Staff Favorites - Jim Barr

Jim Barr


2007 Lanessan, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 11-08-2017
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I think of all the vintages from Lanessan, this is the most delicate, less aggressive one. Medium ruby in color, you get that classic cassis and blackberry presentation from this chateau, but with a less assertive characteristic, yet it still shows a powerful dimensional framework. The tannins are integrated, and soft, with fine depth, balance and soft complex, layered flavors. Rusty has informed me that this Gem will be one of our house reds for the next five to ten years, and that I need to bring home serveral caes for our wine cellar. Drink from 2013 to 2020. A REALLY NICE DRINKING VALUE! *****13.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2014 Husch "Nash Mill Vineyard" Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 11-02-2017
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The ensuing wine review will be totally objective and non-prejudicial. After spending two-plus years {ending in 2002} clearing a just over four acre parcel of South facing hillside at my place in the Anderson Valley, I had trucked in a hundred and fifty tons of crushed limestone and fifty tons of compost, to which Christine [my better half} and I had ripped into the site with a three way, three foot deep dredge. We then seeded the hillside with clover for ground cover and let it sit for a year. At that point, we planted it to three different clones of Pinot Noir; half to Pommard, and a quarter each to 115 and 667. In 2006 {its first harvest}, we sold the property including the vineyard to Zac Robinson of Husch Vineyards. Husch has subsequently kept the productions coming off of this site separate from everything else that they were vinifying. This 2014 is perhaps the best that has come from this site to date and what has been produced thus far has been wonderful. This 2014 Gem is medium-deep ruby in color, has an opulent, floral nose of violets and dried rose petals, with undertones of strawberries and black cherries fruit combined with clove-like to a rustic Burgundian forest floor notes. On the palate, it is lush, balanced, well-integrated, really fine and elegant, and uniquely complex, all of which leads to a long, silky finish. Rusty already has had me bring home two cases of this Gem, and we toying with the idea of maybe another case. Even though it is delicious right now with airing, we plan to age it for another ten-plus years. A GREAT WINE VALUE!!! ***** 13.9% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: Hidden View Price

2015 Kalinda Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 07-18-2017
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Produced by one of the oldest established Cabernet estates {and we cannot tell you who it is} in Napa Valley, which had its first crush in 1882, this absolutely astounding wine is deeply colored and offers opulent, powerful aromas of cassis, currants, blackberries, and violets, all of which is underscored by cedary, creamy, and dusty (Rutherford dust, of course!} qualities. This carries over fabulously to a broad, viscous, concentrated, yet integrated palate impression that offers excellent complexity, depth, balance, and richness. The finish is long, warm, and elegant. Although you can drink this Gem, with decanting and an hour or so of airing, currently, it will age easily another ten-plus years, which Rusty and I plan to do. Rusty wants me to bring home several cases of this amazing Gem and thinks that you need to give some serious consideration in doing the same. A GREAT VALUE! .....A K&L WINE MERCHANTS' EXCLUSIVE..... ***** 14.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart

2015 Rickshaw California Pinot Noir
Review Date: 06-30-2017
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Produced mostly from vineyards from the cooler North Coast and Central Coast appellations {Sonoma Coast, Anderson Valley, Monterey, and Santa Barbara} from a vintage that most of you know I feel as being a sensational vintage for Pinot Noir, this second label production from Banshee Vineyards is perhaps the best they have created since we have started from the very beginning carrying this wine several years ago. Native yeast fermented and aged ten months in both stainless steel {45%} and French oak {55% of which 10% was new}, and very reflective of this superior, low crop yield vintage, this lovely Pinot shows an excellent rich appearance and deep robe of medium to medium-deep ruby color, with a distinctive perfume of a violet floral to black cherry to plummy quality, with mild undertones of a forest floor to wet river stone quality. Following through well into its soft, silky, round palate impressions, this gorgeous, near-term drinker has a defined, weighty, yet juicy mid-range, excellent integration and a long, nicely definitive finish. Again, this is a near-term production, with Rusty wanting me to bring home several cases of this Gem for our enjoyment over the next couple of years. A NICELY DRINKING VALUE! ***** 13.9% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2013 Vidal-Fleury Côtes-du-Rhône
Review Date: 06-23-2017
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We have carried the Rhone Valley productions from Vidal-Fleury for well over ten years, with the bulk of the production selections being the Côtes-du-Rhône Rouge, which have been consistently wonderful near-term drinkers. And, just as I was beginning to wonder when this Northern Rhône Valley house was ever going to release their 2013, it arrived here in June {2017}. They must have felt that the 2013, since it is a much more reserved type of vintage, needed some extra bottle time development to show itself in a much better fashion. And it dose! Medium-deep ruby in color, this Grenache/Syrah base wine offers a lovely, distinctive bouquet of white pepper, anise, and violet-like qualities with undertones of truffles and forest floor to underbrush notes. Lush, broad, round, well-structured, yet balanced palate impressions lead to a warm, fleshy finish that lingers well. Rusty thinks that this Gem is a perfect wine to go with our occasional cassoulet and that I need to bring home several cases of it for our near term consumption for the next three to six years. A REALLY NICE VALUE! ***** 14.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
DC 95

2015 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 06-14-2017
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Previous vintages of TWR Pinots that we have brought in have been excellent productions that show some real classic Pinot characteristics bordering on a cross between a really nice Pommard from Burgundy and some “new-world” qualities without going over the top. But, this 2015 production has kicked up those wonderful qualities of their previous productions threefold to a level that is absolutely superb. Medium-deep ruby in color, the opulent nose is loaded with lush floral fruit notes {rose petals to violets}, black cherry to ripe strawberry to blueberry tones, that is reinforced by creamy to wet river stone mineral qualities. In its complex, silky smooth, rich palate, this exceptional Gem is balanced, elegant, fleshy, and well-structured, has a viscous mid-range, all of which leads to a long, succulent, juicy finish that seems to go on and on, and it is only 13.0% ABV {???}. This is great New Zealand Pinot, and Rusty has ordered me to bring home cases of this exceptional Gem for our consumption over the next seven to ten years. A GREAT VALUE!!!” …..A K&L WINE MERCHANTS’ DIRECT IMPORT ***** 13.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017

