Staff Favorites - Jim Barr

Jim Barr

Reviews

  
2009 Poggiarellino Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 05-30-2015
Fairly deep in color, this wonderful wine from this tiny estate Brunello producer gives you a wine with lush, distinctive nose of a violet floral to plum-like to cherry-like qualities with undertones of a chalky to slate-like minerality notes that carry well into its broad, viscous, well-integrated mouthfeel. Excellent structure and depth of flavor, this Gem is a classic, complex Brunello that drinks near-term with decanting and airing, but will steadily improve and evolve with aging for the next seven to ten years. Rusty has demanded that I put at least a case of this Gem in our wine room for us to enjoy down the line. Those of you who love Brunellos need to do this, too! ***** 15.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2020 to 2020
Price: $29.99 Add To Waiting List

Wine Club

$24.99

2010 Bodegas Puelles Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 05-30-2015
Again, one of my favorite Rioja producers and this Crianza is a wine that warrants your attention. Produced from Tempranillo, this silky, lush, fleshy wine shows an opulent nose that is red fruit driven with a hint of spicy anise tones and a touch of cedary oak. This classic new-world style Rioja is bright, fleshy, and creamy on the palate, particularly in the mid-range, with excellent structure and acid backbone, and a lasting, deeply flavored finish. This Gem drinks well now but will continue to improve with another five to seven-plus years of cellaring. Rusty wants me bring home several cases of this Gem for our near-term enjoyment. Don’t miss this Rioja! ***** 14.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $12.99 Add To Waiting List
RP 90

2007 Bodegas Puelles Rioja Reserva
Review Date: 05-29-2015
What has become some of my two favorite Rioja producers are Bodegas Puelles and the productions from the fabulous house of Bodegas Casa Juan Senor de Lesmos, which are DIs for us. This 2007 traditional style Rioja offers a lush and fresh presentation, with incredible balance and structure, a long and complex finish. This Gem drinks nicely now, but will age another ten-plus years. Rusty wants at least two cases of this Gem in our wine room for future drinking. ***** 14.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $19.99 Add To Waiting List
RP 90

2013 Angeline California Pinot Noir
Review Date: 05-29-2015
A Pinot Noir at $11.99 that is any good! Most of you would think: “Give me a break; how good could this possibly be?” Medium ruby in color, the nose offers a bright, flashy, distinctive classic Pinot strawberry to floral presentation with just a touch of toasty oak, while in the mouth it is lush, viscous, yet with excellent structure and acidity, good complexity, and a finish that is refreshing and long. Sooo, how good could this $12.00 Pinot be? Let’s put it this way: this wine has become one of Jim’s and Rusty’s Gems. I dare you to find a Pinot at this price with such nice flavors and refinement. Rusty has informed me that I need to bring many, many cases of this Gem home to be our everyday house red. Don’t miss it! ***** 13.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $11.99 Add To Waiting List

2009 Bodegas Casa Juan Señor de Lesmos Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 05-29-2015
What has become some of my two favorite Rioja producers are Bodegas Puelles and the productions from this fabulous house, Bodegas Casa Juan Senor de Lesmos, which are DI's for us. Medium deep ruby in color, this 2009 Gem offers a traditional style nose of cedar, an antiqueish tone, and red fruit driven aromas. In the mouth, it is balanced, complex, integrated, broad, and deeply flavored. It is a truly wonderful wine at a very reasonable price. Rusty has informed me that I need to bring home at least several cases of this Gem soon, and you need to do so, too. ***** 13.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $12.99 Add To Waiting List

2013 Bishop's Peak San Luis Obispo Pinot Noir
Review Date: 05-20-2015
In our household, Pinot Noir is still king and I am always on the search to find a really exceptional one at a dirt cheap price that everyone can uniformly enjoy. The Bishop’s Peak [Talley’s second label] Central Coast production gets as close to that desire as possible. Produced from six different vineyards in San Luis Obispo, the bouquet is exact and true showing precise aromas of dried rose petals, strawberry, and raspberry, with a characteristic mineral note of slate and chalk. All of these components carry over nicely in the mouth to a rich, lush, fairly complex Pinot, that shows excellent structure and depth. The finish on this Gem is long and warm. Rusty has ordered me to bring home cases of this Gem so that it can be our house red wine for the next six-plus months. We have Pinots in our stores at two to three times this price that don’t drink quite as well. Don’t miss this Gem! ***** 14.1% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $17.99 Add To Waiting List

2013 Brewer-Clifton/K&L Wine Merchants "B-C. Kessler-Haak Vineyard" Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
Review Date: 05-19-2015
Produced from a single Santa Rita Hills vineyard source[Kessler Haak Vineyard] that is made up of three different French Dijon Clones, the extraordinary quality of this Pinot is a statement and perfect illustration of just how well those French clones are doing in the Coastal, cooler areas of California (and the Willamette Valley in Oregon). Medium deep ruby in color, the noses gushes forth with lush raspberry to cherry-like fruit aromas underscored by a spicy, cola, and mild toasty tone. This Gem is amazingly balanced and integrated, yet broad and deep without being over-the-top, shows excellent structure and acid backbone, and finishes with a long bright, fleshy feel. This Pinot will continue to improve for the next five to seven years, but don’t be afraid to pop a cork tomorrow night if you want a wine to go with leg of lamb dinner. I have been informed by Rusty that I need to bring home at least one case, if not more, of this Gem, ASAP. 14.5% ABV
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: Hidden View Price

