Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

Tis the season for my ABSOLUTE favorite holiday.  Thanksgiving allows me to truly get my wine ‘geek’ on and typically pick some esoteric wines that will pair phenomenally with all the Turkey day fixins. This year I have chosen to be a bit more traditional, in the sense that I am showing you mostly American wines for this American Feast.  I hope you all will join me in pouring these wines at your table this Holiday Season.  Enjoy!

Roederer Estate ‘L’Ermitage’ Cuvee Sparkling Brut 2012

Champagne, France

Cash Price $44.64

Sparkling wines are a wonderful start, middle and ending to all things Thanksgiving! The wines are extremely versatile being mainly composed of a white and a red grape(Chardonnay and Pinot Noir).  This Winery is one of the top Champagne producers and have crossed the pond to settle their American version in Anderson Valley.  This sparkler is consistently one of the top produced in the United States.  The wine is Vintage 2012 and only produced in the top years. It was aged for 5 years in French cask and 5 more months after disgorgement. Flavors of grilled peach and crisp citrus flow through tight, clean bubbles. The mid palate has wonderful depth and weight with notes of brioche and confection wafting through a beautiful nuance of minerality.  Barlow Score: 94 Points

Vincent ‘Silvershot’ Pinot Noir 2016

Eola-Amity, Oregon

Cash Price $49.99

Vincent Wine Company is a small winery located in the Eola-Amity HIlls of the Willamette Valley.  Winemaker Vincent Fritzsche prides himself on producing small production, high quality (and vineyards) wines with a sense of place. The wine is 30% whole cluster and from the sustainably farmed Silvershot vineyard (formerly Crowley Station) and aged in neutral French oak.  Flavors of bright raspberry and cranberry dance through deliciously crisp acidity and low alcohol. The mid palate has an elegant texture of freshly picked fruit and the finish is long, yet light with hints of underbrush, cola and a delightful fruit punch medley.  Barlow Score: 93+

Domain Grand Tinel Red Blend 2016

Chateauneuf-Du-Pape, France

Cash Price $42.99

The 2016 vintage was ideal for the Southern Rhone with great crops that led to spectacular wines. This wine is composed of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah from 70-year-old vines rooted in clay and limestone soils. Striking aromas of red berries and pomegranate soak into the palate with hints of violet and garrigue.  The mid palate has a plush vibrancy that leads to polished fruit and hints of dried herbs, dark chocolate and black pepper.  The finish offers silky texture with elegant prowess that belies its powerful structure. Wow!  Barlow Score: 94 Points

Kenefick Pickett Road Red Blend 2015

Calistoga, California

Cash Price $39.89

Kenefick has long been one of my favorite producers in Calistoga producing wines from sustainable farming using 100% estate grown fruit for over three decades. The wine is a blend of 44% Merlot/44% Petit Verdot/12% Cabernet Franc aged for 18 months in French oak and bottled unfined and unfiltered. The wine has a ruby core with medium plus intensity from the Petit Verdot. Flavors of black cherry and plum bounce into hints of juicy black raspberry and milk chocolate. The mid palate is silky smooth, yet firm with underlying notes of blackberry pie and just a kiss of creamy toffee. Yum!  Barlow Score: 93 Points

Bedrock Zinfandel 2017

Sonoma, California

Cash Price $26.99

This may be a new addition to our portfolio, but this wine has a long history of viticulture in the hands of famed Zinfandel Winemaker Joel Peterson (Ravenswood Winery).  His son, Morgan Twain-Peterson is the owner and winemaker of this winery and has poured his heart, soul, and long-loved experience of producing Zinfandel in every bottle. He passed the Prestigious Master of Wine program in 2017, making him one of forty-five in the United States.  This dynamic Old Vine Zinfandel offers a light neon ruby rim that leads into jammy deliciousness and flavors of red fruit, pomegranate, and red currant.  The wine screams through the palate with juicy fruits that are balanced by structured acidity and tannins. The fruit darkens out a bit on the finish and is encompassed with touches of pepper and anise.  Barlow Score: 92 Points

Brooks Pinot Noir 2017

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Cash Price $29.99

I am extremely excited to introduce Brooks winery back into our portfolio!  They just received a ‘Top 100 Wineries of the Year’ for 2019 and I couldn’t be happier to offer these spectacular wines!  The winery is fully sustainable with most being organic or biodynamic.  The wines offers purity and finesse that make this winery one of the top producers in the United States. They are also one of the first wineries in the United States to partner with 1% for the Earth.  One Percent of all their sales goes straight back into making our Earth a better place.  But enough about the winery!  This smashingly vibrant Pinot offers bright flavors of strawberry and pomegranate on the nose with a rich cherry texture and pie crust filling the mid palate.  The finish is amazingly complex with notes of dried rose petals, hints of forest floor and crunchy red fruit that lingers on the palate for a delightfully long time. Enjoy! Barlow Score: 92+

