Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

Summer is in full swing! Let the good times roll! I have been trying a large amount of wine in my new role (and some Sake), so I have lots of options to offer you.  This month will offer a bevy of wines that are right in the wheel house for delicious summertime fun and festivities. Enjoy!

Calcareous Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Paso Robles, California

Cash Price $39.89

Owner Dana Brown visited Texas recently with her team and laid out her passion for Paso Robles showing quality in the bottle and embodying the mantra ‘let the soil speak’.  This York Mountain Cabernet vineyard is high elevation and located a scant 6 miles from the Pacific near the crest of the Santa Lucia mountain range. The spot is much cooler than the typical Paso Robles and well built for Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2017 vintage is a beautifully perfumed one and this wine offers flavors of plush currant and blackberry with a dense mid palate. The wine shows medium intensity with hints of bramble and minerals that flow into a finish of mushroom, dark mocha, and exotic spice.  Yum!  James Score: 93 Points

Alma Rosa ‘El Jabali’ Chardonnay 2014

Santa Rta Hills, California

Cash Price $29.99

The vineyards of Alma Rosa were planted by famous Sta. Rita Hills Icon Richard Sanford. His family has been producing classic wines from this area for over 40 years! The vines are sustainably farmed and kept as natural as the weather allows. Alma (Spanish for Essence) Rosa is aged in 50% stainless steel and 50% French Oak with 40% malolactic fermentation.  Racy flavors of lemon grass and Asian pear flow into a medium intensity.  The finish offers more pear, crisp green apple and hints of toasted caramel.  This wine is drinking perfectly today!  James Score: 93 Points

Domaine De La Laidiere ‘Cuvee Amazone’ Dry Rose 2018

Provence, France

Cash Price $18.99

Rose season is back in full swing with temperatures reaching the mid to upper 90’s throughout much of Texas. This wine has become a staple on the back porch of many Texans with its deliciously refreshing appeal.  The wine is a Mourvedre, Grenache, Cinsault blend that is delightfully DRY with flavors of bing cherry and tart raspberry.  The wine pops on the palate with lively acidity and extremely fresh fruit. Get this in your basket today!  James Score: 90 Points

Tinazzi Ripasso Red Blend 2016

Veneto, Italy

Cash Price $22.99

Ripasso’s or aka baby Amarone are really becoming a hot topic in the wine world. The wines are wonderfully priced and offer some of the best red blends on the market. The wines are sumptuous and succulent, often WAY over achieving their price point.  This new addition the Spec’s portfolio is a wine I specifically brought in for several reasons. One: It received a Double Gold at the Houston Rodeo Uncorked! Wine Competition. Two: The wine is quite delicious and has a deep complexity that is sure to perk up interest in your palate.  Flavors of ripe cherries and plum stick in the palate with good viscosity that allows for medium plus intensity.  The mid palate offers hints of spice with pepper and clove flowing into touches of fig and molasses.  The finish is full and inviting with tinges of mocha and cedar.  James Score: 91 Points

Daniel Dampt Chardonnay 2016

Chablis, France

Cash Price $24.99

I tasted this wine in Chablis last year as I walked through their vineyards.  The wines produced here are the antithesis of California Chardonnay.  The region is on the northern stretches of France and the area is quite cold, so the ensuing wines are typically more acid driven and often do not offer the buttery, oaky sensations offered in California.  Dampt wines are a family affair that farms 30 hectare in Chablis.  The 2016 vintage was warmer in Chablis, so you have more fruit forward notes.  Dampt is 100% Chardonnay aged on vines with 30 years of average age.  The wine is stainless steel fermented.  Refreshing flavors of green apple,lime citrus, and touches of pear combine with a crushed rocks minerality that sleeks into medium plus acidity.  The finish offers tinges of wild flowers, Bosque pear and almond that wisps easily through the palate.  James Score: 90 Points

Cru Winery ‘Monarch’ Red Blend 2015

Paso Robles, California

Cash Price $24.69

I have been tasting through a fair amount of Paso Robles wine lately.  As Napa prices continue to rise, buyers are looking into more value driven areas such as Paso Robles.  Cru winery consistently offers exceedingly good value wine and this red blend is knocking it out of the park.  The wine is a mix of Bordeaux and Rhone varieties with the bulk being Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Monarch offers a balanced richness with flavors of currant and cassis with a silky medium intensity. The finish shows a balance of oak and spice that sits on the palate for a nice, long time. James Score: 90 Points

