September 19th 2023 Newsletter - The Grape Tray

September 19th 2023 Newsletter

On deck for wine tasting next week at VRW:

2019 Mayacamas Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon
Antonio Galloni, Vinous 97 Points

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon marks a return to a more elegant, polished style following the two powerhouses that are the 2017 and 2018. Silky, aromatic, and beautifully perfumed, the 2019 is majestic from the very first taste. There is plenty of depth and structure, as well as the balance to support decades of very fine drinking. Blood orange, crushed raspberry, mint, and exotic spice nuances linger. Even in the early going, the 2019 is shaping up to be majestic. $185

Additional Score
Wine Spectator 96 Points

Loaded with character and energy, this version reveals heavy notes of zesty sweet bay leaf and sassafras that infuse a core of steeped red currant and mulberry fruit, all carried by bright acidity and iron-laced tannins. The long finish pulls everything together, with the fruit, savory and mineral elements in harmony. Showing an old-school touch, this has a long life ahead. Best from 2025 through 2045.”—James Molesworth. $185


Taste Chardonnay: 2022 Round Pond Kith and Kin Russian River, 2021 Hartford Russian River and 2020 HDV Hyde Vineyard at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Tuesday, September 19th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

2022 Round Pond Kith and Kin Russian River Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: In 1994, our Dad started making really good, easy-drinking wines to share with friends and family. To honor him, we now make Kith & Kin - a Chardonnay sourced from fantastic vineyards in the Russian River Valley. Always a crowd pleaser, this fresh and delicious wine is aromatic, mineral driven and can only be enhanced with great company and delectable fare. $30

Jeb Dunnuck 91 Points
2021 Hartford Russian River Chardonnay

Ripe and flinty, the 2021 Chardonnay Russian River Valley pours a golden hue and reveals aromas of ripe peach, wet stone, and candied ginger. This full-bodied white is ripe with honeyed citrus, ripe melon, and a bit of vanilla spice and has a good, clean finish. A good value for this classic, ripe style, it’s approachable and ready to drink over the next few years. $30

Wine Spectator 96 Points
HDV Chardonnay Napa Valley Hyde Vineyard 2020

A stunning, expressive white, with a savory, minerally edge that's distinctive and crisp, imparting elegance and restraint on the core of Honeycrisp apple, Meyer lemon and pureed mango flavors. Reveals hints of lemon thyme, nutmeg, toasted sesame seed and additional spices that linger on the fresh finish. Drink now through 2031. From California.—M.W. $85


Taste 2019 Domaine Carneros Brut, Gosset Grande Reserve Brut and Vilmart Grand Cellier Brut at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Wednesday, September 20th. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

Wine Spectator 93 Points
Domaine Carneros Brut Carneros 2019

Alluring for its sleek polish and precision, this sparkler has tiers of Asian pear, strawberry, fresh almond and ginger flavors that unfurl slowly. Drink now. 25,000 cases made. $36

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

Wine Spectator 94 Points
VILMART Brut Champagne Grand Cellier NV (2023)

A sculpted Champagne, rich but still elegant, with well-honed acidity and a panoply of flavors set on the raw silk like mousse. Delivers grilled macadamia nut and biscuit, white cherry and nectarine fruit, crystallized honey, lime blossom, star anise and smoke accents. Long, salty finish. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Disgorged January 2023. Drink now through 2033. 700 cases imported. —Alison Napjus. $89


Taste 2022 Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Sauvignon Blanc, 2021 MacMurray Ranch Estate Russian River Pinot and 2019 The Mascot Napa Cabernet Sauvignon at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Thursday, September 21st. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

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

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

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. $190

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.