Bacio Divino ‘Pazzo’ Red Blend 2016

Napa Valley, California

Cash Price $26.99

Pazzo Red blend is one of the more unique blends on the market because it is one of the very few that use Sangiovese as its primary variety.  Granted, the rest of the blend does have Merlot, Cabernet, and Syrah that make its body and structure quite exquisite.  The zesty sweet red fruits of cherry and raspberry zing into the palate with a richly textured balance that sings into the core of the wine.  Kirk Venge is the consulting wine maker here and its evident with its plush nature and vibrant flavors.  Touches spice and mocha tickle into a long, palate refreshing finish. Barlow Score: 90 Points

Expression 38 ‘Russian Camp’ Chardonnay 2017

Russian River, California

Cash Price $22.99

Iconic wine trailblazer Bill Hill is behind this line.  He has long standing relationships with farmers in some of the best vineyards in the United States. This wine is from the Russian Camp Vineyard that is nestled in heart of the Russian River Valley.  The wine is beautifully layered with flavors of baked apples, melon and ripe pear.  The mid palate offers a core of acidity that is rounded out by a creamy plushness of pineapple, vanilla and butterscotch.  The finish is light and persistent with hints of roasted nuts, cedar and graham crackers.  Barlow Score: 90 Points

Matthiasson Dry Rose 2018


Cash Price $19.94

The geek in me gets quite excited when I have the pleasure of pouring the wines of Steve and Jill Matthiasson.  They are considered some of the best in the business.  They love to experiment with lesser known varieties and keep winemaking pure and simple. This wonderfully Dry Rose is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Counoise sourced from two vineyards (Dunnigan in Yolo and Hurley in Napa).  The wine has a delightful citrus and red fruit component that begs to be paired with food.  The wine is low alcohol (11.5%) and has a Provencial feel, but with American panache.  Notes of lemon citrus combine with fresh rose petals, wild flowers and raspberry that flow into refreshing acids. The mid palate softens a hint with touches of sur lie aging showing and notes of bing cherry race throughout the creamy core. The finish is pure and refreshing with whiffs of white pepper, wet rock and gardenias.  Yum! James Score: 91 Points

Blue Rock ‘Baby Blue’ Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Sonoma, California

Cash Price $18.99

The baby blue line has exploded into the Texas market with some of the best sales in the entire United States.  The Sauvignon Blanc has been growing exponentially every year it has been released.  I recently had Kenny Kahn (owner) in my office to taste through the new vintage.  These may be the best he has ever produced.  This wine is 94% Sauvignon Blanc with just a smidgeon of Viognier to add floral aromatics and viscosity.  Flavors of delicious ripe lemon citrus delivers into the palate with precision while allowing secondary components of lychee, white peach and fresh meadow flowers to dance playfully through moderate, yet vivacious acidity.  The wine is un-oaked and prides itself on displaying a balance of fruit and acidity that will pop in the palate. The finish is clean and rounded with hints of orange blossom and nectarines.  Barlow Score: 90 Points

Brooks Riesling 2017

Willamette Valley

Cash Price $18.99

As you may have read earlier in this blog…. Brooks winery is now part of our portfolio.  I cannot remember the last time I reviewed a winery twice in the same blog (maybe never) but as we approach Thanksgiving, I want to give you all the opportunity to pour these extraordinary wines at your table this holiday season.  Riesling is a perfect pairing for Turkey day as the grape is extremely versatile.  This mostly Dry Riesling offers fresh fruit flavors of melon and cantaloupe that seep into exemplary acidity which softly lays on a bed of gardenia and honeysuckle.  Hints of orange blossom and lemon pie waft hauntingly into a long finish that shows whiffs of petrol, wet rocks and mouth watering spice.  Barlow Score: 91 Points

Freelander ‘District One’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2017


Cash Price $15.99

This new addition to our portfolio is built to be a user friendly, daily drinking Cabernet that doesn’t break the bank.  This Cabernet checks all the boxes in flavor profile.  Racy and deep flavors of blackberry and cassis flow easily into medium intensity.  Notes of black raspberry and vanilla offer a creamy core with hints of blueberry cobbler.  The finish is soft and plush with hints of toasted oak and graham crackers. Great Turkey Day Cabernet!  Barlow Score: 90 Points

Ca’Momi ‘Heartcraft’ Brut Rose N/V

Napa Valley, California

Cash Price $10.99

Deliciously soft on the palate, flavors of ripe strawberries and sweet red cherries burst into millions of bubbles.  A creamy core offers hints of cherry cobbler crust and citrus.  The finish gives hints of bread crumbs and confection. Make this your starter for all the Holiday festivities!  Barlow Score: 88 Points

Thank you,

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

Spec’s Wine, Spirits and Finer Foods

Buyer –  Fine Wine America and Saké


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