PLUMPJACK COLLECTION PRIVATE VIRTUAL TASTING: THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12TH AT 7PM CST

Join Us for this very rare and special opportunity to learn about the history of this Iconic winery and have a fun Q and A session with Plumpjack. You can find all the wines at Spec’s. Please RSVP to the zoom link eary, possibly buy a bottle or 3 (Not Required to join) and sip some of the finest wines that Napa Valley has to offer this Thursday! See you (Virtually) there!

Image may contain: text that says 'PLUMPJACK COLLECTION OF WINERIES CADE PRIVATE VIRTUAL TASTING with the PLUMPJACK COLLECTION PLUMPJACK ESTATE WINERY CADE ESTATE WINERY ODETTE ESTATE WINERY 3TH VINEYARD Featuring: .CADE Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc •PlumpJack Reserve Chardonnay, Napa Valley •Adaptation Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley •CADE Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mountain THURSDAY NOV 12, 2020 at 7:00PM CST via Zoom MEETING ID: 890 9604 9436'

Thank you,

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

Spec’s Fine Wine Buyer

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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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J. Moss Winery Virtual Tasting This Thursday, November 5th at 7pm

Hey all!

Please join me for this awesome tasting with one of the few Black Owned Wineries in all of California. I had the pleasure to meet James a couple of years ago in Napa Valley and have enjoyed selling his boutique wines that are absolutely delicious! So, Go support him and purchase some wines for this event and join us for an in depth discussion on wine and Napa Valley passion!

Time: This Thursday, November 5th at 7pm

Zoom Meeting ID: 343 782 4452

Password: 1990

Thank you,

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

Spec’s Fine Wine Buyer

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THE TWELVE UNDER $12 FOR OCTOBER 2020

Perelada Brut

Cava, Spain

Cash Price $9.99

This diamond shows clean citrus notes and plenty of apple and pear.  The palate shows touches of bread pudding and confection.  The finish is refreshing with touches of almond and white flowers.  Pair this with brie filled paté.

Fog Bank Cabernet Sauvignon

California

Cash Price $9.99

A California Cabernet extraordinaire with ripe flavors of plum and cassis that are enveloped by hints of caramel and vanilla spice with a medium body. Pair with herb crusted lamb shanks.

Long Barn Chardonnay

California

Cash Price $9.99

Deliciously rich with flavors of pear, apples, and apricot. The finish flows easily into hints of pineapples, vanilla, and toasted oak. Pair with Turkey sandwiches and tomato soup.

Chateau Lavagnac Red Blend

Bordeaux, France

Cash Price $11.99

The wine is Merlot dominant and offers stunning value in Bordeaux. Flavors of plum and cherries lead into excellent structure and whiffs of vanilla on the finish. Pair this with sausage and brisket.

Chateau Galochet Red Blend

Bordeaux, France

Cash Price $11.99

This 100% Merlot wine is a super value from Bordeaux. Flavors of red currant and plum flow into of vanilla and spice. Pair with blood sausage and onions.

Vit Vane Chardonnay

Western Cape, South Africa

Cash Price $10.99 But with a $2.00 Specs Key!!

South African Chardonnay is super surprising! Flavors of tropical mango, pineapple, and citrus pop into notes of cream and hints of oak. Get this in your basket today!

Big August Gruner Veltliner

Austria

Cash Price $11.27 ON SPECIAL!

Gruner Veltliner is a wine with Big Flavor that not many people have heard of. Flavors of lemon lime, punchy grapefruit and minerals bounce into a clean, refreshing finish. Pair with salty pretzels.

Laborie Sauvignon Blanc

Western Cape, South Africa

Cash Price $11.99

Zesty flavors of lime, cut grass, and candied jalapeno jump into the palate with clean notes of sliced melon and papaya. Pair skeletons and ghouls for Halloween!

Monte Campo Montepulciano D’Abruzzo

Abruzzo, Italy

Cash Price $7.49

Here is your perfect lasagna night pairing! Flavors of strawberry, wild berries, and caramel flow into a surprisingly complexity that lingers throughout the finish.

