The Twelve under $12 for August 2019

THE NED Pinot Gris
This deliciously expressive Pinot Gris hails from New
Zealand and offers flavors of pear, apple and mango
with soft acidity. Pair with oven roasted chicken and
grilled fruits.
FOG BANK Chardonnay
An easy-drinking wine for Chardonnay lovers! Flavors
of green apple and citrus combine into a bright profile
with hints of toasted oak and a rich finish.
Pair with shellfish!
MICHEL-SCHLUMBERGER Maison Rouge

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
hot summer days.
PIGMENTUM Malbec

This French Malbec offers flavors of blackberry and
currant with soft tannins and a long, lingering finish.
Pair with steak fajita tacos and plenty of salsa.
LABET ‘ILE DE BEAUTE’ Pinot Noir
Labet is for Lovers. Flavors of red cherries and wild
berries flow through hints of cream and vanilla with a
plush finish. Pair this summer sipper with friends
by the pool.
DR. PAULY ‘NOBLE HOUSE’ Riesling
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, apples and mango with a
beautifully floral finish.
EL CONDE DE VELAZQUEZ ‘Valle Alto Red’
This friendly Cab/Syrah blend exudes dark cherry and
currant with whiffs of spice and vanilla. It’s richly
textured from start to finish! Pair with
cheeseburgers and fries.
LA GONDOLA Pinot Grigio
This porch-pounding Pinot Grigio offers light flavors of
lemon citrus and hints of white fruit. Pair with a cooler
and a case of this wine under a beach umbrella.
PERELADA Rosé Pescador
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 Ahi tuna or a
slice of watermelon.
ST. MARC Cabernet
Cabernet from southern France offers a rich and robust
profile. St. Marc shows flavors of cassis and currant
that mold into a full-bodied wine. Pair with Filet
Mignon and mushrooms!
FERNLANDS Sauvignon Blanc
Nothing satisfies like a zesty, crisp Sauvignon Blanc.
Flavors of grapefruit, citrus and melon zing through
clean acidity. Pour alongside lemon pepper chicken.
ANSELME ‘La Fiole’ Rosé
This dry Rosé offers flavors of red wine without the
tannins. Clean and fun, it shows notes of red cherry
and cranberry with hints of white pepper. Pair with a
Margherita pizza.

Thank you,

James C. Barlow

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WASHINGTON STATE WINE CLASS STILL HAS SEVERAL SEATS AVAILABLE!

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

I still have a limited amount of seats available for this class! Join me to enjoy, taste, and learn about some of the best wines coming out of Washington State!

RSVP to Jamesbarlow25@hotmail.com

Please Join me for this wonderful experience of wine and wisdom!

I am pleased to offer my Third class of the year.  I focused on the wines of Sonoma County last tasting.  For this class, I’d like to walk you through a state that many experts are calling the ‘Next Big Craze’ in American wine.  Washington State offers excellent diversity in wines that are quickly becoming a ‘Must Try’ in the wine circles of the world.  Washington may not have the notoriety of California, but do not miss this opportunity to fall in love with some of the more complex wines coming out of the United States.  The wines are quietly some of the best produced in the United States.

In this class I will dive into the AVA’s within Washington State, offering wines from different areas and grapes showing what makes Washington State such an ‘seek out’ area in the United States.  We will walk through the American Viticultural Areas within Washington State learning about soil structure, grapes, vintages, wine-making techniques and much more.  We will taste wines from the regions to understand the unique differences of the areas.

This will be a wonderful experience as we will taste wines from all over Washington State with some single vineyard wines to help give a sense of place to each area.

I will have a selection of cheese and bread to nibble.

Seating is limited. Don’t miss out on this amazing tasting!

RSVP to Jamesbarlow25@hotmail.com

What: The Wild Wines of Washington State hosted by James Barlow

When: Tuesday, August 13th from 6:30-8:00pm…ish!

