Silver Oak Virtual Tasting Event on 9.30.20 at 7pm

Please join me for this VERY SPECIAL EVENT!

Please see the zoom invitation below for YOUR special invite to join us for this rare event!

What a pleasure to be able to host David Duncan CEO of Silver Oak and talk with him about the history and wines of this Iconic Winery.

Wines to be Poured:

  1. Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet 2016
  2. Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet 2015
  3. Twomey Sauvignon Blanc 2019
  4. Twomey Merlot 2016

So, buy some wines from Spec’s and join us for this unique event!

Thank you,

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

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JAMES BARLOW’S ‘THE THIRTEEN’ PICKS OF SEPTEMBER 2020

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are heading into the final dog days of summer and hopefully looking for a reprieve from the summer heat in the near future. This has been an interesting summer to say the least, but we are resilient and moving forward into the holiday season. I hope everyone enjoys Labor Day! This month’s picks are a medley of wines that are still geared for summer heat, but starting to slowly nudge toward cooler weather so you will see more Cabernet Sauvignon on this list. Make sure to stop by your local Spec’s (or better yet use our curbside or delivery services) and pick up some of these wines to support your family owned Texas beverage center! Enjoy!

Blue Rock Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Alexander Valley, California

Cash Price $42.99

Blue Rock is an all estate produced winery that is located right next to Silver Oak’s Alexander Valley property.  The 2017 vintage was absolutely stunning with excellent depth and concentration.  The winery  is focused on showing the quality of terroir and offering balanced wines that  reflect the soil.  Blue Rock shows dark purple color with medium intensity. The palate offers voluptuous flavors of blueberry and black cherry that sink into a plush core of currant .  The wine is silky smooth and bright with complex notes of cedar, vanilla and baking spices on the mid palate.  The finish is rocking with blackberry cobbler and cigar box wrapped into a velvet finish.  Layered and lively.  James Score: 94 Points

Ratio ‘Johnson Vineyard’ Chardonnay 2016

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Cash Price $29.99

This new addition to Spec’s portfolio shows why we are seeking out more Willamette Valley Chardonnay these days. Elegant and restrained, yet with loads of fruit throughout to give a wonderfully textured and complex wine. This Certified ORGANIC vineyard is located in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. Flavors of Flinty wet rocks and pineapple pour into the palate with medium intensity. Notes of chamomile and Meyer lemon lift the mid palate into the zesty acids. The finish is pure and electric with hints of vanilla bean and nutmeg. 97 Cases produced. Barlow Score: 92 Points

Domaine du Pré Semelé Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Sancerre, France

Cash Price $28.99

Pré Semelé has become one of my singular favorite wineries in all of the Loire Valley. This has been my ‘go to’ 100% Sauvignon Blanc for several years now. The vineyards are planted on Calcareous clay and limestone, so this wine exudes that chalky zest that makes Sauvignon Blanc from Loire some of the most unique and sought after white wines in the world. Explosive flavors of lemon lime citrus and gooseberry zing into medium plus acidity. The mid palate offers a surprising softness that give ripe notes of tree fruit. The finish becomes quite linear again with hints of crushed rocks after a fresh rain and minerals. Barlow Score: 91 Points

Block 718 Red Blend 2018

Stag’s Leap District, California

Cash Price $24.99

This newest Block edition hails from the famed Stag’s Leap District in Napa Valley. The wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Petite Verdot that was aged in French oak for 12 months. Sumptuous and ready to drink from the pop of the cork, this wine offers flavors of hedonistic black raspberry and cherries that heap into medium intensity. Notes of blackberry fill the mid palate with plush tannins that waft into hints of baking spices, milk chocolate and anise on the finish. Sleek and inviting, get this in your basket! Barlow Score: 90 Points

Manzoni Chardonnay 2014

Santa Lucia Highlands, California

Cash Price $26.99

The Santa Lucia Highlands is a hidden gem AVA’s for producing dynamite Chardonnay.  This wine comes from Vigna Monte Nero Vineyard on the cooler northern stretches of SLH. The vintage was exceptional and it follows through in the glass.  Vibrant flavors of pineapple, mango and orange blossoms are quite present on the palate with a rich creamy core on the mid palate.  There is a dense vivacity on the backbone that keeps this wine in focus and balanced.  The finish shows tinges of papaya and nectarines with a bit of exotic spice and vanilla. Barlow Score: 91 Points

Trig Point ‘Diamond Dust Vineyard’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Alexander Valley, California

Cash Price $22.99

Nick Goldschmidt is one of my favorite wine makers. He consistently crafts wines of high quality in different climates and even hemispheres. His father was a land surveyor and a ‘Trig’ is used to establish boundary lines. Goldschmidt’s Trig Point wines show the unique soils of the area he gets the grapes from, namely Alexander Valley. Nick is famed for crafting consistently balanced Cabernet from California that are not exceedingly ripe or alcohol driven. This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon was aged for 18 months in French, American and Hungarian oak. Ripe, yet focused flavors of red currant and raspberry pump into the palate. The mid palate shows medium intensity with notes of chocolate covered cherries, caramel and hints of blue fruit. The finish is full and structured with touches of toasted oak, vanilla and creamy butterscotch. Barlow Score: 91 Points