2013 Kalinda Yountville Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 05-19-2015
Deep ruby in color, the opulent bouquet offers classic cassis to current to blackberry Cabernet fruit supported by cedary oak tones (not overdone) and a hint of almost Rutherford-like dust. The 2013 vintage is a great vintage, and this Cabernet’s flavors and rich texture totally reflect the super high quality of the year. Complex, excellent integration and balance, this Gem, which comes from a famous Yountville Cabernet producer, has superb focus and viscosity, is nicely layered, and is amazingly drinkable, although it should easily age another ten-plus years. Rusty has ordered me to bring home at least two cases of this Gem so that we can enjoy it for the next ten years. Don’t miss this puppy! 14.5% ABV
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $24.99 Add To Waiting List

2013 Husch Mendocino County Sauvignon Blanc
Review Date: 04-29-2015
I absolutely love this wine, and not because I sold my Anderson Valley Pinot Noir vineyard to the third generation of the Husch family, the Robinsons. Clean, crisp, and mouthwatering on the palate, this Gem provides a fig-like to melon-y quality in the mouth and on the nose, with excellent acid structure and a bright, lively finish. This Gem, according to The Bean, would be a perfect match to a shell fish dinner, particularly one with a rich creamy sauce. In any case, a "Great Value!" ***** 13.9% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $12.99 Add To Waiting List

2010 Amici Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 04-29-2015
"Given 91 points by The Wine Enthusiast, and 90 points from The Wine Advocate (Robert Parker) and for good reasons, the 2010 Amici Napa Valley Cabernet is classic old style Napa Valley Cabernet with great structure, depth, and presentation. Deep ruby in color, the nose offers up all those great aspects that were associated the great Napa Valley productions from the 50's through the 80's, showing a ton of cassis to current-like to blackberry aromas with a mild cedary oak note as a back note. Balanced, broad, viscous, and incredibly complex on the palate, this great Cab has elegance and a profound nature. Great mid-palate range and a long, deep finish, this wine serves well now with airing, but will age easily for the next ten plus years. Rusty has ordered me bring home at least a case of this Gem for future considerations. By the way, we have current release Cabernets on our shelves at three to four times the price that will not even come close to the quality of this puppy!" [JIM BARR, K&L WINE MERCHANTS' WINE STAFF] ***** 14.5% ABV *****"
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $43.99 Add To Waiting List
WE 91 RP 90

2013 Ermacora Pinot Grigio Colli Orientali del Friuli
Review Date: 04-29-2015
This has to be one of the best Pinot Grigios (Gris) that we have to offer from our inventory in the store. It is certainly one of the best that we have tasted this year. Loaded with aromas of peach, pears, and lemon grass on the nose, in the mouth it is rich and lush, yet with excellent balance and structure. The Bean has told me that this amazing Gem will be our house Pinot Grigio for the next x-amount of months or for however long it is around. Don’t miss wonderful wine! ***** 13.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $15.99 Add To Waiting List

2014 Domaine des Côtes Blanches Sancerre
Review Date: 04-14-2015
A deliciously lush Sancerre, this Gem offers pronounced aromas of tropical fruit, white peach, melons and a filings mineral note, which carries over to an exceptional palate impression with good entry and a viscous mid-palate. Excellent structure and acid, the finish is mouthwatering and crisp. According to Rizzo, this Gem would be perfect with a shellfish dinner or a lighter fish dinner, and she has ordered me to bring home a few cases of this lovely wine. ***** 13% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $17.99 Add To Waiting List

2012 Waterkloof "Circle Of Life" White Blend Stellenbosch South Africa
Review Date: 04-14-2015
An unusual blend of Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier from a biodynamic “estate” vineyard, that really works great, the incredibly perfumed nose on this lovely white Gem is distinctive and well-defined, showing loads of Chilean jasmine to honey-dew melon to white peach-like aromas. All of this carries over to a richly flavored white that is lush and viscous from entry to finish, yet has definitive structure, depth, and a wet-river stone minerality note to it, without being over-the-top or sloppy fat. I loved this Gem from the first sample we tasted several months ago, at which time I told Ryan Woodhouse to bring in as much as he could get his hands on. This Gem has now become one of my favorite white wines in our store, with The Bean, who thinks it deserves a “nine cat face” rating, is demanding that I bring home cases of this beauty. Do yourself a giant favor: buy this in case quantity. You can thank us at a later time. ***** 13.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $16.99 Add To Waiting List