Casa Ceccato Pinot Grigio

Delle Venezie, Italy

Cash Price $5.99

This fun, fresh and fruity wine offers citrus on the palate with touches of white flowers and tropical fruit that tango through the finish. Pair with friends and festivities!

GEA Tempranillo

Mendoza, Argentina

Cash Price $6.99

Argentina’s hidden gem comes to light in this value wine. Flavors of dark cherry and currant rock into notes of fig and plum with just a hint of spice. Pair with a slab of meat slathered with all the fixings.

Felipe Rutini ‘Trumpeter’ Cabernet Sauvignon

Mendoza, Argentina

Cash Price $9.99

This wine Trumpets quality! Flavors of blackberry and black cherry jump into notes of toasted vanilla and hazelnut. Pair with dry aged beef slathered in a portobello mushroom cream sauce.

Thank you,

James C. Barlow CWE, CSS

Spec’s Fine Wine Buyer

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PATRICIA GREEN CELLARS VIRTUAL TASTING 10-29-20 at 7pm

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

As you all know, I have become an ardent fan of Willamette Valley wines and am extremely excited to offer this Virtual Tasting from one of the better wineries in Willamette Valley. Please go pick up some of these wines at your local Spec’s and Join us Next Thursday, October 29th at 7pm.

Join Us on
ZoomMeeting
ID: 856 3323 0599
Password: 973514

Patricia Green Accolades:

*Founded in 2000 with one of Oregon’s first woman winemaker
*All fruit is sourced from organic, dry farmed vineyards
*First 100pt score for OR Pinot Noir in 2018

Please join us for a Virtual Tasting with Patricia Green Cellars!


The producer of more individual bottlings of Pinot Noir than
any winery in America.


National Sales & Winery Ambassador: Melissa Groshong

Thursday, October 29th, 2020 at 7pm CST.

Tasting Wines
2017 Patricia Green Sauvignon Blanc
2018 Patricia Green Reserve Pinot Noir
2018 Patricia Green Balcombe Pinot Noir
2018 Patricia Green Volcanic Pinot Noir

Thank you,

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

Spec’s Fine Wine Buyer

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MATTHIASSON VIRTUAL TASTING NEXT THURSDAY, OCTOBER 15TH AT 7PM

Hello All,

It is my distinct pleasure to offer this next virtual tasting! As you all know, I am an ardent fan good farming IE Sustainable, Organic, Biodynamic, etc… Steve Matthiasson is on the forefront of good farming in Napa Valley. He has become of one the the more famous winemakers in Napa Valley with his ‘hands off’ approach to vintning wines, letting the varieties speak for themselves.

Ya’ll should not miss this event! It’ll be an amazing learning experience to talk about farming, sustainablity, and rules of organics. This also gives us the opportunity to go buy some his wines and support Napa Valley (They need all the help they can get this year).

Please Join me!

Zoom ID: 831 3450 7984

Password: 2003

Wines:

  1. Matthiasson Dry Rosé 2019
  2. Matthiasson Village Chardonnay 2019 *Brand New to the Texas Market*
  3. Matthiasson ‘Linda Vista Single Vineyard’ Napa Valley Chardonnay 2018
  4. Matthissson Village Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 *Brand New to the Texas Market*
  5. Matthiasson Napa Valley Cabernet 2016 (ONE OF MY FAVORITE CABERNETS!)

SEE YOU VIRTUALLY!

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

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

This year is winding down….Finally! Now we get to safely start having some holiday fun! I’m ready for the holidays! Fun, food, and ghouls? Anyway, This month’s selections are a smattering of value priced wines with some stunners sprinkled in. I’d highly recommend you picking up a bottle or case of the Brooks Runaway Red Pinot Noir. It’s Ah-mazing! Enjoy!

