Staff Favorites - Jim Barr

Jim Barr

Reviews

  
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

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

2014 La Monacesca Verdicchio di Matelica
Review Date: 05-11-2016
High profiled aromas of pear to white peach, with a fig-like to melon-like undertone intermixed with a wet river stone to slate minerality are distinctive and quite unique, all of which leads to an amazingly rich, lush, viscous palate impression. Complex, superb structure, and full-bodied, this Gem may be the best Verdicchio that I have ever tasted. The Bean has demanded that I bring home several cases of this exceptional Gem. In any case, this is one white wine that you should not miss. GREAT VALUE!" [JIM BARR, K&L WINE MERCHANTS' WINE STAFF] ***** 12.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
W&S 90

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

2015 Domaine Renaud Mâcon-Villages
Review Date: 05-10-2016
The most current releases [2015] of the Macons from one of the finest, yet smaller producers of Chardonnay in that appellation have directly arrived, and their productions may be the best that we have imported to date. Distinctive aromas of white peach to Arkansas Black apple fruit, with a touch of slate to wet river stone minerality, all of which carries over to a lush, viscous mouthfeel. This is what we at K&L refer to as a great crossover Chardonnay for those of you who are hung-up on these creamy, rich domestic Chardonnays. It offers the best of both worlds and is thoroughly enjoyable on both ends. The Bean has asked me to bring home several cases of this lovely Gem. ***** 13.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $13.99 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 Valle de Uco
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

2009 Cristom "Sommers Reserve" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 04-13-2016
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 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

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

2013 Saini "Pear Block-Old Vine" Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 04-07-2016
Check my write-up for the Apple Block, and just intensify and make richer those qualities that are in that block with this Pear Block. Rusty has asked me to also bring home a case or two of this Gem for our future enjoyment. ANOTHER GREAT ZIN VALUE THAT SHOULD NOT BE MISSED! ***** 15.1% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $32.99 Add To Cart
RP 94

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

2014 Blason Pinot Grigio Isonzo
Review Date: 03-30-2016
This Pinot Grigio from Blason [we have been importing their wines for the last fourteen years] is a lovely, distinctive wine in this 2014 vintage. Perfumed aromas of white peach and honeysuckle, with undertones of a wet river stone-like minerality that carries over to a crisp, clean, mouthwatering set of flavors. this Gem is a perfect compliment to a fish or chicken dinner. Eb has ordered me to bring home several cases of this Gem, and you might consider the same train of thought. Great Value! *****12.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$9.99

2014 Bodegas Puelles Blanco Rioja
Review Date: 02-11-2016
This is one of my favorite white wines in the store, and it is not for those of you who like heavily over-extracted, over-the-top, oaky, full ML style Chardonnays. It is really dry, clean, crisp, mineral-driven style of white wine with tons of character and a mouthwatering set of flavors, yet is a bit richer and more viscous than the 2013. The nose will remind you of fresh honeydew melons with lime zest fruit undertones that carry over to a bright, flashy set of flavors, and a bright, fresh finish. The Bean has demanded that I bring home, as with previous vintages, several cases of this Gem for our near-term, shellfish dining enjoyment. ***** 12.0% ABV *****
Top Value!
Price: $9.99 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

2005 Bodegas Casa Juan Señor de Lesmos Reserva Especial Rioja
Review Date: 12-30-2015
One of my favorite Rioja producers, Bodegas Senor de Lesmos, has just released and sent over to us via our direct import program, this amazing fleshy 2005 Reserva Especial Rioja. Deep ruby in color, the opulent, distinctive nose shows blackberry, cassis, and currants fruit notes with a chocolate, mocha, and toasty undertone. In the mouth, this young Gem is expansive, ever evolving, and focused with the same characteristics as in the nose to lead to an wonderfully complex, viscous, broad set of flavors with creamy, lush undertones, and a long, complete finish. Rusty has ordered me to bring home several cases of this Gem for our enjoyment over the next five to ten-plus years. An amazing Value! Don’t miss this Gem! 13.5% ABV
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2013 La Fortuna Rosso di Montalcino
Review Date: 12-30-2015
Deeply colored, the opulent nose is loaded with distinctive aromas of black plum to red cherries to strawberry-like qualities, with meaty mineral to mocha undertones. In its broad, viscous, complex, silky mouth presentation, those mentioned qualities come across wonderfully with this Gem in a full bodied, thoroughly enjoyable set of flavors that lead to a long, continuous finish. This is a great Baby Brunelli, and Rusty has demanded that I bring home several cases of lovely Gem for our consumption for the next five to ten years. Don’t miss this… This Gem is a Great Value. 14.0% ABV
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $19.99 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

