Staff Favorites - Jim Barr

Jim Barr

Reviews

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2010 Amici Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 2-20-2015
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I have been a major supporter of the Napa Valley Cabernets coming from Amici Cellars for well over 15 years. The original primary owner/winemaker, who became one of my partners in my Pinot Noir vineyard project in the Anderson Valley in the early 2000s, and the current winemaker (with the same principle original investors of Amici), have made and continue to produce ‘old style’ Napa Valley Cabernets that show incredible balance and structure, yet with richness and depth of flavor without being an in-your-face, jam-y, high alcohol, low acid Cab that are coming from so many Napa Valley producers the last ten years-plus. This 2010 shows a deep ruby color, with an opulent, yet elegant nose of cassis, currents, and black fruits aromas, rounded by a soft cedary oak note. In the mouth, this broad, viscous, richly flavored Gem is balanced, well-integrated, dusty, and is nicely complex, with layers of flavor and character, and has a finish that is long, warm, pronounced, and lasting for at least five to ten minutes. Rusty has informed me that, although this Cabernet Gem is approachable now, we need to lay a few cases into our already crowded, temperature controlled wine cellar for a few more years. This puppy should easily age another ten to twenty years for those of you who are willing to do so, providing that you are under 60 years of age…………… 14.5% ABV
Drink from 2015 to 2030

2010 Arnaud, Bordeaux Supérieur
Review Date: 2-19-2015
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This is the first time that we have directly imported this production to K&L. In great vintages, such as 2010, Clyde searches the regional gamut of Bordeaux to find such minor producers as Arnaud that are of very high quality at reasonable prices, yet can be drunk in the near-term rather than waiting 10,000 years for it to be ready. This Gem is medium-deep ruby in color, offers up straightforward cassis to currant fruit characteristics in the nose and on its rather soft, silky, broad palate impression. This Gem is well integrated with excellent structure and has a finish that is long, warm, and shows an excellent core of sweet fruit without being over-the-top. Rusty has informed me that we need several cases in our collection to have with the tri-tip roast dinners that we have once in a while..... 13.0% ABV
Drink from 2005 to 2020
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2009 Baccinetti "La Saporoia" Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 2-19-2015
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Given 91 points by James Suckling, 90 points by Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate, three and a half glasses by Greg St.Clair (our Italian Wine Buyer), and 18½ UC Davis points by me, this lovely Brunello is medium-deep ruby in color with a pinkish hue about it, the red fruit driven nose is opulent and distinctive with just a touch of meatiness. In its broad, viscous mouth presentation, it is full of ripe strawberry to anise-like spicy characteristics, with excellent structure and acid backbone, superb complexity, with cedary and earthy tones, and a lush, deep finish. Similar to the 2001s in their youth that I am just now dipping into, this Gem will easily age another ten-plus years. Rusty has informed me that I need to also bring home several cases of this great 2009... 14.5% ABV
Drink from 2019 to 2029

2013 Quinta da Aveleda Loureiro Alvarinho Vinho Regional Minho
Review Date: 2-18-2015
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This is a classic Alvarainho, with clean, crisp lime-zest, refreshing flavors that are enhanced by a mild bubbly note (intentional), while its aromas are bright and distinctive. Eby has ordered me to bring home cases of this Gem to get ready for our Spring and Summer enjoyment...... 11.5% ABV

