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

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! This is obviously my favorite holiday as I get to geek out on what wines I’d like to pair with all my Gobble Day festivities. I get an EXTRA treat this year as my beloved Steelers play on Thankgiving! This holiday is truly about family, friends and unity. Here are my selections to help unify your Table this year. Blessing to you all and happy Gobble Day! Don’t forget, you can shop Spec’s in store, online, on our app, pick up curbside or even have it delivered!

Brooks Winery Pinot Noir 2018

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Cash Price $29.99

The winery is fully sustainable with most being organic or biodynamic.  Chris Williams (the winemaker) is hands off in his approach to making the wines and allows the terroir to show. 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. This wine is a no brainer for your Turkey Day festivities ! Barlow Score: 93+

J.Moss Chardonnay 2016

Carneros, California

Cash price $41.79

I met James Moss (a fellow Texan) when I visited Napa Valley a couple of years ago. We were paired to have dinner together, by fate or design, and I was able to taste through his small production wines. I was quite impressed with the wines as we ate at a killer steakhouse called Cordeiro’s. His Carneros Chardonnay is quite exquisite with the New World fruit burst and cream, but also give good acidity and structure on the backbone to make it a well balanced wine. Flavors of crushed pineapple, lychee and melon gush into the palate with layered hints of vanilla creme brulee and baking spices. The finish is integrated and lush with hints of lemon zest, toasted almond and creamy butterscotch. Barlow Score: 93 Points

Bougetz ‘Jovana’ Red Blend 2015

Napa Valley, California

Cash Price $49.99

I decided to add this wine to the mix because I love Cabernet Franc with Thanksgiving feasts! 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. Get this on your Table! Barlow Score: 93 Points

Blue Rock ‘Baby Blue’ Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Alexander Valley, California

Cash Price $20.89

Blue Rock produces luxury wines on their 100 acres nestled in the hillsides of Alexander Valley (right next to Silver Oak).  This wine is a deliciously succulent 94% Sauvignon Blanc with 6% Viognier added to give the wine a touch more viscocity and flavor pop.  I was stunned at the complexity in the glass with this Sauvignon Blanc as it layers itself beautifully.    Flavors of crisp lemon citrus leap into the palate with medium acidity that is layered into a soft, round viscosity that coats the palate. Notes of apricot and peach seep into the mid palate with touches of Meyer lemon and hay.  The finish is stunning with a pop of Viognier that adds hints of wild flowers and bees wax. This will make Momma’s Turkey flavor go off the charts!  Barlow Score: 93 Points

Chablisienne ‘La Sereine’ Chardonnay 2014

Chablis, France

Cash Price $22.99

I love Chablis!  I recently taught a class on Chablis and was reminded at how much I really do enjoy Chardonnay from this region. It is some of the most exquisite Chardonnay produced in my opinion.  Granted, I do enjoy higher acid wines so keep that in mind.  Chablis expresses true terroir in their wines.  This Classic example is named after the river that runs right through the heart of the region.  Flavors of ripe green apples and chamomile zing through the palate with medium plus acidity.  Touches of stone fruit show in the mid palate with linear complexity and hints of crushed rock and chalk.  The finish is clean with touches of cream and wild flowers.  This wine will cut through dry turkey like a hot butter knife.  Barlow Score: 90 points

The Diver Sparkling Brut Rose N/V

California

Cash Price $17.99

This is a new addition to our portfolio. I’ve been looking to grow our American sparkling portfolio and this was an easy ‘Yes’. The wine is 80%/20% Pinot Noir/Chardonnay traditional blend made in the Charmat method (Think Prosecco) with 1.1% Residual Sugar which is not really perceptible on the palate, but does soften the mouth feel. This delightful bubbly offers a beautiful salmon color and zips into the palate with flavors of bing cherry, strawberry and whiffs of citrus. Diver plunges into deliciously ripe, crunchy red fruit from start to finish. This would be a great apertif for your family festivities. Barlow Score: 89 Points

Brooks Winery Logsdon Ridge Pinot Gris 2019

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Cash Price $16.99

I am an ardent fan of well made American Pinot Gris and this is one of the best in our portfolio now. Brooks wines are completely built for food as they have zesty acidity that is perfect for fowl. This single vineyard wine is from the estate in Eola-Amity Hills. The wine is 100% Biodynamically farmed and only 100 cases were produced. This 100% Pinot Gris offers a pale straw core with light legs. Flavors of soft lemon zest and cream waft into the nose. The palate has a weighty core with notes of pear, melon and orange blossom that softens into a beautiful salinity and electric acids. The finish is pure and elegant with a roundness that offers fleshy green apples and no oak. Yum! Barlow Score: 92 Points

