Staff Favorites - Jim Barr

Jim Barr

Reviews

  
2009 Cristom "Sommers Reserve" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 09-20-2016
I am in total awe that this incredible, perfectly mature Pinot was made available to us, again, by Cristom. One would think that they really do like us! Medium-deep garnet ruby in color with an orangish-pink rim, the opulent nose of rose petals, raspberry, cedar, cola, and spicy cinnamon notes is distinctive and is underscored by a meaty to forest floor minerality. All of this carries over to a profound, complex, and developed palate impression that is well-integrated and layered. With excellent mid-palate texture, this amazing Pinot finishes long and warm. Rusty had me buy a case of this Gem with the first offering several months ago, and now insist that I buy at least two more cases. Believe or not, I am going to age this Gem a few more years because I believe that it will get even better. DO NOT MISS THIS GEM THIS TIME! ***** 14.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016

2015 Domaine Renaud Mâcon-Solutré
Review Date: 09-15-2016
The 2015 Mâconnais single vineyard productions from Domaine Renaud are absolutely fabulous wines and none of them should be missed. We have been directly importing these Gems for at least the last five years and I have been enamored with every production. One of my favorites is this single vineyard offering of Solutre, which offers distinctive richness and a broad set of flavors much more associated with such productions as Chassagne-Montrachet and Meursault. Lush ripe white peach to nectarine aromas with a slate-like, chalky mineral undertone are abundant in the nose, and carries across extremely well in the mouth to a deeply flavored, profound set of flavor characteristics, with excellent structure, and superb components presentation to it mouthwatering, long finish. The Bean has demanded that I bring home cases of this wonderful Gem and feels that you need to do the same. AN AMAZING VALUE! >>>A K&L WINE MERCHANTS' DIRECT IMPORT<<< ***** 13.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine Tour Boisée Minervois Rouge
Review Date: 09-15-2016
This is the first time that we have directly imported this estate’s wine, and I must say, what took our buyer, Keith Mabry, so long in discovering this absolutely fabulous drinking Southwestern regional French Minervoios. Produced from Syrah (50%) and Grenache, this lovely Gem offers a distinctive nose of spicy, red fruit-driven components with that classic meaty, game-like undertone to go with its medium deep ruby robe, that carries over well to a balanced, integrated, flashy, bright palate impression. This Gem is meant for near-term enjoyment and would be a perfect match for such dishes as cassoulet, or any stew type creation. Rusty loves this Gem for drinking now and has asked me politely, this time, to bring home several cases. Excellent Value! A K&L WINE MERCHANTS’ DIRECT IMPORT.
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

Kalinda North Coast Pinot Noir
Review Date: 09-15-2016
Produced mostly from Anderson Valley fruit with the balance being mostly Sonoma Coast and created by our very own domestic wine buyer, Bryan Brick, in conjunction with the winemaker from this highly regarded North Coast Pinot Noir producer, this distinctly florl aromatic Pinot has a lovely robe of medium-deep ruby in color, with the nose offering distinctive, pronounced aromas of dried rose petals, black cherry, and clove-like qualities, with very mild undertones of anise, slate-like minerality, and creamy toasty, smoky notes. On the palate, it is bright, fleshy, well-integrated, highly focused, and broad, particularly across the mid-range. A soft, round, silky, complex finish is long and warm. I think that I have found our everyday-drinking Gem and, as a result, Rusty has ordered me to bring home numerous cases of this lovely Pinot (as of 09/15/2016 we are on our third case of this Gem). The K&L Kalinda wines are consistently among the best values in our store. We work closely with top producers to bring you first-rate wine at reasonable prices. We can't reveal our sources, but we can say that this Gem is a steal!!! ***** 13.1% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine de Verquière Côtes-du-Rhône
Review Date: 09-06-2016
Some of my favorite everyday drinking reds, besides those that are from Rosso di Montalcinos, Crianza Riojas, and the red blends from the Lanquidoc, are the Cotes du Rhones from the producers from the various locations of the Rhone Valley. In the vast majority of the Cotes Du Rhone productions from these fabulous estates are some absolutely wonderful wines to drink near-term at ridiculously low, “cheap” prices. The 2015 (a great vintage in the Rhone Valley, by the way) Verquiere is a perfect example of this, providing a medium-deep ruby colored wine with an opulent aroma loaded with white pepper, anise, cranberry, to violet characteristics with just a touch of slate-like, forest floor mineral notes. Produced from 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah, the fruit presentation on the palate of this Gem is bright, fresh, nicely balanced, well-integrated, and just plain enjoyable on the palate and in its long, fairly complex finish. Rusty loves this bargain Gem for everyday consumption and has demanded that I bring home cases of it to enjoy over the course of the next three to six years. GREAT VALUE! DON’T MISS IT! ***** 14.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2014 Kalinda Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 09-02-2016
Produced for us from the same famous Napa Valley Cabernet-producing winery that is located on the eastern slopes of Howell Mountain and which created our 2013, this deeply colored Gem offers opulent, lush, precise aromas of currants, cassis and blackberries, with just a hint of cedary, toasty oak as a back note. These qualities are well-defined in the mouth both on entry and in its viscous mid-range, with superb depth and broadness of flavor, excellent structure and concentration, and a fleshy, focused long finish. Rusty has demanded that I bring home cases of this exceptional, complex Gem to consume and age over the next 10 to 15 years, although, as with most great Cabernets, with decanting and airing of one to two hours, it is very approachable now. GREAT VALUE! ***** 14.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$24.99