2015 Domaine Renaud St-Véran
Review Date: 05-23-2017
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After all these years in the wine retail trade, I am still captivated by the notion that two neighboring Macon Villages of Burgundy (Pouilly-Fuisse and Saint-Véran) can have vastly different prices for the same grape (Chardonnay), produced in virtually identical styles, and, in most instances, from the same producers. The concept for this vast price variance (Pouilly-Fuisse retailing for fifty percent or more than Saint-Véran) stems from the fact that many Americans way back when thought it much more romantic and classier to say at a restaurant, "I would like to have a bottle of Pouilly-Fuisse with this dinner, waiter," than to ask for a bottle of a much more mundane, rural sounding word as Saint-Véran, thereby creating a much greater demand. What amuses me the most, I believe, is the fact that this "variance" has been able to sustain itself, even with many of us wine "specialist" telling everyone that this pricing is stupid. This gorgeous, estate Saint-Véran from the Renauds is a perfect example of just how brainless that notion of pricing can be. Tons of bright apply, melon-like to lime zest tones with a slate-like mineral undertone abounds in the nose and on the palate of this remarkably rich, well-structured, classic style Chardonnay from that village of Macon and will rival any exceptional Pouilly-Fuisse. The finish is bright, clean, and crisp and invites another glass or two or three. Rizzo has asked me to bring home several cases of this finely crafted Gem for our near-term consumption over the next two to five years. A REALLY, REALLY NICE VALUE!! >>>A K&L WINE MERCHANTS’ DIRECT IMPORT<<< !***** 13.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2013 Chante Cigale Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 06-29-2016
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Deep ruby in color, an opulent aroma of spicy red pepper to anise-like notes with a wet-river-stone undertone that carries over into the palate impression to a broad, viscous, deeply flavored young, great Chateauneuf-du-Pape that is complex, layered, well-integrated, though a bit austere, this Gem should age nicely for the next ten to twenty-plus years, easily. Rusty has demanded that I bring home at least a case of wine of this amazing Gem for our cellar and for us to begin to enjoy in the next decade or so. This will be a great wine given the time it needs. If you have this near-term, uncork, decant, and air for a two or more hours to give it a chance to really open up. Great Cellar Value! ***** 15.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2026 to 2026
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
VN 91 WS 90

Jean-Louis Denois "Tradition" Extra Brut Reserve
Review Date: 12-22-2015
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It is fascinating that once you get outside of the Champagne appellation and into other areas of France that produce "sparkling wines" in a similar method, the price for those wines seems to de-escalate substantially. Of course, there is the question of quality comparisons, which can be a realistic appraisal, but once in a while you will find a sparkler from those other regions that will rival its much more expensive cousins in Champagne and at one-third the price or less. Such is case with this beautifully created sparkler from the Languedoc region of Southwestern France. We have been importing Jean-Louis Denois wines for well over ten years, and have found his productions to be of superb quality in general, and when the price is taken into consideration, ridiculously ‘cheap’ vis-à-vis the outstanding quality level. Produced from equal amounts of estate grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this lovely sparkling wine spent eighteen months on yeast (Cremant style), yet in its rich-smelling aromatics and lush flavors, this Gem behaves as if it has been on yeast for five to six years. Creamy, nutty, toasty, and pronounced both, again, on the nose and in the mouth, this finely beaded, dry, clean, and mouthwatering Gem provides tons of elegant and delicious flavors, which do defy the low price. The Bean has ordered me to bring home cases of this wonderful Gem and strongly recommends that you do the same. An Incredible Value.” ***** 12.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

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 2014
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart

Veuve Clicquot Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 10-17-2013
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12.0% ABV

1996 Lanessan, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 02-21-2013
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Deeply colored, this is an amazingly rich, lush wine from this estate. Ripe, plumy, broad, powerful flavors are still youthful and vibrant, its silky, integrated tannins allows drinkability at this stage. It is long and delicious, and will evolve for another five to ten years. I have been informed by Rusty that we need to set some cases of the Gem aside in our cellar to be one of our house reds in the not to distant future.13.0% ABV
Drink from 2013 to 2013
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2009 Malmaison, Moulis-en-Médoc
Review Date: 06-29-2012
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I don’t think that I have experienced such an incredibly wonderful vintage as I have with the 2009’s, not since the 1990 productions were released. Although the alcohols are the highest that I have ever seen in Bordeaux, particularly those productions from the Right Bank (Merlot got too ripe), there is so much fruit and structure in these reds, it hides that level of heat. Even the lesser “growth” chateaux are outstanding, and they will not need as much aging. More importantly, they do not cost as much as the Grand Cru and Premier Cru level wines. The 2009 Malmaison is a perfect example to what I am referring. Medium deep ruby in color, the nose offers a cassis to blackberry core of fruit that carries over to its ever expansive palate impression. This Gem is nicely integrated, well balanced, rich with fruit that is framed by a toasty, cedary tone, and finishes with a long, fairly complex set of flavors. Rusty has informed me that this Gem will be one of our house reds for the next three to five years. (Jim Barr) 13.5% ABV
Drink from 2012 to 2012
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart

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2016 Domaine Renaud Mâcon-Solutré ($16.99)