Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

I apologize for not posting a ‘Thirteen’ picks last month, but I was exceedingly busy and truthfully just plain ran out of time. I visited Napa Valley for the 1st time in a decade last month and was quite impressed with the diversity of wines that offered sense of place and quality.  The region is working to become 100% Sustainably farmed by 2020 and farmers are more cognizant of the land than ever before.  Check out pictures of the trip on Facebook (James Barlow Wine) or Instagram (Barlowwine).  Enjoy!

Le Pich Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Napa Valley, California

Cash Price $49.99

This rare label comes from Purlieu winery.  Julien Fayard (former Winemaker of Atelier Melka) and Vineyard Manager Steve Matthiasson (Aurajo, Spottswoode among others) are the driving force behind this wine.  ‘Le Pich’ is named after a Wappa Indian term meaning ‘Golden Eagle’.  The wine is crafted to always achieve harmonious balance with power and freshness.  The wine offers robust flavors of black plum and cherries with a background of fresh aromatic flowers on the nose. Notes of blackberry and kirsch linger on the mid palate with medium plus intensity.  The finish is lengthy and worthy with leather, cigar box, and hints of minerality.  This wine really sings!  James Score: 94 Points

Tamboerskloof Syrah 2015

Stellenbosch, South Africa

Cash Price $29.99

Tamboerskloof may be an outside the box pick for some, but for me it is a bulls eye for me as it is such a versatile wine with or without food.  Kleinood winery consistently produces some of my favorite wines coming out of South Africa.  In fact, this Syrah is one of my favorite expressions of the varietal period.  I find Syrah to be amazingly versatile to pair with many foods and a dynamite pairing with herbs.  This wine offers flavors of red and black currant with medium plus tannins and medium acids that sink into touches of plum and rhubarb.  The tertiary flavors are what really drive this wine.  Notes of roasted, cured meat and garrigue flow into a medley of spices with black pepper being most prevalent.  The finish shows the 20 months of oak aging with smidgeons of roasted nuts, cinnamon, and vanilla bean that sit on the palate for a long, lingering mouth feel.  James Score: 93 Points

Seresin Sauvignon Blanc 2017

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 (7%) 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 exuberantly offers gooseberry, citrus and cactus 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

Cougar Crest ‘Dedication Ten’ Red Blend 2012

Walla Walla, Washington

Cash Price $19.94

Washington State is quickly becoming near and dear to my heart. I recently taught a class that stunned the consumers on the quality coming out of this state  This wine is the introductory blend of Cougar Crest Winery.  Dedication is a blend of 55% Syrah, 20% Cabernet Franc, 17% Merlot, and 8% Petit Verdot.  I am increasing happy with most of the wines coming out of Washington, but am REALLY excited about the Syrah and Cabernet Franc from Walla Walla.  Dedication offers flavors of silky black cherries and blackberries that encompass velvety tannins and soft acids.  The mid palate shows a harmonious display of plum, currant, and creamy texture.  The wine does have a ‘sense of place’ on the palate that makes it distinctly different from California wines. The wine is peaking and drinking perfectly NOW, so go get yours!   James Score: 91Points

Chateau D’Ollieres Dry Rose 2017

Provence, France

Cash Price $19.94

Coming from the heart of Provence, this wine is a blend of 50% Grenache/40% Cinsault/10% Syrah.  The beautiful salmon color shows that D’Ollieres will be a wonderfully light and Dry Rose that will pair well with food or be a good stand alone companion.  Freshly picked red roses and wild flowers lift the delightful aromatics.  Red cherries and crushed citrus fruits sinew deftly into the palate with zesty acidity.  The finish is clean, offering touches of raspberry and red apples.  James Score: 89+ Points

Cross Springs Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Lake County, California

Cash Price $14.39

Located in the Red Hills AVA of Lake County, Clay Shannon is producing extremely high quality wines at an unbelievably affordable price.  His vineyards are located some 1,400 feet above sea level and are naturally sustainable due to the elevation being well above the fog line.  The wine is full bodied and textured with flavors of black cherry and currant seeping through its core. The mid palate offers blackberry and wild berry with hints of sage and tobacco wafting throughout integrated tannins and acids. The finish is plush and long with tinges of smoke and lavender.  James Score: 90 Points

