JAMES BARLOW’S ‘THE THIRTEEN’ PICKS OF JUNE 2022

Brooks ‘Concho’ Pinot Noir 2018

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Cash Price $44.99 but ONLY

$34.99 with a $10.00 Spec’s Key for a limited time!

This wine was produced for Country rock star singer Clay Walker. He’s a Cabernet Sauvignon fan, but fell in love with Brooks winery so they decided to collaborate on a red and white wine. This 100% Pinot Noir is made in a ‘beefier’ style to mold to Clay’s palate. The wine has medium intensity with bright cherry compote and exotic spice on the nose. The palate offers fresh pomegranate, lavender and dark cherries with whiffs of dark chocolate and cola. The finish is deliciously appealing with hints of minerality, rose petals and just a kiss of oak. Barlow Score: 93 Points

Baer Cabernet Franc 2016

Columbia Valley, Washington State

Cash Price $34.99

Baer Winery is producing some absolute rocking Red wines. Erica Orr is the winemaker for these single vineyard wines. She worked her first harvest with Cathy Corison! The wines are all single vineyard from Stillwater Creek Vineyard on the Royal Slope of the Frenchman hills. The vineyard has quickly earned a reputation as one of Columbia Valley’s Top Vineyards. Their Cabernet Franc is easily one of the best that they make in my opinion as that variety is one of absolute favorites produced in Washington State. The wine is 92% Cabernet Franc with 8% Merlot and 21 months aging in French Oak. It has medium plus intensity with flavors of black cherry, plum, and mulberry on the palate. The mid palate is plush and inviting with hints of roasted herbs and cracked pepper. The finish is long and integrated with whiffs of cream, gravel and tea leaf. Barlow Score: 93 Points

Snowden ‘Lost Vineyard’ Merlot 2018

Napa Valley, California

Cash Price $37.99

Lost Vineyard is a 2 acre block located on perlite and sand soils. The wine was hand harvested and fermented with native wild yeast and aged in 50% New French oak barrels for 14 months while being bottled unfined and unfiltered. The wine is 95% Merlot with 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. It has beautiful structure and intensity while offering loads of fruit and velvet texture. Bright flavors of red cherry and currant pop into the palate with silky finesse and elegant balance. The mid palate is balanced with ripe red fruit while offering touches of spice and whiffs of earthy underbrush. Notes of plum, vanilla and cedar are prevalent with hints of tea leaf on the long, lingering finish. Barlow Score: 94 Points

Altruria Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Alexander Valley, California

Cash Price $25.99

This is a new addition our portfolio and should be a smashing success! The wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley. The 2019 vintage was gorgeous for Alexander Valley and the ensuing wine really shows it. This small production Cabernet was aged for 18 months in new and used French oak. Ripe flavors of dark cherries, cassis, and blackberry pop into the palate with medium plus intensity. Notes of soft cocoa, smoked game, and violets sink through the mid palate. The finish is long and enticing with whiffs of black tea, tobacco and cedar. Barlow Score: 91 Points

Slate Pinot Noir 2019

Russian River Valley, California

Cash Price $24.99

The Slate wines are a newer addition to our portfolio. This 100% Pinot Noir is unfined, unfiltered and was aged in 40% new French oak for 12 months. The wine has medium intensity with poised structure. Flavors of juicy pomegranate, bursting red cherries and raspberry tea round into vibrant acidity. Hints of tea leaf and cola waft through notes of lavender on the finish with tinges of minerarlity. Barlow Score: 90 Points

Peachy Canyon ‘Westside’ Zinfandel 2019

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 strawberry rhubarb 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

Chateau Pontac Phenix Red Blend 2014

Haut Medoc, France

Cash Price $19.94

Phenix is the 2nd wine of Pontac Lynch and the vineyards used are in the Haut Medoc and Margaux, not far from 1st Growth Chateau Margaux. The 2014 vintage is a great value vintage where one can find awesomely delicious and affordable wines. This vintage is drinking perfectly right now! Flavors of red cherry and kirsch lay on a medley of sweet spices and medium intensity.  This wine is deliciously ripe and ready to drink.  The acids are tantalizing with dense notes of toasted oak  and roasted coffee bean.  The finish is persistent and well rounded.  Yum! A true gem!  Barlow Score: 90 Points