2013 Domaine Renaud Mâcon-Charnay
Review Date: 2-18-2015
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This is a wonderful Macon Chardonnay from a single, estate vineyard production that defines well-made, un-oaked Chardonnay from that southern location of Burgundy. Opulent aromas of Arkansas Black Apples and lime-zest are integrated with a slate-like mineral note that carries over nicely to its lush, viscous, deeply flavored palate impression. It’s finish is refreshing and mouthwatering and would be a perfect complement to a roasted chicken or turkey dish. At this amazing price, the Bean has ordered me to bring home cases, upon cases of this lovely Chardonnay Gem.... And you should, too.... 13.0% ABV
Drink from 2015 to 2020
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Rocca di Montegrossi Chianti Classico
Review Date: 12-30-2014
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From one of the top Chianti producers and a direct import for us, this lovely Chianti Classico is deeply colored, offers an opulent nose of currents, blackberry and anise fruit with just a touch of wood, all of which carries over well in its nicely integrated, viscous, superbly complex palate impression. Excellent and complete mid-range, this Gem finishes with a long, warm feel. Rusty has informed me that we need cases of this Gem to consume over the course of the next three to five years. 13.5% ABV
Drink from 2015 to 2020
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Fujanera "Arrocco" Nero di Troia
Review Date: 12-11-2014
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Medium-deep ruby in color, the exotic nose offers up truffles, forest floor, clove-like, leathery, mocha, and blueberry characteristics, which carry over to a distinctive, well-focused, round, rich, and viscous set of flavors and texture. The finish on this Gem is long and loaded. Rusty has informed me that we need to make this Gem one of our house reds for the next x-amount of months or for however long it is around. Don’t miss this puppy! ............... 13.0% ABV
Drink from 2014 to 2020
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Ostler "Caroline's" Pinot Noir Waitaki Valley North Otago
Review Date: 11-20-2014
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If any one Pinot Noir makes a statement that New Zealand has joined the ranks of great Pinot producers of the world, this incredible Gem from Ostler is it! Deeply colored, the high profiled, profound aromatics of dried rose petals, raspberry, black cherry, and spices fruit characteristics with distinctive undertones of slate-like minerality, and meaty notes, all of which carries over nicely in the mouth. It is deeply complex, broad and viscous, well-integrated and wonderfully balanced, has great structure, acid backbone and excellent mid-range, yet is lush, rich, and beautifully focused with a finish that seems to go on and on. This is an amazing Gem, and Rusty has told me that we need at least a case of this in our collection. This lovely Pinot should easily age and get better for the next five to ten years, although I think once you taste it, you will find it very difficult to keep your hands off of it. In any case, you should not miss this Gem and need to buy it in quantity. Also, Matt Kramer recently wrote glowingly about this great Pinot in one of his columns, equating it to a single vineyard production from a great vintage from Chambolle-Musigny, but he did not give it a score. So, I'll do that for him - 96 points! 13.5% ABV
Drink from 2014 to 2024

Ariston Aspasie "Carte Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-14-2014
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It is remarkable to me, and to much of our wine staff, some of the unique, profoundly produced Champagnes from the small producers that Gary Westby, our Champagne Wine Buyer, has discovered over the last decade. Virtually all of these producers, including the Aristons, are making sparkling wine strictly from estate fruit from Grand Cru recognized vineyard sites, and in small lots. As with any small producer, these wines are “hands-on” creations that are given extensive individual attention and long term aging before being disgorged. The Ariston “Carte Blanche’s” exquisite, superb quality is at a mind boggling low price vis-à-vis its style and complexity. Rich and authoritative both on its nutty, doughy yeasty nose and in the mouth, the very fine mousse leads to an amazingly rich, full style brut, with a long, intense finish. Some of you will probably not enjoy this Gem, due to the fact that you have gotten use to flavorless, bulk productions from the international, well-known, simply made name “brands,” but for those of you that seek complexity and profoundness in your Champagne, you will not find one even close in quality to this Gem at this price. The Guys (Rusty, Eby, The Beaner, and Rizzo) have forcefully made this our house sparkling wine forever. Don't be afraid to age this wonderful Champagne; it will only keep getting better. ABV 12%
Drink from 2014 to 2020
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Masia Can Mayol Loxarel "999" Brut Nature Rosat Penedes
Review Date: 7-26-2014
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This is an absolutely wonderful, delicious Cava Brut Rose with distinctive red fruit characteristics of strawberry and red cherry, not only in the mouth, but in its high-profile aromatics. Dry, clean, and crisp across the palate, this Gem finishes with a mouthwatering set of flavors. The Bean has informed me that we need cases of this brilliantly produced Gem before the summer ends. It will be our house sparkler for however long it is around. You should not miss this beauty.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart W&S 91 BC 0

