JAMES BARLOW’S ‘THE THIRTEEN’ PICKS OF NOVEMBER 2021

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

Wow, Can you believe it’s November already? This year seems to have flown by. I apologize for not posting an October picks. I was extremely busy and time just ran out on me. I do have some great picks this month for you to select. Most will be Thanksgiving Feast friendly with a smattering of delicious wines that I’ve tasted lately. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season catching up with friends and family! Enjoy!

Ken Wright ‘Bonnie Jean’ Pinot Noir 2015

Willamette Valley, California

Cash Price $59.84

Ken Wright has been an Icon in Willamette Valley for many years. His single vineyard offerings usually range between $75-$100 per bottle, but I was able to get a special deal on a limited quantity of library wines. Bonnie Jean Vineyard is located in Yamhill-Carlton. The wine is 100% Pinot Noir and was aged for 10 months in French oak. This stunning wine is drinking beautifully right now. Rich flavors of raspberry and violets flow elegantly into the palate with a core of jammy red fruits. The mid palate offers notes of raspberry tea and blueberry compote. The finish is long and balanced with whiffs of cola and toasted hazelnuts. Barlow Score: 96 Points

Lavinea Elton Vineyard Chardonnay 2017

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Cash Price $39.89

Winemaker Isabelle Meunier (Evening Land, Domaine Vougeraie and Felton Road) who apprenticed under famed Bourgogne winemaker Dominique Lafon produces this wine for Lavinea. The Elton vineyard (named Oregon’s Top Ten Best Vineyards) is located in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA which is a sub appellation in the Willamette Valley with elevation of about 500 feet and the well-known Jory soil that makes the region quite unique in profile. This vintage is a bit more linear than the 2015, but still offers amazing aromatics and flavor profile. The wine has medium intensity with notes of white peach and citrus racing through the palate with zesty acids. The mid palate offers quince and grapefruit with a soft, surprising roundness. The finish is beautifully textured with whiffs of white flower, sweet butter and orange blossom. Absolutely Gorgeous wine. Barlow Score: 95 Points

Andre Clouet Grand Reserve Brut N/V

Champagne, France

Cash Price $37.99

Andre Clouet is a Grand Cru Champagne producer from the region of Bouzy.  Grand Cru Champagne is produced from only the finest vineyards in the region.  Most of the BIG name producers that you buy from Champagne are NOT Grand Cru wines, but from many different sites throughout Champagne.  They may be of good quality, but only Grand Cru vineyards give you the best expressions of bubbles.  This Champagne exudes royalty from the first sup.  Flavors of green apple and citrus explode on the palate with deliciously tight bubbles.  Delightfully soft notes of bake apple pie and toasted Crème brulee flicker throughout the mid palate with a medley of fresh white flowers that sinew eloquently from start to finish.  The backbone of this exquisite bubbly has a chalky Belemnite minerality racing through the core that finishes with smashingly clean and lip smacking acidity.  This wine is impeccably made and one of my favorite value sparklers in the world!  Bubbles for Thanksgiving is ALWAYS a great idea! Barlow Score: 92

Baer Winery ‘Callisto’ Red Blend 2016

Columbia Valley, Washington State

Cash Price $34.99

Baer Winery is producing some absolute rocking Red Blends. This was my favorite of their portfolio. The wine is 42% Cabernet Sauvignon/42% Syrah/16% Petit Verdot from Stillwater Creek Vineyard. It was aged for 22 months in 50% New French Oak. The wine has a dark ruby core with medium plus intensity. Sleek flavors of blackberry, raspberry and salty ham sink deftly into the palate with licks of blueberry. The mid palate is silky and plush with hedonistic notes of currant, briar bushes and blueberry pie. The finish is richly textured with luscious notes of vanilla, cedar and vanilla cream. Yum! Barlow Score: 94 Points

Brooks Winery Estate Riesling 2018

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Cash Price $29.99

This winery’s wines are a perfect fit for Turkey Day. Every Damn One of Them. But, if I have to choose, then their Estate Riesling is a Must Have on your table this Thanksgiving. This Dry Riesling exudes brilliance from the first sup. The wine is 100% Organic and Biodynamic and wine maker Chris Williams allows the wines he produces to show the true essence of terroir. This energetic Riesling offers medium intensity with just a whiff of residual sugar to balance out the taut acidity. Ripe flavors of citrus blossom, guava and nectarines flow deliciously into the palate. The mid palate offers more citrus with licks of grapefruit and ripe green apple. The finish is clean and refreshing with notes of wet stone, white peach, just a whiff of white flower. Barlow Score: 94 Points