2013 Kalinda "Cuvee 70" Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Review Date: 12-11-2015
Medium to medium-deep ruby red in color, this lovely Sonoma Coast production from this great vintage offers distinctive dried rose petal to strawberry fruit aromas with chalky, slate-like mineral notes in the nose which carries over nicely to a well-balanced, well-integrated set of flavors. Good complexity, excellent structure and acid backbone, this Gem is integrated, deep in flavor, and long on the finish. Rusty has ordered me to bring home several cases of this Gem for our near-term consumption over the next four to seven years. This is a Great Value and you shouldn’t miss it. ***** 13.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $24.99 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

2013 Ronco Blanchis Pinot Grigio Collio
Review Date: 11-17-2015
This finely crafted, distinctive Pinot Grigio offers lovely aromas ranging from honeydew melon to pear-like fruit, with a slate-like mineral undertone that carries over nicely to a fresh, clean, crisp, mouthwatering palate impression with a finish that is bright and lingering. Rizzo has demanded that I bring home several cases of this Gem, since it is one of the top Pinot Grigios that we have tasted this year. ***** 13.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $14.99 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

2013 Baricci Rosso di Montalcino
Review Date: 10-09-2015
What is coming from this small grower/producer estate that Greg St.Clair, our Italian Wine Buyer, discovered a few years ago has been monumental, which includes this lovely de-classified Brunello from their 2013 harvest. Medium deep ruby in color, its opulent nose is loaded with black cherry to anise-like fruit characteristics that is underscored by a cedary, forest floor, cola, slate-like quality. In the mouth, these special features are magnified in a well-integrated, balanced, fairly concentrated, yet structured and focused presentation, with a long, warm finish. Rusty has demanded that I bring home several cases of this baby Brunello Gem for consumption over the course of the next five to ten years. Great Value! Don’t miss this Gem. ***** 14.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2012 Château de Montfaucon "Baron Louis" Lirac
Review Date: 09-29-2015
We have been importing the various different wines from this very superb estate for over twenty years, and most of you know the story. It should be considered a Chateauneuf-Du-Pape, but it lies on the wrong side of the Rhone River from CDP, which is the appellation line. The Cuveé Baron Louis from their vineyard in Lirac is for all that matters, the estate’s “Reserve” bottling. Medium deep ruby in color, the nose explodes from the glass with a spicy white pepper to blackberry fruit notes with undertones of game and rose petals. A broad, focused, integrated, viscous mouthfeel with excellent balance and deep fruit flavors lead to a Gem that is complex, layered, and long on the finish. Rusty has told me that we need to have several cases of this Gem. Don’t miss this puppy. Great Value, and it will age and improve for another five to ten years. ***** 14.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart
RP 90 WS 90

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

2010 Solaria Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 08-22-2015
One of the largest problems with this 2010 vintage from Montalcino that I visualize is that these Brunellos are so well balanced, so opulent and so delicious now, that it will be a major chore to not open them and enjoy them near-term. Major mistake if you do that! This is a great vintage in Montalcino, and these wines should be treated as such. They should be put down and allowed to get much, much better with bottle aging, and they will, trust me and trust Greg St.Clair, our Italian wine buyer, who is telling all his following the same. Yes, they will get even better! One of my favorites is the 2010 Solaria, which will be a classic wine from this vintage. Medium-deep ruby in color, the authoritative nose of dark fruits, currants, plum, anise, and mocha with a filings mineral undertone leap from the glass in its aromatics, and carry over on the palate in a huge fashion, along with a lush, creamy, viscous, integrated, fleshy presentation. The finish is long and warm and continuous. This Gem is a great wine and will age nicely for the next ten to twenty-plus years in our wine cellar. Rusty has absolutely demanded that I bring home several cases of this Gem, or else. Great Gem, Great Value! ***** 14.5% *****
Drink from 2020 to 2020
Price: Hidden View Price
JS 95 VN 90

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

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 Cart

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: $21.95 Add To Cart

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

Can Mayol Loxarel "999" Brut Nature Rosat Penedes
Review Date: 07-26-2014
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

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: $19.99 Add To Cart

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

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 Cart

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

1996 Lanessan, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 02-21-2013
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: $24.99 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

2009 Clarke Rothschild, Listrac
Review Date: 06-29-2012
Deeply colored, the bright nose offers a black cherry to plumy note, almost in a jam-like fashion without being overdone. Rich, fairly concentrated fruit with just an edge of tannin, this Gem has excellent structure and depth of flavor with a long, warm finish. This wine could be drunk now with about an hour or two of decanting and airing, but will age another three to six-plus years. Rusty has informed that this, too, will be one of our house reds for the next few years. (Jim Barr) 14.0% ABV
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

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