Snowden ‘Levi Philander Davis Vineyard’ Petit Verdot 2016

Napa Valley, California

Cash Price $44.99

Napa Valley is really needing our support right now. The Glass Fire has raged through and devastated some of the Iconic wineries in Napa such as Cain, Burgess, Hourglass, and Newton. Snowden is located on the eastern slopes of Napa Valley and fortunately has not had issues. Diana Snowden-Seysses is the winemaker (one of my favorite, hands down). She produces wines of balance and structure. Petit Verdot is all about structure. It’s a grape known for adding backbone to other wines and is rarely seen as a single variety expression. This 100% Petit Verdot was aged for 15 months in French oak, then bottled unfined and unfiltered. This particular wine is produced from a single acre adjacent to ‘Brothers Vineyard’ nestled 800ft up in the mountains. Full bodied flavors of black currant and blackberry pop into floral hints of violets. The mid palate shows plenty of inky intensity, yet a silky core that envelopes the palate. Hints of vanilla bean and cedar weave through notes of exotic spice, tobacco and black tea that lingers on the finish for a good long time. Barlow Score: 94 Points

Calcareous Tres Violet 2017

Paso Robles, California

Cash Price $39.89

Owner Dana Brown’s passion for Paso Robles wines showing quality in the bottle embodies the mantra ‘let the soil speak’.  Her portfolio is impressive across the board (Check out her Syrahs!) but I am quite taken with her Rhone style blend called ‘Tres Violet’.  It is a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah that sung from start to finish.  Gracious flavors of raspberry, violets and smoked game lifted into the palate with medium tannins and acids. The mid palate screams blueberry through a plush, creamy core. The finish is long and integrated with dancing hints of clove and cinnamon. Barlow Score: 93 Points

Hanzell ‘Sebella’ Chardonnay 2018

Sonoma Valley, California

Cash Price $27.99

Sebella is the entry level wine from one of the more Iconic Chardonnay producers in the United States, Hanzell. The wine is produced from the younger vines on the estate. It is fermented in stainless steel and used French oak, so as not to over burden the wine. They also did not allow malolactic fermentation as to preserve the vibrancy. Granny Smith apple delivers into the palate with tickles of guava and lemon citrus. The mid palate shows medium intensity with bright notes of white peach and pear that gives way to surprising weight. The finish is clean and fresh with hints of white flowers, crushed rocks and tickles of herbs. Barlow Score: 92 Points

Ratio ‘Retina’ Pinot Noir 2016

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Cash Price $34.99

Ratio is a new winery to our portfolio. The wine is named Retina due to his wife’s degenerative vision disorder. Anthony King donates 10% of the revenues to a foundation fighting blindness. The grapes come from the Organically Farmed Jesse James Vineyard in Eola-Amity, Vidon Vineyard in Chehalem and Three Carriages vineyard high up in the hills south of Portland. The wine is produced with 15% whole cluster and aged for 16 months in 21% new French oak. This Pinot is harmonious from start to finish. Flavors of red cherry and pomegranate flow into medium intensity. Hints of cranberry and raspberry tea sit on the mid palate with touches of cola and lavender. The finish is soft, yet nervy with hints of under brush and exotic spice. Only 138 cases produced! Barlow Score: 92 Points

Shannon Ridge ‘Home Ranch’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Lake County, California

Cash Price $19.94

Clay Shannon is making some of the best VALUE Cabernet in California. He owns a bunch of acres 2,000+ feet up in the Red Hills of Lake County. Cabernet up here gets plenty of sunshine to allow for optimal ripeness as you’ll see when you look at the alcohol content on the label (usually pushing 15%). This wine was aged for 24 months in 35% new 3/4 French and 1/4 American oak. Powerful and intense flavors of dark cassis and cherry barrel into the palate with medium plus intensity. The mid palate offers juicy blackberry with caramel notes. The finish is balanced showing vanilla, cream and tobacco leaf with just a smidgeon of graham cracker and allspice. Barlow Score: 91

Brooks Winery ‘Runaway Red’ Pinot Noir 2018

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Cash Price $19.94

It is pretty rare to get Willamette Valley appellated Pinot Noir under $20, but it’s nearly impossible to get this quality in the bottle for that price. The wine is 100% Pinot Noir and aged for 10 months in used French oak. This wine offers Old World structure, but new World Panache. Juicy flavors of red cherry and raspberry seep into the super sleek palate with an undercurrent of crunchy red pomegranate. The mid palate shows medium intensity and an earthy texture with hints of button mushroom and fresh soil. The finish is delightfully smooth and shows stewed strawberry intermingled with fresh Herbs de Provence. Barlow Score: 90 Points