Where: Envy Wine Room: 126 Midway Street, Spring, TX 77373 (In Old Town Spring)

Cost: $45 Per Person

Wines to be poured:

Starter: Waterbrook Sangiovese Rose 2017 (Columbia Valley)

  1. Delille Blanc  (Columbia Valley)
  2. Revelry Grenache/Syrah (Walla Walla)
  3. K Vintners Milbrandt Syrah (Wahluke Slope)
  4. B. Leighton ‘Gratitude Syrah (Yakima Valley)
  5. Hedges Estate Red (Red Mountain)
  6. Andrew Will Sorella Champoux Cabernet Blend (HHH)
  7. Long Shadows Feather Cabernet (Columbia Valley)
  8. Ste. Michelle ‘Eroica’ Riesling (Columbia Valley)

See you there!

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

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THE WILD WINES OF WASHINGTON STATE Hosted by James Barlow

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please Join me for this wonderful experience of wine and wisdom!

I am pleased to offer my Third class of the year.  I focused on the wines of Sonoma County last tasting.  For this class, I’d like to walk you through a state that many experts are calling the ‘Next Big Craze’ in American wine.  Washington State offers excellent diversity in wines that are quickly becoming a ‘Must Try’ in the wine circles of the world.  Washington may not have the notoriety of California, but do not miss this opportunity to fall in love with some of the more complex wines coming out of the United States.  The wines are quietly some of the best produced in the United States.

In this class I will dive into the AVA’s within Washington State, offering wines from different areas and grapes showing what makes Washington State such an ‘seek out’ area in the United States.  We will walk through the American Viticultural Areas within Washington State learning about soil structure, grapes, vintages, wine-making techniques and much more.  We will taste wines from the regions to understand the unique differences of the areas.

This will be a wonderful experience as we will taste wines from all over Washington State with some single vineyard wines to help give a sense of place to each area.

I will have a selection of cheese and bread to nibble.

Seating is limited. Don’t miss out on this amazing tasting!

RSVP to Jamesbarlow25@hotmail.com

What: The Wild Wines of Washington State hosted by James Barlow

When: Tuesday, August 13th from 6:30-8:00pm…ish!

Where: Envy Wine Room: 126 Midway Street, Spring, TX 77373 (In Old Town Spring)

Cost: $45 Per Person

Wines to be poured:

Starter: Waterbrook Sangiovese Rose 2017 (Columbia Valley)

  1. Delille Blanc  (Columbia Valley)
  2. Revelry Grenache/Syrah (Walla Walla)
  3. K Vintners Milbrandt Syrah (Wahluke Slope)
  4. B. Leighton ‘Gratitude Syrah (Yakima Valley)
  5. Hedges Estate Red (Red Mountain)
  6. Andrew Will Sorella Champoux Cabernet Blend (HHH)
  7. Long Shadows Feather Cabernet (Columbia Valley)
  8. Ste. Michelle ‘Eroica’ Riesling (Columbia Valley)

See you there!

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

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The Twelve under $12 for July 2019

SMYTHE AND RENFIELD CHARDONNAY

New Zealand Chardonnay is pure gold!  Flavors of yellow apple and pear pop into the palate with hints of apricot cream and hazelnut. Pair with roast chicken and tangerines.

THE NED DRY ROSE

This deliciously DRY Rose flashes flavors of rose petals, red berries and kisses of watermelon.  The finish is refreshing and tantalizing!  Pair with a gouda grilled cheese sandwich packed with smoked ham.

MUIRWOOD CABERNET SAUVIGNON

Black currant and cherry abound in this full-bodied Cab.  Nuances of vanilla and chocolate chip cookie linger on the long-lasting finish.  Pair with a meat lovers pizza this weekend!

ROBLAR CHARDONNAY

Chardonnay all day! It’s an easy drinking wine that offers lemon zest, apple blossom and pear with hints of caramel and toasted hazelnuts. Pair with days that end with ‘Y’.