2015 Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis
Review Date: 09-01-2016
There are some delicious villages Chablis from some superb producers of that area (mostly from the different Moreau family producers) at very reasonable prices currently available with our inventory selection, and one of my favorites is this lovely Gem from Louis Moreau. Presenting its style as an evolved, single vineyard Premier Cru with the bouquet and in the mouth, this lush, distinctive, classic Chablis shows a pronounced nose of lime-zest, green apple, and casaba melon-like fruit supported by that traditional slate-like to wet-river stone-like characteristics, all of which carries across in its clean, mouthwatering palate impression. With excellent acid structure and nice lingering freshness on the finish, this Gem, according to The Bean, will be one of our house whites for this month and beyond. GREAT VALUE!!! DON’T MISS THIS!!! ***** 12.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart
WS 90

2015 Montsecano Pinot Noir Casablanca Valley
Review Date: 08-26-2016
There have been some great Pinot Noirs coming out of Chile the last few years, to the point that I have maintained to many of you that the Chileans should have planted Pinot many years ago. Their environment, in many areas, is perfect. This small production (375 cases which is equal to only 15 barrels) is deeply colored with opulent, powerful aromas of blueberry, blackberry, to floral fruit characteristics with undertones of forest floor to slate-like minerality, which carries well into a broad, rich, viscous palate impression. Complex, deeply flavored, silky and round, this well-integrated, superbly focused Pinot finishes with a long, lingering, mouthwatering set of flavors. This gorgeous Gem should continue to improve over the next five to ten years. Rusty has demanded that I bring home at least a case of this great Gem and honestly believes that you shouldn’t miss this wine, too. Great Value! ***** 13.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
JS 96

2014 Kalinda Dry Creek Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 08-23-2016
No one will tell any of us, not even to Clyde, who produced this amazingly elegant, nicely balanced Chardonnay for us, but based on its richness, structure, and viscous mouthfeel, I would speculate that it is a producer located at the very deep end of the Dry Creek Valley, the owner who use to create some wonderfully rich Chardonnays for an old, established Napa Valley winery in Saint Helena. Opulent in the nose with an apply, white peach, creamy set of qualities, these characteristics come across the palate with excellent richness and viscosity, yet with classiness and style, and finishes with a long, distinctive, well-structured finish. The Bean has ordered that I bring home several cases of this lovely Gem for our everyday house white for the next two to four years. A WONDERFUL VALUE! DON’T MISS THIS! ***** 14.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$9.99

