JAMES BARLOW’S ‘THE THIRTEEN’ PICKS OF MARCH 2020

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

March is roaring in and just like that a third of the year is gone, but great goodness almighty! What a year it has already been!  I plan to travel to Bordeaux to taste the 2019’s in a couple of weeks and I’ll make sure to give you all an in-depth look at the vintage. This month’s list is American heavy as I have been tasting much more American wine as of late, with a sprinkling of other wines from around the world. Pick a bottle or 6 (Pick 6 discount!) and let me know what you think. Enjoy!

Bougetz ‘Amaryllis’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Spring Mountain (Napa), California

Cash Price $59.84

I was in Napa Valley last year with Napa Valley Vintners and had the pleasure of really sinking my teeth into all that Napa Valley has to offer. I tasted this wine amongst probably a hundred other wines and found myself gravitating back to their booth to taste through the rest of the line. This wine showed a purity and concentration that put it head and shoulders above the rest at the tasting. The wine is 92% Cabernet with 4% Merlot and Cabernet Franc from 1,000 ft. above the valley in Spring Mountain. It 100% whole berry crushed and fermented then aged for 22 months in 75% new oak. Bright flavors of thick black fruits of currant and cassis load into the palate with nice viscosity. The mid palate is full with good tannin and acid structure that are ensconced by layers of cherry vanilla, cedar and exotic spice.  Get this in your home! Wow! Barlow Score: 95 Points

Calcareous ‘ZSM’ Red Blend 2017

Paso Robles, California

Cash Price $35.99

Dana Brown is quietly producing some of the better wines coming out of Paso Robles. Her wines got rave reviews (2 Double Gold and Class Champion) at the Houston Uncorked! Wine Competition. This is one of her newer wines and I couldn’t be happier to offer it. The wine is mostly Zinfandel with a hint of Syrah and Merlot.  The grapes are all estate fruit and aged for 17 months in French oak and American oak.  Rich, ripe flavors of blackberry and cocoa flow easily into the palate with tinges of bramble. The mid palate gives medium structure with ample tannins and easy acids. Notes of black pepper and cocoa butter linger on the finish with whiffs of vanilla and cedar. Barlow Score: 91 Points

Parched Pinot Noir 2017

Sonoma Coast, California

Cash Price $29.99

This single vineyard Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast is a new addition to our portfolio.  The Pinot Noir grapes are 777 clone and sourced from two blocks in the Gold Coast Vineyard, fermented 100% whole berry then aged for 10 months in 30% new French oak. Rich flavors of black cherry and pomegranate meld with soft acidity and tannins. Hints of cola and rhubarb tingle throughout the palate with whiffs of exotic spice.  The finish is layered and textured with notes of vanilla and raspberry compote. Barlow Score: 92 Points
Ulrich Langguth Spatlese Gunterslay Riesling 2017

Mosel, Germany

Cash Price $22.99

Riesling season is coming back with the warm weather!  Riesling is so deliciously versatile to pair with food or to share with friends at the pool.  This 100% Riesling from the Piesporter Gunterslay vineyard is intensely ripe with flavors of white peach and oozing fleshy melon.  Sunshine citrus flows through a backbone of fresh acidity with hints of crushed white rocks. Whiffs of apricot and pear combine with fresh wild flowers on the finish. Utterly delicious!  Barlow Score: 92 Points

Chateau de Castera Red Blend 2010

Haut Medoc (Bordeaux), France

Cash Price $19.94

Castera is a Cru Bourgeois winery that is held to higher standards than the regular AOP wines of the area.  The 2010 vintage was one to behold in Bordeaux.  Bright, sunny days and cool nights helped the grapes reach full potential ripeness while retaining acidity and structure.  The wine is Merlot based with a heavy dollop of Cabernet and touches of Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot.  Ripe flavors of strawberry and black cherry sing through medium plus tannins and medium acids.  Notes of currant are displayed through hints of cinnamon and clove.  The finish offers sweet spices with licks of vanilla and a smidgeon of roasted meat and freshly brewed coffee.  Awesome wine from a vintage that is sure to dazzle.  This wine is drinking beautifully Right Now! Barlow  Score: 90 Points

Peachy Canyon ‘Westside’ Zinfandel 2017

Paso Robles, California

Cash Price $24.99

We are extremely excited to have Peachy Canyon back in the fold of our portfolio. This winery has been producing high quality Zinfandel since 1988. Paso Robles is offering exciting wines for good value and Zinfandel has been a staple variety in the region since its infancy.  This is Peachy Canyon’s flagship Zinfandel. The wine is 77% Zinfandel with a smattering of Primitivo, Alicante Bouschet and Petite Sirah making up the difference. It was aged for 18 months in 30% new French, Hungarian and American oak. Powerful notes of plum and boysenberry pop in the palate with medium structure. Notes of white pepper, leather and tobacco hit the mid palate with whiffs of licorice and cassis.  The finish is integrated with notes of raspberry pie, vanilla and red currant. Barlow Score: 91 Points

