Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

The July heat is screaming at us, but I can’t help feel okay with it since just a month ago our fine city seemed to be floating away!  Enjoy this spectacular list for July!

I do have 15 or so seats still available for my Bordeaux 101 Class being hosted at Pallotta’s Italian Restaurant in Oak Ridge.  Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn, drink and eat while I talk about my experiences on my trip to Bordeaux last month while guiding you through the grapes, regions and terroir of one of the finest wine regions on Earth.  I promise it will be an experience you wont forget!  RSVP to jamesbarlow25@hotmail.com.

Martinelli Pinot Noir 2012

Sonoma Coast, California

Cash Price $39.89

Martinelli has built a reputation for producing extremely high quality Pinot Noir from some of the best soil in all of California.   They use state of the art technology to make beautifully aromatic and complex Pinot Noirs.  Intense, purely focused flavors of black cherry, raspberry and wild red berries envelope the palate with tickles of medium acidity and medium minus tannins.  The mid palate offers wild flowers and red roses encompassed by hints of rhubarb and cola.  The finish offers tinges of cedar, vanilla and whiffs of dusty earth.  This is an amazingly Pleasing Pinot.  James Score: 93 Points

Block 415 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2013

Spring Mountain, California

Cash Price $34.99

I think I may have just had the BEST Block Cabernet that this series has produced!  I am an avid fan of the densely thick and voluptuous wines coming from the 2013 vintage.  Spring Mountain is far and away one of my favorite AVA’s in Napa Valley and this wine exudes brilliance from the start.  Dark and dense flavors of black currant and plum flow silkily into velvet tannins and medium plus acids.  The mid palate is plump with notes of tar, leather, and cigar box.  There is an under current of dusty gravel and dark chocolate that gives this wine an essence of terroir.  The New French Oak finish is smooth with notes of cracked hazelnuts, vanilla, and roasted coffee beans that sit on the palate for a deliciously long time.  James Score: 94 Points

Pazzo Red Blend 2013

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 extracted wines that highlight rich fruit texture.  The crazy one (Pazzo) is jam packed full of sweet red berries and cherries.  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.  James Score: 91 Points

Conundrum White Blend 25th Anniversary 2014


Cash Price $22.99

The Wagner Family has been producing this classic for 25 years.  This white blend has been making waves in the white wine world for many years.  Conundrum was a daring project started when white blends did not sell.  Now, this is a wine that is sought out for its approachability and delicious flavor profile.  Chuck Wagner oversees this label (Caymus Winery) with Jon Bolta as the wine-maker.  The grapes used are typically Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Muscat Canelli, and Viognier.  Conundrum is a fun yet focused wine that is bursting with energy!  Flavors of white peaches and nectarines explode in the palate with whiffs of oak.  Notes of apricot and lemon meringue pie are plush on the  mid palate with medium acids playing on the backbone.  The finish is quite floral with hints of quince, lilacs and touches of honeysuckle.  This wine is a veritable fruit cocktail.  James Score: 90 Points

Dauvergne Ranvier ‘Muretins’ Rose 2015

Tavel, France

Cash Price $19.94

We are in the heart of Rose season!  Tavel is one of the few regions on Earth that ONLY produce Dry Rose.  Jean-François Ranvier has spent over fifteen years in oenology and wine making both in Burgundy and the Rhone Valley. He has worked in the cellars of over 50 properties in the Rhone Valley consulting on viticulture and wine making.  The grapes used are red & white Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Picpoul.  This is a new release from this producer that has knocked it out of the ball park on this vintage!  Refreshingly crisp flavors of red roses and red cherries zing through the palate with medium plus acidity.  Touches of raspberry and white pepper sink into the mid palate with just a kiss of oak aging.  The finish  is clean and pure with touches of garrigue and red flowers.  James Score: 89 Points

Chateau Le Conseiller Red Blend 2010

Bordeaux, France

Cash Price $19.94

I recently visited this winery in St. Emilion on my travels through Bordeaux.  I was extremely pleased with the complete portfolio of wines.  This offering from famed Wine maker Jean Philippe Janoueix is brilliant.  Conseiller is one of Bordeaux’s best offerings for the price point and in one of the best vintages in recent history.  The wine is a no brainer for Old World lovers.  Flavors of blackberry and cassis layer into graphite and dense minerality.  The wines has medium plus tannins and acid which make it age worthy, but Janoueix makes his wines quite accessible in their youth.  The mid palate softens into touches of cream and currant with touches of iron.  The finish is complex and well balanced with notes of cedar, leather, and tobacco.  James Score: 91 Points