Gemtree ‘Uncut’ Shiraz 2015

McLaren Vale, Australia

Cash Price $19.94

Gemtree is one of my favorite Aussie producers, so it’s no wonder that they are Certified Organic and Biodynamic as well as Vegan friendly. The wine was aged in 100% French oak for 16 months. Aussie Shiraz can sometimes come across as over ripe, but that’s not the case in this wine. Energentic flavors blackberries and currant flow generously into medium intensity. Smooth notes of blueberry and plum show through tinges of black pepper and cured meat. The finish offers whiffs of smoked beef jerky, clove and vanilla which linger on the palate nicely. Barlow Score: 93 Points

Chateau Crabitey Red Blend 2015

Bordeaux, France

Cash Price $19.94

The region of Graves inside of Bordeaux quietly makes some of the better VALUE red wines on the market. This 50/50 Blend of Cabernet and Merlot really shined in this Spectacular vintage. Flavors of currant and plum sink into an easy medium intensity. The mid palate shows savory herbs with plenty of tannin. The finish gives hints of cedar, black tea and tobacco leaf. This is an excellent food wine that will age but drinks deliciously right now. Barlow Score: 89 Points

Brooks Winery Pinot Blanc 2019

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Cash Price $19.94

This winery is fully sustainable with most being organic or biodynamic. The wines offer purity and finesse that make it one of the top producers in the United States. They have an Old World feel with New World panache. They are also one of the first wineries in the United States to partner with 1% for the Earth. One Percent of all their sales goes straight back into making our Earth a better place. Pinot Blanc is making a big comeback in the Texas Market! This is one of the best expressions that I’ve had in the New World. Beautifully bright flavors of lemon citrus and pear pop into the palate with delicious refreshing acidity. The mid palate offers apricot, cantaloupe and white flowers that lay on a clean minerality of wet rocks. The finish is pure and flavorful with whiffs of beeswax and white peach. Barlow Score: 91 Points

Nine Hats (Long Shadows) Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Columbia Valley, Washington State

Cash Price $18.99

This project is declassified Long Shadows wine. Long Shadows employs nine of the world’s best winemakers to produce stunning expressions of wine from Washington State. Randy Dunn produces their Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine was sourced from Horse Heaven Hills and Wahluke Slope and aged for 11 months in French oak. Rambunctious flavors of black cherry and currant flow into a medium intensity. The mid palate offers a creamy, round core with juicy and plump fruit bursting throughout. The finish offers chocolate covered cherries, caramel and vanilla bean with just a whiff of exotic spice. Barlow Score: 90 Points

Cru Winery ‘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

Girasole ORGANIC Zinfandel 2018

Mendocino, California

Cash Price $12.99

You all know that I am an ardent fan of growers that farm with an eye on Mother Earth and future generations. This Zinfandel is Certified Organic from an Italian family that has been growing grapes that way since the beginning. The wine is 100% Zinfandel grown on a 20 acre hillside called Bella Collina (Beautiful Hill). Bursting and ripe, this wine exudes boysenberry and plum on the palate with medium intensity. Notes of pomegranate pop into the mid palate with tickles of figs. The finish is easy showing hints of raspberry tea and toffee. Barlow Score: 89 Points

Heartcraft Brut Sparkling N/V

Napa Valley, California

Cash Price $12.99

Bubbly season is upon us, so kick off this holiday season right with this tasty VALUE California sparkler. The wine is mostly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir based and produced in the Charmat method (think Prosecco). Flavors of lemon citrus and pear pop into the palate with zesty little bubbles. The mid palate softens out and shows toasted brioche and caramel. The finish offers just a smidge of white peach and flowers wrapped in a blanket of effervescence. Barlow Score: 88 Points

Thank you,

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

Spec’s Fine Wine America Buyer

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Silver Oak Virtual Tasting Event on 9.30.20 at 7pm

Please join me for this VERY SPECIAL EVENT!

Please see the zoom invitation below for YOUR special invite to join us for this rare event!