CA’MOMI ROSSO RED BLEND

This wine has Texas size flavor.  Blackberry and blueberries rock into notes of smoke and charred oak.  The finish offers pie crust and roasted nuts.  Pair with friends at your next BBQ party.

CHATEAU PAS DE RAUZAN RED BLEND

A big wine that is jam packed full of flavor.  Sturdy tannins give the wine depth with notes of currant and cherry.  The finish offers whiffs of mocha and vanilla. Pair with a sloppy bacon cheeseburger.

PIERRE ARCHAMBAULT MUSCADET

A Perfect summer stunner!  Pierre shows flavors of lemon citrus, melon and pear that mingle into a good backbone of crisp, un-oaked acidity.  This low alcohol, pool pounder begs to be ice cold for copious consumption.

PIERRE ROUGON COTE DU RHONE VILLAGES RED BLEND

Rougon is an expressively fruit forward wine with flavors of red berries and raspberry that flow into hints of mocha, coffee and strawberry jam.  Pair spicy chicken and boudin gumbo.

STEFFEN KABINETT OFF-DRY RIESLING

Yea! It’s cool to drink Riesling again.  Supple and refreshing, this wine has licks of sweetness that are enveloped by white peach, lime citrus and wildflowers.  Pair with drunken noodles (look it up!).

LEOPARD’S LEAP CABERNET SAUVIGNON

Some of the world’s best value wines are from South Africa. Flavors of mulberry and blackberry integrate into nutmeg, cinnamon and oak.  Pair with your favorite street taco stand.

VALLEBELBO MOSCATO D’ASTI

Moscato continues to make you smile.  It’s spritzy and fun with flavors of honeyed mango and papaya with fresh meadow flowers wafting through your palate.  Pair with a chill and the back porch on these hot summer days.

TRUMPETER RESERVE MALBEC

Malbec is thriving at this price.  Trumpeter is dense and flavorful with dark cherry and plum that mingle with juicy tannins and notes of pepper and sweet spices. Pair with steak fajitas and shrimp brochette.

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

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Free Caymus Class at Spec’s Oak Ridge North on July 23rd from 6:30-8pm

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please join me for an exclusive class involving the wines from the Wagner Family. The Wagner’s are releasing a couple of new wines and would love for you to taste them as well as refresh with their staples!

Please RSVP to RSVP_Woodlands@specsonline.com

What: Wagner Family Wine Tasting

Where: Spec’s Oak Ridge North

When: 6:30-8pm

Wines:

  1. Conundrum Sparkling Blanc de Blanc
  2. Conundrum White Blend
  3. Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc
  4. Sea Sun Chardonnay (NEW!)
  5. Mer Soleil Pinot Noir
  6. Bonanza Cabernet (NEW!)
  7. Caymus Napa Cabernet

Feel free to contact me with any questions.

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

 

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JAMES BARLOW’S ‘THE THIRTEEN’ PICKS FOR JULY 2019

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

Welcome to the dog days of summer! I had a spectacular 4th of July and I hope ya’ll did too.  This month’s selections are a mixed bag of deliciousness that I have had the pleasure of tasting over the past couple of months. I highly recommend getting the Rocca in your basket as it is peaking and drinking at its finest right now!  I will be in Napa Valley for a week at the end of the month, so the odds are that I will be delayed in posting the August reviews. Drink up and Enjoy!

Rocca ‘Grigsby Vineyard’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Napa Valley, California

Cash Price $74.99 but with a $7.00 Special Sale only

$67.99 for a limited time!