Cru Montage Pinot Noir 2016

Santa Lucia Highlands, California

Cash Price $18.99

Santa Lucia Highlands is nestled in the Central Coast of California with a perfect micro climate for growing very high quality Pinot Noir.  Winemaker Ken Post has hit gold with this wine.  The 2016 vintage was picture perfect for California with abundant harvests and perfectly ripe fruit.  Flavors of pomegranate and wild strawberries sinew effortlessly into a core of cherry cola.  This 100% Pinot Noir shows an elegance while really driving the delicious fruit flavors through the palate.  Notes of rhubarb and brown sugar play softly into the 9 months of French oak aging.  Hints of blueberry pie and crust play into the finish with bits of vanilla bean and herbs.  Barlow Score: 90 Points

Domaine Pegau ‘Setier’ Red Blend 2016

Rhone Valley, France

Cash Price $17.99

Chateau Pegau has always been one of my favorite Chateauneuf Du Pape producers.  They started making this wine several years ago as an entry level Rhone Village made just a smidge south of CDP but still implements low yield, hand harvesting and strict pruning criteria.  The wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 20% Mourvedre.  Setier offers flavors brambly black cherry and red currant that flow seamlessly into a medium intensity.  Notes of garrigue and black pepper knock into hints of smoked tar and juicy raspberries.  This wine really over delivers!  Barlow Score: 91 Points

Cru Winery ‘Viceroy’ Red Blend 2015

Paso Robles, California

Cash Price $16.99

Cru winery has been producing solid, affordable wines for quite awhile in our portfolio.  This is their new GSM red blend. The wine is 41%Grenache/41%Syrah/18%Mourvedre that is tailored to show off the versatility of the winemaker. The wine has medium red color and medium legs. It is aged for 16 months in 20% new French oak.  The palate offers juicy flavors of red cherry and raspberry with touch a touch of darker fruit with medium intensity. The finish shows notes of blueberry cobbler and just a smidgeon of black pepper that is rounded out by the richness.  Yum.  Barlow Score: 90 Points

Julia’s Dazzle (Long Shadows) Rose 2019

Columbia Valley, Washington State

Cash Price $16.99

I would say that Rosé season is winding down, but I think it’s Rosé season year round in Texas! This Rosé is 98% Pinot Grigio (Yep, that one) and 2% Sangiovese. The wine has a bright, popping pink color that is quite brilliant in the glass. Juicy fruits of watermelon and strawberry pop into the palate with medium intensity. Tickles of sweetness play on the mid palate with tree fruit and hints of banana. The finish shows whiffs of grapefruit and orange blossom. Barlow Score: 90 Points

Charles Smith ‘Pop Up’ Brut Sparkling 2018

Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley, Washington State

Cash Price $14.99

I have been scouring the US for delicious bubbles to add to our portfolio that really over deliver for the price. I have found it in this bubbling beauty! This sparkler is 100% Chardonnay and 100% single vineyard (Evergreen) at a killer price. Light and clean bubbles pop into zesty lemon citrus and honeysuckle. The mid palate is lip smacking and offers notes of orange blossom, peach and pie crust. The finish is easy and quaffable with tinges of white flowers and lemon tart. Barlow Score: 89 Points

One Flock Chardonnay 2017

California

Cash Price $14.99

This quintessential California Chardonnay is ready for you to pour early and often on days that end with ‘Y’. Ripe tropical fruits of pineapple and melon flow into plush hints of mandarin with a soft intensity. Hints of baking spice are an underlying current throughout. The finish shows papaya and mango with whiffs of creamy vanilla. Barlow Score: 88 Points

Girasole ORGANIC Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Mendocino, California

Cash Price $12.99

You all know that I am an ardent fan of growers that farm with an eye on Mother Earth and future generations. This Cabernet is Certified Organic from an Italian family that has been growing grapes that way since the beginning. Pure flavors of currant and cassis flow into medium intensity. The mid palate is balanced and racy with notes of blackberry, dark chocolate and graham crackers. The finish is easy and integrated with hints of plum, toasted oak and spice. Surprisingly good for the price! Barlow Score: 90 Points

Thank you,

James C. Barlow CWE, CSS

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The 12 under $12 for September 2020

Epic Run Sauvingon Blanc

Marlborough, New Zealand

Cash Price $9.99

Bursting with flavor and energy, Epic zings into flavors of lime, peach and grapefruit with a crispy clean finish.  Pair with a zesty pesto pasto salad.

Zonin Prosecco

Italy

Cash Price $9.99

Prosecco seems to just pop into your basket.  Flavors of citrus, cream and hints of almond zoom delightfully into every glass you pour. Make this your daily fizz fun!

Perimeter Merlot

Washington State

Cash Price $9.99

This tasty everyday Merlot offers cherry and plum with medium intensity. Unctuous notes of blackberry, vanilla and mocha flow seamlessly into a long finish.  Pair with Mom’s Tuesday night special.