Republic of Pink Dry Rosé

Central Coast, California

Cash Price $17.99

This is also a new addition to our portfolio. I was enamored with this wine because this winery only produces 1 wine. They have decided to make the best damn Dry Rosé they can and that’s it. They nailed it! The wine is not done Saignee, these grapes were specifically chosen to be made into a Rosé. This Rhone style (Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah) blend hails from the several single vineyards in the Central Coast. The color of this wine is pale salmon, much like the Rose’s of Provence. Ripe cherries and strawberries burst into the palate with a light creamy core on the mid palate. Taut acidity makes this a great food wine as the finish shows touches of candied watermelon and citrus zest. This wine is downright gulpable! Barlow Score: 90 Points

Girasole Pinot Noir

Mendocino, California

Cash Price $14.99

I love this VALUE, ORGANIC winery. Every wine they make is spot on tasty. Don’t be afraid to get this one by the case. The wine is 100% Pinot Noir from their estate in Mendocino. Juicy flavors of cherries and pomegranate pounce into the palate with medium intensity. Whiffs of red roses and sandalwood hit the mid palate with a velvety texture. The finish is refined and silky with hints of oak and vanilla. Barlow Score: 88 Points

Dr. Frank Semi Dry Riesling 2018

Finger Lakes, New York

Cash Price $14.49

Konstantin Frank is producing some of the best wines in New York and were, in fact, the first to successfully implement vitis vinifera into New York.  Riesling is a specialty for this winery and their semi dry version is absolutely stunning!  This lightly off dry wine offers flavors orange blossom, green apples with tinges of ripe pear that balance effortlessly through the palate.  The wine is un-oaked and has medium plus acidity that is tamed by the licks of sweetness.  The finish offers notes of honeysuckle and wild meadow flowers combined with hints of wet rock minerality.  Riesling is one of the more versatile wines to pair with food and the hint of sweetness will make it a favorite at the table! Barlow Score: 91 Points

Ca’Momi Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Napa Valley, California

Cash Price $18.99 (On sale for $17.99 with your Spec’s Key through November)

Ca’Momi is one Spec’s gem Napa Valley Cabernet’s for under $20.  This American winery with Italian roots produces excellent value wines across the board.  The 100% Cabernet is wonderfully complex with flavors of ripe cassis and black cherry.  The wine has been aged for 18 months in oak and it shows on the palate.  Notes of spice integrate through the balanced tannins and acids.  The finish offers plush hints of currant, cream and toasted oak.  Chocolate mocha sits on the palate for a good long time.  This is a great value Cabernet Sauvignon, if you must pour Cabernet this holiday.  James Score: 89 Points

Domaine Montcy Red Blend 2016

Cheverny, France

Cash Price $19.94

Montcy is such a perfect pairing for all things Thanksgiving.  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.  Barlow Score: 90 Points

Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) Blanc Reserve 2019

Bordeaux, France

Cash Price $13.99

Most everyone has a ‘go-to’ wine for the holidays that you just know is going to be terrific every time you pop the cork.  This is ‘that’ white wine in my home.  The wine is a 55%/45% Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend that is completely unoaked. Flavors of citrus lemon lime zing through the palate with medium plus acidity.  The mid palate offers a soft creamy complexity with whiffs of white flowers and orange blossoms.  The finish is chalked full of minerality with tinges of crushed rocks.  I have found myself gravitating towards French Sauvignon Blanc for quite sometime now and this is a classic example of why it has occurred.  Barlow Score: 90 Points

Thank you,

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

Spec’s Fine Wine Buyer

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1 Response to JAMES BARLOW’S ‘THE THIRTEEN’ PICKS OF NOVEMBER 2020

  1. nwillis1comcastnet says:

    Thank you for the Diver Rose!

    Nicole Willis
    Chain Account Manager
    Victory Wine Group
    6511 W. Little York Rd, Houston Tx, 77040
    c: 713.397.7713 | email: nicole.willis@victorywinegroup.com
    http://www.victorywinegroup.com
    [cid:image001.png@01D6B2BB.C9AD61E0]

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