JAMES BARLOW’S ‘THE THIRTEEN’ PICKS FOR JULY 2019

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

Welcome to the dog days of summer! I had a spectacular 4th of July and I hope ya’ll did too.  This month’s selections are a mixed bag of deliciousness that I have had the pleasure of tasting over the past couple of months. I highly recommend getting the Rocca in your basket as it is peaking and drinking at its finest right now!  I will be in Napa Valley for a week at the end of the month, so the odds are that I will be delayed in posting the August reviews. Drink up and Enjoy!

Rocca ‘Grigsby Vineyard’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Napa Valley, California

Cash Price $74.99 but with a $7.00 Special Sale only

$67.99 for a limited time!

Rocca has been a longstanding favorite for me over the years. The winery has consistently offered quality wines with fair to high ratings.  I usually offer pricier selections closer to the holidays, but this wine is on sale and drinking damn fine right now!  This single vineyard Cabernet exudes gorgeous depth and density.  Flavors of dark red currant and cassis meld with black cherries through the mid palate with hints of cocoa dust.  The wine has medium plus intensity with polished tannins. The finish is silky smooth with hints of tobacco, milk chocolate and vanilla. Get it while you can! James Score: 94 Points

Fort Ross Winery Chardonnay Reserve 2016

Sonoma Coast, California

Cash Price $44.99

I recently brought in the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from this winery.  The wines are delightfully classic and balanced, so now I’d like to make sure they are on your radar!  Famed winemaker Jeff Pisoni makes the wines for this single vineyard producer.  Their vineyard is the closest to the Pacific Ocean (within 1 mile) and on elevated slopes that climb up to 1,700 feet giving them excellent cooling effect for their grapes.  The wines are fermented with native yeast and bottled unfined and unfiltered.  Elegant flavors of crisp green apples, lemon cream, and poached pears flow through medium intensity.  The mid palate shows some stone fruit and spice.  The finish is soft with notes of cream and hazelnuts that lay on a light bed of minerality.  Very well balanced. James Score: 92 Points

Nuiton Beaunoy Pinot Noir 2014

Morey St. Denis, France

Cash Price $44.99

The village of Morey Saint Denis is quite possibly one of my entire favorite in all of Burgundy.  The wines exude of grace and elegance that is tough to replicate in other regions.  Structured flavors of wild red berries and cherries flow into a medium intensity.  The wine has hints of opulence that give the tannins of a softness on the palate.  Hints of toasted oak and vanilla add more complexity with tinges of earth and minerality. James Score: 93 Points

Riglos Gran Corte Red Blend 2016

Mendoza, Argentina

Cash Price $39.89

Riglos is a wine is has made it to the United States because famed winemaker Paul Hobbs (who consults here) has taken this winery under his wings to show America what an amazing winery this is.  The wine is a Malbec/Cabernet/Franc blend that is lush and layered from start to finish.  Delicious flavors of blackberry and plum flow easily into a medium plus intensity.  Notes of lavender and cinnamon show with hints of toasted nuts, vanilla and graham crackers on the finish. Fall in love with this wine tonight!  James Score: 93 Points

Chateau Pontac Lynch Red Blend 2015

Margaux, France

Cash Price $37.99

Margaux is considered a more elegant style of Cabernet Sauvignon on the left bank of the Gironde River.  I have been extremely impressed with this winery every vintage.  As most of you know, the 2015 & 2016 vintages were excellent.  Pontac Lynch is consistently high quality at a great price point as their property is adjacent to the Grand Cru Classe estates of  1st Growth Chateau Margaux, 2nd Growth Rauzan-Segla, and 3rd Growth Chateau D’Issan.  It is a 10 hectare property that has been Cru Bourgeois status since 1932 based on limestone and gravel soils.  This sustainably farmed wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with touches of Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot.  The wine was aged in new and used French oak for 12 months.  This wine is young but quite approachable right now.  Flavors of black raspberry and black cherry dance into nuanced acids and lively tannins.  Notes of currant, cigar box and leather play through the mid palate with tinges of cedar and sandalwood.  The finish offers hints of mocha, vanilla bean and vibrant fruits that lead into a long, lingering finish.  James Score: 93 Points

Blue Rock ‘Baby Blue’ Blanc 2018

Sonoma County, California

Cash Price $18.99

Blue Rock produces luxury wines on their 100 acres nestled in the hillsides of Alexander Valley.  Baby Blue is mostly Sauvignon Blanc buts adds a smidgeon of Viognier to give the wine some floral complexity to soften out the blanc.  This wine layers itself beautifully.  Flavors of crisp lemon citrus leap into the palate with medium plus acidity that is cleansing and refreshing. Light notes of tree fruit and lemon grass lead into the mid palate with touches of Meyer lemon and hay.  The finish is stunning with the pop of Viognier that adds hints of wild flowers and bees wax.  Do me a favor and decant this white as it gets better and better with some time.  James Score: 92 Points