Rocca has been a longstanding favorite for me over the years. The winery has consistently offered quality wines with fair to high ratings.  I usually offer pricier selections closer to the holidays, but this wine is on sale and drinking damn fine right now!  This single vineyard Cabernet exudes gorgeous depth and density.  Flavors of dark red currant and cassis meld with black cherries through the mid palate with hints of cocoa dust.  The wine has medium plus intensity with polished tannins. The finish is silky smooth with hints of tobacco, milk chocolate and vanilla. Get it while you can! James Score: 94 Points

Fort Ross Winery Chardonnay Reserve 2016

Sonoma Coast, California

Cash Price $44.99

I recently brought in the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from this winery.  The wines are delightfully classic and balanced, so now I’d like to make sure they are on your radar!  Famed winemaker Jeff Pisoni makes the wines for this single vineyard producer.  Their vineyard is the closest to the Pacific Ocean (within 1 mile) and on elevated slopes that climb up to 1,700 feet giving them excellent cooling effect for their grapes.  The wines are fermented with native yeast and bottled unfined and unfiltered.  Elegant flavors of crisp green apples, lemon cream, and poached pears flow through medium intensity.  The mid palate shows some stone fruit and spice.  The finish is soft with notes of cream and hazelnuts that lay on a light bed of minerality.  Very well balanced. James Score: 92 Points

Nuiton Beaunoy Pinot Noir 2014

Morey St. Denis, France

Cash Price $44.99

The village of Morey Saint Denis is quite possibly one of my entire favorite in all of Burgundy.  The wines exude of grace and elegance that is tough to replicate in other regions.  Structured flavors of wild red berries and cherries flow into a medium intensity.  The wine has hints of opulence that give the tannins of a softness on the palate.  Hints of toasted oak and vanilla add more complexity with tinges of earth and minerality. James Score: 93 Points

Riglos Gran Corte Red Blend 2016

Mendoza, Argentina

Cash Price $39.89

Riglos is a wine is has made it to the United States because famed winemaker Paul Hobbs (who consults here) has taken this winery under his wings to show America what an amazing winery this is.  The wine is a Malbec/Cabernet/Franc blend that is lush and layered from start to finish.  Delicious flavors of blackberry and plum flow easily into a medium plus intensity.  Notes of lavender and cinnamon show with hints of toasted nuts, vanilla and graham crackers on the finish. Fall in love with this wine tonight!  James Score: 93 Points

Chateau Pontac Lynch Red Blend 2015

Margaux, France

Cash Price $37.99

Margaux is considered a more elegant style of Cabernet Sauvignon on the left bank of the Gironde River.  I have been extremely impressed with this winery every vintage.  As most of you know, the 2015 & 2016 vintages were excellent.  Pontac Lynch is consistently high quality at a great price point as their property is adjacent to the Grand Cru Classe estates of  1st Growth Chateau Margaux, 2nd Growth Rauzan-Segla, and 3rd Growth Chateau D’Issan.  It is a 10 hectare property that has been Cru Bourgeois status since 1932 based on limestone and gravel soils.  This sustainably farmed wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with touches of Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot.  The wine was aged in new and used French oak for 12 months.  This wine is young but quite approachable right now.  Flavors of black raspberry and black cherry dance into nuanced acids and lively tannins.  Notes of currant, cigar box and leather play through the mid palate with tinges of cedar and sandalwood.  The finish offers hints of mocha, vanilla bean and vibrant fruits that lead into a long, lingering finish.  James Score: 93 Points

Blue Rock ‘Baby Blue’ Blanc 2018

Sonoma County, California

Cash Price $18.99

Blue Rock produces luxury wines on their 100 acres nestled in the hillsides of Alexander Valley.  Baby Blue is mostly Sauvignon Blanc buts adds a smidgeon of Viognier to give the wine some floral complexity to soften out the blanc.  This wine layers itself beautifully.  Flavors of crisp lemon citrus leap into the palate with medium plus acidity that is cleansing and refreshing. Light notes of tree fruit and lemon grass lead into the mid palate with touches of Meyer lemon and hay.  The finish is stunning with the pop of Viognier that adds hints of wild flowers and bees wax.  Do me a favor and decant this white as it gets better and better with some time.  James Score: 92 Points