What a pleasure to be able to host David Duncan CEO of Silver Oak and talk with him about the history and wines of this Iconic Winery.

Wines to be Poured:

  1. Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet 2016
  2. Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet 2015
  3. Twomey Sauvignon Blanc 2019
  4. Twomey Merlot 2016

So, buy some wines from Spec’s and join us for this unique event!

Thank you,

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

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

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are heading into the final dog days of summer and hopefully looking for a reprieve from the summer heat in the near future. This has been an interesting summer to say the least, but we are resilient and moving forward into the holiday season. I hope everyone enjoys Labor Day! This month’s picks are a medley of wines that are still geared for summer heat, but starting to slowly nudge toward cooler weather so you will see more Cabernet Sauvignon on this list. Make sure to stop by your local Spec’s (or better yet use our curbside or delivery services) and pick up some of these wines to support your family owned Texas beverage center! Enjoy!

Blue Rock Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Alexander Valley, California

Cash Price $42.99

Blue Rock is an all estate produced winery that is located right next to Silver Oak’s Alexander Valley property.  The 2017 vintage was absolutely stunning with excellent depth and concentration.  The winery  is focused on showing the quality of terroir and offering balanced wines that  reflect the soil.  Blue Rock shows dark purple color with medium intensity. The palate offers voluptuous flavors of blueberry and black cherry that sink into a plush core of currant .  The wine is silky smooth and bright with complex notes of cedar, vanilla and baking spices on the mid palate.  The finish is rocking with blackberry cobbler and cigar box wrapped into a velvet finish.  Layered and lively.  James Score: 94 Points

Ratio ‘Johnson Vineyard’ Chardonnay 2016

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Cash Price $29.99

This new addition to Spec’s portfolio shows why we are seeking out more Willamette Valley Chardonnay these days. Elegant and restrained, yet with loads of fruit throughout to give a wonderfully textured and complex wine. This Certified ORGANIC vineyard is located in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. Flavors of Flinty wet rocks and pineapple pour into the palate with medium intensity. Notes of chamomile and Meyer lemon lift the mid palate into the zesty acids. The finish is pure and electric with hints of vanilla bean and nutmeg. 97 Cases produced. Barlow Score: 92 Points

Domaine du Pré Semelé Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Sancerre, France

Cash Price $28.99

Pré Semelé has become one of my singular favorite wineries in all of the Loire Valley. This has been my ‘go to’ 100% Sauvignon Blanc for several years now. The vineyards are planted on Calcareous clay and limestone, so this wine exudes that chalky zest that makes Sauvignon Blanc from Loire some of the most unique and sought after white wines in the world. Explosive flavors of lemon lime citrus and gooseberry zing into medium plus acidity. The mid palate offers a surprising softness that give ripe notes of tree fruit. The finish becomes quite linear again with hints of crushed rocks after a fresh rain and minerals. Barlow Score: 91 Points

Block 718 Red Blend 2018

Stag’s Leap District, California

Cash Price $24.99

This newest Block edition hails from the famed Stag’s Leap District in Napa Valley. The wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Petite Verdot that was aged in French oak for 12 months. Sumptuous and ready to drink from the pop of the cork, this wine offers flavors of hedonistic black raspberry and cherries that heap into medium intensity. Notes of blackberry fill the mid palate with plush tannins that waft into hints of baking spices, milk chocolate and anise on the finish. Sleek and inviting, get this in your basket! Barlow Score: 90 Points

Manzoni Chardonnay 2014

Santa Lucia Highlands, California

Cash Price $26.99

The Santa Lucia Highlands is a hidden gem AVA’s for producing dynamite Chardonnay.  This wine comes from Vigna Monte Nero Vineyard on the cooler northern stretches of SLH. The vintage was exceptional and it follows through in the glass.  Vibrant flavors of pineapple, mango and orange blossoms are quite present on the palate with a rich creamy core on the mid palate.  There is a dense vivacity on the backbone that keeps this wine in focus and balanced.  The finish shows tinges of papaya and nectarines with a bit of exotic spice and vanilla. Barlow Score: 91 Points