Michel Schlumberger Pinot Grigio

California

Cash Price $10.99

Pinot Grigio is so fun and fresh that it’s an instant hit on sweltering hot days. Flavors of citrus and hints of tropical fruit flow into crisp acidity and no oak. Pair with fresh lemon and parsley halibut.

Verraco Pinot Noir

Monterey, California

Cash Price $11.99

Great priced Pinot Noir is wonderful for the crazy times we are in. Verraco shows rich, lasting flavors of raspberry and black cherry with hints of spice leading into a super smooth finish. Pair with Every. Single. Day.

Hayes Cabernet Sauvignon

California

Cash Price $11.99

This delicious daily Cabernet offers red cherry and cassis that envelope the palate with smooth tannins and cream vanilla. Pair with dark chocolate, a blanket, and your favorite movie.

Chateau Vermont Bordeaux Superior

Bordeaux, France

Cash Price $11.99

This Merlot driven wine offers delicate aromas.  Flavors of red berries and plum give a depth and roundness that leads to hints of cedar and toast on the finish. Pair with a hearty tenderloin.

Le JaJa De Jau Rose

France

Cash Price $8.99

I love great, cheap Dry Rosé!  This offers cherry, raspberries and rose petals on the palate without any sweetness.  Clean and exactly what you’d like for the price. Pair with a big chill and your back porch.

Laborie Chardonnay

South Africa

Cash Price $11.99

This vibrant Chardonnay offers lychee, lemon zest and pineapple on the palate with hints of almond and green apple that lay into medium intensity. Beautifully textured and ready to drink. Pair with honeyed ham.

Banfi Centine Rose

Tuscany, Italy

Cash Price $9.99

Italian Sangiovese Rose is a perfect addition to your wine selections during the dog days of summer.  Flavors of fresh flowers and rich red berries are offered in a screw cap for early and easy consumption!

Leopard’s Leap Sauvignon Blanc

South Africa

Cash Price $10.99

South African Blanc’s are awesome! Refreshing flavors of citrus, grapefruit and grass melds into zesty acids with hints of white flowers. Pair with grilled asparagus covered in crumbled goat cheese.

GEA Malbec

Mendoza, Argentina

Cash Price $6.99

Great Value Malbec can be a premium in the house these days. This full-bodied Malbec offers flavors of black currant and plum that lead into tobacco and vanilla on the finish. Pair with a sloppy food truck cheeseburger.

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

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James Barlow’s ‘The Thirteen’ Picks of August 2020

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

I apologize for missing The Thirteen last month.  Sometimes life gets in the way of your best intentions. This month I have put together a list of delicious wines that are sure to be a hit for the dog days of summer. Think bright fruits and zesty acids throughout to help quench your palate.  Enjoy!

Castelnau Reserve Brut Sparkling N/V

Champagne, France

Cash Price $38.94

I recently re-tasted their non vintage sparkler and was very happy with the ensuing results. Castelnau offers a higher percentage of Pinot Meunier (42%) than most Champagne producers.  Pinot Meunier adds a youthful exuberance to the wines with lively structure and fruit.  This Cooperative Manipulant exudes flavors of crispy green and red apples fly into medium plus acidity that is wrapped around a core of red cherry and rose petals.  The mid palate is spectacular with notes of brioche, almonds and licks of vanilla cream.  The finish is silky with tinges of toasted cocoa beans, confection and delicious goodness!  Barlow Score: 94 Points

Alexana ‘Terroir Series’ Pinot Noir 2017

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Cash Price $39.89

This winery is owned by Houston’s own Dr. Madaiah Revana.  Most know of his spectacular Napa Valley Cabernet, but his project up in Oregon is every bit as high quality as his California winery.  This wine exudes bright red fruits of cherry and strawberry with a core of violets and cola. Whiffs of rhubarb enhance the palate with hints of sweet tart and neon fruit. The finish offers black tea and spice that lingers for a wonderfully long time. Barlow Score: 93 Points

Block 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Oakville, California

Cash Price $24.99

The Block Series has always been right on the money when it comes to quality in the bottle. The newest release is from Oakville. It’s rare to find Oakville wine under $50, so this is an absolute steal! The most esteemed Cabernet vineyards in America are located in Oakville.  This beauty offers bright black cherry and currant are surrounded by medium tannins that mold into an abundance of dark chocolate and cigar box. The finish shows dark cassis wrapped in toasted vanilla and cedar. Barlow Score: 92 Points

Mark Herold ‘Flux’ Red Blend

California

Cash Price $29.99

This GSM (58% Grenache, 25% Mourvedre, 17% Syrah) is bursting with energy and fruit. Flavors of ripe strawberries and candied black raspberries flow into medium intensity. The mid palate shows tickles of currant with mocha and cherry compote. The finish is silky and long lasting with hints of roasted nuts, vanilla and cedar from 18 months aging in 30% new French oak. Barlow Score: 91 Points

