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

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

The insanely hot heat has blanketed Houston once again.  I am fresh off of a trip to the Pfalz region in Germany, where the weather was much more hospitable, and just getting back into the swing of things.  I have tried a bunch of new wines that I think will give your palate a reprieve from this daunting heat.  Delectable Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Burgundy will become a focus in the next several blogs.  I have been bringing in an excellent selection of Burgundy lately and am excited to offer them to you.  I am hosting a Greek wine tasting at Crescent Moon Wine Bar on Wednesday, August 20th from 7-9pm.  RSVP to 281-364-9463. Space is limited!

Pierre Morey Bourgogne Blanc 2011

Burgundy, France

Cash Price $34.99

Pierre Morey is a small producer whose family has been making wine in this region since the 16th century.  He was the cellar master at Domaine Leflaive and has crafted wines in renowned regions such as Meursault, Pommard, and Puligny Montrachet.  This wine was carefully crafted and hand harvested.  Flavors of baked apples and citrus encompass the palate with soft hints of butterscotch and toasted hazelnut.  This wine was aged in new oak and left on its lees for a gracious period of time.  Notes of caramel intertwine with refreshingly smooth acids and minerality.  Tinges of gun flint and wet rocks flow through the finish with a smidgeon of melon and key lime.  Morey Chardonnay is divine!

Blue Rock ‘Baby Blue’ Red Blend 2012

Alexander Valley, California

Cash Price $25.99

Blue Rock winery has gained a reputation for producing silky smooth reds from their 100 acre estate in the famed AVA of Alexander Valley.  The 2012 vintage was a dream come true for vintners in California.  The previous vintage was a disaster, but this one exceeded expectations and has been regarded as one of the best in recent history.  This Cabernet based blend is dangerously approachable from the pop of the cork.  Flavors of blueberry, boysenberry and red currant explode on the palate with a core of milk chocolate.  The tannins are elegant and integrated with easy acids that play into the gracious amount of fruit.  Notes of toasted oak and vanilla sink into hints of violet and granola.  The finish is soft and plush with a plethora of fruit and oak.  By the way, this winery is next door to Silver Oak!

Leadbelly Syrah 2009

Russian River Valley, California

Cash Price $24.99 but only

$17.99 with a Spec’s Key for a Limited time!

I have found, in my experience, that Syrah is completely overlooked in the wine world.  It is quite sad since Syrah is one of the more versatile red grapes on Earth.  California has been producing stellar quality Syrah for years.  This delish Syrah is a seek out wine.  Dense and chewy, this wine offers flavors of pomegranate and black cherry that is encompassed by excellent acids and moderate plus tannins.  Notes of plum and dark black berry are prevalent on the mid palate with hints of black pepper and kitchen spices.  The finish is pure and long with smidgeons of caramel,  toasted hazelnut, and just a touch of vanilla bean.  Don’t Miss Out on this Awesome Syrah!

Graham Beck Brut Rose 2009

Franschhoek, South Africa

Cash Price $21.84

This is the perfect time of the year for sparkling rose!  It is crisp, dry, and refreshing on the palate.  This winery is becoming world renowned for producing excellent quality sparkling wine at a great value price point.  Flavors of raspberry sorbet and wild strawberries bounce off the palate with deliciously tight bubbles.  The finish offers smidgeons of cream and yeasty complexity with notes of confection.  The wine is a blend of mostly Pinot Noir, but is balanced out with Chardonnay which keeps in line with traditional Champagne.  This Methode Champenoise produced sparkling is an absolute steal and one of the best sparklers that I have tasted this year.

Castello Di Ama Chianti Classico  2010

Chianti Classico, Italy

Cash Price $24.89

Castello Di Ama is one of the finest estates in Chianti.  Their Sangiovese based wines are considered some of the finest quality in all of Tuscany.  Ama offers flavors of roasted plums and fig that lead into zesty acids and medium tannins.  Notes of dried cherries and cranberry waft through the mid palate with hints of all spice. The finish is smooth and harmonious with hints of dates and fleshy raspberry. This wine is perfectly balanced and would cellar well for 5-7 years.  Pair this gem with a thin crust, oven roasted pizza with peppers and sausage!

Robert Weil ‘Traditional’ Riesling 2011

Rheingau, Germany

Cash Price $19.94

Robert Weil is considered one of the best in all of Germany, and I am quite excited to be able to offer you this excellent Riesling!  As you know, I recently visited Germany and found some excellent Dry and off Dry Riesling that exuded excellence from start to finish.  This winery is located in Kiedrich and produces wine from one of Germany’s best vineyards, Kiedrich Grafenberg.  In fact, Robert Weil was focused by Wine and Spirits magazine as a ‘Top 100 Winery’ in 2012 and 2013.  This wine is truly a delight.  It is off dry with just a hint of residual sugar that is easily integrated into the dynamic minerality that soaks into the palate.  Flavors of fresh green apples and stone fruits play into sleek acids and licks of honey dew.  Notes of jasmine and white plum sink into wet pebbles with just a touch of peach. This wine displays a true complexity that keeps the palate begging for more!

