JAMES BARLOW’S ‘THE THIRTEEN’ PICKS OF JUNE 2014

Hello Ladies and gentlemen,

Summer is alive in Houston and the pools are full!  This blog will concentrate on some great reds and whites that are going to be perfect for the Hot Heat this season.  I have an Alsatian white blend on special this summer that is absolutely stunning and a Loire white that is tailor made for poolside consumption along with several red blends that are silky smooth and ready to drink.  Enjoy!

Expression 39 Pinot Noir 2011

Anderson Valley, California

Cash Price $39.89

The Anderson Valley in Mendocino 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.  Bill Hill is committed to producing very high quality Pinot Noir from only the best possible vineyard sites in the United States.  This 100% Pinot Noir is a classic expression from Anderson Valley.  Flavors of red and black cherry dance into fresh acids that sinew through out  jammed raspberry.  The tannins are soft and integrated with notes of milk chocolate, cola and graham crackers in the mid palate.  The finish is pure and refreshing with tinges of vanilla bean and cedar.  One of my favorite Pinot’s every vintage!

Zind Humbrecht ‘Zind’ white blend 2007

Alsace, France

Cash Price $27.79

ONLY 22.79 WITH A $5.00 KEY THROUGH THE SUMMER!

Olivier Humbrecht is noted as saying the 2007 vintage in Alsace was ‘GREAT’ and he is not a man to mince words.  Early ripening led to a great growing season, but August was cold and rainy so the grapes retained excellent acidity.  The vintage produced age worthy wines with deliciously fleshy and ripe fruits.  Zind is a blend of Chardonnay and Auxerrois (aka Pinot Blanc) from the famed Clos Windsbuhl vineyard.  The wine is considered a ‘vin de table’ since Chardonnay is not one of the ‘noble’ grapes of the region.  The mouth feel on this wine is amazing!  Flavors of ripe green apples flow into peaches and melon.  The acids are round and the wine envelopes the palate with a soft creaminess that enhances the stone fruits.  Smidgeons of orange blossom and honeysuckle play on the finish with a core of acidity and wet rock minerality.  Wine Advocate gave this wine 90 points and I only have 16 bottles left!

Bacio Divino ‘Pazzo’ Red Blend 2012

Napa Valley, California

Cash Price $25.99

Pazzo has consistently been one of the best selling red wine blends for Spec’s the past several years.  It is a Sangiovese, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Cabernet blend that is richly textured from the start.  Consulting Wine Maker Kirk Venge is known for producing uber extracted wines with tons of fruit.  The crazy one (Pazzo) is jam packed full of sweet red fruits and candied red apples.  The acidity is quite vibrant on the backbone with silky smooth tannins.  The finish is delivers a slew of complex flavors like black pepper, coffee bean, and mocha.  This fruit forward offering is a perfect red that does not need to be paired with food to enjoy.  Hedonistic!

Borgoluce ‘Valdobbiadene’ Prosecco DOCG N/V

Veneto, Italy

Cash Price $23.99

Prosecco has become the darling of the sparkling world.  Glera is the grape in this deliciously approachable bubbly.  Prosecco has taken the world by storm because of its delightfully fresh flavors and easy disposition.  The region of Valdobbiadene is one of the few areas that the Italian government has given the highest esteem of DOCG status for Prosecco, which is the highest tier that a region can achieve in Italy.  Borgoluce exudes fresh, lively bubbles with flavors of bruised pear and Fuji apples that sit on a bed of fresh white flowers.  A clean citrus leads through the core of this sparkler with hints of quince and stone fruits.  The wine has a pleasant intensity that sinks into a light silky complexity that finishes with a pure freshness.  Borgoluce is a bubbly that is inauspicious but with amazingly vibrant flavors that are sure to be a hit for your Summer Parties…..and at a GREAT PRICE!

Anticipation Red Blend 2010

Napa Valley, California

Cash Price $15.99

BUT ONLY $13.99 FOR A LIMITED TIME WITH YOUR SPEC’S KEY!

This red blend will be the hit of the summer!  It is a silky smooth Merlot based wine that is sexy and sleek.  Delicious flavors of red cherries and plum sink into a soft, velvet mid palate of red currant and chocolate covered cherries.  The tannins are well integrated and the acids are easily lost in the luscious fruit.  The finish is filled with licks of cedar, vanilla cream and hazelnuts which linger on the palate for a delightfully long time.  I anticipate that this wine will be an instant hit at such a great price point!

Chateau Peyroutas Red Blend 2007

St. Emilion Grand Cru, France

Cash Price $19.94

The 2007 vintage in Bordeaux wasn’t quite as Spectacular as Napa Valley, but it did produce some delicious gems on the right bank.  Stephane Derenoncourt is a master at making quality Merlot at value prices.  Peyroutas is 95% Merlot and with 5% Cabernet Franc to finish the blend.  This wine is peaking right now and drinking beautifully.  Flavors of dried black cherries and under ripe pomegranate sit on softening acids and textured tannins.  Notes of toffee and cedar meld into bits of potpourri and cinnamon.  The finish is well rounded with smidgeons of black pepper, leather, and tobacco leaf.  I love the turned earth minerality of this wine.  Drink and Enjoy now!