Expression 38 Russian Camp 2017

Russian River, California

Cash Price $22.99

Iconic wine trailblazer Bill Hill is behind this line.  He has long standing relationships with farmers in some of the best vineyards in the United States. This wine is from the Russian Camp Vineyard that is nestled in heart of the Russian River Valley.  The wine is beautifully layered with flavors of baked apples, melon and ripe pear.  The mid palate offers a core of acidity that is rounded out by a creamy plushness of pineapple, vanilla and butterscotch.  The finish is light and persistent with hints of roasted nuts, cedar and graham crackers.  Barlow Score: 90 Points

Pazzo Red Blend 2018

Napa Valley, California

Cash Price $26.99

Pazzo Red blend is one of the more unique blends on the market because it is one of the very few that use Sangiovese as its primary variety.  Granted, the rest of the blend does have Merlot, Cabernet, and Syrah that make its body and structure quite exquisite.  The juicy red fruits of cherry and raspberry burst into the palate with a richly textured balance that shows off the brilliance of the 2018 vintage in California.  The mid palate is fresh and delicious without all the encumbering oak.  Kirk Venge is the consulting wine maker here and its evident with its plush nature and vibrant flavors.  Touches spice and mocha tickle into a long, palate refreshing finish. Barlow Score: 90 Points

Brooks Riesling 2017

Willamette Valley

Cash Price $18.99

Dry Riesling is a perfect pairing for the dog days of summer.  This Riesling offers fresh fruit flavors of melon and cantaloupe that seep into exemplary acidity which softly lays on a bed of gardenia and honeysuckle.  Hints of orange blossom and lemon pie waft hauntingly into a long finish that shows whiffs of petrol, wet rocks and mouth watering spice. Get Riesling in your glass Today!  Barlow Score: 92 Points

Summer Water Dry Rosé 2019

Central Coast, California

Cash Price $17.99

This Dry Rosé has become the blockbuster hit Pink of the summer. Sales have been like a wild fire. The wine is a Grenache and Syrah blend that offers vibrant flavors of citrus grapefruit, melon and white peach.  The mid palate offers mouthwatering acidity and absolutely no oak.  The finish gives zesty white flowers and crunchy watermelon. Yum! Barlow Score: 90 Points

Tangent Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Edna Valley, California

Cash Price $14.99

I love this Sauvignon Blnac from one of the coolest climates in California, Edna Valley.  This single vineyard wine is a perfect example of the quality that Sauvignon Blanc can offer in the cooler AVA’s of California.  Prickly cactus juice and citrus lemon pop into the palate. Notes of guava and grapefruit zing into medium intensity.  The finish is clean and packed full of passion fruit. Barlow Score: 91 Points

Schild GMS Red Blend 2015

Barossa Valley, Australia

Cash Price $14.99

Schild winery’s fame has grown in the last several years because of the high scores (Top 10 in Wine Spectator) they have garnered with their entry level Shiraz.  This winery makes high quality wines at all price points in the hills of the esteemed Barossa Valley with vines up to 160 years old.  The wine is a blend of 45% Grenache/28% Mourvedre/27% Shiraz and produced in a southern Rhone style.  Juicy flavors of black cherry and blackberry scream into the palate with medium intensity  Notes of plum  are prevalent on a plush, integrated mid palate.  The finish is fleshy, offering notes of rhubarb and spice.  James Score: 89 Points

Cross Springs Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Lake County, California

Cash Price $14.39

Located in the Red Hills AVA of Lake County, Clay Shannon is producing extremely high quality wines at an unbelievably affordable price.  His vineyards are located some 1,400 feet above sea level and are naturally sustainable due to the elevation being well above the fog line.  The wine is full bodied and textured with flavors of black cherry and currant seeping through its core. The mid palate offers blackberry and wild berry with hints of sage and tobacco wafting throughout integrated tannins and acids. The finish is plush and long with tinges of smoke and lavender.  James Score: 90 Points

Tohu Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Marlborough, New Zealand

Cash Price $15.99

Tohu (pronounced Tor-who) means signature and is produced by the first Maori owned wine company.  The Maori are the indigenous people of Aoteroa (New Zealand).  They produce expressive wines from a single vineyard in one of the finest regions in Marlborough, called Awatere Valley.  Fresh and zesty acids reach through the tropical flavors of gooseberries and key lime.  The wine is completely un-oaked and offers a mid palate of freshly picked herbs surrounded by a medley of guava and grapefruit.  The finish is pure and intense with a classic New Zealand profile.  James Score: 90 Points

Domaine de Cabasse Red Blend 2017

Rhone Villages, France

Cash Price $14.99

My favorite daily reds inevitably come from the Rhone Valley.  The wine is Grenache based and a true representation of the high quality coming from this region.  The Cabasse name has Italian roots that goes back to the time when the Pope resided in Avignon in the 14th century.  Avignon is the center for the famed wines of Chateauneuf du Pape.  Flavors of ripe boysenberry and black currant are rounded out with medium acids and tannins that are silky throughout the core.  Notes of fig and touches of bacon fat sink into rich vanilla beans and garrigue.   The finish offers hints of sage, thyme, and peppercorn which lays on the palate for quite awhile.  Cabasse is a perfect BBQ wine!  Barlow score: 89 Points

Thank you,

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

Spec’s Fine Wine Buyer

 

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The 12 Under $12 for August 2020

Verraco Cabernet Sauvignon

California

Cash Price $11.99

There is something to be said for finding Value Cabernet Sauvignon when prices seem to be soaring. This everyday Cab exudes flavors of blackberry and currant with hints of vanilla and cedar. Pair with take-out steak Fajitas.

