Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

This year seems to have flown by! The year 2022 has had it’s own set of challenges even with Covid dying down a bit. I have been super busy this year with travel (just returned from Japan) so I haven’t been able to post every month. I apologize for that and will try to rectify that in 2023. I am extremely excited about the holidays and as you all know, Thanksgiving is my favorite! I love to be able to cook food all day with friends and family while pairing well thought out wines for the big feast. Here are some GREAT wines to put on your table this Turkey day. The Amycas white blend may just be the best New World white wine that you could possibly open to pair with most everything on the table, so I highly recommend putting some in your cart soon! HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf-du-Pape Reserve Red Blend 2019

Rhone Valley, France

Cash Price $72.99

Pegau is one of my favorite all time wineries and their wines never fail to over deliver.  I have always loved the wine at $90, but at $73 this wine is an unbelievable steal!  The wine is 80% Grenache, 6% Syrah, 4% Mourvedre, 4% Cinsault, and 5% Counoise and 1% Vaccarese produced on vines that range from 40-100 years old.  The wine is aged in neutral oak for two years without fining or filtering before release. The Feraud’s of Domaine du Pegau have been tending vines in Chateauneuf du Pape since the year 1670.  They are considered on of the premier ‘Elite’ producers in all of the Rhone Valley.  Robust flavors of steeped red cherries and plum march brawnily into the palate with medium plus tannins and acids.  The mid palate shows cured and roasted meats, bacon fat, and tapenade that round into touches of leather and currant.  The finish is full and crucially long with hints of chestnuts, morello cherries and garrigue. Laurence has outdone herself with this wine! Pegau is the perfect bottle to impress the family for Thanksgiving.  Barlow Score: 97 Points

Lagier Meredith Syrah 2017

Mt. Veeder, California

Cash Price $44.99

I was quite happy to add this winery to Spec’s portfolio a couple of years ago and we have sold them with pleasure. Steve and Carole decided this year to retire and are giving their vineyards to Aaron Pott to continue to steward their land. So the Lagier Meredith label will cease to exist after 2021 and will be folded into the Pott Wines label. Ya’ll should pick up these wines early and often while they are still available! As most of you know, I’ve been a Syrah nut for years and this one really shows why I love this variety. Refined flavors of blackberry and lavender show deliciously on the palate with whiffs of red roses. The mid palate gives tinges of black pepper with polished tannins and hints of dark plum. The finish offers touches of black cherry compote with licorice and exotic spice. A beautifully balanced wine that would pair excellently with Turducken! Barlow Score: 94 Points

Lavinea Tualatin Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017

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

Brooks ‘Concho’ Pinot Noir 2018

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Cash Price $44.99 BUT A $10.00 SPEC’S KEY FOR A LIMITED TIME

ONLY $34.99

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. Pairs with Fried Turkey! Barlow Score: 93 Points

Stuhlmuller Vineyards Chardonnay 2020

Alexander Valley, California

Cash Price $24.99

I visited Fritz Stuhlmuller at Stuhlmuller vineyards in April and was quite impressed with his style of wine making and consistency across the board with the wines that they produce. The wines were consistently restrained, while showing ample amount of fruit and texture. This deliciously flavorful Estate Chardonnay shows ample flavors of green apple, lemon blossom, and pear. The mid palate offers touches of creamy texture while keeping a vibrant backbone of acidity. The finish is supple and inviting with hints of nectarine, creamy cashews and butterscotch. This will be a delightful pairing for a butter slathered turkey. Barlow Score: 92 Points

Dusty Nabor Dry Rosé of Grenache 2021

Sta. Rita Hills, California

Cash Price $24.99

I was originally surprised at how much quality was in the bottle with all the Dusty Nabor wines (also his NSO label), but the shock has worn off and now I’m realizing that he is just producing extremely high quality wines on a regular basis. This Rose shows off the versatility of Grenache. Focused and brightly structured flavors of crunchy raspberry and white peach flow melodically into the palate with wafting notes of white flowers dancing through the core. The mid palate is light and cleansing with tinges of lychee blossom and Bosc Pear. The finish is tight and bright with medium acidity bouncing on the palate while showing just a hint of wet stone minerality. Barlow Score: 91 Points