Neal Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Napa Valley, California

Cash Price $19.94

This 100% Sauvignon Blanc from the foothills of Howell Mountain is spectacular! The wine is organically farmed which offers you the truest expression of the grape. Neal Family Blanc is completely un-oaked and offers ripe flavors of citrus and stone fruits that play into zesty acids that are softened by the sur lie aging that gives it a supple roundness. Notes of guava and pineapple sink into a clean, refreshing finish that offers hints of white flower and just a touch of creamy complexity. This is an Outstanding White that will WOW your palate! James Score: 91 Points

Twisted Paso Pinot Noir 2017

Central Coast, California

Cash Price $16.99

Twisted Paso is the everyday wine put out by Calcareous Vineyards. This line really exceeds and excels for under $20.  Ripe and floral flavors of wild raspberry and strawberry bounce playfully into the nose and through the palate.  Hints of citrus and cola play in the mid palate with a soft medium intensity.  The finish is long and eloquent with touches of rhubarb, roses and cherry.  Chill, Pop, and Enjoy!  James Score: 89 Points

Loscano Malbec 2017

Mendoza, Argentina

Cash Price $14.99

This 100% Malbec hails from the best regions of Mendoza, located in Lujan de Cuyo and is aged for 8 months used French oak.  I was really happy with the balance of this Malbec as I have found many overly ripe wines coming out of Argentina lately.  Flavors of blackberry and blueberry sinew deftly into the palate with hints of lavender show the wine’s medium plus intensity.  The mid palate is easy and approachable with hints of minerality.  The finish is pure, offering hints of smoke, toasted oak and subtle hazelnuts.  James Score: 89 Points

Chateau Les Jouberts Blanc

Bordeaux, France

Cash Price $12.59

This is Sauvignon Blanc season!  I often find some of the best value SB in the world come from Bordeaux.  The wine is 100% Sauvignon Blanc from the right bank in the region of Blaye.  Jouberts is aged in used French oak and offers flavors of candied citrus and orange blossoms with clean acidity and a linear backbone.  The finish is crisp and shows whiffs of white flowers that becomes a touch rounder on the palate. James Score: 88 Points

Chateau du Pegau ‘Maclura’ Red Blend 2015

Cotes Du Rhone, France

Cash Price $14.99

The Feraud’s of Chateau Pegau have been tending vines in Chateauneuf du Pape since the year 1670.  They are considered on of the premier ‘Elite’ producers in all of the Rhone Valley.  The yields of this CDR are kept at the ridiculously low standards of Chateauneuf du Pape, so the quality is EXTREMELY high for $14.99.  Laurence Feraud has become somewhat of a rock star winemaker with her wines garnering high praise and scores year after year.  ‘Maclura’ is a type of Osage orange tree found on the 100 acre, 50+ year old vines estate.  This 50% Grenache/25% Syrah/10%Mourvedre/5% Cinsault red blend screams pleasure from the first sup.  Striking flavors of cassis and blackberry form into thickly integrated medium tannins and acids.  The mid palate shows wild dark fruits with notes of sweet cherries and plum that sinew into freshly cracked black pepper and cured meats.  The finish is impressively expansive with touches of garrigue (thyme, fennel) and crushed rocks.  Silky, fun and fresh!  James Score: 89 Points

Scotto Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Lodi, California

Cash Price $14.99

The Scotto family is a 5th generation winemaking family based out of Lodi. They are focused on producing great value wines for consumers. The wine is aged for 18 months in used French oak.  Flavors of jammed blackbery and plum seep into the palate with medium plus intensity.  The mid palate offers whiffs of smoke, game, and stewed rhubarb.  The finish is approachable with hints of spice and milk chocolate.  James Score: 88 Points

Chateau Bourbon La Chapelle Red Blend 2016

Bordeaux, France

Cash Price $12.99

The 2016 vintage was stunning in Bordeaux and one can find spectacular wines from all corners of the region.  This one hails from the northern Medoc and is 60% Cabernet and 40% Merlot.  The wine is the 2nd label of Chateau Castera and named after the Bourbon royalty and the chapel on the grounds.  Flavors of red currant and cherry sinew easily into medium intensity. The wine is chewy and begging for beef accompaniment. The finish offers notes of vanilla, cedar and hints of forest floor.  James Score: 89 Points

Thank You,

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS




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