Block 826 Pinot Noir 2017

Chalone, California

Cash Price $22.99

Chalone AVA is in the cooler stretches of Monterey that make it perfect for delicious Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  This offering shows layers of complexity and refinement. Flavors of raspberry and red cherries sing in the palate with soft, yet firm acidity.  Notes of cola and rhubarb play in the mid palate with hints of baking spices and cream.  The finish is succulent and appealing with fruit cobbler and sweet plum jam.  Yum!  James Score: 90 Points

Tobias ‘Lexi’s Estate’ Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Mendocino, California

Cash Price $18.99

The daughter of owner’s Toby and Dawn Forman, Lexi, is now the driving force behind this Potter’s Valley, Mendocino Sauvignon Blanc. Tobias Estate has become one of the darling’s in our portfolio, consistently offering very high quality at a premium price. This Sauvignon blanc exudes bright flavors of citrus green apple, lemon and grapefruit with zingy acidity.  The wine is un-oaked and shows hints of melon and passion fruit on the finish with just a whiff of white peach. Great Hot Weather White!  James Score: 91 Points

Dante Robino Reserva Malbec 2017

Mendoza, Argentina

Cash Price $17.99

Robino is 100% Malbec aged for 12 months in new and used French oak.  Bodega Dante Robino has become a gem in our portfolio from South America.  The wines are over achievers at a moderate price point.  This wine offers thick and robust flavors of plum and black cherry with medium tannins and acids.  The mid palate shows blackberry and currant with a silky mouth feel that starts to offer creamy vanilla.  The finish is delicious with notes of toasted graham crackers, exotic spice and cedar. Pair this with your meats on the grill this weekend!  James Score: 90 Points

Francois Labet Brut Sparkling N/V

Burgundy, France

Cash Price $17.79

Francois Labet, owner of Ch. de la Tour, has been producing one of my favorite Cremants for several years now.  Cremant is a term used for sparkling wine produced outside of Champagne like, in this case, Burgundy.  This 100% Pinot Noir is fresh and delightfully bubbly.  Flavors of green apples, plum and raspberry sing into the palate with nice, tight bubbles.  The wine has medium intensity with a weight in the palate leading to hints of brioche and yeasty complexity. Daily Bubbly Extraordinaire!  James Score: 89 Points

Domaine de Cabasse Red Blend 2017

Rhone Villages, France

Cash Price $14.99

My favorite daily reds inevitably come from the Rhone Valley.  The wine is Grenache based and a true representation of the high quality coming from this region.  The Cabasse name has Italian roots that goes back to the time when the Pope resided in Avignon in the 14th century.  Avignon is the center for the famed wines of Chateauneuf du Pape.  Flavors of ripe boysenberry and black currant are rounded out with medium acids and tannins that are silky throughout the core.  Notes of fig and touches of bacon fat sink into rich vanilla beans and garrigue.   The finish offers hints of sage, thyme, and peppercorn which lays on the palate for quite awhile.  Cabasse is a perfect BBQ wine!  James score: 89 Points

Vino Lauria ‘Zio Paolo’ Nero D’Avola 2015

Sicily, Italy

Cash Price $16.99

Sicily is quickly becoming the darling of Sommeliers around the world with interesting indigenous varieties planted on rocky, volcanic soil. This vineyard (Zio Paolo) is organically farmed to 100% Nero D’Avola.  The grape is fresh and fruity with an easy approachable with nice acidity that is perfect for a warm weather red wine.  Fleshy red fruits of strawberry and cherry flow juicily in the palate with whiffs of rose petals and sage.  Hints of smokey minerality play into the finish with zesty acids and very light tannins.  Fresh and Vibrant!  James Score: 88 Points

Albert Bichot Chardonnay 2017

Macon Villages, Burgundy

Cash Price $14.99

Some of the best VALUE Chardonnay in the world are produced in the southern stretches of Burgundy in a region called the Maconnais. Albert Bichot is a negociant that consistently shines in quality and value. This wine has beautiful aromatics with floral notes of acacia and honeysuckle.  The palate offers fresh green apples and melon with hints of wet rock minerality and lively acidity making this a wonderful food wine. The finish is clean and refreshing unencumbered by oak. James Score: 88 Points

Thank You,

James C. Barlow CWE, CSS

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