2013 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 7-15-2014
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Although New Zealand has been almost exclusively known for wonderful Sauvignon Blancs the past several decades, we have seen in the past several years some nicely produced, but not outstanding, Pinot Noirs coming from many producers there. A few of these productions have impressed me to the point that I have told many customers that New Zealand is on the same quality threshold that the Willamette Valley wineries were thirty-five to forty years ago. And I have told customers that while these productions were promising, like those of the Oregon producers, it would probably be another seven to ten years when we would see some incredible quality Pinots coming from New Zealand that would rival the fabulous Pinots that now are coming from the Willamette Valley, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast and the Santa Lucia Mountain range. Then Ryan Woodhouse brings in the 2012 Te Whare Ra, and it was thoroughly impressive. And now with the 2013, I have to take several steps back and tell you that I was off by five to ten years, in that it would not take the New Zealand producers so long to create Pinots that would be on an equivalent level as the aforementioned wines. This is an amazing Pinot from a truly great, great vintage. Medium–deep ruby in color, with opulent, distinctive aromas of dried rose petals, strawberry, red fruits and spicy notes underscored by a slate mineral tone and a mild gamey quality. This carries over to a complex, layered, deep set of flavors with excellent balance, broadness and viscosity, and a lush mid-range and finish. Rusty has told me that this Gem is a truly great wine and needs to be in our collection immediately before it vanishes. Good work, Ryan, and thanks for making me eat my words. 19.0 UC Davis points out of 20.
Drink from 2014 to 2020
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart RP 91 BC 0

2013 Hubert Veneau Côteaux du Giennois Rosé (last of vintage)
Review Date: 6-3-2014
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Pink salmon in color, this lovely dry Rosé is clean, crisp and loaded with strawberry-like flavor with a hint of wet-river-stone minerality. This Gem will be one of our special wines with our shell-fish dinners according to Rizzo. 12.3% ABV
Price: $7.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Bodega Eguren Tempranillo Vino de la Tierra de Castilla
Review Date: 3-26-2014
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This is a super value red wine. Medium-deep ruby in color, the wine offers a lovely perfume of bright rose petals, black cherry and cranberry fruit qualities with undertones of anise spiciness and a wet river stone minerality. This carries over nicely to a bright, flashy, brilliant flavor presentation with integrated tannins and a refreshing, clean, mouthwatering finish. This will be one of our house reds for the next several months - I will be bringing this home by the case. Lots of cases! Enjoy! 13.0% ABV
Drink from 2014 to 2018
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Chalone "Limited Release" Chalone Pinot Noir
Review Date: 3-13-2014
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Meant to sell for about $30.00 (and it is a darn good drinking Pinot at that price) in restaurants, this Gem was over-produced and made available to us at half the price. Medium ruby in color, the distinctive nose of raspberries, dried rose petals and red cherries carries over well into a nicely integrated, well structured, bright, and fleshy palate impression. As I mentioned, this lovely Pinot drinks well now, but will improve over the next three to six years. Rusty has informed me that I need to bring home a few cases of this Gem to be one of our house reds for the coming months. 13.5% ABV
Drink from 2014 to 2020
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart W&S 92 BC 0

2012 Kalinda Santa Ynez Valley Sauvignon Blanc
Review Date: 2-4-2014
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Bright, refreshing, and mouthwatering, this beauty is clean, crisp, and loaded with citrus (lime zest to grapefruit) fruit tones in the mouth and on the nose. According to The Bean, this Gem would be a perfect pairing with crab or lobster or any shellfish dinner and will be one of our house whites for the month. 13.0% ABV
Drink from 2014 to 2017
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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