Blue Rock Baby Blue Pinot Noir 2019

Petaluma Gap, California

Cash Price $29.99

This is a new addition to Blue Rock. They purchased a Pinot Noir vineyard called Gapstone in the heart of Petaluma Gap and are now able to offer us this little gem. The vineyard is planted to Pommard, Swan and 115 Clones of Pinot Noir. This juicy 100% Pinot Noir is small production and ready to drink some the first ‘pop’ of the cork. The wine exudes flavors of red and black fruit with medium intensity. Notes of black cherry and raspberry jump into the palate with smidgeons of lavender in the core of the wine. The finish is lip-smackingly pleasing with hints of raspberry tea, clove, and vanilla pie crust. Barlow Score: 91 Points

Pazzo Red Blend 2018

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 juicy red fruits of cherry and raspberry burst into the palate with a richly textured balance that shows off the brilliance of the 2018 vintage in California.  The mid palate is fresh and delicious without all the encumbering oak.  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

Republic of Pink Dry Rosé 2019

Central Coast, California

Cash Price $17.99

This delicious Dry Rosé has become my ‘Go To’ pink wine for food pairing. The winery only makes 1 wine. 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

Vine and Supply Pinot Noir 2017

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Cash Price $19.94

I’ve been searching for more value Pinot Noir and struck gold with this wine. The wine is 100% Pinot Noir and was aged in 30% new French oak for 12 months. Ripe red berries pop into the palate with flavors of bing cherry and plum. The mid palate shows medium intensity with a plushness that pleases the palate. The finish is long lasting showing hints of cedar, anise and rose petals that lay on a bed of spice and underbrush. Get this wine on your table this holiday season! Barlow Score: 90 Points

Tooth & Nail Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Paso Robles, California

Cash Price $19.94

Paso Robles is a hot bed for great Value Cabernet Sauvignon right now. This brand new addition to our portfolio is a ‘no-brainer’ for Cabernet under $20. The grapes come from all sustainably farmed vineyards. The wine was aged for 14 months in 25% new French oak. Dark blue fruits explode on the palate with flavors of blueberry, blackberry and cassis. The mid palate shows medium intensity with an easy approach ability of black cherry and plum. The finish is supple with hints of dark chocolate and creamy vanilla cedar. Barlow Score: 89 Points

Brooks ‘Terue’ Dry Muscat 2019

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Cash Price $16.99

I tried this wine a couple of months ago when searching for more dry white wines to add to our portfolio. We are starting to run short on Brooks Winery white wines as they did not produce a 2020 vintage due to smoke taint issues. This 100% Dry Muscat is bursting with flavor from Brooks Estate Vineyard and Muska Vineyard in Eola-Amity. The wine is expressive and elegant with flavors of citrus blossom and peach nectar. The mid palate has medium intensity with notes of cactus, kumquat, and lychee. The finish is pure and vibrant with hints of saline and melon. Great pairing for Turkey with all the fixings! Barlow Score: 90 Points

Oregon 99West Pinot Gris 2020

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Cash Price $13.99

Oregon Pinot Gris is often lost in the white wine world due to the popularity of its Italian counterpart.  Pinot Gris from Oregon is slightly heavier with more viscosity and fleshier fruits than Italian Pinot Grigio.  This wine displays racy flavors of peach and apricot in a completely un-oaked atmosphere.  The wine has a round mouthfeel with medium acids that sink into notes of citrus and pear blossoms.  The finish is mouth watering with hints of tropical fruits and apple blossoms.  Barlow Score: 88 Points

Shannon Ridge Zinfandel 2019

Lake County, California

Cash Price $12.99

I love serving American Zinfandel for Thanksgiving. It’s always a uniquely American wine with a long history in California. This Lake County gem is consistently one of the best price/value Zinfandels in our portfolio. The wine is zesty and ripe. Flavors of blackberry and plum are offered on the palate with spices and dark fruit. The mid palate offers more juicy fruit notes of cherry and currant. The finish is integrated with soft vanilla and oak. This will go well with any darker meats you serve for Turkey Day. Barlow Score: 88 Points

Thank you,

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

Spec’s Fine Wine Buyer

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s