Trig Point ‘Diamond Dust Vineyard’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Alexander Valley, California

Cash Price $22.99

Nick Goldschmidt is one of my favorite wine makers. He consistently crafts wines of high quality in different climates and even hemispheres. His father was a land surveyor and a ‘Trig’ is used to establish boundary lines. Goldschmidt’s Trig Point wines show the unique soils of the area he gets the grapes from, namely Alexander Valley. Nick is famed for crafting consistently balanced Cabernet from California that are not exceedingly ripe or alcohol driven. This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon was aged for 18 months in French, American and Hungarian oak. Ripe, yet focused flavors of red currant and raspberry pump into the palate. The mid palate shows medium intensity with notes of chocolate covered cherries, caramel and hints of blue fruit. The finish is full and structured with touches of toasted oak, vanilla and creamy butterscotch. Barlow Score: 91 Points

Cru Montage Pinot Noir 2016

Santa Lucia Highlands, California

Cash Price $18.99

Santa Lucia Highlands is nestled in the Central Coast of California with a perfect micro climate for growing very high quality Pinot Noir.  Winemaker Ken Post has hit gold with this wine.  The 2016 vintage was picture perfect for California with abundant harvests and perfectly ripe fruit.  Flavors of pomegranate and wild strawberries sinew effortlessly into a core of cherry cola.  This 100% Pinot Noir shows an elegance while really driving the delicious fruit flavors through the palate.  Notes of rhubarb and brown sugar play softly into the 9 months of French oak aging.  Hints of blueberry pie and crust play into the finish with bits of vanilla bean and herbs.  Barlow Score: 90 Points

Domaine Pegau ‘Setier’ Red Blend 2016

Rhone Valley, France

Cash Price $17.99

Chateau Pegau has always been one of my favorite Chateauneuf Du Pape producers.  They started making this wine several years ago as an entry level Rhone Village made just a smidge south of CDP but still implements low yield, hand harvesting and strict pruning criteria.  The wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 20% Mourvedre.  Setier offers flavors brambly black cherry and red currant that flow seamlessly into a medium intensity.  Notes of garrigue and black pepper knock into hints of smoked tar and juicy raspberries.  This wine really over delivers!  Barlow Score: 91 Points

Cru Winery ‘Viceroy’ Red Blend 2015

Paso Robles, California

Cash Price $16.99

Cru winery has been producing solid, affordable wines for quite awhile in our portfolio.  This is their new GSM red blend. The wine is 41%Grenache/41%Syrah/18%Mourvedre that is tailored to show off the versatility of the winemaker. The wine has medium red color and medium legs. It is aged for 16 months in 20% new French oak.  The palate offers juicy flavors of red cherry and raspberry with touch a touch of darker fruit with medium intensity. The finish shows notes of blueberry cobbler and just a smidgeon of black pepper that is rounded out by the richness.  Yum.  Barlow Score: 90 Points

Julia’s Dazzle (Long Shadows) Rose 2019

Columbia Valley, Washington State

Cash Price $16.99

I would say that Rosé season is winding down, but I think it’s Rosé season year round in Texas! This Rosé is 98% Pinot Grigio (Yep, that one) and 2% Sangiovese. The wine has a bright, popping pink color that is quite brilliant in the glass. Juicy fruits of watermelon and strawberry pop into the palate with medium intensity. Tickles of sweetness play on the mid palate with tree fruit and hints of banana. The finish shows whiffs of grapefruit and orange blossom. Barlow Score: 90 Points

Charles Smith ‘Pop Up’ Brut Sparkling 2018

Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley, Washington State

Cash Price $14.99

I have been scouring the US for delicious bubbles to add to our portfolio that really over deliver for the price. I have found it in this bubbling beauty! This sparkler is 100% Chardonnay and 100% single vineyard (Evergreen) at a killer price. Light and clean bubbles pop into zesty lemon citrus and honeysuckle. The mid palate is lip smacking and offers notes of orange blossom, peach and pie crust. The finish is easy and quaffable with tinges of white flowers and lemon tart. Barlow Score: 89 Points