Wine Enthusiast 93 Points
2021 Luli Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

Cranberry and currant aromas are elevated with sagebrush in a charmingly rustic style on the nose of this bottling. There's a firm tension to the sip. Flavors start on a toast note before growing more tart, with cranberry, raspberry and pomegranate showing most prominently. — Matt Kettmann $30 Our Price $22.99 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 90 Points
Enrico Pierazzuoli Chianti Montalbano 2022

A pretty red, with rose, strawberry, cherry and graphite aromas and flavors backed by lively acidity and moderate tannins. Reveals hints of earth and eucalyptus that mark the finish. Drink now through 2030. 9,000 cases made, 3,000 cases imported. $16 Our Price $13.39 (Arrives GT 9/27/23)

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 (Back in stock GT and VRW)

Wine Spectator 93 Points
Fontanafredda Barolo Serralunga d'Alba 2017

This aromatic red delivers rose, cherry, strawberry and eucalyptus aromas and flavors allied to nervous tannins. Vibrant and focused, with a mineral-tinged finish, this is going to be impressive when the fruit and tannins fully integrate. Best from 2025 through 2042. 17,000 cases made, 5,100 cases imported. $54 Our Price $47.99 (Available GT and VRW)

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 Our Price $41.95 (Available GT and VRW)

Wine Advocate 94+
2019 Cade Howell Mt Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2019 Cade Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is blended of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 3% Malbec. Deep garnet-purple in color, it charges out of the glass with vibrant black cherry preserves, wild blueberries and mulberries scents, giving way to a core of cassis and star anise plus a waft of chocolate box. Full-bodied, concentrated and packed with bright black fruits, it has a fine-grained texture and long, energetic finish. $129 (Available GT and VRW)

Jeb Dunnuck 100 Points
2019 Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard

Needing plenty of air to show at its best, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard is a sensational, gorgeous Napa Valley Cabernet that delivers the goods like only this region can. Pure Cabernet magic on the nose, with deep blackcurrants, smoked tobacco, lead pencil, and a kiss of spring flowers as well as a beautiful Pessac-Leognan-like scorched earth character, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, silky tannins, no hard edges, and a great, great finish. It's one of those wines that builds incrementally on the palate and it's only after the second or third sip that you realize how special this wine is. It also offers that rare mix of power and elegance that's the hallmark of all great wines. It needs a couple hours in the decanter if drinking any time soon. It will benefit from 4-5 years of bottle age and cruise for 20-30 years in cold cellars. Hats off to Paul Hobbs for an incredible Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. $310 (Arrives GT October 2023) Limited


Taste 2020 Grieve Double Eagle Napa Sauvignon Blanc, 2021 Turnbull Napa Cabernet and 2019 Le Pich Napa Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Friday, September 22nd. Available 12:00 noon -5:45 PM

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

2021 Turnbull Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker Notes: Notes of dusted blackberries, plum and cherry lead to a back-drift of toast and fleeting tobacco. Supple creamy tannins widen the dark fruit midpalate, lending to a lifted and layered finish. This wine widens and rises in amplitude and velocity with elegance and balance, showcasing the incredible beauty of the 2021 vintage. 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec. (Source: 71% Amoenus Vineyard, Calistoga, 11 % Fortuna Vineyard, Oakville, 11% Turnbull Home Vineyard, Oakville and 7% Leopoldina Vineyard, Oakville) $50

Antonio Galloni, Vinous 92 Points
2019 Le Pich Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Le Pich is a terrific introductory-level wine from Julien Fayard. A rich, opulent wine, Le Pich offers up a compelling mélange of black cherry, plum, chocolate, cloves, new leather and licorice. This bold, sumptuous Cabernet delivers the goods, big time. The 2019 is one of the best editions of Le Pich I can remember tasting. Drinking Window: 2022-2034. $60


Taste 2022 Peter Michael L’Apres Midi Sauvignon Blanc, 2021 Oberon Paso Robles Cabernet and 2019 Groth Reserve Cabernet at Vintage Reserve Wine (VRW) for $15 per person.
Saturday, September 23th. Available 12:00 noon -3:45 PM

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 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)

Jeb Dunnuck 94+
2019 Groth Vineyards & Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

The deeper purple-hued 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is a terrific Oakville effort loaded with pure cassis fruit as well as notes of spicy oak, scorched earth, and tobacco. Classic Napa Cabernet in every way, it’s medium to full-bodied, has ripe, polished tannins, a terrific spine of acidity, and the balance and purity to evolve for 20-25 years if well stored. $170


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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