Tosca Prosecco Brut N/V

Italy

Cash Price $11.99

The Prosecco craze is still strong as people love light, fun, easy drinking bubbly. Flavors of lemon citrus, peach and white flowers dazzle the palate. Pair with Sunday morning and the morning paper.

Chemin de Provence Rose

France

Cash Price $10.99

Rosé is my absolute favorite wine this time of year. Flavors of raspberry and strawberry burst into the palate with hints of guava and rose petals. Refreshing and clean, pair with 90+ degree weather.

Labet ‘Ile de Beaute’ Pinot Noir

France

Cash Price $11.49

Labet offers a daily Pinot Lovers Dream.  Flavors of red cherries and wild red berries flow through hints of cream and vanilla with a plush finish. Pair this summer red with friends at the lake.

Perelada Rose Pescador

Spain

Cash Price $7.99

Sparkling Dry Rose is exceptional.  A natural spritz gives this wine a refreshing quality with flavors of red cherries and red berries flowing into a crisp, clean finish.  Pair with a wink and a loved one.

Trumpeter Red Blend

Argentina

Cash Price $11.99

Rich and full bodied, this red will be a surprise hit at your table.  Flavors of raspberry and cherry fill into notes of cola and cedar.  Pair this with days that end with ‘Y’!

El Circo ‘Acrobata’ Garnacha

Spain

Cash Price $9.99

Acrobata offers intensely juicy flavors of strawberries and plum that race into the palate with plush tannins.  Hints of spice move easily in the fruit salad finish. Pair with brown sugar smoked salmon.

El Portillo Malbec

Argentina

Cash Price $9.99

The Malbec craze is still strong.  Unoaked flavors of blackberries and plum flow into sweet tannins and hints of clove and cinnamon.  Pair this with taco steak pasta.

Versant Rose

France

Cash Price $9.99

This 100% Grenache Rosé is dry and bursting with supple red fruits.  Red Cherries, raspberries, and red roses flow into a light intensity.  An ultimate thirst quencher, pair with watermelon and a sprinkler.

Michel Schlumberger Sauvignon Blanc

California

Cash Price $10.99

This zingy and fresh wine pops into the palate with flavors of green grass, lemon citrus and whiffs of tropical fruit surrounded by an easy acidity and no oak. Pair with a chilled chicken salad sandwich.

Radio Boka Tempranillo

Spain

Cash Price $9.99

This line has caught fire this year with their tempranillo offering flavors of red cherries and plum topped off with sweet spices of cinnamon and vanilla. Plush and gulpable. Pair with homemade empenadas.

Indomita Cabernet

Chile

Cash Price $9.99

Chilean Cabernet offers some of the best value on Earth.  Bold flavors of dark cherry and raspberry muscle into dark savory notes and whiffs of oak. Pair with a big fat T-Bone and fries.

Thank you,

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

Spec’s Fine Wine Buyer

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Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

I hope everyone is staying safe and enjoying the summer.  I personally love summer reds with a little chill such as Beaujolais or Barbera and I especially love Dry Rosé this time of the year!  I have put together a medley of awesome reds, whites, and pink that will keep your thirst quenched this summer. Enjoy!

Lavinea ‘Temperance Hill’ Pinot Noir 2015

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Cash Price $44.99

This winery has shown the ability to quickly become a rising star in the world of Willamette Valley wines.  This vineyard is located in the Eola-Amity AVA of Willamette Valley. Isabelle Meunier is crafting some of the best wines in all of Oregon in Lavinea.  Bursting flavors of black cherry and baked blueberries are lifted into aromatic herbs and Asian spices. Cherry compote and candied flowers fill the mid palate with hints of cola and pomegranate.  The finish shows suave finesse, yet delightful structure with whiffs of spicecake, blueberry and lavender. The backbone of minerality really brings this wine to another level. Gorgeous! Barlow Score: 95 Points

Louis de Sacy Demi-Sec N/V

Champagne, France

Cash Price $32.99

Alain Sacy is a 12th generation grape grower and 4th generation wine maker. In other words….It’s in his blood. He grew up in the vineyards forgoing school to focus his attention on his true love, grapes. His son and daughter have decided to become the 13th generation and the legacy of this boutique Champagne house continues. Alain is a minimalist in producing his sparkling wine, but he understands that the American palate tends to have a touch of a sweet tooth so he has produced this wine specifically for Spec’s to carry.  Demi-Sec Champagne can have from 32-50 grams of residual sugar (Coca-Cola has 40+ grams per can) which adds sweetness without it being dessert sweet.  Alain stayed on the drier side of the demi-sec category, so this wine has just a hint of perceptible sweetness.  The wine is richly aromatic with wild flowers and honeycombs with tight, clean bubbles. Hints of wild berry and citrus play on the palate with a whiff of mousse on the finish.  Barlow Score: 90 Points