Jean Baptiste Adam Cremant Rose N/V

Alsace, France

Cash Price $19.94

I am always on the lookout for quality sparkling wines.  I have often found the best value outside of the region of Champagne, yet still in the confines of France.  Methode Champenoise sparkling wines made outside Champagne, France are called ‘Cremant’ (pronounced (Cray-mawn).  The term originally indicated that the sparkling wine was less bubbly, but it is generally used as a catch all for sparkling wine outside of Champagne now.  In 2014, Jean-Baptiste Adam anniversary of their family being grape growers and winemakers in Alsace.  The winery is one the leaders in biodynamic farming.  This 100% Pinot Noir is spectacular!  Vibrant pink hues flow into the glass with a bouquet of rose petals and wild strawberries.  The palate offers red fruits of cherry and currant with touches of fleshy wild berries.  The finish offers hints of raspberry and cream which flows seamlessly into a crisp, yet elegant finish.  Perfect Summer Sparkler!  James Score: 91 Points

Carneros Highway Chardonnay 2014

Carneros, California

Cash Price $15.99

The former owners of Sebastiani are now making these wines of quality throughout the regions of Sonoma.  Flavors of pineapple and ripe pears sing through medium acidity.  Notes of lees aging are prevalent on the mid palate with hazelnuts and candied caramel.  The finish is supple with tinges of oak and cream that soften the entire palate.  James Score: 88 Points

Marchesi Incisa ‘Valmorena’ Barbera d’Asti 2013

Piedmonte, Italy

Cash Price $15.19

I love Barbera.  It is northern Italy’s workhorse grape and is best produced in the hills of Asti. This unabashedly fruit forward wine is completely un-oaked and bursting with excitement.  Flavors of bright maraschino cherries sing into the palate with red flowers and violets weaving throughout the core.  The tannins are minimal, but the acids are pure and refreshing.  Notes of fig and red berries play through the mid palate with tinges of juicy strawberry.  The finish is clean and fine with a plush core of fruits.  This wine is perfect for sitting on the patio with a loved one after a long day of work.  James Score: 90 Points

Momo Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Marlborough, New Zealand

Cash Price $14.99

Momo (meaning ‘offspring’ in Maori) has sprung from the Seresin Estate.  Momo wines are meant to be fun, enjoyable and a party wine.  All of the grapes from these wines are sustainably grown and Vegan friendly.  The wine is completely un oaked and tantalizingly tasty, Momo expresses flavors of lemon citrus and grapefruit that are encompassed by guava and pineapples.  The mid palate offers medium plus acidity with plush passion fruit quaffing throughout.  The finish is clean and thirst quenching with hints of lemon meringue and apricot. This is a perfect scorching hot heat white wine.  James Score: 89 Points

Domaine Cabasse ‘Le Rose de Marie’ Rose 2014

Seguret, France

Cash Price $13.99

Dry Rose is my drink of choice during the sweltering summer months in Texas.  This Rose is outstanding every vintage and a staple in my cellar.  It is a Grenache based wine with loads of character.  Flavors of freshly picked strawberries and raspberries zing into zesty acids with tinges of citrus and white pepper.  The mid palate offers notes of red roses and wild meadow flowers.  The finish is clean and thirst quenching with smidgeons of lychee and wild red berries.  The summer of Rose is in full swing and this wine should be a daily drinker!  James Score: 90 Points

Shannon Ridge Cabernet 2012

Lake County, California

Cash Price $12.99

This winery recently received the accolade of ‘Best Winery’ at the Houston Rodeo Uncorked! Wine Competition.  They are located in the steep mountain slopes of Lake County and are dedicated to producing high quality, sustainably farmed wines at a great price.  This high elevation Cabernet is dangerously approachable from the first pop of the cork.  Supple flavors of black cherries and dark berries are encompassed by smooth, easy tannins and well balanced acids. The core offers notes of raspberry, plum and tobacco.  The finish is silky with touches of vanilla, all spice and licks of cedar.  Spectacular wine under $15.  James Score: 88 Points

Marques De La Concordia Crianza 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.  Concordia is tailor made to be a daily pair with most meat dishes.  James Score: 88 Points
Thank You,
James C. Barlow
Certified Wine Educator
Certified Sommelier
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  1. Michael Forde says:

    James, Any update about when we might see that Chilean wine from the tasting. It has been quite some. Thx

    Sent from my iPhone


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