Red Phoenix Red Blend 2018

Lodi, California

Cash Price $19.94

This Red Blend is a new addition to our portfolio. I decided to buy this wine due to it’s inherent approach ability and easy drinking nature. The wine is 57% Zinfandel with smidgeons of Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah, Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon making up the rest of the blend. Red Phoenix has medium intensity with plush notes of blackberry and cherry flowing into a silky mid palate. Hints of subtle spice waft enticingly throughout the mid palate. The finish is creamy with whiffs of milk chocolate and toasted oak. Joseph Smith is the wine maker and he also makes Experience Cabernet which has become quite a sensation in our portfolio. Barlow Score: 90 Points

Brooks ‘Amycas’ White Blend 2021

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Cash Price $17.99

Amycas is an Alsatian style white blend with 30% Pinot Gris/24% Pinot Blanc/16% Muscat/15% Riesling/15% Gewurztraminer as the components of the wine. This wine absolutely explodes with flavor on the palate. Ripe, textured flavors of white peach, papaya, and Honeycrisp apple pop into the palate with medium intensity. The mid palate shows licks of white flowers and more tropical fruit. The finish is clean and refreshing with whiffs of lychee, mandarin, apricot, and exotic spice. What a perfect Summer white wine! Barlow Score: 92 Points

Cru Montage Chardonnay 2018

Monterey, California

Cash Price $18.99

I recently tasted through this winery’s white portfolio.  I am a fan of Monterey because there are so many micro climates that one can find a large variance in styles of wines produced.  This wine has beautiful restraint while keeping true to the expression of ‘traditional’ California Chardonnay.  Flavors of pineapple and pear flow seamlessly through hints of fresh flowers and ripe green apples.  The mid palate shows focus with tropical flavors and medium acidity.  The finish offers notes of hazelnuts, vanilla custard and smidgeons of oaky complexity.  James Score: 88 Points

Triennes Dry Rose 2021

Mediterranee, France

Cash Price $17.99

Triennes is consistently one of my favorite Rose’s year in and year out.  As the heat starts to rise, I quickly begin to gravitate towards higher acid, lower tannin wines.  Rose wines are a perfect medium to combat the Hot Houston Heat.  Deliciously dry, this Cinsault based Rose has expressive and compelling aromatics.  Flavors of bright red cherries and red roses zing into medium plus acidity that quenches the palate.  Notes of wild meadow flowers play into the mid palate with touches of cranberry and red berries.  The finish is clean and pure with touches of salinity and wet rocks.  Fall in Love with Dry Rose this summer!  James Score: 92 Points

Etesian Brut Sparkling NV

Sonoma County, California

Cash Price $15.89

Etesian is a new sparkling wine for us from an extremely reputable winery (It’s a secret!) that we’ve been able to procure at a great price point. Coming from a bubble head, I’ll tell you that these sparklers are absolutely delicious! This sparkler comes from Carneros on the Sonoma side. The cepage is 57% Pinot Noir and 43% Chardonnay produced Methode Champenoise and aged for 2 years on the lees. The ensuing bubbly has clean, tight bubbles with lively flavors of tangerine, lemon and Asian pear. The finish is clean and enticing with hints of biscuity brioche and white flowers. Barlow Score: 91 Points

Lockwood Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

Paso Robles, California

Cash Price $13.99

Lockwood has been a staple in the Spec’s portfolio for many years, however it was purchased by the Boisset family a couple of years ago and they have changed the flavor profile of the wines a bit.  The wines are still all estate grown on calcareous soil and spends time in French oak.  Flavors of cherry and cassis flow into hints of chocolate and tobacco. Framboise is prevalenton the mid palate with soft, lush tannins and accessible acids.  The finish give hints of oak and cocoa.  Barlow Score: 89 Points

Thank You,

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

Spec’s Fine Wine Buyer

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