Trig Point ‘Diamond Dust Vineyard’ Merlot 2017

Alexander Valley, California

Cash Price $18.99

Nick Goldschmidt is one of my favorite wine makers.  He consistently crafts wines of high quality in different climates and even hemispheres.  His father was a land surveyor and a ‘Trig’ is used to establish boundary lines.  Goldschmidt’s Trig Point wines show the unique soils of the area he gets the grapes from, namely Alexander Valley.  The vineyard is located on the southern (and cooler) end of Alexander Valley which makes it prime territory for producing low yield, high quality Merlot.  This 100% Merlot offers flavors of intense black cherry and rhubarb that jump into easy acids and well rounded tannins.  Notes of strawberry and freshly picked plum meld into the core of the wine with touches of spice and smokey minerality.  The finish is deliciously long with 12 months of French oak aging in 25% new barrels and just a touch of new American oak which gives hints of creamy vanilla bean, cinnamon, and cedar.  Barlow Score: 90 Points

Twisted Paso Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Paso Robles, California

Cash Price $16.99

The Calcareous ‘Twisted Paso’ (formerly Twisted Sister) line has become one of the best selling wine selections in Spec’s entire portfolio.  They produce a wine with silky smooth approachability that is heaven on the palate.  Lush flavors of blackberry and currant flow seamlessly through the palate with licks of milk chocolate and cedar.  The mid palate give medium tannins and acids that are soft and integrated.  The core offers creamy blueberry with notes of leather and cigar box.  The finish offers hints of graham cracker and toasted oak with smidgeons of vanilla and cinnamon.  James Score: 89 Points

Blason de Bourgogne Cremant Sparkling Rose N/V

Burgundy, France

Cash Price $15.69

Some of the best value bubbles in the world are coming from the Bourgogne region. The wines are made Methode Champenoise and can often rival that of its neighbors to the north but without the price tag.  This Pinot Noir based bubbly is vibrant and refreshing from first POP of the cork.  Deliciously fresh notes of strawberry and raspberry tart zing into the palate with hints of biscuity goodness that are wrapped up in rose petals and wild flowers.  The finish is clean and crisp with tinges of cherry pie and melon. Yum! Barlow Score: 90 Points

One Flock Red Blend 17

California

Cash Price $14.99

I recently tasted the new vintage of this everyday slurper and came up with quite similar notes for you value shoppers!  The wine is a kitchen sink blend with Zinfandel and Cabernet making up the lion’s share. The wine was aged in both French and American oak.  Flock is deliciously supple with flavors of red plum and wild berries that sinks into soft tannins.  Whiffs of blackberry pie, cinnamon and nutmeg flow through the finish with tinges of pipe tobacco and sweet clove.  Barlow Score: 89 Points

Girasole ORGANIC Chardonnay 2018

Mendocino, California

Cash Price $12.99

This Brand New addition to our portfolio is 100% Certified Organic!  We have been on the hunt for value Organic wine and have hit pay dirt with this Mendocino winery that has been farming organically from the start.  Fresh flavors of lemon lime citrus and tree fruits flow easily into the palate with light intensity.  The mid palate is elegant and shows a creamy note that is surrounded by whiffs of green apple,honeyed almonds and vanilla. The finish is light and compelling with bit of toasted oak.  Barlow Score: 88 Points

Shannon Ridge Petite Sirah 2018

Lake County, California

Cash Price $12.99

Shannon Ridge has become my ‘go-to’ daily winery with exceedingly high quality in the bottle for such a marginal cost. This juicy Petite Sirah has become a staple of their winery with its extremely approachable mentality.  The wine gets consistently high scores from critics (#64 Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Wines of 2019) year after year.  Ripe flavors of blackberry and black raspberry rush into the palate with medium intensity. Hints of black pepper and spice fill the mid palate with tickles of vanilla and cedar on the finish. Barlow Score: 90 Points

Kono Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Marlborough, New Zealand

Cash Price $12.99

Kono is one of the more consistent selling Sauvignon Blanc’s in Spec’s portfolio.  It is the 2nd label of Tohu winery and has absolutely caught fire in the market the past couple of years.  Completely unoaked, this Sauvignon is juicy and vivacious from start to finish.  Flavors of citrus lemon-lime zest zing through medium plus acids.  Notes of ripe and dripping grapefruit are prevalent on the palate with smidgeons of jalapeño jam and finely chopped herbs.  Perfect summer party wine that would pair insanely with oysters on the half shell! Barlow Score: 89 Points

Thank you,

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

 

 

 

 

 

 

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