JAMES BARLOW’S THANKSGIVING DAY PICKS FOR 2018

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are fast approaching my FAVORITE holiday of the year, where I can unabashedly keep my belt in the closet and glutton to my heart’s delight.  I have picked an excellent medley of wines for you to peruse and pick from this holiday season.  I am not intending to break the wheel with these picks, as I am a man who enjoys classical pairings, but please try to pick something new for YOU this year.  Find a wine here that perks your interest that you may not think of typically putting in your basket.  This holiday is made for wines like that!  Try something new, yet classical and feast!  Enjoy!

Nuiton Beaunoy Gevrey-Chambertin Pinot Noir 2015

Burgundy, France

Cash Price $46.99

Pinot Noir is one of the most classic expressions of wine to pair with all things Thanksgiving.  The 2015 vintage showed a warm streak in Burgundy that led to ripe, juicy wines that are ready to drink now.  Gevrey-Chambertin is one of the most hallowed places on earth to grow Pinot Noir and one of the original regions for Grand Cru wines.  Bourgogne vignerons have made a united decision to farm in more natural ways whether it be sustainable, organic, biodynamic or all three.  The ensuing wines have a depth and purity of flavors that are unbeatable in comparison to any other place in the world that is producing Pinot Noir.  This wine offers vibrant red cherries that sing from the palate that carries into a delightful candied framboise.  The body offers medium intensity with a purity on the palate that screams for turkey.  The finish is pure and expressive with hints of tea leaf, cola, and dark fruit with just a whiff of cedar and vanilla.  James Score: 93 Points

Andre Clouet Grand Cru Reserve Champagne N/V

Champagne, France

Cash Price $37.99

Andre Clouet is a Grand Cru Champagne producer from the region of Bouzy.  Grand Cru Champagne is produced from only the finest vineyards in the region.  Most of the BIG name producers that you buy from Champagne are NOT Grand Cru wines, but from many different sites throughout Champagne.  They may be of good quality, but only Grand Cru vineyards give you the best expressions of bubbles.  This Champagne exudes royalty from the first sup.  Flavors of green apple and citrus explode on the palate with deliciously tight bubbles.  Delightfully soft notes of bake apple pie and toasted Crème brulee flicker throughout the mid palate with a medley of fresh white flowers that sinew eloquently from start to finish.  The backbone of this exquisite bubbly has a chalky Belemnite minerality racing through the core that finishes with smashingly clean and lip smacking acidity.  This wine is impeccably made and one of my favorite sparklers in the world!  Bubbles for Thanksgiving is ALWAYS a great idea!

Chateau Cordet Margaux Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Bordeaux, France

Cash Price $39.89

The region of Margaux on the left bank of Bordeaux offers some of the silkiest Cabernet Sauvignon based wines in the world.  This property is owned by Chateau Monbrison and drinks well above its price point.  The wine is a 60% Cabernet Sauvignon/20%Merlot/20% Cabernet Franc Red that is aged for 15 months in French oak.  The wine shows succulent freshness with medium-full intensity.  The 2014 is a nicely structured vintage that will age gracefully, but also drinks well from the glass right now.  The wine is polished and reveals fresh red fruit and black fruit with an easy spice, mocha and hints of minerality.  The finish is long and integrated with hints of cedar, graham cracker, leather and just of whiff of tobacco leaf.  Perfect Cabernet for the feast!  James Score: 92 Points

Pari Passu Pinot Noir 2015

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Cash Price $39.89

Pari Passu is a small production Pinot Noir that Lindsay Woodard, owner of Retour crafted with her brother and wine veteran, Jeff Woodard.  The trailblazing sibling duo are sixth-generation Oregonians who are deeply rooted in the Willamette Valley wine industry.  This is their first collaborative effort of making a wine together and the inaugural release of Pari Passu.  They created a seamless Pinot Noir of extremely high quality, crafted from old vines.  The 2015 vintage is a classic vintage that shows the vibrancy of fruit that Willamette can offer while still retaining a beautiful acid backbone that makes for a complex and delicious wine.  The wine is 100% Pinot Noir fermented with native yeasts and aged for 12 months in 100% French oak/50% new oak.   The wine displays flavors of black cherry and rhubarb sinks into a creamy core of medium intensity.  This wine really shows off how silky and beautiful Willamette Valley wines can be.  The finish shows hints of potpourri, cinnamon, vanilla with just a whiff of candied raspberry pie.  Yum!  James Score: 92

Blue Rock ‘Baby Blue’ Red Blend 2016

Alexander Valley, California

Cash Price $27.54

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 2016 vintage was a dream come true for vintners in California.   This wine is a 46% Cabernet Sauvignon/35% Merlot/6% Syrah/6% Malbec/5% Petit Verdot blend that is aged for 12 months in French oak and 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! This wine is sure to impress the family!  James Score: 90 Points

Domaine de Tourade Gigondas Red Blend 2016

Rhone Valley, France

Cash Price $24.99

Domaine de Tourade is a 4th generation family that produces wine throughout the southern Rhone Valley.  This under the radar gem is perfectly paired with all the gobble day fixings and will be sure to astound your guests.  The wine offers sweet blackberry and black cherry on the palate with medium intensity.  The spice in the mid palate gives cured meats, bacon and tar with hints of basil and thyme.   The finish offers touches of white pepper, blueberry and smidgeons of jammy cream.  Incredibly impressive for under $25.  James Score: 93 points