2014 Zorzal "Eggo-Tinto de Tiza" Tupungato
Review Date: 08-16-2016
Produced mostly from Malbec, with a small amount of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon blended in, this lovely production is deep ruby in color, offers a distinctive, powerful nose of currents and cassis, with hints of mocha and chocolate, all of which is well-defined on its complex, deeply flavored palate impression. Elegant, rich, focused, and an amazingly profound wine, this lush, full, integrated Malbec driven Gem is absolutely delicious and could be drunk now, but will continue to improve over the next five to ten years, easily. Rusty has ordered me to bring several cases of this Gem for our enjoyment over the next ten years, and thinks that you need to do yourselves a favor and do the same. GREAT VAULE! DON’T MISS THIS GEM! ***** 13.9% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
DC 96 RP 94

2008 Martinelli "Hop Camp Vineyard-Gravel Lens" Russian River Valley Syrah
Review Date: 08-16-2016
Medium deep ruby in color with a pinkish youthful edge in appearance, the opulent, developed nose on this moderately aged Syrah is loaded with white pepper, anise, cedary to forest floor-like qualities that carries over wonderfully into a broad, viscous, silky, incredibly complex, evolved set of flavors. With excellent mid-palate presentation and a core of concentrated fruit, this Gem is a truly nicely aged, serious, elegant Syrah with layers of characteristics that will probably age easily another five-plus years, but drinks so great right now, one needs to ask; “Why age it?” I will though. Rusty has demanded that I bring at least several cases of this aged, great Gem home, and I definitely will. Great Value!!! Don’t miss it!!! Ignore the alcohol level, because it does not interfere. ***** 15.2% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: Hidden View Price
RR 92

2015 Domaine Bousquet Cabernet Sauvignon Tupungato Valley
Review Date: 08-12-2016
I am totally astonished at some of the wines that our Spanish/Portuguese/South American wine buyer, Joe Manekin, is finding from these locations at some astonishingly great quality levels, particularly at some astonishingly great low prices. This Gem is medium-deep ruby in color that leads to an opulent, distinctive nose of black cherry to a spicy clove-like quality. This fruit-driven quality of the same characteristics carries over nicely to a Cabernet of balance, brightness, and elegance with excellent acid structure and a silky, energetic finish. This is an astonishing Cabernet at this price point and Rusty has demanded that I bring home at least two cases of this Gem for our near-term enjoyment. AN ASTONISHINGLY GREAT VALUE!!! ***** 14.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart
W&S 91

2015 Kalinda "Reserve" Sonoma County Chardonnay
Review Date: 08-12-2016
After several decades of assisting, evaluating, and helping to select many of our private label varietals, I am still, to a certain extinct anymore, fascinated by from what wineries and where some of these great wines are coming, many of which are highly allocated to you and expensive wines under the winery’s label. The juice from this exceptional Chardonnay Gem came from vineyards mostly out of the Sonoma Coast appellation, but was produced for us from a Pritchard Hill winery that was established in 1966. This is stunning Chardonnay, maybe one of the best that we have had under the Kalinda label, with well-defined cinnamon apple to white peach to nectarine aromas with just a hint of supporting vanilla, creamy oak notes, all of which carries over to this viscous, amazingly structured, focused Chardonnay Gem with a note of slate-like mineral undertone, and a mouthwatering finish. A great Chardonnay Gem from an established great Chardonnay producer for us that The Bean has ordered for me to bring home cases of, for our regular enjoyment for the next two to four years. Great Value! DON'T MISS IT!!! ***** 14.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart

2005 York Creek "Track" Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 07-08-2016
Of the two 2005 Cabernets from York Creek, this is perhaps the youngest, richer, more powerful, and deeper of the two. Deeply color, the nose is loaded with cassis, blackberry, currant-like fruit characteristics with a sage-like to spicy white pepper undertone, all of which carries over to broad, viscous, concentrated youthful palate impression. Excellent focus of fruit, with superb integration and complexity, this Gem will age another five to ten-plus years, easily. Rusty has ordered me to bring several cases of this incredible Gem value for our wine cellar to be enjoyed down the line. For those of you with a wine cellar or cabinet, you should do the same – or at least, up to a case. Don’t miss this great Napa Valley Cabernet Value! ***** 14.2% ABV *****
Drink from 2020 to 2020
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2005 York Creek Spring Mountain District Petit Verdot
Review Date: 07-06-2016
I have been in the wine retail business for well over forty-five years, and I cannot remember ever tasting a Petit Verdot varietal by any producer, domestic or international, since it is used (sparingly) as a blending wine with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. It was such a joy for me to try this wonderfully produced, delicious varietal from York Creek, that I am not sure if it is the fact that it is a first for me after all these years, or that I honestly believe that it is the best of the three 2005 York Creek wines that we are now featuring – all three are exceptional wines and incredible values. An opulent nose of mocha, filings, red berry fruit to a cedary, cigar box undertone, this medium-deep ruby in color wine is broad, viscous, round, integrated, developed, totally complex and deep in flavor in the mouth. Well-structured and with excellent acid backbone, this Gem will be one of our near-term house drinking wines for the next several years according to Rusty. Great Value! Don’t miss this puppy! ***** 14.2% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2014 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 06-30-2016
Soooo, I went bananas over the 2013 TWR Pinot, as many of you recall, equating it to some Premier Cru Vosne Romanee. Believe or not, the 2014 is much better. Medium deep ruby in color, the nose erupts with a pure essence of Burgundian style aromas of dried rose petals to blackberry to spicy clove-like notes with meaty, almost game-like to forest floor mineral qualities. All of this carries well into the mouth, with a full, complex, viscous, well integrated, lush presentation, with a broad mid-range, and a never ending long, warm, satisfying finish. This is an amazing Pinot Gem, maybe one of the best to ever come from New Zealand, and Rusty has ordered me to bring home cases so that we can enjoy it over the next six to ten years. AN AMAZING VALUE! DON’S MISS IT! ***** 13.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016

2014 Von Strasser "Rudy" Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
Review Date: 06-29-2016
I thought the 2013 Pinot was a wonderful, near-term great drinker, but this 2014 absolutely steals the show. Rich in appearance and color, this highly refined, well-structured Pinot shows incredible aromas of strawberry, dried-rose-like petals in a Burgundian sense to forest floor qualities on the nose, that carry over exceptionally well to a long, complex, rich, viscous, deeply flavored palate impression. A broad mid-range, this is an outstanding Pinot Gem at a ridiculously low price that is obviously meant for near-term consumption, although I thoroughly believe that it will age nicely and improve well beyond that [five to ten years+++]. Rusty wants at least two cases of this Gem in our wine room. GREAT VALUE; DON’T MISS THIS WONDERFUL PINOT! ***** 14.2% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2013 Chante Cigale Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 06-29-2016
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

Wine Club

$24.99
VN 91

2012 Bodegas Puelles Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 06-24-2016
I have a problem; I cannot decide which Rioja producer I like best: Bodegas Muga, Bodegas Juan de Lemos, or Bodegas Puelles. Regardless of this personal problem, this 2012 Crianza from Puelles is a stunning wine that is produced from mostly estate fruit. Medium-deep ruby in color, the nose offers a red berry, fruit-driven to anise spicy set of qualities with a well-defined slate-like to wet-river-stone minerality. This carries over nicely to a balanced, integrated, viscous, elegant palate presentation, with a solid mid-palate, excellent complexity and components, and a long, deep finish. This Gem drinks really well now but will age another five to ten years. Rusty has ordered me to bring home several cases of this classic Rioja Crianza Gem for near-term consumption (or later). GREAT VALUE! ***** 14.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2013 Sobon Estate "Rocky Top" Amador County Zinfandel
Review Date: 05-10-2016
Nestled on a Southwest facing hillside in one of the higher elevations (near 3000 feat) in the Sierra foothills is a vineyard that was planted before the turn of the last century by the original owners, D’Agostini family. Bought by Leon Sobon (Shenandoan Vineyards) in the early 1990s, this estate has produced some incredible Zinfandels from that location, if not from all of California. This 2013 is stunning wine, if not amazing Zinfandel. Deeply colored, the nose explodes with rich, opulent bouquet of classic Sierra foothill spicy white pepper to plumy notes with an almost granite to lava-like mineral note that stretches across its broad, succulent, viscous palate presentation. Well integrated, soft and silky, and showing wonderful depth of flavor, this Gem will be one of our house reds for the next year or two according to Rusty. Don’t miss great Zin! IINCREDIBLE VALUE! ***** 14.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2014 Alain Corcia Macon Village
Review Date: 04-29-2016
Some of my favorite Chardonnays at reasonable prices are coming from the Macon region of Burgundy. They are such uncomplicated, refreshing, clean and crisp wines that you need to ask yourself, why this isn’t being done more domestically. This bright, clean, crisp Gem from Alain Corcia shows a distinctive nose reminiscent of green apples with a slate-like mineral undertone. In the mouth, it is vivid, refreshing, and crisp, yet well defined and structured, and with a finish that is mouthwatering and demanding another glass. The Bean has ordered me to bring home several cases of this excellent Gem for our near-term consumption with such dinners as salmon, lobster, or albacore (she has expensive taste when comes to food!). Great Value! ***** 12.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