Jean Baptiste Adam Reserve Riesling 2016

Alsace, France

Cash Price $17.99

Dry Riesling is one of my absolute favorite wines.  It is such a versatile grape that it can pair with darn near everything or be perfectly fine by itself.   Alsace produces some of the best DRY white wines in the world and this vintage is one of the best I have ever tasted!  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

Paternina Banda Gran Reserva 2011

Rioja, Spain

Cash Price $22.99

Founded in 1896 in Ollauri, Rioja Alta by Don Federico Paternina, this historic bodega is one of the classics of Rioja. Bodegas Federico Paternina joined the premium Marques de la Concordia Family of Wines in 2014, owner of Spain’s finest estates since 1812. 2014 also saw the return to Paternina of the renowned Rioja winemaker Carmelo Angulo. Carmelo began his career at Paternina where he worked for 14 years, before gaining expeience in the other great wine growing regions of Spain and today crafts the much-loved Federico Paternina ranges. This Gran Reserva exudes complexity and depth with 24 months oak aging and 3 further years in bottle before release. The palate is full of bramble and currant with slice of plum popping through the medium intensity.  The maturation gives the wine some secondary complexity of dried red roses and fig.  The finish is delightful with notes of spice and the traditional vanilla bean from the American oak.  What a great wine! James Score: 92 Points

Cougar Crest Viognier 2016

Walla Walla Valley, Washington

Cash Price $19.94

I am continually surprised that Texans don’t buy wines from Washington State. They are producing top quality wine, yet seem to sit on shelf.  Viognier (Pronounced Vee Oh N’Yay) is a grape that is exuberantly fruit forward and perfect for the hot Texas heat.  Popping flavors of melon, peach and citrus lay across a medium intensity that offers quite a rich mouthfeel. Tropical notes of pineapple and guava sift through light acids and hints of citrus.  The backbone of this wine has a delicious floral note that wafts haunting through the palate.  Yum!  James Score: 90 Points

Domaine Triennes Dry Rose 2017

Mediterranee, France

Cash Price $16.99

I keep this Dry Rose in my house as it is consistently one of the best on the market in my humble opinion. 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 strawberries 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 red berries and vanilla.  The finish is clean and pure with touches of salinity and wet rocks.  Get this on your table!  James Score: 91 Points

Domaine Montcy Red Blend 2016

Cheverny, France

Cash Price $19.94

Montcy is MY red wine for this summer season.  I love the clean, refreshing flavors and structured body that keeps my palate craving more.  This Domaine is located in a fairly unknown area in the Loire Valley, Cheverny, and focuses on high quality whites and reds on soils of clay and limestone.  The red wine is a blend of 60% Gamay, 35% Pinot Noir, and 5% Malbec.  I know….not typically grapes you see used in blends, but boy o boy this wine is delicious!  Bursting red fruit flavors of freshly picked bing cherries and raspberries sing into medium plus acidity and minimal tannins.  The wine is completely unoaked, instead choosing to focus on pinpoint red fruits with hints of spice.  The finish is silky and mouth watering with touches of white pepper, cranberry and violets.  James Score: 90 Points

Silvio Grasso Barbera D’Alba 2017

Piedmont, Italy

Cash Price $15.99

Silvio Grasso is one of the newer wines to our Italian portfolio.  Barbera season is upon us with the scorching heat and humidity that drenches us for the next several months. Barbera loves a slight chill (Yes, Red can be chilled!) and offers delicious acidity with a minimal amount of tannins. Vivacious flavors red cherry and berries pop into the palate with a pleasantly light mid palate. The finish is clean and refreshing with hints of red roses and lavender. James Score: 89 Points

Twisted Paso ‘Main Squeeze’ Red Blend 2016

Paso Robles, California

Cash Price $16.99

The Calcareous Vineyard’s ‘Twisted Paso’ line has become one of the best sellers in all of Spec’s portfolio.  The Main Squeeze is a silky red blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.  Dark fruits of ripe blackberry and boysenberry are prevalent from the start.  The mid palate turns into creamy blackberry pie with velvet tannins and lush acids.  The finish offers hints of toasted oak and caramel that sink into a gracious amounts of dark chocolate and mild spices.  The wine is aged in 15% New American Oak and 75% Neutral French Oak for eighteen months.   James Score: 88 Points

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

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1 Response to JAMES BARLOW’S ‘THE THIRTEEN’ PICKS FOR JULY 2019

  1. Ryan Price says:

    James,

    Where do you want me to drop off the olive oil?

    Thanks,

    Ryan

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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