegant wines in the range this year. Drink 2025-2040. $79


Taste Zinfandel: 2017 Turley Old Vine, 2020 Ancient Peaks Santa Margarita Ranch and 2021 Seghesio Sonoma Old Vine at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Thursday, September 14th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Advocate 92 Points
2017 Turley Old Vine Zinfandel

Medium to deep ruby-purple in color, the 2017 Zinfandel Old Vines features exotic spice accents over a core of blueberry and boysenberry compote, crushed black cherries and berries with notes of cinnamon stick and potpourri. Medium to full-bodied, it has loads of spicy black and blue fruits in the mouth with firm, ripe tannins to frame and juicy acidity, finishing long and very spicy. 12,000 cases produced. $30

Wine Spectator 90 Points
Ancient Peaks Zinfandel Santa Margarita Ranch 2020

Fan-friendly and zesty, with blackberry, licorice and savory pepper flavors that build tension toward briary tannins. Drink now through 2029. 5,701 cases made. $22

Wine Spectator 94 Points
SEGHESIO Zinfandel Sonoma County Old Vine 2021

That rare Zinfandel with finesse and briary fruit, offering wild berry, mocha and black licorice flavors that gather richness and zest toward lively tannins. Drink now through 2031. —T.F. $40


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 (Available GT and VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points
2019 Chappellet Vineyard Cabernet Franc

Similarly deep purple-hued, the 2019 Cabernet Franc (78% Cabernet Franc, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot and 2% Merlot) offers a kaleidoscope-like array of red, blue, and black fruits as well as spring flowers, cedarwood, and leafy herbs. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, it's another rich, concentrated, yet vibrant and fresh 2019, and it's going to evolve for 20 years or more. It's a brilliant bottle of wine! 3600 cases. $125 (Available GT and VRW)

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)


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 Our Price $44.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 94 Points * 2020 Grieve Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley Double Eagle

A distinctive white, oozing with lanolin, honeysuckle and buttery lemon pastry notes up front. The richness is matched by fresh acidity and a core of bright citrus and stone fruit flavors, and the texture is equally supple and juicy. Drink now. 555 cases made. $50 Our Price $42.99 (Available GT and VRW 9/13/23)

Wine Advocate 96 Points
2015 Chateau Rieussec Sauternes

A blend of 86% Sémillon and 14% Sauvignon Blanc, the 2015 Rieussec reveals a bright, pale straw-gold color and is a little closed at this youthful stage, yet it offers wonderful purity and depth, featuring notes of lemon marmalade, orange blossoms, beeswax and acacia honey with hints of preserved kumquats and peach compote. Very elegant and fine in the medium to full-bodied mouth, it features a racy backbone cutting through the earthy and citrus layers, finishing long and spicy. $45/375ml. (Arrives GT October 2023) Limited

Wine Spectator 93 Points
Gosset Brut Champagne Grande Réserve NV (2022)

A spine of chiseled acidity structures this vivid, creamy Champagne, which has a minerally underpinning of smoke and brine and flavors of Asian pear, baked pineapple, lemon curd, toasted brioche and roasted almond. Should pair well with grilled fish. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Drink now through 2027. 1,750 cases imported. $60 Our Price $49.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Enthusiast 96 Points
2021 Domaine de la Cote Sta. Rita Hills La Côte Pinot Noir

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. $170 (Available GT)

Jeb Dunnuck 99 Points
2015 Chateau Suduiraut

A huge success in the vintage is the 2015 Château Suduiraut and this gem goes a long way towards showing how successful the sweet wines were in 2015. Offering a massive array of orange peel, honey, marmalade, flowers, and toasted nuts, this incredible wine hits the palate with a thunderous display of opulence, richness, and length, all while staying fresh, elegant, and seamless. It has a huge mid-palate and is reminiscent of the 2003, only with more freshness and delineation. $45/375ml (Arrives October 2023) Limited


Taste 2021 Merry Edwards Russian River Pinot, 2019 Tether Napa Cabernet and 2021 Venge Silencieux Napa Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, September 15th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Tasting Panel 93 Points
2021 Merry Edwards Russian River Pinot Noir

Aged nine months in (47% new) French oak and whole berry fermented, this red dispenses aromas of crushed violets, incense, wet stone, and boysenberry. Prickly white pepper perks up notes of plum and mocha. There’s a “calmness” on mid-palate with a hint of orange rind, soy sauce, and brushy, dried wildflowers.” Meridith May. $56

Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points
2019 Tether Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Another gem from winemaker Anna Monticelli, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is based on 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, and the rest Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc. Aged 21 months in 60% new French oak, it’s a medium to full-bodied, round, seamless effort with real class in its darker currant fruits as well as tobacco, violets, and toasted spice aromas and flavors. It will keep for a decade. $47

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


Taste 2019 Pont Neuf La Vogue Russian River Pinot, 2021 Daou Reserve Cabernet and 2022 Stewart Tri County Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, September 16th. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

2019 Pont Neuf La Vogue Russian River Pinot

Winemaker Notes: The best wines of Burgundy’s Cotes de Nuits come to mind. Aromas of sweet earth, red fruits, leather, truffles, and Porcini mushrooms take us on a walk through the woods. Leafy forest floor, aromatic spices and fresh cut wood are well integrated and become appetizing accents. The fruit flavors of “La Vouge” are inspired by the wild; berries, currants, cherries, and Damson plums with their soft, sweet flesh and perfectly balanced acidity. The 2019 La Vouge is a prime candidate for cellaring. $70

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 Stewart Tri County Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: The Stewart ‘Tri-County’ Cabernet Sauvignon, sourced from Mendocino County, Sonoma County, & Napa Valley, showcases excellent terroirs from some of our preferred vineyard sites. The rolling red hills of Mendocino contribute bright, vibrant fruit, while Sonoma brings a lively acidity. Napa rounds out the blend, highlighting the structure and rich roundness. Aromas of cherry pie, black cherry, and rose petals are present on the nose, with the palate showcasing mocha, ripe black cherry, and soft vanilla, all framed by elegant tannins. $45


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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