JAMES BARLOW’S ‘THE THIRTEEN’ PICKS OF AUGUST 2018

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Gravy it’s hot out there this summer! I am super excited about the list this month.  I’ve had the pleasure to taste through some amazing wines lately and am pleased to be able to share them with you.  Time flies.  I just registered my 5 year old into kindergarten. It’s seems like not so long ago, I was walking his sister (now 16) to the same school that her brother is now going to attend.  My 19 year old is a fine military man and it still seems silly to me that I have an almost 20 something.  Thank the Lord that I have plenty of wine to continue this pleasure I call life.  I am planning a Riedel tasting event later this month….details to follow!  Enjoy!

Bernard Moreau Chardonnay 2014

Chassagne Montrachet, France

Cash Price $64.99

It is impossible to mention the famed region of Chassagne-Montrachet in the Cote de Beaune without speaking of Bernard Moreau.  This small chateau produces organic, biodynamic, and sustainable wines with a pure hands off approach to allow the grapes to offer their true expressions of flavor and terroir.  This may be one of the best Chardonnay’s I taste this year.  The wine is aged in 30% new French oak for 15 months, fermented with natural yeast and bottled un-fined and unfiltered.  It is brilliantly layered with flavors of lemon citrus that is cradled by tropical fruits and a beautiful floral bouquet.  Notes of white flowers and peach sink into the mid palate with tension based acidity.  The finish offers a plethora of flavor with butterscotch, hazelnuts, crushed rocks and whipped cream pie.  This wine is amazingly structured for the long haul and will only get better with some age.  James Score: 96 Points

Windvane Pinot Noir 2015

Carneros, California

Cash Price $49.99

As most of you know, I LOVE Pinot Noir!  Its been a little while since I’ve been blown away by California Pinot.  Well, that streak is gone after trying this wine.  The 2015 vintage is one of several stunning years that California has produced although it was one of the earliest harvests due to heat and drought.  This allowed for extremely concentrated grapes which followed into the bottle.  The wine was aged in 46% new French oak for 9 months.  This 100% Pinot Noir offers dense notes of blackberry and black cherry that flows eloquently into notes of cola and subtle spice.  Although the wine has high alcohol for a Pinot Noir, it does not feel hot on the palate.  The wine has structured acidity and light tannins.  The mid palate shows blueberry pie with hints of caramel and cream.  The finish gives more oaky complexity with smidgeons of vanillin and cedar.  James Score: 94 Points

Highwayman Reserve Trailblazer Red Blend 2016

Sonoma County, California

Cash Price $27.99

The Highway wines are the brainchild of Michael Sebastiani and Paul Giusto.  They have created a brand that has gained amazing traction here in the Texas market.  The Highway 12 and Carneros Highway lines have exploded in all the big Texas cities.  The Highwayman series is the upper echelon reserve wines of these lines.  This 78% Zinfandel/22% Petite Sirah blazes a path through the palate with beefy flavors of black currant and blueberry that jam into silky tannins and integrated acids.  The mid palate offers a smoky note with hints of cured meat and jammy black cherries.  The finish offers toasted cedar and baking spices with a supple, lingering mouth feel.  James Score: 90 Points

Seresin Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Marlborough, New Zealand

Cash Price $19.94

Seresin wines are unique for New Zealand in that they are completely organic and biodynamic.  This wine has a touch of Semillon (9%) to soften the often zingy flavor profile of Sauvignon Blanc and was fermented with natural yeast.  I have shied away from New Zealand in the past several years in lieu of Bordeaux Blanc, but this wine should be highlighted as one of best being produced in all of New Zealand.  Deliciously flavorful, this wine exudes flavors of gooseberry and jalapeno jam with medium plus acidity.  The wine was 15% fermented in used French oak which gives the mid palate some weight and complexity as the fruit begin to turn more tropical with notes of mango, papaya and yellow stone fruits.  The finish is clean and lip smacking with licks of freshly cut grass.  James Score: 91 Points

Bindi Sergardi ‘Calidonia’ Sangiovese Reserva 2014

Chianti Classico, Italy

Cash Price $25.64

Bindi Sergardi is producing some of the freshest Sangiovese in all of Tuscany.  I tasted through the entire line and was quite impressed throughout.  This wine was one of my favorites.  It is a DOCG wine, which is the highest quality tier for wine in Italy, and exudes luxury and finesse from start to finish.  The wine is 97% Sangiovese/3% Merlot and aged in oak for fifteen months.  Flavors of crunchy red cherries and wild red berries flow into taught tannins and fresh acids.  The mid palate offers touches of savory meat and herbs of sage and white pepper.  The finish is restrained with a concentration of red fruits, rose petals, and freshly cut cedar.  Hints of spice and graphite layer throughout the entire mouth feel.  The wine is a touch closed, so a good decant is recommended.  That said, this wine is an over achiever at $25.  James Score: 92 Points

Block 229 Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Paso Robles, California