2008 Louise Brison Vintage Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-12-2015
Produced from 50% barrel fermented Chardonnay and 50% stainless steel, skin-contact fermented Pinot Noir, this incredible Champagne, that Gary Westby recently discovered on his most recent buying trip to that remarkable area, shows a very fine, explosive bead with a lovely nose of a yeasty, doughy, almost brioche nature that is quite pronounced and very distinctive. Amazingly rich and viscous in the mouth while being completely dry and well structure, this is a full, complex style Champagne that shows a ML, deeply flavored style, with a long, satisfying finish. The Bean has informed me that this Gem is our house sparkler for however long it will be around. 12.0% ABV
Drink from 2014 to 2014
Price: $29.99 Add To Waiting List

2012 Rocca di Montegrossi Chianti Classico
Review Date: 12-30-2014
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 2015
Price: $19.99 Add To Waiting List

2012 Fujanera "Arrocco" Nero di Troia
Review Date: 12-11-2014
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 2014
Price: $12.99 Add To Waiting List

2010 Ostler "Caroline's" Pinot Noir Waitaki Valley North Otago
Review Date: 11-20-2014
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 2014

Ariston Aspasie "Carte Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-14-2014
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 Waiting List

2013 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 07-15-2014
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 2014

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

2009 Peyrabon, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 09-20-2013
Deeply colored, this ripe, rich, plumy wine shows soft, integrated tannins and near term drinkability. 14.0% ABV
Drink from 2013 to 2013
Price: $18.99 Add To Waiting List

Blason Brut B3 Friuli Sparkling Wine
Review Date: 09-18-2013
Lush and delicious, with a bright and dry presentation, this highly aromatic, wonderful offering is clean and crisp in the mouth, and offers a nice everyday drinking sparkler at a “cheap” price. This is the first time that Greg St.Clair has had this exceptional sparkler imported to us from Blason. Eby has informed me that this Gem will be one of our house sparkling wines for the month. Enjoy! 12.0% ABV
Drink from 2013 to 2013
Price: $12.99 Add To Waiting List

2002 La Tour de By, Médoc
Review Date: 08-21-2013
From one of my favorite minor producers, this medium-deep ruby Bordeaux offers lovely aromatics of cassis and currants, while in its moderately complex mouthfeel you will be treated to a fairly complete, well-integrated, nearterm wine that is quite satisfying and enjoyable. This Gem is meant to drink near-term, and Rusty has informed me that we need to stockpile cases of this wine to hold us over for the coming Winter. 13.0% ABV.
Drink from 2013 to 2013
Price: $17.99 Add To Waiting List

2009 Arnauton, Fronsac
Review Date: 05-30-2013
Inky in color, the nose exhibits a woodsy, almost mushroomy note with distinctive cassis to blueberry fruit overtones. In its creamy, rich, viscous, fleshy mouth presentation, this Gem is well-integrated, balanced, broad and loaded with lush, deep, ripe fruit. As with the Beaumont, this Gem will drink in the near-term (three to six years) and Rusty has told me to bring at least a few cases home for that purpose, For those of you who are hung up on points from the wine gods, The Wine Spectator gave this 89 points.14.5% ABV
Drink from 2013 to 2013
Price: $18.99 Add To Waiting List
JS 91

2009 Beaumont, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 05-30-2013
We have imported this wonderful Cru Bourgeois for well over twenty years. Deeply colored, this lovely, opulent wine shows tons of cassis to mocha aromas, with a broad, well integrated, viscous mouthfeel, and a long, rich finish. Rusty has informed me that this near-term Gem will be our house red for the next three to six years. For those of you who are hung up on points from the wine gods, The Wine Enthusiasts gave this puppy 89 to 90 points.14.0% ABV
Drink from 2013 to 2013

2001 Lanessan, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 02-21-2013
Between this vintage and the 1997, I can’t make up my mind as to which one I absolutely like the best. The problem, here, is that I love this Bordeaux vintage. It is a classic great vintage to me. But the 1997 is so superb to drink now, it is hard for me to decide. Read my description of the 1997 and apply it to this Gem. Rusty has indicated that this production will be one of our house reds for however long it is around. 13.0% ABV
Drink from 2013 to 2013
Price: $21.99 Add To Waiting List

Charles Baur Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rosé
Review Date: 03-04-2009
As our Alsatian wine buyer, Eric Story, pointed out to me, recently: “Most people outside of the region don’t think about Alsace for sparkling wine, but wait until you try this puppy!” He was right both times. Most people don’t know, and I couldn’t wait to have another glass after I tasted the first. This is an impeccably delightful, refreshing Brut rosé, produced entirely from Pinot Noir and bottle-aged on yeast for two years before disgorgement. The resulting wine is a sparkler that shows a lovely pinkish hue, very fine bead, and bright yeasty, strawberry and spicy fruit characteristics on the nose that carries well to the dry, clean, yet abundantly fruity palate. Try it with a grilled salmon dinner or seriously consider it for your next party. Anderson and the girls have informed me that this will be our house sparkler for spring and into summer, if it lasts that long. 12% abv
Price: $17.99 Add To Waiting List
WE 89