2013 Mount Edward Pinot Noir Central Otago
Review Date: 04-26-2016
Those of you who know me, know that my favorite varietal to consume (as well as collect and grow) is Pinot Noir. And, not just any Pinot Noir, in general. I am very, very selective and picky when it comes to what Pinots I purchase to both consume and/or age. When our New Zealand/Australian wine buyer, Ryan Woodhouse, presented this wine to us, I was totally surprised just how wonderful and distinctive the nose and flavors of this Pinot were. Medium-deep ruby garnet in color, the opulent, pronounced nose of dried rose petals, red cherry, clove-like spice, and blueberry fruit are underscored by slate-like to forest floor mineral notes and just a touch of cedar. In the mouth, this Gem is incredibly balanced and integrated with those same exceptional components, shows complex, focused, broad, and lush flavors that leads to a silky mid-range, and a long, warm finish. Rusty has ordered me to bring home several cases of this exceptional Gem for our consumption over the next four to eight years. THIS IS A GREAT VALUE THAT SHOULDN'T BE MISSED! Soooo, don't miss it! ***** 14.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016

2013 Zorzal "Gran Terroir" Malbec Gualtallary
Review Date: 04-15-2016
Medium deep ruby in color, this distinctively lush-smelling Malbec offers plum to blueberry fruit notes, with a chalky to slate-like mineral undertone. In its broad, viscous palate presentation, this complex, deeply flavored, well-focused and integrated Gem provides a wine of wonderful substance, savory elegance, and purity of character. Long in the finish, this puppy will age easily for another ten-plus years, but drinks great right now with its bright, fleshy, silky fruit on display. Rusty wants at least a case of this Gem for our enjoyment for the next five to ten years. THIS IS A GREAT VALUE AND YOU SHOULD NOT MISS IT! ***** 14.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

2014 Saini Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 04-07-2016
The three new Zinfandel releases (this one, plus the 2013 old vine, Dry Creek Valley Estate productions of Apple and Pear Blocks) from Saini are incredible, classic Zinfandels from that area and may be the best Zins on the market. Produced mostly from old vine estate vineyards, this 2014 is deeply colored and offers intense, high profile aromas of blackberry to currant-like to red cherry notes, with distinctive tones of anise and white pepper spiciness. All of these characteristics carry over perfectly in its rich, creamy set of flavors. Round, full, concentrated, this Gem drinks great now and will age easily for another six to ten years - but why! Drink it near-term. Rusty has ordered me to bring home several cases of this amazing Zin Gem! GREAT VALUE! ***** 14.9% AB V *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 91

