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

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

I hope everyone is dealing with our new temporary lifestyle with a decent outlook. I’ve taken the opportunity to bond closer with my son (if that’s possible!) and get back into an exercise routine.  That said, I’m a little stir crazy to get back to normal as I’m sure you all are too.  Well my friends, take solace and enjoyment in the wines that I have picked for review this month. The weather is warming up and so you’ll see many selections will typically have some chill to them. Stay safe friends and always feel free to offer this blog to your friends and family! Have them sign up at thewineepicure.com!  Enjoy!

Bougetz ‘Jovana’ Red Blend 2015

Napa Valley, California

Cash Price $49.99

A blended wine can really show what a wine maker is made of as it is their chance to express passion and versatility with a number of grapes in one wine.  This blend has (and needs) only two grapes.  The wine is 59% Merlot/ 41% Cabernet Franc and I couldn’t be happier with the final result. The Merlot comes from Andy Beckstoffer’s Orchard Vineyard in Oak Knoll and the Cabernet Franc comes from the Yates Vineyard on top of Mt. Veeder.  The wine was whole berry crushed then aged in 67% new French oak for 22 months.  Jovana shows excellent structure and depth from beginning to the delicious end. Flavors of black cherry and currant flow into medium intensity.  The mid palate offers blueberries with an underlying current of black pepper and spice. The finish is pure and elegant with touches of cinnamon and vanilla bean. Balanced and layered. Barlow Score: 93 Points

Lavinea ‘Tualatin Vineyard’ Pinot Noir 2015

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Cash Price $39.89

This winery has shown the ability to quickly become a rising star in the world of Willamette Valley wines. Tualatin Vineyard was planted with the originals like Ponzi and Eyrie.  The vineyard has varied elevation up to 900 feet and produce Pinot Noirs of great vibrancy and length.  The wine was produced with native yeast with twice a day pump overs and then aged in 30% new French oak.  This sleek and sexy wine shows velvet texture from the pop of the cork.  Plush red cherries pop into freshly picked strawberries with whiffs of rose petals and white flowers.  The mid palate offers medium intensity with electric acidity that travels seamlessly into tinges of crushed rocks, cherry cobbler and exotic spice. Tualatin is beautiful now, but will age gracefully for years to come.  Barlow Score: 93 Points

Parched Chardonnay 2018

Sonoma Coast, California

Cash Price $24.99

Parched Chardonnay is a single vineyard Chardonnay originating from the Gold Coast Vineyard in the Sonoma Coast AVA.  The wine has seen full malolactic fermentation in barrel, yet has a delicate, lively acidity that belies this fact.  It was aged in 50% new French oak for 10 months on the lees. Plush and gushing, Parched offers flavors of bright green apple, apricot and melon that flow through medium intensity. Whiffs of creamy brioche and butter sail into tingles of vanilla creme, marshmallow and toasted oak on the finish. Yum! Barlow Score: 91 Points

Adelsheim Dry Rose of Pinot Noir 2018

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Cash Price $19.94

I am super stoked that Rose season is back!  I recently tasted this Dry Rose and immediately checked to see how much I could get. The wine is LIVE certified (minimal footprint) and is deliciously thirst quenching.  This wine has a beautiful pale salmon color.  Flavors of white peach and juicy watermelon gush into the palate with whiffs of rose petals and cranberry.  The mid palate offers zesty acids that cleanse the palate for even more juicy red fruits on the finish. Barlow Score: 90 Points

Eberle ‘Steinbeck Vineyard’ Syrah 2017

Paso Robles, California

Cash Price $24.99

Gary Eberle was a pioneer of Paso Robles and is noted as  planting the 1st Syrah in the region. This OG Syrah has consistently been a standard for good Syrah in the Central Coast. The wine is wonderfully expressive with flavors of blueberry and blackberry that crunch into a medium intensity.  The mid palate continues with dark fruit but transitions into an earthy crushed rock texture that is finished with whiffs of chocolate covered espresso beans and dark spice. This staple Syrah is a mush have in your basket and a perfect pair with BBQ.  Barlow Score: 92 Points