One Flock Chardonnay 2017

California

Cash Price $14.99

This quintessential California Chardonnay is ready for you to pour early and often on days that end with ‘Y’. Ripe tropical fruits of pineapple and melon flow into plush hints of mandarin with a soft intensity. Hints of baking spice are an underlying current throughout. The finish shows papaya and mango with whiffs of creamy vanilla. Barlow Score: 88 Points

Girasole ORGANIC Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Mendocino, California

Cash Price $12.99

You all know that I am an ardent fan of growers that farm with an eye on Mother Earth and future generations. This Cabernet is Certified Organic from an Italian family that has been growing grapes that way since the beginning. Pure flavors of currant and cassis flow into medium intensity. The mid palate is balanced and racy with notes of blackberry, dark chocolate and graham crackers. The finish is easy and integrated with hints of plum, toasted oak and spice. Surprisingly good for the price! Barlow Score: 90 Points

Thank you,

James C. Barlow CWE, CSS

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The 12 under $12 for September 2020

Epic Run Sauvingon Blanc

Marlborough, New Zealand

Cash Price $9.99

Bursting with flavor and energy, Epic zings into flavors of lime, peach and grapefruit with a crispy clean finish.  Pair with a zesty pesto pasto salad.

Zonin Prosecco

Italy

Cash Price $9.99

Prosecco seems to just pop into your basket.  Flavors of citrus, cream and hints of almond zoom delightfully into every glass you pour. Make this your daily fizz fun!

Perimeter Merlot

Washington State

Cash Price $9.99

This tasty everyday Merlot offers cherry and plum with medium intensity. Unctuous notes of blackberry, vanilla and mocha flow seamlessly into a long finish.  Pair with Mom’s Tuesday night special.

Michel Schlumberger Pinot Grigio

California

Cash Price $10.99

Pinot Grigio is so fun and fresh that it’s an instant hit on sweltering hot days. Flavors of citrus and hints of tropical fruit flow into crisp acidity and no oak. Pair with fresh lemon and parsley halibut.

Verraco Pinot Noir

Monterey, California

Cash Price $11.99

Great priced Pinot Noir is wonderful for the crazy times we are in. Verraco shows rich, lasting flavors of raspberry and black cherry with hints of spice leading into a super smooth finish. Pair with Every. Single. Day.

Hayes Cabernet Sauvignon

California

Cash Price $11.99

This delicious daily Cabernet offers red cherry and cassis that envelope the palate with smooth tannins and cream vanilla. Pair with dark chocolate, a blanket, and your favorite movie.

Chateau Vermont Bordeaux Superior

Bordeaux, France

Cash Price $11.99

This Merlot driven wine offers delicate aromas.  Flavors of red berries and plum give a depth and roundness that leads to hints of cedar and toast on the finish. Pair with a hearty tenderloin.

Le JaJa De Jau Rose

France

Cash Price $8.99

I love great, cheap Dry Rosé!  This offers cherry, raspberries and rose petals on the palate without any sweetness.  Clean and exactly what you’d like for the price. Pair with a big chill and your back porch.

Laborie Chardonnay

South Africa

Cash Price $11.99

This vibrant Chardonnay offers lychee, lemon zest and pineapple on the palate with hints of almond and green apple that lay into medium intensity. Beautifully textured and ready to drink. Pair with honeyed ham.

Banfi Centine Rose

Tuscany, Italy

Cash Price $9.99

Italian Sangiovese Rose is a perfect addition to your wine selections during the dog days of summer.  Flavors of fresh flowers and rich red berries are offered in a screw cap for early and easy consumption!

Leopard’s Leap Sauvignon Blanc

South Africa

Cash Price $10.99

South African Blanc’s are awesome! Refreshing flavors of citrus, grapefruit and grass melds into zesty acids with hints of white flowers. Pair with grilled asparagus covered in crumbled goat cheese.

GEA Malbec

Mendoza, Argentina

Cash Price $6.99

Great Value Malbec can be a premium in the house these days. This full-bodied Malbec offers flavors of black currant and plum that lead into tobacco and vanilla on the finish. Pair with a sloppy food truck cheeseburger.

James C. Barlow, CWE, CSS

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