Cash Price $19.94

The Block Estate Series continues a trend of offering high quality, inexpensive Cabernet Sauvignon.  They have realized that some of the best priced Cabernet Sauvignon grapes hail from the region of Paso Robles in the Central Coast.  Dark flavors of black raspberry and currant are ensconced in medium tannins and soft acids with a dark creamy core.  Roasted plums and jammy blackberry are prevalent on the mid palate with hints of cinnamon and black pepper.  The finish is rich and voluptuous with notes of buttered mocha, vanilla and cedar.  Daily Cabernet for Cabernet Lovers!  James Score: 90 Points

Edu Pulenta Malbec 2014

Mendoza, Argentina

Cash Price $24.99

Edu Pulenta is producing some of the highest quality wines in all Mendoza.  Paul Hobbs is the driving force to bring these wines to our market.  He is a Sonoma guy that has found some of the best vineyard sites in all of Argentina and he now imports the wines from these areas to the United States for our tasting pleasure.  Quality Malbec is taking hold of the market as the American palate evolves to more complex wines.  This 100% Malbec is aged in 50% new French oak for 10 months.  The wine has a balance and finesse that belies the typically rugged texture of Malbec.  Silky flavors of blueberry and plum seep through the dark purple neon color.  Medium plus acids and tannins are noticeable but play second fiddle to the beautiful fruit flavors.  Notes of black cherry touch through the mid palate with strawberry jam.  The finish is wonderfully balanced with hints of cedar, dark chocolate and just a touch of vanillin.  James Score: 91 Points

Maison Champy Pinot Noir 2015

Bourgogne, France

Cash Price $19.94

I was lucky enough to have dinner with the winemaker for Maison Champy, Dimitri Bazas while in Burgundy this past May.  He extolled the virtues of producing natural wine throughout the dinner with focus on sustainability.  Maison Champy Pinot Noir is a perfect wine to understand what Bourgogne can offer without spending an arm and a leg. This wine offers inviting flavors of red cherries and wild berries sleek through medium plus acidity and minimal tannins.  The mid palate offers violet, exotic spice and hints of cream core.  The wine absolutely sticks the landing with just a kiss of red roses a dusting of cocoa powder.  James Score: 89 Points

Chateau Callac Red Blend 2015

Bordeaux, France

Cash Price $14.99

The 2015 vintage was an absolute stunner throughout Bordeaux.  It is easy to find excellent quality in lower priced wines as one really didn’t have to work hard to produce spectacular wine.  This wine is from Graves and may be the best priced wine in our Bordeaux portfolio.  It is a blend of 60% Merlot/25% Cabernet Sauvignon/15% Cabernet Franc and aged for twelve months in French oak.  Flavors of ripe plums and currant flow easily through medium plus tannins and medium acids.  The mid palate shows touches of earth and minerality with silky black cherry and black olive playing throughout the core.  The finish is fleshy and appealing with tinges of cedar, vanilla and red roses.  James Score: 90 Points

Pra Vinera Chardonnay Reserva 2016

California

Cash Price $14.99

Pra Vinera is exploding in our portfolio because the wine is unabashedly hedonistic in style.  Pra Vinera translates to ‘Field of Wines’ and comes primarily from the North Coast.  Flavors of juicy Granny Smith apples and pineapple ooze into the palate with a creamy core.  Notes of butterscotch, hazelnuts and caramel flow easily into light acids and bursting papaya.  The finish is rich and tantalizing with dollops of coconut butter, oak, and vanilla.  James Score: 87 Points

Blason de Bourgogne Brut N/V

Bourgogne, France

Cash Price $13.99

Some of the best value bubbles in the world are coming from the Bourgogne region.  The wines are made Methode Champenoise and can often rival that of its neighbors to the north but without the price tag.  This wine is 60% Pinot Noir/20% Chardonnay/10% Gamay/10% Aligote and aged on the lees for twelve months.  Blason bubbly is an extremely pretty wine.  Flavors of citrus and fleshy green apples pop into the palate with hints of freshly baked biscuits.  The mid palate offers pear and apricots that meld into zesty acids.  The finish is light and refreshing with touches of confection and candied sweet tarts.  James Score: 89 Points

Domaine de Cabasse ‘Le Rose de Cabasse’ 2017

Rhone Valley, France

Cash Price $13.99

Dry Rose is my drink of choice during the scorching, hot summer days.  I have enjoyed this wine on my table many times through multiple vintage and have never been disappointed.  Anne et Benoit Baudry of Domaine Cabasse are a small production winery making delicious wines.  Le Rose de Cabasse is a Grenache based wine with loads of character from other grapes such as Syrah, Carignan and Counoise.  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 pomegranate and wild red berries. Refreshing and just plain Yum.  James Score: 90 Points

Terracotta Pinot Grigio 2016

Delle Venezie, Italy

Cash Price $11.99

Terracotta is now one of the best selling white wines in our entire portfolio.  Its easy approachability and fresh palate makes this wine a daily drinker for many Houston palates.  Sourced from the paradise region for Pinot Grigio, Terracotta is named after the pitchers which were used to age the wines in ancient Italy.  This wine offers flavors of citrus lemon-lime with notes of pear, apple and ripe melon.  The wine is un oaked and ready to drink from the get go.  The finish has medium acids with notes of wild flowers touches of wet stone minerality that is softened by the touch of sweetness on the finish.  James Score: 88 Points

Thank you,

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s