Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

Holy Heat Waves!  It is hot outside!  I have picked thirteen dynamic summer style wines that are sure to be rock stars at your Independence Day party or just a good way to impress friends and family at the house.  As to open your mind to the brilliance of Burgundy, I have chosen 3 different Chardonnay’s from 3 different regions in Burgundy to highlight in this blog.  I want to show you the amazing diversity that this region has to offer.  I implore you to try all 3 for yourself and fall in love with the complexity of Burgundian Chardonnay!  Enjoy!

I am thinking of starting my classes back up.  I have recently travelled to Burgundy to become a Wine Ambassador as well as visited Bordeaux En Primeur this year.  Would you all be interested in attending Burgundy/Bordeaux classes as well as other themed topics?

My main obstacle for these classes is finding a venue.  Does anyone know of a good inexpensive spot to host these classes?  I’m all ears!

Clone 5 Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Alexander Valley, California

Cash Price $24.99

Alexander Valley is producing some of the sleekest Cabernet Sauvignon in all California.  The wine are rich and voluptuous, yet have a subtle complexity that many Napa Valley Cabs lack.  This wine offers beautifully dark fruits of black cherry and blackberry that lead into medium tannins and acids.  Plush and balanced the mid palate shows crushed blueberry pie with hints of exotic spice in the mid palate.  The finish is long and pure with notes of cedar, vanillin and dark chocolate that linger for quite awhile.  Yum! James Score: 92 Points

Louis Pommery Brut N/V California


Cash Price $19.94

This is the bubbles you should be popping for your 4th of July celebrations!  The wine is a 96% Chardonnay/4% Pinot Noir blend picked from unique parcels throughout California.  Pommery pops like sparkling fireworks glittering through the glass with tantalizingly tight bubbles.  Flavors of crisp green apples lead into the palate with plenty of citrus notes through ripe acidity.  The mid palate offers a creamy sensation with hints of cake batter and buttered croissants. The finish is easy with a tropical feel of peaches and mango.  Pop these bubbles TODAY!  James Score: 90 Points

Blason de Bourgogne Chardonnay 2015

Pouilly Fuisse, France

Cash Price $21.84

The 2015 vintage in Burgundy (especially the Maconnais) showed a vivid ripeness that verged on hedonism.  One can easily notice the stunning fruit forward characteristics in this vintage as compared to the 2014 or 2016 vintages.  The Maconnais was dry and warm which allowed for ripe grapes.  Tropical flavors of pineapple and mango flow smoothly through medium acids with hints of acacia.  The mid palate offers hints of papaya and key lime with smidgeons of butterscotch and almonds.  The finish is fresh and appealing with licks of cedar and vanilla cream.  James Score: 91 Points

Domaine Seguinot-Bordet Chardonnay 2016

Chablis, France

Cash Price $21.84

The 2016 vintage was an extremely challenging vintage for Burgundy.  Between frost, hail storms, and rain the crops were very low yielding.  In fact, Chablis (although consistent) lost a large amount of crop due to frost.  That said, the wines produced show a beautiful purity of freshness and minerality that the 2015’s lacked.  This wine offers aromas of fresh meadow flowers of dandelion and gardenias. The palate shows flavors of Granny Smith apples and citrus lemon/lime with medium plus acidity and no perceptible notes of oak.  Fresh and zingy, the mid palate becomes a touch tropical with hints of orange blossom and white peach.  The finish is clean, pure and refreshing.  James Score: 90 Points

Chateau Du Santenay ‘Clos de la Chaise Dieu’ Chardonnay 2014

Bourgogne Hautes Cotes de Beaune, France

Cash Price $19.94

The 2014 vintage was a hard one for the region of Beaune due to a hailstorm that ripped through the vineyards on June 28th.  This hailstorm caused many farmers to lose half (if not more) of their crop.  So the vintage is quite low yielding, but extremely high quality.  The Hautes Cotes de Beaune is located in the higher elevations and was mostly spared of the hailstorm.  This vineyard called ‘The Seat of God’ is set in the hills next to St. Aubin.  Flavors of fleshy green apples and ripe pear flow into the palate with medium plus acidity.  The mid palate offers hints of white flowers with notes of citrus.  The finish is light and accommodating with hints of chalk, salinity and just a kiss of lemon butter.  James Score: 89 Points

Casa Gran del Siurana ‘Cruor’ Red Blend 2014

Priorat, Spain

Cash Price $18.99

The wine is a 42% Samso (Carignan)/38% Garnatxa (Garnacha)/20% Syrah blend and aged for 14 months in new and used French oak.  Cruor is a power bomb from start to finish.  Intense flavors of black berry and currant smash into medium plus tannins and medium acids.  The mid palate shows black cherry and plum with a smoky aroma that leads to hints of roasted meat and black pepper.  The finish is thick and robust with notes of dark chocolate, tea leaf, and coffee grounds.  Always a favorite!  James Score: 92 Points