Brooks Pinot Noir 2017

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Cash Price $29.99

I have been on quite the Willamette Valley kick lately, which brings this wine back into focus as one of my favorite quality for price. The winery is fully sustainable with most being organic or biodynamic.  The wines offers purity and finesse that make this winery one of the top producers in the United States. They are also one of the first wineries in the United States to partner with 1% for the Earth.  One Percent of all their sales goes straight back into making our Earth a better place.  This smashingly vibrant Pinot offers bright flavors of strawberry and pomegranate on the nose with a rich cherry texture and pie crust filling the mid palate.  The finish is amazingly complex with notes of dried rose petals, hints of forest floor and crunchy red fruit that lingers on the palate for a delightfully long time. Enjoy! Barlow Score: 92+

Cooper Mountain Chardonnay 2018

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Cash Price $24.99

Cooper Mountain winery is purely biodynamic with a focus of farming in way that future generations will enjoy the land. The wine has pale straw color and medium intensity. The wine is super clean with an almost Chablis-eque profile.  Flavors of lemon citrus and green  combine with the ample acidity that makes for a perfect summer Chardonnay.  Hints of wet rocks and minerality play into the finish.  Oak is not really a factor in this wine as it was aged in neutral oak and stainless steel.  Whiffs of orange tickle the finish of this expressively clean wine. Barlow Score: 89

Chehalem Dry Rose of Pinot Noir 2019

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Cash Price $21.84

I absolutely love Rosé produced from Pinot Noir.  This one hails from high up in the Chehalem Mountain AVA exclusively from Corral Creek Vineyard. The color is pale Salmon with a pretty pink glimmer that pops in the glass.  The wine is light and fragrant with medium intensity offering flavors of tart red cherry and grapefruit that zings into hints of white peach and lemon zest.  This wine is beautifully linear with precise focus. Yum! Barlow Score: 90

Domaine Seguinot-Bordet Chardonnay 2018

Chablis, France

Cash Price $22.99

The 2018 vintage was one to behold in Chablis. It yielded extremely high volume and quality.  In fact, many Chablis producers are hailing it as the best vintage EVER!  This wine offers aromas of fresh meadow flowers of dandelion and gardenias. The palate shows flavors of Granny Smith apples and citrus lemon/lime with medium plus acidity and no perceptible notes of oak.  Fresh and zingy, the mid palate becomes a touch tropical with hints of orange blossom and white peach.  The finish is clean, pure and refreshing.  Barlow Score: 90 Points

Nuiton Beaunoy Pinot Noir 2014

Beaune, France

Cash Price $25.99

Nuiton-Beaunoy is, above all, the history of the pioneer winegrowers of the Hautes-Cotes de Nuits and Hautes-Cotes de Beaune. They worked unceasingly and side by side to develop the art of vine cultivation and wine production in the valleys that sustained human activity and that connect with the slopes of the Cote d’Or.  They lovingly craft wines to reveal the expression of the extraordinary patchwork of vineyard parcels found in the Cote d’Or.  This classic expression of Burgundy Pinot Noir offers supple flavors of red cherries and red berries that weave throughout medium plus acids and medium tannins.  The mid palate shows touches of cream and red currant that are well rounded.  The finish is pure and clean with hints of minerality and just a whiff of toasted oak and vanilla. Barlow Score: 91 Points

Monasterio De Las Vinas Old Vine Garnacha 2016

Carinena, Spain

Cash Price $19.94

This unique collaboration by oenologist Marcelo Morales and famed California winemaker Joey Tensley has produced some deliciously pleasing wines from 40+ year old vines. Garnacha (Grenache) is a nice summer time red that doesn’t mind a little chill. The grape offers fleshy, ripe fruit flavors that burst in palate. Rich, jammy flavors of strawberry and red plum that sink into silky texture with a candied cherry mid palate. The finish is oaky and warm with plenty of plush red fruit to surround it. Barlow Score: 90 Points

Ca’Momi Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Napa Valley, California

Cash Price $19.89

Ca’Momi is one Spec’s gem Cabernet’s for under $20.  This American winery with Italian roots produces excellent value wines across the board.  This 100% Napa Valley Cabernet is wonderfully complex with flavors of ripe cassis and black cherry.  The wine has been aged for 18 months in oak and it shows on the palate.  Notes of spice integrate through the balanced tannins and acids.  The finish offers plush hints of currant, cream and toasted oak.  Chocolate mocha sits on the palate for a good long time.  This is a great value Cabernet Sauvignon.  Barlow Score: 89 Points

Blue Rock ‘Baby Blue’ Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Sonoma Coast, California

