Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,   The holiday season is in full swing!  This blog will focus on food friendly wines that are built to pair with your Thanksgiving Day meals.  These wines are a sure-fire hit and will make you the star of the party!  Please be aware that this YahooGroups! blog will be discontinued starting the new year and MY NEW WEBSITE ‘THE WINE EPICURE.COM’ will become the primary blog format.  It will be the same format as this one, but it is my own domain and more interactive.  Please reply to this email with the word ‘switch’ and I will send you an E-vite to the new website.  All you have to do is click the accept invitation button and you will continue to get my blogs!  Thank you to all that have already made the transition.   Also, I am hosting a class called ‘The WOW factor’ at Crescent Moon Wine Bar on Wednesday, November 20th from 7-9pm.  I will be pouring wines that I have found to be ‘WOW’ wines this year.  The wines will be paired by the amazing Chef Patti.  Space is limited and the cost is $50.  RSVP to 281-364-9463.  MY NEXT BLOG WILL BE MY ‘TOP PICKS’ OF THE YEAR!
Expression 39 ‘Annahala Vineyard’ Pinot Noir 2010
Anderson Valley, California
Cash Price $39.89
The Anderson Valley in Mendicino County is one of the niche micro climates in California that offers perfect conditions to produce amazing Pinot Noir.  The Valley is rather small and thus there are only a handful of wineries that produce small quantities of high quality wines, mostly from Pinot Noir.  The 2010 vintage was perfect for this wine, as it exudes perfection from start to finish.  This 100% Pinot Noir offers lush flavors of dark red cherries and raspberry that sink into silky tannins and plush acids.  The core of the wine offers tinges of toasted caramel and cinnamon that is encompassed by delicious notes of cola.  The finish is long and slightly hedonistic with notes of graham cracker and just a smidgeon of jammy red berries.  This will be open at MY Turkey Day table this year!  Only 116 cases produced.
Tamboerskloof Syrah 2008
Stellenbosch, South Africa
Cash Price $29.99
I recently opened this wine at my last class titled ‘The Perfect Holiday Wines’.  I thought that this wine was the most food friendly wine we opened all night.  Tamboerskloof is medium bodied with meaty notes of roasted meat and red berries that lay on a bed of garrigue and white pepper.  The tannins are well integrated with the big fruits and the acids play easily through the core.  Notes of plum and raspberry sift smoothly through the mid palate with hints of toasted almonds, hazelnuts, and a medley of spices.  The finish is long and filled with vanilla oak.  This wine will pair wonderfully with ham dishes or fried Turkey with all the vegetable fixings!
Chateau Charmes Godard Blanc 2009
Cotes de Francs, France
Cash Price $19.94
I am an avid fan of the white wines of Bordeaux.  This winery is owned by the famed Thienpont family that produces some of the greatest wines in the world. The whites of this small region are primarily Sauvignon Blanc based with Semillion used to round out Sauvignon’s acidity.  This wine would command a much higher price if it were in the ‘famous’ region Pessac that is known for it’s great white wine.  Opulent tropical fruits of apricot and peach explode off the palate with deliciously crisp and refreshing acids.  Notes of toasted oak play throughout the palate which gives the wine a rounder, weightier mouth feel.  The finish is wonderfully complex with hints of butter, nuts and just a kiss of vanilla.  Godard is the Perfect Pair with roasted or baked Turkey!
Chateau Malescasse Red Blend 2001
Haut Medoc, France
Cash Price $26.59
I have always found that some of the best value wines of Bordeaux can be found in the Haut Medoc.  The wines from this region are primarily Merlot, Cabernet blends.  This particular winery is apart of the ‘Cru Bourgeois’ which makes it a winery of higher quality.  Malescasse is peaking and is drinking gorgeously right now!  Soft flavors of cassis and plum reach eloquently through developed tannins and light acids.  Notes of black berry sing through the complex mouth feel with hints of vanilla bean.  The finish elegant with delightful finesse of toasty oak and smidgeon of clove and leather.  Peaking Now and Showing Wonderfully!
Danie De Wetshof ‘Limelight’ Rose 2012
Robertson, South Africa
Cash Price $16.99
This gorgeous blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir shows just an ever so slight glint of pink, but almost looks white.  Limelight offers a slight effervescence that adds to the intriguing palate.  This deliciously fun wine gives flavors of red apple and citrus with a linear and focused acidity throughout the backbone.  Notes of rose petals and white flowers waft through the mid palate that is completely un oaked.  Slight hints of tropical peach and nectarine play on the outer palate.  This wine will be a perfect starter for the hors d’oeuvres and snack foods before the belt unbuckling meal.
Yalumba Shiraz/Viognier Red 2009
Eden Valley, Australia
Cash Price $17.99