Ampelos Rose 2017

Sta. Rita Hills, California

Cash Price $19.94

This delightful Rose is a blend of 77% Syrah/17% Grenache/6% Riesling that is hand harvested with biodynamic and sustainably farmed grapes and fermented with native yeast.  Ampelos is a dry Rose that offers a decadent nose of perfumed red roses and wild white flowers.  The palate flows elegantly with ripe strawberry and candied cherries with medium acidity.  The mid palate offers cherry creamsicle  that wafts through the rich red fruits.  The finish is clean and pure with hints of ocean spray and wild berries.  Knock me down yummy!  James Score: 91 Points

Dante Robino Reserva Malbec 2015

Mendoza, Argentina

Cash Price $17.99

Robino is 100% Malbec aged for 12 months in new and used French oak.  Bodega Dante Robino has become a gem in our portfolio from South America.  The wines are over achievers at a moderate price point.  This wine offers thick and robust flavors of plum and black cherry with medium tannins and acids.  The mid palate shows blackberry and currant with a silky mouth feel that starts to offer creamy vanilla.  The finish is delicious with notes of toasted graham crackers, exotic spice and cedar. Pair this with your meats on the grill this weekend!  James Score: 90 Points

Cavalierino ‘Donna Enrica’ Red Blend 2011

Toscana, Italy

Cash Price $19.89

I loved aged Tuscan wines.  This wine is a blend of 25% Sangiovese/25% Cabernet Sauvignon/25% Merlot/25% Shiraz aged in stainless steel for 6 months.  Cavalierino enjoys a unique and privileged position in the beautiful high hills of Poggiano within a stone’s throw from the historical towns of Montepulciano and Pienza just south of Siena.  The wine is drinking beautifully right now.  Ripe flavors of red raspberry and cranberry zing into medium acidity and tannins.  The mid palate is juicy with hints of succulent cherry and red berries.  The finish is easy with tinges of violets, spice and vanilla.  James Score: 88 Points

Tiberio Cerasuolo D’Abruzzo Rose 2016

Abruzzo, Italy

Cash Price $18.69

I love Rose from this region in Italy.  Tiberio is made entirely from indigenous Montepulciano d’Abruzzo grapes using only free run juice in order to keep the slightly darker color of tradition.  Juicy flavors of raspberry and strawberry zing into this un-oaked beauty with medium plus acidity that leaves the palate refreshed and ready for more.  Notes of wild red roses and intense red cherries race into hints of sage and white pepper.  The finish is pure and mouth watering.  James Score: 90 Points

Domaine Haut Gleon Rouge 2014

Valee Du Paradis, France

Cash Price $14.99

Ready for your BBQ wine for the 4th of July?  Look no further than Haut Gleon Rouge.  It is a blend of 60% Grenache/25% Syrah/15% Carignan from old vines and aged in neutral French oak.  The wine is fruit forward and spicy from the start.  Flavors of pomegranate and framboise explode from the palate with medium acidity and tannins.  The mid palate shows a juicy starburst core with exotic spices throughout.  The finish is soft and mellow with touches of coffee beans and salty roasted meats and nuts.  James Score: 88 Points

Vina Robles ‘Red 4’ Red blend 2013

Paso Robles, California

Cash Price $13.99

Vina Robles is one of my favorite wineries in Paso Robles.  They consistently offer great wines under $20. It is a Rhone-ish style blend of 41% Petite Sirah/40% Syrah/9%Grenache/10% Mourvedre and aged for 16 months in European and American oak barrels.  Red 4 is produced from the rolling hills of the Huerhuero vineyards on their estate.  Harmoniously ripe, the wine offers flavors of pomegranate and black cherry with a silky cream core.  The mid palate shows medium acids and tannins with notes of plum, ripe raspberry and caramel.  The finish is supple and smooth with creamy vanilla, milk chocolate and just a touch of savory spice.  Red 4 is a steal at this price point!  James Score: 89 Points

Chateau Bonnet Red Blend 2014

Bordeaux, France

Cash Price $12.99

Chateau Bonnet is an often over-looked charming gem of a 50% Cabernet Sauvignon/50% Merlot red blend.  It is perfectly suited for most dinner foods. This quite pleasurable wine offers flavors of red cherry and raspberry that lead into medium tannins and acids.  The mid palate is classic Bordeaux with smidgeons of dust, strawberry and red berries.  The finish is easy and pleasing with subtle notes of spice.  James Score: 88 Points

Thank you!

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS



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