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

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

The kids are back in school. Vacations are mostly over. But here comes Labor Day!  I know that we have all had to penny pinch for the last couple of months, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still drink some delicious wines!  I’ve compiled a list this month that is more value friendly for you to have on your dinner table.  Enjoy!

Result of the Crush Red Blend 2012

Walla Walla, Washington

Cash Price $39.29

This wine is one of those geeky wines of limited production that I highly recommend scooping up as quickly as possible.  The wine is produced by the sisters of legendary cult winemaker Matt Reynvaan (who is the consulting winemaker for this wine).  He produces some of the more iconic Reds in all of Washington state.  Result of the Crush is their limited release ‘Fun’ wine that they produce at a great price (usually his wines exceed $100).  The wine is a blend of mostly Syrah (Reynvaan’s claim to fame) with a dollop of this and a smidgeon of that.  I immediately fell in love with this wine.  It has a richness of fruit and texture but with a core of minerality and complexity that Syrah can often show.  Flavors of dark cherries and pomegranate burst on the palate with a hedonistic richness.  The mid palate offers a creamy vanilla bean core with touches of plum and briar.  The wine has medium tannins and acids.  The finish continues giving with notes of black pepper, smoked meat and just a kiss of candied maple.  James Score: 93 Points

Chateau Daugay Red Blend 2015

St. Emilion, France

Cash Price $36.59

Daugay is consistently drinking better than its price point.  It turns out that Angelus is a part owner of this old 14 acre estate that is dedicated to producing exemplary Merlot based wines.  This wine is 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Beautifully pure red fruit and supple tannins are offered on the palate which is indicative of this dynamite vintage.  Flavors of red currant and raspberry show off the palate with silky, integrated tannins.  The core of this wines offers creaminess with vanilla bean and light herbs.  The wine is polished and quite pleasurable.  James Score: 93 Points

Domaine Jessiaume ‘Clos du Genet’ Pinot Noir 2015

Santenay, France

Cash Price $33.49

My mentor mentioned this Domaine and while I have tried their entry level wines, I had never tasted their next tier wines.  So, of course, I ran to Spec’s and bought a bottle of this delight.  Nestled in the lovely (and well priced) region of Santenay, this Domaine offers excellent value in a wonderfully fruit forward vintage. The wine is aged in 25% new French oak for fifteen months and left un-fined and unfiltered. Flavors of plush red cherries and pomegranate flow into energetic acids and tannins.  The mid palate offers edgy minerality with hints of salinity and crushed rocks.  The finish is pure and ripe with a soft, creamy texture that melds into touches of darker fruit.  James Score: 91 Points

Clarendelle Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon Blend 2016

Bordeaux, France

Cash with a $1.00 Key Price $18.94

Clarendelle is the value brand owned by the Clarence Dillon family of Chateau Haut Brion fame.  This Chateau has some of the best pedigree and vines in all of Bordeaux. I am excited to see Bordeaux Blanc beginning to gain traction in this market as it is some of the best Sauvignon Blanc based wines produced in the world.  This is a 47% Sauvignon Blanc/42% Semillon/11% Muscadelle blend that offers a beautifully floral nose of white flowers.  The palate shows tropical notes of white peach, prickly pear and citrus lemon.  The finish is clean and gives minerals of wet rocks and touches of salinity.  James Score: 90 Points

Chateau de Haut Serre Grand Vin Seigneur Malbec 2014

Cahors, France

Cash Price $20.89

Chateau Haut Serre is owned by arguably the best producer in Cahors, Georges Vigouroux.  The wine is 90% Malbec with smidgeons of Merlot and Tannat and aged for twelve months in 30% New French oak.  This powerhouse black wine is thick and meaty from start to finish.  Flavors of black currant and blackberry sink into brooding tannins and acids.  The mid palate shows herbs and spice with touches of dark cherry and tar.  The finish is full of clove, cinnamon and vanilla with tinges of leather and mushrooms.  James Score: 90 Points

Maison Champy Chardonnay 2015

Bourgogne, France

Cash Price $18.99

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 Chardonnay is a perfect wine to understand what Bourgogne can offer without spending an arm and a leg.  Champy’s rising recognition is starting to garner attention as they seem to be ahead of the curve with vineyard practices and pricing.  These grapes were grown near Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet, so the ensuing wine offers a high quality product that belies the price.  Flavors of green apples and citrus zing through the palate with fleshy, refreshing acids.  Notes of butterscotch and hazelnuts hit the mid palate with tinges of minerality.  The finish gives a bit of tropical feel with mango and lychee. James Score: 89 Points

Brutocao ‘Contento Vineyard’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Mendocino, California