Portlandia Pinot Gris 2018

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Cash Price $14.99

I am gravitating more and more toward Oregon wines when it comes to the Pinot varieties.  Portlandia is 100% stainless steel from select vineyards throughout Willamette Valley.  This Pinot Gris (Grigio) offers instant floral notes of honeysuckle and gardenias that flow into a plethora of fruits like apricot, melon, and peach.  The wine has medium intensity with citrus zest and lemon merigue through the mid palate.  The finish shows a clean tartness that begs for another sip. Barlow Score: 88 Points

Freelander ‘District One’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

California

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.  Freelander 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.  Barlow Score: 90 Points

Cru Winery Unoaked Chardonnay 2017

Arroyo Seco, California

Cash Price $17.99

Cru Winery has produced a pure expression of Chardonnay with this wine.  It is completely unoaked, being aged in 100% stainless steel while blocking malolactic fermentation to give this blank slate a nicely balanced and pure shape.  Flavors of bright green apples and mango flow into medium intensity.  The mid palate is refreshing with honeysuckle and melon gushing into whiffs of white peach and lychee. The finish is clean and soft with a natural zing of citrus. Day Drinking Chardonnay right here!  Barlow Score: 89 Points

The Ned Rose of Pinot Noir 2018

Marlborough, New Zealand

Cash Price $11.99

This wine is a 2nd label of Marisco and has quickly become one of my favorite ‘inexpensive’ Roses.  You all know that I love Pinot Noir, so it just makes sense that I would love a Pinot Noir Rose.  New Zealand offers fresh and appealing wines that are very consistent in quality.  Bright flavors of wild red berries and watermelon sink into medium acidity with hints of jammed strawberry and cream.  The finish shows raspberry and red flowers with a gentle cream that lingers on the palate.  James Score: 90 Points

Twisted Paso ‘Main Squeeze’ Red Blend 2017

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.   Barlow Score: 88 Points

Las Margas Garnacha 2017

Carinena, Spain

Cash Price $15.99

I love affordable Garnacha this time of year. Garnacha is a red grape that offers plenty of alcohol, but without all the tannins that can dry out your palate. This red wine would love a slight chill. Ripe and juicy flavors of cassis and pomegranate burst into the palate with medium intensity. Freshly crushed blueberries leak into the mid palate with hints of plum and cherry.  The finish is refreshing and offers hints of black spice.  Barlow Score: 91

Girasole ORGANIC Pinot Blanc 2018

Mendocino, California

Cash Price $12.99

We are extremely pleased to add this ORGANIC value winery to our portfolio. It is rare to get organic wine at such a great price point. Pinot Blanc is a white variety in the Pinot family.  It is arguably one of the purest expressions of the variety.  The wine is pale straw in color and offers flavors of freshly squeezed lemons and fresh cut melon with medium intensity.  The mid palate shows nectarines and honeysuckle with just a whiff of wet rocks.  The finish is lovely with tinges of white flowers and tree fruit.  Perfect summer white!  Barlow Score: 88 Points

Shannon Ridge ‘High Elevation’ Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Lake County, California

Cash Price $12.99 but $1.00 Savings with Spec’s Key for a limited time

Only $11.99

As you all have read in past blogs, this winery has become my ‘go-to’ for easy drinking daily wines. Lake County is making some of the best priced Sauvignon Blancs in the entire United States. This Sauvignon Blanc is jam packed full of citrus fruits.  Perky and fresh flavors of lemongrass and gooseberry tingle into medium intensity and tickles of exotic fruits.  The mid palate is mouth watering with tangerine and orange blossom flowing into a crispy finish of papaya and grass.  Delightfully refreshing. Barlow Score: 90 Points

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

 

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