Chablisienne ‘La Pierrelee’ Chardonnay 2015

Chablis, France

Cash Price $18.99

I love Chablis!  It is some of the most exquisite Chardonnay produced in my opinion.  Granted, I do enjoy higher acid wines so keep that in mind.  Chablis expresses true terroir in their wines.  You can actually taste the chalk and limestone.  This is a great introductory example of a Classic wine from this region.  Flavors of ripe green apples and citrus zing through the palate with medium plus acidity.  Touches of stone fruit show in the mid palate with linear complexity and hints of crushed rock and chalk.  The finish is clean with touches of cream and wild flowers.  This wine will cut through dry turkey like a hot butter knife.  James Score: 90 points

Rizzi Moscato d’Asti 2017

Asti, Italy

Cash Price $18.69

Rizzi winery is a newer addition to our portfolio that over delivers at a delicious price point.  Moscato is a delightfully refreshing and quaffable wine that can be a great precursor to the festivities.  This sweet wine has light intensity with a fresh flavors of peaches and pineapple with hints of papaya and melon. The wine has a natural spritz (frizzante) to it which helps soften the sweetness and envelope the mouth feel.  It is low alcohol (Only 5%), so you can drink it all day with friends and family!  James Score: 89 Points

Jean Baptiste Adam Reserve Riesling 2016

Alsace, France

Cash Price $16.99

Dry Riesling is one of my absolute favorite wines to recommend with Thanksgiving.  It is such a versatile grape that it can pair with darn near everything on the table.   Alsace produces some of the best DRY white wines in the world and this vintage is one of the best I have ever tasted!  I am stoked to be able to offer this winery at such a spectacular price.  This family has a history of over 400 years of being grape growers and winemakers in Alsace.  Flavors of zesty citrus and orange blossoms flow into medium plus acidity without any encumbering oak.  Touches of apricot and grapefruit sinew cleanly through hints of wet rocks.  The finish is amazingly complex with apple blossoms, wild white flowers and lychee.  This is a WOW wine.  James Score: 91 Points

Domaine Triennes Dry Rose 2017

Mediterranee, France

Cash Price $14.99

I plan to have a bottle of this wine on my table this Thanksgiving.  Triennes is consistently one of my favorite Dry Rose’s year in and year out.  This Domaine is owned by two of the best in world, Domaine Romanee Conti and Domaine Dujac. Deliciously dry, this Cinsault based Rose has expressive and compelling aromatics.  Flavors of bright red cherries and red roses zing into medium plus acidity that quenches the palate.  Notes of wild meadow flowers play into the mid palate with touches of cranberry and red berries.  The finish is clean and pure with touches of salinity and wet rocks.  Get this on your table!  James Score: 92 Points

Domaine de Fournaches Pinot Noir 2015

Hautes Cotes de Nuit, France

Cash Price $14.99

I am consistently looking for value Pinot Noir, especially this time of the year because I want to show great wine to the family without spending an entire paycheck!  This Pinot from Burgundy checks all the boxes.  It is light and fresh with medium intensity and an extremely quaffable mentality.  Bright flavors of red cherry and wild red berries flow into hints of strawberry with just a kiss of rose petals.  The mid palate is sleek and appealing while still offering complexity.  The finish is clean and pure with touches of wild flower and game.  James Score: 89 Points

Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) Blanc 2017

Bordeaux, France

Cash Price $12.99

Most everyone has a ‘go-to’ wine in their home for days that end with ‘Y’ or the one that you just know is going to be terrific every time you pop the cork.  This is ‘that’ white wine in my home.  It just so happens to be perfect for Gobble day as well!  The wine is a 55%/45% Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend that is completely unoaked. Flavors of citrus lemon lime zing through the palate with medium plus acidity.  The mid palate offers a soft creamy complexity with whiffs of white flowers and orange blossoms.  The finish is chalked full of minerality with tinges of crushed rocks.  I have found myself gravitating towards French Sauvignon Blanc for quite sometime now and this is a classic example of why it has occurred.  James Score: 90 Points

Francois Labet Gamay 2016

Beaujolais Villages, France

Cash Price $10.99

Many of you have become tired of Beaujolais Nouveau.  I completely understand, but please don’t run away from Gamay (Beaujolais) as a whole.  There are many beautifully delicious wines from this region that offer complexity and elegance.  This wine is light and refined without all the bubble gummy flavors that Nouveau offers.  Fresh Fruit flavors of bright red cherry and cranberry leap into medium acids.  Touches of fleshy raspberry and tinges of white pepper dance throughout the palate with light intensity.  Fun, fresh and fruity!  James Score: 88 Points

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

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2 Responses to JAMES BARLOW’S THANKSGIVING DAY PICKS FOR 2018

  1. Marek Pakulski says:

    James,

    Thanks for posting wines.

    PS: 1. I have found an incredible good small winery just south of Stockton, CA. Very elegant Petite Verdot and more. Can you get wines direct.

    2. My very strong female friend is looking for a part time job. Do you have any opening.

    Marek Pakulski

    14 Indigo Bunting Pl.

    The Woodlands, TX 77389

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