2014 Domaine Long-Depaquit (Albert Bichot) Chablis
Review Date: 04-06-2016
If you have never been to Chablis then you have missed a really remarkable wine region. When you view the Premier Cru and Grand Cru hills, you will ask yourself, “How do grapevines grow in this soil?” It is as if you are looking at a sand dune hillside on the beach. But they do grow in this environment and produce Chardonnay with various degrees of slate and limestone in the bouquet and in the mouth. The top of the south-facing hillside areas are generally classified as "Grand Cru" level productions with the mid-range areas considered as "Premier (1er) Cru" classifications. The bottom portions and other directional facing sites are given a declassified classification, such as this production form Albert Bichot, that can, in certain vintage, achieve the drinking quality of a Premier Cru production. A distinctive aroma of apples to lime zest fruit is underscored by chalky to slate-like mineral notes that carries over to bright, refreshing wine in the mouth with excellent acid structure and a clean, mouthwatering finish that refuses to give up. You will swear that you are consuming a Premier Cru level Chablis when you try this Gem, and The Bean has ordered me to bring home at least a case of this lovely wine. You need to do the same… Great Value! ***** 12.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2013 Von Strasser "Rudy" Paicines Pinot Noir
Review Date: 02-18-2016
Really good Pinot Noir at an inexpensive price is particularly hard to find, primarily when the grapes sell for $6000 to $9000 per ton,domestically. But when Von Strasser released their second label, ‘Rudy,’ at this reasonable price, one needs to wonder at what price the winery got the grapes. In any case, produced from fruit coming from an appellation near Monterey, this Pinot is medium-deep ruby in color with a distinctive, pronounced nose that offers aromas of rose petals, spicy white pepper notes to raspberry-like fruit notes with a mild earthy, forest floor undertone. In the mouth, it is balanced, well-integrated, round, definitely Pinot in presentation with ripe, lush, complex flavors and a long, well-structured finish. This is lovely near-term drinking Gem that has Rusty totally excited and who has demanded at least several cases in our cache of wine in our wine room. This Gem will continue to improve with bottle aging, but is thoroughly enjoyable now. Great Value! Don’t Miss It! ***** 14.2% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2014 Banshee Sonoma County Pinot Noir
Review Date: 12-31-2015
As many of you know, the 2012, 2013, and 2014 domestic vintages were back-to-back-to-back exceptional vintages (the 2015 vintages is also following into the same vein), and Banshee created some exceptional Sonoma Pinots in the first two vintages. Produced mostly from Sonoma Coast vineyard sources (as were the `12 and `13), the 2014 continues the wonderful qualities of the previous vintages. Medium-deep ruby in color, the nose is loaded with dried rose petal, black cherry, and a mild spicy clove-like fruit notes with hint of slate-like mineral undertones. Carrying over nicely to a well integrated, well-balanced, viscous set of flavors, this superb Gem shows excellent structure and depth, with excellent complexity and a superb long finish. Although thoroughly enjoyable now, this puppy will improve for the next five to eight years of aging. Rusty has demanded that I bring home at least several cases of this Gem and suggest that you do the same. Wonderful wine! Wonderful Value! ***** 13.6% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart

2014 Eyrie Vineyards Dundee Hills Pinot Gris
Review Date: 12-30-2015
The two new releases of 2014 white wines from Eyrie, this Pinot Gris and the Chardonnay, are absolutely incredible wines, both being rich, lush, and delicious. This Gem gives you an almost honeysuckle to tropical set of flavors, yet is dry and mouthwatering. Both the 2014 Chardonnay and this Gem may be the best set of whites ever released by Eyrie. The Bean has ordered me to bring home cases upon cases of this white Gem, and thinks that all of you need to be thinking in the same logical manner. Stunning wine! Remarkable Value as is the Chardonnay! ***** 12.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
WE 92

Jean-Louis Denois "Tradition" Extra Brut Reserve
Review Date: 12-22-2015
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: $14.99 Add To Cart