Cash Price $20.89

Blue Rock produces luxury wines on their 100 acres nestled in the hillsides of Alexander Valley.  Baby Blue Sauvignon Blanc has a smidge of Semillon and Viognier to add aromatic ‘pop’ and texture to the body of the wine. I was pleasantly pleased at the complexity in the glass.  This wine layers itself beautifully.  Flavors of crisp lemon citrus leap into the palate with medium acidity that is layered into a soft, round viscosity that coats the palate. Notes of apricot and mango seep into the mid palate with touches of Meyer lemon and hay.  The finish is deliciously refreshing with that pop of Viognier which adds hints of wild flowers and bees wax.  Pour early and often this summer! Barlow Score: 91 Points

Chateau Falfas Red Blend 2016

Cotes de Bourg (Bordeaux), France

Cash Price $23.99

The Castle Falfas is a 20 hectare vineyard located in the Cotes de Bourg on the right bank of the Gironde.  This Chateau is one of the pioneers of biodynamic practices in Bordeaux.  The vineyards have been farmed biodynamically since 1989.  The wine is Merlot dominant with Cabernet Sauvignon added to give some backbone. Soft and supple, this wine exudes fleshy plum and wild berries on the palate with medium intensity. The wine is aged for 11 months in oak, but that is barely perceptible as the wine is all about offering textured and plush fruit from start to finish. Barlow Score: 89 Points

Dominique Piron ‘la Chanaise’ Gamay 2017

Morgon (Beaujolais), France

Cash Price $20.49

Cru Beaujolais is offering some of the best summer Red wine in the world. Gamay is light and refreshing with excellent acidity sans all the tannins. This producer is new to our portfolio and I was pleasantly pleased when tasting it. Flavors of dark berries and candied violets lay on a bed of delicious floral tones and acidity. Put a slight chill on this ripe and fleshy summer red. Enjoy! Barlow Score: 90 Points

Moccagatto Barbera D’Alba 2016

Piedmont, Italy

Cash Price $19.94

Barbera season is now as the temperature begins to rise and the Houston heat becomes the norm. Barbera is a perfect summer red with fresh fruit, good acidity and a pleasant sensibility.  Put a chill on this red and it pairs beautifully with many dishes.  Moccagatto is a newer to our portfolio and I was quite impressed with their 100% Barbera that was aged for 6 months in new barrique.  Deliciously fresh flavors of strawberry and bright red cherries zing into medium intensity.  The mid palate is fleshy and offers notes of wild flowers and rose petals with just a hint of spiced vanilla and white pepper.  Structured and lively.  James Score: 89 Points

Thank you,

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

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SHANNON RIDGE ZOOM TASTING ON JUNE 19TH AT 7PM

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please join me for my favorite ‘Daily Drinking’ winery from Lake County! Winemaker Joy Merriless will walk us through the history and wines as well as talking about sustainable/organic farming in Lake County.  Find your local Spec’s, buy these wines, and join us for a personal tasting experience with Shannon Ridge Winery!

 

SR Zoom TAsting

Thank you,

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

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The 12 under $12 for June 2020

Shannon Ridge Zinfandel

Lake County, California

Cash Price $11.99 with Spec’s Key

Zesty and ripe, this wine shows blackberry and plum that explode into spices and dark fruit. The finish is integrated with soft vanilla and oak. Pair with smoked brisket ends.

The Ned Rose 

Marlborough, New Zealand

Cash Price $11.99

Bright flavors of wild red berries and watermelon sink into hints of jammy strawberry and cream.  The finish shows raspberry and red flowers that would pair wonderfully with cedar plank salmon.

Shannon Ridge Sauvignon Blanc

Lake County, California

Cash Price $11.99 with Spec’s key

My daily favorite winery offers this zesty blanc that shows flavors of lemon citrus and gooseberry with whiffs of tangerine on the finish. Pair with this beautifully hot weather!

Liberation de Paris Pinot Noir

Vin de Pays, France

Cash Price $10.99

Pinot Noir offers some of the most versatile food pairings.  The wine is delightfully pure and fresh.  Black cherry and framboise flow through minimal tannins and easy acids with a soft finish of cola and spice.

McGuigan ‘The Plan’ Chardonnay

Australia

$9.99

Vibrant and fruity, this wine offers rich stone fruit, lychee and citrus with just a whiff of vanilla and coconut. Pair with chicken marsala.

Perelada Sparkling Brut Rose N/V

Cava, Spain

Cash Price $10.99

People are figuring out the Rose season is year-round here in Texas. This Grenache based Dry Rose offers citrus peel with hints of cherry lollipops and rose petals. Pair with today, early and often.

Encore Cabernet Sauvignon

Lodi, California

Cash Price $11.99

Looking for excessively ripe and opulent Cabernet? Try this plush wine that offers plum, stewed fruits and blackberry pie with supple and inviting tannins. The finish is jammy with hints of cobbler and spice.  Pair with brisket slathered in BBQ sauce.

Michel Schlumberger ‘Maison Rouge’ Red

California

Cash Price $10.99

This red blend offers tantalizing flavors of cherry and raspberry, with tinges of spice and pepper on the finish. Pair with grilled or smoked meat on these increasingly hot summer days.