Cash Price $19.94

Brutocao is a 4th generation family of grape growers that are now producing some splendid wines up in Mendocino AVA.  I enjoy their Cabernet because it is a softer, more refined style of wine.  It offers depth and character without sacrificing fruit or bowling you over with alcohol.  The Contento Vineyard is a beautiful hillside exposure that allows for excellent ripeness in good terroir.  Flavors of blackberry and black raspberry smack into the palate with structured, yet giving tannins and acids.  The mid palate offers dark mocha and jammed blueberry with hints of black pepper and leather.  The finish gives a nice cigar box spice with smidgeons of creamy vanilla and graham crackers.  James Score: 90 Points

Dubost ‘Ballofiere’ Gamay 2016

Morgon, France

Cash Price $19.94

Cru Beaujolais is taking our market by storm!  The Ten Cru’s of Beaujolais are considered the ‘Grand Cru’ of the region and produce the finest Gamay in the land on granite soils.  The wines of Beaujolais are perfect for the dog days of summer in Texas.  Light and food friendly, Dubost Morgon is produced biodynamically with indigenous yeast and fermented in used oak casks without fining or filtration.  Vibrant flavors of red cherries and cranberry burst into the palate with tinges of freshly picked strawberry and boysenberry.  The wine offers medium plus acids with medium tannins. Dubost is all about offering refreshing red fruits with deliciously thirst quenching acidity.  Yum!  James Score: 89 Points

Becker Landgraf Dry Riesling 2017

Rheinhessen, Germany

Cash Price $15.99

I have been on a hunt for deliciously Dry German Riesling and am super excited to announce this wine in our portfolio.  Minimalists at heart, Johannes Landgraf’s family own and operate a winery in the Rheingau.  He married Julia and began running his wife’s estate in the Rheinhessen.  They dry farm and only use organic fertilizer and allow the soil and nature to dictate the flavor of their wines.  This delightfully complex 100% Riesling is grown on limestone in the Gau-Odernheimer.  Racy flavors of white peach and orchard apples bounce into the palate with zesty acidity and hints of petrol.  Notes of white flowers, pear, and a touch of yellow fruit flow through the mid palate.  The finish has a nice minerality with wet rocks and whiffs of salinity encompassed by stone fruits.  Super Yummy!  James Score: 90 Points

La Garenne ‘Mont Caume’ Dry Rose 2017

Vin de Pays, France

Cash Price $14.99

We are in the throws of Dry Rose season and this is a must try by one of the more dynamic producers in the southern France region of Bandol.  It is a blend of Cinsault, Carignan, and Grenache that is delicious and bone dry.  Flavors of wild strawberries and bing cherries flow freely through medium plus acids.  Notes of red roses and cranberry play through the mid palate with just a touch of garrigue.  The finish is cleansing and leaves the palate begging for more.  Garenne is a serious Rose at a phenomenal price!  James Score: 88 Points

Taft Street Winery Merlot 2016

Alexander Valley, California

Cash Price $16.99

The Taft Street story began in the 1970’s, when John Tierney & friend Mike Martini began making wine in Mike Tierney’s garage on Taft Street. The reputation of the “garagistes” wines (referring to small lots of cult wines produced by Bordeaux winemakers in garages) spread, and family and friends bonded Taft Street Winery on April Fool’s Day, 1982, in the Russian River Valley town of Forestville. Today Taft Street focuses on making wines from the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast appellations, as well as from nearby vineyards in Dry Creek Valley and Alexander Valley.  This Merlot offers black cherry and plum that sink into easy acidity and tannins.  The mid palate offers fleshy raspberry with hints of cream and mocha.  The finish is smooth and flavorful with notes of vanilla and spice.  James Score: 88 Points

Grignano Chianti 2015

Rufina, Italy

Cash Price $13.99

In the heart of Tuscany’s lush hills the Grignano estate is located to the east of Florence, at the confluence of the rivers Sieve and Arno, where the Rùfina Chianti DOCG is located.  Grignano vineyards were planted with the main objective to produce high quality grapes, with a minimum density of 5,000 plants per hectare. Special attention is paid to the choice of rootstock. The ampelography is characterized by the traditional grape varieties such as Sangiovese.  This classic 80% Sangiovese Chianti is fresh and friendly from the get go.  Flavors of cranberry and raspberry zing off the front palate with medium plus acidity.  It is aged for 12 months in used French oak which gives the wine a soft roundness.  The finish shows touches of sage and herbs with just a smidge of cream and tomato paste.  Great Spaghetti wine!  James Score: 88 Points

Shannon Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Lake County, California

Cash Price $12.99

Clay Shannon was just in town and I was reminded about how delicious and value priced his Cabernet Sauvignon is.  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: 89 Points

Thank You,

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

 

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