Baron Fuente "Esprit" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 12-09-2015
Produced from 50% Pinot Meunier and 50% Pinot Noir, this lovely Gem has an incredible perfumed nose of dried rose petals and a ripe field of strawberries. The color is a deep pink tone to the point that I am surprise that it was allowed to be release as a Rosé by the appellation control dudes and not turned down as a sparkling red wine (the French do not allow the Champagne producers to make red sparkling wine. Too bad!). With its very fine, well defined bead, this is a wonderful and an amazing sparkler on the palate. Bright, fresh, and focused, this Gem is complex, with floral notes and excellent fullness, and leaves a long, incredibly satisfying finish. The Bean has ordered me to bring home cases of this Champagne Roeé Gem for our long term consumption. She also ordered all of you to do the same. Great Value! *****12.5% ABV ****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2013 Kalinda Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 12-09-2015
Produced for us by a famous Napa Valley Cabernet winery that is located on the eastern slopes of Howell Mountain, this lovely Cab, from what will be considered a super great vintage, is deeply colored and shows rich, lush, pronounced aromas of cassis, currents, and blackberry. All of this carries over nicely to well-defined wine on the palate that shows excellent structure, roundness, and viscosity, depth of flavor, superb integration and broadness, and a long, warm, satisfying finish. Rusty has ordered me to bring home cases of this old-style, traditional Napa Cabernet Gem for our consumption over the next ten plus years. This is an Amazing Value and should not be missed. And, as with most great productions, not much was made. Do not hesitate on this puppy. ***** 14.8% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2004 La Tempérance Prestige, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 11-06-2015
This may be the best deal in many, many Moons for cellared aged Bordeaux that I have seen. Medium-deep ruby in color, the perfectly evolved aged aromas of cedar, cassis, blackberry fruit are expressive and opulent, and are highlighted by mocha and roasted coffee bean tones. In the mouth, these wonderful aspects come across with a rich, lush, developed, viscous, complex, integrated presentation, and finishes with a long, deep, warm set of flavors. Wait a minute! How much was this Gem? $14.99? No way! We have wines that are four to five times more expensive that don’t come close to the quality of this beautifully aged Bordeaux. Clyde has suggested that this could age and improve for another ten years, and my response to that is “Why?” This Gem is absolutely delicious now and why wait at this price. Rusty has ordered me to bring home cases, upon cases of this amazing wine. Don’t Miss This! Great Value! ***** 14.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2006 Baron Fuente "Grand Millesime" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-18-2015
As many Champagne prices have been substantially increasing this last year, I was beginning to believe that it would be very difficult for our Champagne buyer, Gary Westby, to be able to find in the near future really great Champagne at respectable prices. Welll...several months ago he discovered an amazingly great production, 2008 Louis Brison, which our entire wine staff went bonkers over, with an e-mail, with all our write-ups, going out to all of you, resulting in the sale of 3,600 bottles flying out our doors in only several hours (by the way, Gary has more of this Gem coming one last time, some 6,000 bottles - but it won’t be here for another two to three months). Sooo, just when I thought that this was an anomaly, he brings in this Gem, the 2006 Baron Fuente "Grand Millesime," another great vintage and a great Champagne at a ridiculously low price. Very, very fine bead in appearance with lush, toasty, nutty, doughy qualities on the nose, this incredible Champagne of Chardonnay (40%), Pinot Noir (30%), and Pinot Meunier (30%) shows an excellent complex, broad, viscous presentation across a well structured, excellent acid backbone palate impression. The finish is rich and deeply flavored, and long. Rizzo has demanded that I bring home at least a case of this Gem before it gets gobbled up by all our discerning customers. GREAT VALUE! ***** 12.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
WS 91

2013 Kalinda "Rawiri Vineyard" Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 06-23-2015
For the last four to five years, I have maintained to many of you that New Zealand was ten-plus years away from producing “great” Pinot Noirs. Then last year come the productions from Te Whare Ra (TWR) that were absolutely stunning and stood up to those amazing productions from Burgundy, the coastal areas of California, and the Willamette Valley region of Oregon. Made for us at TWR by Dave Eatwell, an associate of the winemaker Jason Anna of TWR, this is an outstanding Pinot that will be considered one of the best to come from New Zealand to date. Produced from an incredibly steep North facing hillside in the Omaka Valley, the color is deep and rich in appearance, while on the nose this Pinot shows a lush, distinctive, true to style Pinot tones of a strawberry, cherry, dried rose petals, to spicy fruit qualities with a noted forest floor to meaty mineral undertone. Broad and deep on the palate, this Gem is balanced, yet rich and full, nicely integrated, viscous, layered, and profoundly complex. Rusty has demanded that I bring home cases of this outstanding Gem to be one of our house reds for the next four to eight years. Only 100 cases were made (four barrels). If you miss this puppy, you will be sorry! Great Value! ***** 13.4% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: Hidden View Price

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 Cart
RP 90

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 Cart

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

2005 Verdignan, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 08-21-2013
Medium deep ruby in color, this wonderful Cru Bourgeois from a truly great vintage offers tons of complex flavors and opulent aromatics. Cassis, currants, and antiqueish ceder-like tones abound in the nose and across its viscous palate impression, with violets and truffles to forest floor notes, integrated tannins, excellent acid structure, and a finish that refuses to give up. Rusty has informed me that this Gem will be one of our house reds for the next three to five years. Great value for a wine with some age. 13% ABV.
Drink from 2013 to 2013
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
WS 90