Jean Baptiste Adam Reserve Riesling 2016

Alsace, France

Cash Price $17.99

Dry Riesling is one of my absolute favorite wines.  It is such a versatile grape that it can pair with darn near everything or be perfectly fine by itself.   Alsace produces some of the best DRY white wines in the world and this vintage is one of the best I have ever tasted!  This family has a history of over 400 years of being grape growers and winemakers in Alsace.  Flavors of zesty citrus and orange blossoms flow into medium plus acidity without any encumbering oak.  Touches of apricot and grapefruit sinew cleanly through hints of wet rocks.  The finish is amazingly complex with apple blossoms, wild white flowers and lychee.  This is a WOW wine.  James Score: 91 Points

Paternina Banda Gran Reserva 2011

Rioja, Spain

Cash Price $22.99

Founded in 1896 in Ollauri, Rioja Alta by Don Federico Paternina, this historic bodega is one of the classics of Rioja. Bodegas Federico Paternina joined the premium Marques de la Concordia Family of Wines in 2014, owner of Spain’s finest estates since 1812. 2014 also saw the return to Paternina of the renowned Rioja winemaker Carmelo Angulo. Carmelo began his career at Paternina where he worked for 14 years, before gaining expeience in the other great wine growing regions of Spain and today crafts the much-loved Federico Paternina ranges. This Gran Reserva exudes complexity and depth with 24 months oak aging and 3 further years in bottle before release. The palate is full of bramble and currant with slice of plum popping through the medium intensity.  The maturation gives the wine some secondary complexity of dried red roses and fig.  The finish is delightful with notes of spice and the traditional vanilla bean from the American oak.  What a great wine! James Score: 92 Points

Cougar Crest Viognier 2016

Walla Walla Valley, Washington

Cash Price $19.94

I am continually surprised that Texans don’t buy wines from Washington State. They are producing top quality wine, yet seem to sit on shelf.  Viognier (Pronounced Vee Oh N’Yay) is a grape that is exuberantly fruit forward and perfect for the hot Texas heat.  Popping flavors of melon, peach and citrus lay across a medium intensity that offers quite a rich mouthfeel. Tropical notes of pineapple and guava sift through light acids and hints of citrus.  The backbone of this wine has a delicious floral note that wafts haunting through the palate.  Yum!  James Score: 90 Points

Domaine Triennes Dry Rose 2017

Mediterranee, France

Cash Price $16.99

I keep this Dry Rose in my house as it is consistently one of the best on the market in my humble opinion. This Domaine is owned by two of the best in world, Domaine Romanee Conti and Domaine Dujac. Deliciously dry, this Cinsault based Rose has expressive and compelling aromatics.  Flavors of bright red strawberries and red roses zing into medium plus acidity that quenches the palate.  Notes of wild meadow flowers play into the mid palate with touches of red berries and vanilla.  The finish is clean and pure with touches of salinity and wet rocks.  Get this on your table!  James Score: 91 Points

Domaine Montcy Red Blend 2016

Cheverny, France

Cash Price $19.94

Montcy is MY red wine for this summer season.  I love the clean, refreshing flavors and structured body that keeps my palate craving more.  This Domaine is located in a fairly unknown area in the Loire Valley, Cheverny, and focuses on high quality whites and reds on soils of clay and limestone.  The red wine is a blend of 60% Gamay, 35% Pinot Noir, and 5% Malbec.  I know….not typically grapes you see used in blends, but boy o boy this wine is delicious!  Bursting red fruit flavors of freshly picked bing cherries and raspberries sing into medium plus acidity and minimal tannins.  The wine is completely unoaked, instead choosing to focus on pinpoint red fruits with hints of spice.  The finish is silky and mouth watering with touches of white pepper, cranberry and violets.  James Score: 90 Points

Silvio Grasso Barbera D’Alba 2017

Piedmont, Italy

Cash Price $15.99

Silvio Grasso is one of the newer wines to our Italian portfolio.  Barbera season is upon us with the scorching heat and humidity that drenches us for the next several months. Barbera loves a slight chill (Yes, Red can be chilled!) and offers delicious acidity with a minimal amount of tannins. Vivacious flavors red cherry and berries pop into the palate with a pleasantly light mid palate. The finish is clean and refreshing with hints of red roses and lavender. James Score: 89 Points