Escape Artist Red Blend 2020

Alexander Valley, California

Cash Price $22.99

I was quite excited when the opportunity arose to work with Nick Goldschmidt. He is one of the best wine makers in the world with an amazing list of wineries that he has dealt with. He lives right near Alexander Valley and farms several vineyards in the area. I am pleased to offer this new project from him called ‘Escape Artist’ Red Blend. It is a blend of 71% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec that has been aged in French oak. This vibrantly intense wine offers red fruit on the palate with hints of black cherry and blueberry. The mid palate is well balanced with a supple roundness. The finish is smooth and enticing with hints of tobacco leaf, vanilla, and exotic spice. Barlow Score: 91 Points

Paul Dolan ‘Organic’ Sauvignon Blanc 2021

Mendocino, California

Cash Price $19.94

I have championed ‘Organic’ wine and better farming since I took over as Fine Wine Buyer for Spec’s several years ago. This brand is a no-brainer to support as Mendocino Wine Co. has been on the forefront of good farming for generations. The wine is delightfully zesty and will slice right through any dry white meat that may be on your table for the holidays. Flavors of grapefruit and lemon zest pop into the palate with medium intensity. The mid palate shows tree fruits of white peach and orange blossoms. The finish is clean and refreshing with a linear minerality that is precisely focused. Yum. Barlow Score: 90 Points

Hospices de Beaujeu Gamay Beaujolais 2020

Brouilly, France

Cash Price $19.94

Beaujolais is always a classic pairing for Thanksgiving due to it’s softer flavor profile and excellent acidity. I have seen sales of Beaujolais Nouveau drop steadily over the last several years, but it seems that customers have tired of its ‘bubble gummy’ flavor profile and instead are purchasing higher quality Beaujolais such as Hospices de Beaujeu. This wine hails from Brouilly which is one of the Cru regions in Beaujolais known for producing higher quality Gamay. Bright flavors of red cherry and pomegranate jump into the palate with excellent acidity. Light and flavorful notes of raspberry and red roses show easily into the mid palate. The finish is fresh and vibrant with hints of violets, lavender and crushed rocks. Beaujeu Brouilly is a no-brainer to put on the table for your feast this year. Barlow Score: 90 Points

Renwood Ranch Estate Zinfandel 2019

Amador County, California

Cash Price $20.89

Renwood winery has completely revitalized their image over the past several years deciding to focus on fewer wines, but all high quality from the estate. The winery has produced Zinfandel (famously) for many years. This Estate Zinfandel is ripe and juicy from the start with flavors of red berries and bramble. The mid palate is lusciously enticing with blueberry popping into whiffs of smoked meat and black pepper. The finish is richly textured with hints of vanilla and cedar. 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 Thanksgiving feast white wine! Barlow Score: 92 Points

Etesian Blanc de Noir Brut Rosé Sparkling NV

Carneros, California

Cash Price $17.99

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 wine is 58% Pinot Noir/42% Chardonnay produced Method Champenoise (Champagne!) and aged on the lees for 2 years before release. Flavors of white cherry and citrus flow into tight, clean bubbles. The mid palate shows notes of lemon and orange peel that sink into tingles of raspberry cream. The finish is light and refreshing with whiffs of lemon meringue and chocolate truffles. Barlow Score: 91 Points

Dr. Frank Salmon Run Semi Sweet Riesling 2021

Finger Lakes, New York

Cash Price $12.99

Dr, Konstantin Frank winery has been quietly making some of the best value Riesling in the United States for years. This daily gem hails from the Finger Lakes as Dr. Frank was the first winery to make vitis vinifera work in the soils of New York. Salmon Run offers freshly picked fruit flavors of crisp Granny smith apples, lemon sorbet, and pineapple. The mid palate is bursting with flavor and energy while showing a balanced backbone of acidity. The finish is soft with a light sweetness of honeycomb and lilacs. This wine has just enough sweetness to enjoy by itself with family or also has enough acidity to pair with pork or ham on the table. Barlow Score: 90 Points

Thank You,

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

Spec’s Fine Wine Buyer

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