Yalumba is Australia’s oldest family owned winery, dating back dating back five generations.   The passion of this winery is evident through the amazing complexity of their wines.  Portions of the Shiraz were fermented with a small amount of Viognier which adds floral aromatics to the meaty notes of the varietal.  The addition softens the tannins while adding weight and texture.  Robust flavors of dark plum and black raspberry integrate smoothly through tinges of smoked meat and sweet vanilla.  Notes of black pepper, clove and cardamom weave intricately through full bodied tannins and zesty acids.  The finish is thick, savory and sits on the palate for a beautifully long time.  Yalumba will pair wonderfully with a slew of foods, but would go great with the venison or heartier meats on the table.
Altra Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Lake County, California
Cash Price $21.84
Altra has sourced their Sauvignon Blanc grapes from one of the new hot spots for the varietal.  Lake County is becoming synonymous with producing fresh, zesty high quality Sauvignon Blanc.  These delightfully fresh white is intent on giving a complex balance of fruits and acids.  Flavors of fresh cut grass and melon are enhanced with crunchy acids and smidgeons of grapefruit.  The core of this wine turns slightly tropical with notes of guava and peach, but the wine stays focused throughout.  Altra has the American fruit forward style of Sauvignon and will easily cut through the dry white meats on your Thanksgiving Day table.
Marchesi Incisa Grignolino 2012
Asti, Italy
Cash Price $14.59
This wine was the hit of my last Thanksgiving Day Party.  Grignolino is a rare indigenous varietal in Piedmont.  Marchesi is almost Rose in color with wonderfully vibrant acids and soft, eloquent tannins.  Refreshing flavors of cranberry and raspberry zing through the soft, fleshy red berries.  There is no oak influence as the focus is on the delicious fruit flavors.  It is a perfect pair with turkey and cranberry sauce!
Lockwood Chardonnay 2011
Monterey, California
Cash Price $12.99 BUT ONLY $11.99 WITH YOUR SPEC’S $1.00 KEY SAVINGS
Lockwood has been one of the more consistent wineries that Spec’s has carried over the years.  Eventually, of course, the winery became old hat and people moved onto new, different wines.  Lockwood was recently acquired by the French family of Boisset who wanted the vineyard to show off its unique terroir in Monterey at the base of the Santa Lucia Mountain Range.  This Chardonnay exudes flavors of green apples and citrus with hints of orange peel and pineapple throughout the core.  The acidity is balanced with just a kiss of vanilla and oak on the finish.  Awesome Value Chardonnay that has great balance to pair with foods!
Vina Robles ‘Red 4’ Red Blend 2010
Paso Robles, California
Cash Price $14.99
I have found this gem to be a consistent ‘Go To’ wine for almost any party.  This predominantly Syrah/Petit Sirah blend offers plush fruits with soft nuances of oak and spice.  It is amazingly user friendly.  Flavors of dark cherry and bramble play into kitchen spices and black pepper.  Notes of tobacco and vanilla play into the smooth, velvety tannins and finish with a spunky fruit packed encore.  Great Value Red that can stand alone or pair with numerous holiday dishes!
Francois Labet Pinot Noir 2011
Burgundy, France
Cash Price $13.59
Francois Labet Pinot Noir offers consistency in the under $20 Pinot genre for great value.  Pinot Noir is a classic pairing for Thanksgiving Day.  The wine offers fresh red cherries with fresh, clean acids.  Labet is classically light in style with minimal tannins and oak.  Hints of raspberry and cranberry sink through the core of the wine.  The finish is full of freshly picked red fruits with tinges of rose petal and red apples.  Superb inexpensive classic!
La Vigie Red Blend 2009
Boutenac, France
Cash Price $11.99
I was lucky enough to visit this region last year during harvest time.  I found this fun little Grenache based wine during my tastings and was really impressed with the quality for the price point.  Boutenac is in the Corbieres region in the South of France and is considered a step up from the normal wines of the area.  Rich red berries and strawberry seep into a soft core of framboise and cherry.  Soft spices sit on the finish that is smooth and tasty.  Great Food Wine that doesn’t break the bank!
Sauvion Vouvray (Chenin Blanc) 2011
Loire Valley, France
Cash Price $9.99
Inevitably, I have a Vouvray open at my Turkey Day table.  The wines of this region are off dry and very approachable.  Chenin Blanc is one of the more versatile white grapes on earth and the town of Vouvray makes some of the more interesting (and slightly sweet) expressions of it.  Flavors of green apples and honey pears sit on a bed of fresh white flowers.  The acidity keeps the slight sweetness in focus and finishes with just a touch of nuts.  Wine Spectator gave this jewel 89 points.  It is a steal white that is typically under the radar!  Make this your table white!
Thank You,
James C. Barlow
Certified Sommelier
Certified Specialist of Wine  
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  1. mbten@aol.com says:

    Hi James, Switch which I had done previously.

    Regards, Bob

    • You are officially on the new website. Enjoy! I will be sending emails until the new year prompting people to change to this blog. You have no need to worry about that anymore as you will continue to get my picks without interruption. Thank You for your support!

  2. randycz says:


    Please set aside one bottle of each for me.

    Randy Czaplewski

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