Launois "Cuvée Reserve" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 05-14-2013
Produced from Chardonnay [obviously, since it is “Blanc de Blancs”], this amazing Gem throws tons of yeasty, nutty, creamy fruit at you both in the nose and on the palate, with brilliant complexity, and a lush, broad, and rich finish. The Bean has ordered me to bring at least one case of this home for our consumption in the next one to three-plus years. I will probably bring home more than that. 12.0% ABV
Drink from 2013 to 2013
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2005 Bodegas Casa Juan Señor de Lesmos Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 12-26-2012
From my favorite Rioja producer, this stunning, complex, high-profiled “Reserva” offers all the elements that I look for in a great wine: an opulent bouquet, abundant structure and depth, exceptional mid-range, focus, a broad and powerful fruit presentation, and a finish that is satisfyingly long and warm. Medium deep ruby in color, the nose is loaded with an anise spiciness in concert with currant and cassis-like fruit characteristics, with undercurrents of game and mild toasty notes. All of these remarkable features carry over to its extraordinary set of flavors and overall presentation. This Gem will age easily for another ten to fifteen years, but you will find it difficult to keep your hands off of it for the near term once you taste it. Rusty has anointed this wonderful Gem as one of our house reds for however long it is around and has ordered me to buy cases of it for our cellar. 13.5% ABV
Drink from 2013 to 2013
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 92

2010 Clarke Rothschild, Listrac
Review Date: 12-04-2012
This may be the best production coming from this property, ever. Deep ruby in color, the nose explodes with currants, mocha, roasted coffee bean, and chocolate (I had to view the label again to make sure it wasn’t from Napa Valley). On the palate, this Gem is broad, lush, viscous, well-integrated, and loaded with depth of character. Wonderfully complex, even at its youthful age, this puppy represents some of the best coming from this wonderfully soft , near-term vintage. Rusty has informed me that this Gem will be one of our house reds for the next three to five years. 14.0% ABV
Drink from 2013 to 2013

2010 Malmaison, Moulis
Review Date: 12-04-2012
Soooo, I was wandering through our employee purchase hold area in our store and I noticed that Ralph had purchased a half of case [don’t worry Ralph, I won’t tell Kim] of this puppy. And, I asked him, “Why did you purchase this lovely wine.” His response was basically to tell me that, like me, he was also older, and that he couldn’t buy wine anymore wine that needed to be aged and would outlive him. My response to that was “Red wine keeps you alive!” This is a wonderful 2010 and very definitely near-term. Medium –deep ruby in color, this Gem is loaded with upfront, soft, round blueberry to truffles notes in the nose that carry over nicely to a high-profiled, fairly powerful, yet well-integrated and soft palate impression. The finish is long and satisfying with Rusty telling me that this Gem will be one of our house reds for the next few years. 14.0% ABV
Drink from 2013 to 2013
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 92

2009 Malmaison, Moulis-en-Médoc
Review Date: 06-29-2012
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: $19.99 Add To Cart

2006 Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 02-17-2012
This is a great drinking Haut Medoc Gem and shouldn’t be missed, and will be one of our house reds for the month, according to Rusty. 13.0% ABV (Jim Barr)
Drink from 2012 to 2012
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
RP 90 ST 89

Michel Loriot "Authentic" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-10-2011
Produced totally from Pinot Meunier, this outstanding Champagne, a recent Gary Westby find, offers incredible richness and lushness both on its doughy, yeasty, nutty, and spicy perfumed nose and across its viscous, complex, well-focused palate. With all this Gem’s depth of flavor, it is still amazingly balanced with superb structure and length. You get a gondola full of great Champagne, here, for a ridiculously reasonable price. I would put this up against any of named Champagnes that are selling for $75.00 or more a bottle. The Guys (Anderson, Eby, The Beaner, and Rizzo) have informed me that this Gem will be our house Champagne for the holidays. 12.0% ABV
Drink from 2011 to 2011
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
ST 90

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 Cart
WE 89