Block 517 Pinot Noir 2012

Russian River Valley, California

Cash Price $19.94

The Block Wine Series has produced some of the best value wines that Spec’s has ever offered.  The latest installment is a Pinot Noir of epic proportions!  The Russian River Valley produces some of the finest Pinot Noir in the world.  This wine comes from a dynamite vintage and offers brilliance from the first sup.  Flavors of red cherries and red plum are prevalent from the start with the fruits turning darker as the wine progresses.  Hints of brown sugar and cola play through the mid palate.  The finish is soft and opulent with smidgeons of toasted hazelnut and vanilla cream.  Don’t miss out on this decadent Pinot, because when the Block wine sells out…It is gone forever!

Triennes Rose 2013

Provence, France

Cash Price $14.99

Triennes is consistently one of my favorite Rose’s for this sweltering hot heat.  It has amazing pedigree with Jacques Seysses, founder of Domaine Dujac, and Aubert de Villaine, co-owner of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, at the helm.  This wine is elegant and deliciously bone dry.  It is Cinsault based with small amounts of Grenache and Syrah.  Flavors of ripe strawberries and freshly picked bing cherries dance on the palate with just a hint of candied red fruits.  The acids are cleansing and zesty.  Notes of red apples and white flowers play seamlessly through the mid palate.  The finish is refreshing and filled with a medley of meadow flowers.  I love this Rose!

Brutocao ‘Argento’ Chardonnay Reserve 2011

Mendocino, California

Cash Price $23.99 but only

$19.99 with a Spec’s Key for a limited time!

This brilliantly crafted wine is hedonistic from start to finish.  Brutocao decided to produce a traditional California Chardonnay with rich cream and oak.  Flavors of pear and candied green apples integrate into round acids and caramel.  Opulent notes of toasted oak and vanillin fall into bits of hazelnut and pecans.  The finish is long and relaxing with tropical nuances.  This is a Classic Chardonnay!

Illuminati ‘Ilico’ Montepulciano Reserva 2011

Abruzzo, Italy

Cash Price $16.99

Illuminati is a brand that has always been a great value wine.  This is their new reserve release that has been aged small Slovenian oak barrels for twelve months.  It is 100% Montepulciano, which I often refer to as the Cabernet Sauvignon of Italy.  Flavors of roasted plum and blackberry combine with stewed red cherries throughout the core of the wine.  Notes of black pepper and sage give the wine a soft earthiness with savory tannins and easy acids.  The finish is smooth and balanced with bits of toasted pecans and just a kiss of licorice.  Great to pair with a thick, juicy steak!

Naia Verdejo 2012

Rueda, Spain

Cash Price $12.99

Verdejo is a perfect summer time white wine.  Naia has been a darling of wine critics (numerous 90+ point ratings) and sommeliers alike.  It has ripe citrus fruit flavors that border on tropical.  Notes of kiwi and grapefruit mingle with zesty acids and a minerality of wet limestone.  The finish offers hints of peach and ripe pear with just a touch of cream.  A Summer Stunner!

Guilbaud ‘Cuvee du Lion’ Muscadet 2011

Loire Valley, France

Cash Price $8.99

Muscadet Sevre et Maine is a village in Pays Nantais, which is right by the Atlantic Ocean.  They specialize in producing light, seafood friendly white wines from the Melon de Bourgogne grape.  They usually implement a technique called ‘sur lie’ aging.  The wine is kept on the dead yeast cells and stirred (battonage) regularly for a period of time.  This technique adds complexity, richness and nutty flavors.  Guilbaud offers flavors of citrus lemon lime and melon with clean, refreshing acids and just a hint of saltiness.  The finish is easy with light notes of roasted walnuts and hazelnut.  Great Houston Heat White Wine!

Abrazo Garnacha Red 2012

Calatayud, Spain

Cash Price $7.99

I have always found Spain has some of the best inexpensive wine in the world.  These wines are typically Garnacha based and delicious.  Abrazo is light, quaffable with flavors of red cherries and raspberry.  The mid palate offers smidgeons of spice and pepper.  The finish is long and textured with a light creaminess.  Abrazo is a Great Tuesday Wine!

Thank You,

James C. Barlow

Certified Wine Educator

Certified Sommelier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 Responses to JAMES BARLOW’S ‘THE THIRTEEN’ PICKS OF AUGUST 2014

  1. Colin Stokes says:

    Dang – Cresent Moon is already booked with 16 people. Someone made a reservation for 9 people. Wow!

    Colin

  2. Leena Singh says:

    Thanks for the great recommendations, as always. There’s a lot of good wine in Moscow (no I don’t drink vodka and never will). It will be interesting to see if I can find any of your picks here.

    Best regards, Leena

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  3. randycz says:

    James:

    We will be by Saturday to pick up our 13 bottles.

    Randy Czaplewski

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