Waterford Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Elgin, South Africa

Cash Price $14.99

Waterford is one of the best quality producers in all of South Africa.  The way they balance fruit and terrior is second to none.  This wine is different than your New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc because of the lees aging.  Letting a wine age on its lees (dead yeast cells) give the wine more weight and texture which gives a nuttier complexity.  This wine exudes succulent fruits of melon, fresh lemons, guava.  The mouth feel is rounder than usual for a Sav. Blanc but the acidity is still prevalent throughout.  The lees aging gives the wine a softer feel with hints of hazelnut and butterscotch.  The finish is clean and pure without any trace of oak.  This is a wine that a Chardonnay drinker will love, but will also please the Sauvignon Blanc/Pinot Grigio lover.  Waterford wines are a no brainer!

Calcareous ‘Twisted Sisters’ Cabernet 2011

Paso Robles, California

Cash Price $17.99

The Cabernet from Paso Robles is becoming the gem of California.  Napa Valley prices are reaching all time highs, so consumers are looking for other regions that are producing quality Cabernet without breaking the bank. Paso Robles is producing some of the best Cabernet in California regardless of the price and is starting to give Napa Valley a run for their money in quality but at a much smaller price point.  This wine is built for enjoyment from the 1st sup.  Flavor of black currant, plum and black cherry dance through the palate with soft, yet firm tannins and succulent acids. Notes of pomegranate sink into hints of oak, toasted mocha and just a touch of smoked cedar.  The finish is silky and inviting which begs for smoke brisket on the patio with friends. 

Domaine Cabasse  ‘Marie Antoinette’ Rose 2013

Rhone Valley, France

Cash Price $13.99

This is one of my favorite Rose every year.  Cabasse is a blend of mainly Grenache and Syrah.   The wine offer fresh flavors of ripe strawberry, cranberry, and wild red berries.  The wine has subtle tannins and vibrant acids that race into notes of floral red flowers and wild flowers.  Cabasse is deliciously aromatic and flavorful.  The finish is clean with hints of quince and passion fruit.  Absolutely lovely!

Aya Malbec 2011

Mendoza, Argentina

Cash Price $16.99

Mendoza produces some of the best Malbec in the world due to the climactic conditions.  The region is arid with bountiful  sunlight which allows the grape to reach excellent phenolic ripeness.  The Zonda winds give the cooling effect and keeps the grapes safe from disease.  Aya is a beautifully textured Malbec with tons of richness.  Flavors of ripe plum and bramble lay into bits of tobacco leaf and toasted oak.  The finish is plentiful with hints of coffee beans and cream.  A Great Summer Malbec!

Healdsburg Ranches ‘Unoaked’ Chardonnay 2011

North Coast, California

Cash Price $13.29

Un oaked Chardonnay is becoming all the rage in California.  Wineries are scaling back on the over oaked, hedonistic wines that California became famous for and are instead producing wines that allow the grape to show its true character.  The North Coast AVA encompasses all of Napa and Sonoma, so this winery has an abundance of quality grapes to choose from.  Healdsburg Ranches is aged in stainless steel vats and exudes flavor of green apple and tropical fruits like pineapple, mango and Fuji pear.  The acidity is fresh and alive on the backbone with notes of grapefruit and meyer lemon on the mid palate.  The finish is crisp and clean with just a touch a cream.  Join the new Revolution of American Chardonnay drinkers!

Marques de la Concordia Tempranillo 2009

Rioja, Spain

Cash Price $10.99

Concordia is a ridiculously great quality wine for the price, so I feel compelled to let you all know about the new vintage that arrived this year. As most of you know, I love New World fruit infusion combined with Old World terrior mentality, and this wine hits the nail on the head. Marques is 100% Tempranillo and aged in French and American oak for 18 months. Flavors of ripe strawberry and red cherries sink into the palate with easy flavors of rich blackberry and vanilla. Soft spices zing throughout the light oak with undertones of dark truffles on the finish. This wine is made for big hearty meat dishes.

Pierre Archambault Chenin Blanc 2012

Vouvray, France

Cash Price $11.99

Vouvray is the perfect summer white wine in my opinion.  It has vibrant acids with an abundance of ripe fruit and just a kiss of sweetness.  Archambault is a small, family owned operation that embodies quality in the Loire Valley.  This 100% Chenin Blanc is wonderfully aromatic from the start.  Flavors of melon, citrus and passion fruit play into exquisite acids.  The wine is unencumbered by oak and offers mid palate notes of quince and white flowers.  The finish is soft with just a touch of sweetness with bits of honey suckle, honey comb and roasted nuts.  This is a Can’t Miss Summer White!

Thank You,

James C. Barlow

Certified Wine Educator

Certified Sommelier

 

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2 Responses to JAMES BARLOW’S ‘THE THIRTEEN’ PICKS OF JUNE 2014

  1. randycz says:

    James:

    Make sure you save me a bottle of each. I will pick up on Saturday the 14th.

    Randy Czaplewski

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