Twisted Paso ‘Main Squeeze’ Red Blend 2016

Paso Robles, California

Cash Price $16.99

The Calcareous Vineyard’s ‘Twisted Paso’ line has become one of the best sellers in all of Spec’s portfolio.  The Main Squeeze is a silky red blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.  Dark fruits of ripe blackberry and boysenberry are prevalent from the start.  The mid palate turns into creamy blackberry pie with velvet tannins and lush acids.  The finish offers hints of toasted oak and caramel that sink into a gracious amounts of dark chocolate and mild spices.  The wine is aged in 15% New American Oak and 75% Neutral French Oak for eighteen months.   James Score: 88 Points

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

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THE 12 UNDER $12 FOR JUNE 2019

Gryphus Chardonnay

Cash Price $11.99

What a treat we have for you in this Chardonnay. Succulent flavors of sweet pineapple, pear and peach flow into soft acids and hints of vanilla bean. Gryphus won’t be a myth when it’s poured in your glass.

Projection Cabernet Sauvignon

Cash Price $10.99

We have found your Cabernet for days that end with ‘Y’. Flavors of blackberry, cassis and toasted oak show off an easy plushness. This is no project. Just Pop, Pour, and enjoy!

Zonin Prosecco

Cash Price $9.99

Is there a better way to start a weekend than with a fresh, fruity and fun sparkling wine? Flavors of citrus, cream and hints of almond pop delightfully into every glass you pour. Make this your daily fizz fun!

Playtime Red Blend

Cash Price $9.99

This playful red blend is sure to be a hit at your dinner party. It is a Zinfandel heavy wine that offers flavors of blueberry, plum and vanilla with hints of exotic spice. Pair with Mesquite grilled meats with all the fixings.

Perimeter Riesling

Cash Price $9.99

Riesling continues to be one of the most versatile white grapes in the world. Perimeter offer flavors of apricot and nectarines with hints of honeyed wax and wildflowers. Pair with sweet and sour grilled shrimp.

Francois Labet Beaujolais Villages

Cash Price $10.99

Gamay is making a comeback! Light and refined, flavors of bright cherry and cranberry leap into light acids and whiffs of raspberry cream pie. Give this wine a slight chill and it’ll tingle the taste buds on a hot summer day.

Chateau des Romains Rouge

Cash Price $10.99

Romains is a Merlot heavy gem that is deliciously fruit forward from the start.  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.

Gouleyant Malbec

Cash Price $9.99

Gouleyant is a delicate and seductive Malbec that shies away from Argentina to offer uniquely French flavors of cassis and black cherry with hints of pepper and spice. Pair with baked ziti and sausage.

Liberation de Paris Rose

Cash Price $9.99

This Liberatingly Dry Rose gives flavors of wild red berries and strawberries. Fresh, pure acids give way to rose petals and citrus. Pair with arugula and tomato topped flatbread.

Versant Pinot Noir

Cash Price $9.99

Versant should be a staple wine for Pinot Noir lovers. The wine offers aromatic red raspberry and violets with a soft, creamy core and touches of oak. Pair with walnut crusted Ahi tuna served on watermelon.

Beppe Rosso Red Blend

Cash Price $9.99

This tribute to ‘Giuseppe’ (Joseph) offers sweet, candied cherries and raspberry with touches of exotic spice and a soft, lush finish. Pair early and often with every friend you can find. I know that would make our Giuseppe happy. Ciao!

Sonalto Vinho Verde

Cash Price $6.59

Vinho Verde is the perfect wine to beat the hot summer heat. Salty, swift and spritzy, this wine is low alcohol and begging to be chilled by the case. Sonalto pairs best with briny oysters on the half shell but is probably best enjoyed poolside with a good chill and plenty of sun.

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

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