Moscato Rubino

California

Cash Price $11.99

Dark and sweet, this red Moscato offers intense strawberry and cherry with a light spritz that flows into sweet deliciousness on the finish. Chill, pour, drink, repeat.

Chateau de Romains Bordeaux Rouge

Bordeaux, France

Cash Price $10.99

Romains is a gem that is deliciously fruit forward.  Flavors of red cherry, wild berry and currant flow into hints of toasted oak and just a tease of tobacco leaf. Pair this with fatty spiced brisket and fried okra.

Dr. Pauly ‘Noble House’ Riesling

Mosel, Germany

Cash Price $9.99

Riesling is a versatile grape with the ability to offer wide range of flavors. This lightly sweet wine is a veritable fruit cocktail of white peach, apple and mango with a beautifully floral finish.

Tiziano Pinot Grigio

Delle Venezia, Italy

Cash Price $10.99

Pinot Grigio weather is here! This refreshing white offers lively acidity and tropical fruits with a perfectly crisp, clean finish. Pair with warm weather and an ice-cold glass.

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

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Daou Virtual Tasting with Master Sommelier Fred Dame next Tuesday, 5-26.

SpecsVirtualTasting

Join me for this awesome and rare event! It’s the first one done in Texas with Master Sommelier Fred Dame!

Please click on the link above for information about this rare event to speak and taste with one of the best Sommeliers in the world, Fred Dame.

Purchase wines for the tasting at Spec’s and taste virtually with one of the best in the world or just join us for free and soak in the knowledge!

See you there!

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

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The 12 under $12 for May 2020 AND Blue Rock Virtual Tasting is Today!

Hello all,

Please make sure to join me tonight at 7pm CST for a Virtual tasting with Blue Rock Vineyards owner Kenny Kahn!  Stop by your local Spec’s and purchase some of his wines to taste with him tonight!  See you there!

Please click on this link to register for the event. Zoom Registration link

The 12 under $12 for May 2020

Shannon Ridge Chardonnay

Lake County, California

Cash Price $11.99 (on Sale for a limited time!)

Great daily Chardonnay starts here. Flavors of pineapple and creamy lemon sink into melon and butterscotch on the finish.  Lush and fun, pair this with lunch!

The Ned Sauvignon Blanc

Marlborough, New Zealand

Cash Price $11.99

Warm weather is here! This wine has flavors of kiwi and lemon grass that zing into pineapple and jalapeno cream.  Refreshing and crisp, pair with your back porch after a nice bike ride.

Shannon Ridge Petite Sirah

Lake County, California

Cash Price $11.99 (on Sale for a limited time!)

My ‘go-to’ daily winery offers this juicy Petite Sirah. Ripe flavors of blackberry and black raspberry jump into vanilla, spice and cedar on the finish. Pair with Lasagna and meatballs.

Muscador Sparkling Rose

Vin de France

Cash Price $9.99

Nothing is better to refresh your palate in the heat than a nice, lightly sweet sparkling Rose. Flavors of candied cherries and raspberries meld into dancing bubbles. Pair with a sweet treat.

Perimeter Cabernet

California

Cash Price $9.99

This Cabernet offers flavors of plum and black cherries with full bodied texture and toasted oak on the finish.  Pair with your favorite arm-chair and pizza!

Ca’Momi Rosso

Napa Valley, California

Cash Price $8.99

This rosso is truly built for a backyard BBQ with Zinfandel being a primary varietal of this blend.  Flavors of dark jammy blueberry and blackberry zing through a medley of spices and soft tannins.

Roblar Syrah

California

Cash Price $9.99

Syrah can often pair better than most wines but is often over-looked on the shelf. Flavors of dark plum and red cherry pop into the palate with hints of pepper and spice. Make sure this gets in your basket!

Fog Bank Pinot Grigio

California

Cash Price $9.99

This delightfully floral wine gives jasmine and lilacs on the nose with citrus and zesty acids on the palate. This refreshingly clean wine would pair well with shrimp scampi.

Francois Thienpont Sauvignon Blanc

Bordeaux, France

Cash Price $10.99

Refreshing citrus and green grass zing into the palate with pinpoint precision. The finish has bits of lemon lime and touches of cactus juice. Pair with a beach towel and sunglasses in your back yard.

Liberation de Paris Rose

Vin de Pays, France

Cash Price $10.99

This Liberatingly Dry Rose gives flavors of wild red berries and strawberries. Fresh, pure acids give way to rose petals and citrus. Pair with HOT days that end with Y!

Gryphus Sauvignon Blanc

Rapel Valley, Chile

Cash Price $11.99

This is one of my favorite summer whites. Zesty acids are whipped into shape with flavors of citrus and grapefruit with kisses of grass and meadow flowers.  Pound with the spicy crawfish.

Abrazo Tempranillo

Carinena, Spain

Cash Price $8.99

Abrazo is light with flavors of red cherries and raspberry that make it an inexpensive MUST HAVE at your home. The finish is long with a soft creaminess that begs to be paired with a Gyro sandwich.

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