Staff Favorites - Jim Barr

Jim Barr


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

2007 Château de Montfaucon "Baron Louis" Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 07-19-2017
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We have been directly importing the outstanding Rhone Valley wines of Chateau de Montfaucon since 1995 and, although many of you know the story of this property, I think that it is still appropriate to repeat. This 85+ acre estate lies across the Rhone River from the village of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and its red and white wine grape make-up are similar to what goes into making CDPs. The problem, however, is that the river is the appellation line and Montfaucon, therefore, cannot be called CDP, and is relegated to a general Cotes du Rhone classification. My attitude is that if it smells and tastes like CdP, than treat it like CdP. With that out of the way, I can tell you that the 2007 Cotes du Rhones from Montfaucon are the best that I have tasted from this estate since we have been importing them. Produced from the older sections of their vineyard (60- to 90-year-old vines), the Cuveé Baron Louis(40% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Cinsault and 10% each Carignan, Mourvedre and Counoise) would be a great and classic CdP if wasn't for that #*&^ river. With its deep, richly appearing hue, the opulent, perfumed nose of blackberry, purple plum, white pepper spiciness, hints of smoked meats and forest floor explodes from the glass. It is concentrated and lush, with broad fruit in the mouth that is complex yet soft and round, with silky tannins, all leading to a long, warm, ongoing finish. I plan to lay this Gem down for a few years to give it additional development, but it is an amazingly wonderful wine now, particularly with decanting and airing {10/13/2009}...A K&L WINE MERCHANTS' DIRECT IMPORT... ***** 14.0% ABV ***** {RETASTED 07/13/2017: Has become absolutely incredibly delicious; comparable to any $150.00 or much more older wine available in our stores}
Drink from 2009 to 2009
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
JD 91

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2009 Arnauton, Fronsac
Review Date: 05-30-2013
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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: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 91

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

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2016 Domaine Renaud Mâcon-Solutré ($16.99)