Staff Favorites - Jim Barr

Jim Barr

Reviews

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2010 Bodega Eguren Tempranillo Vino de la Tierra de Castilla
Review Date: 3-26-2014
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This is a super value red wine. Medium-deep ruby in color, the wine offers a lovely perfume of bright rose petals, black cherry and cranberry fruit qualities with undertones of anise spiciness and a wet river stone minerality. This carries over nicely to a bright, flashy, brilliant flavor presentation with integrated tannins and a refreshing, clean, mouthwatering finish. This will be one of our house reds for the next several months - I will be bringing this home by the case. Lots of cases! Enjoy! 13.0% ABV
Drink from 2014 to 2018
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Chalone "Limited Release" Chalone Pinot Noir
Review Date: 3-13-2014
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Meant to sell for about $30.00 (and it is a darn good drinking Pinot at that price) in restaurants, this Gem was over-produced and made available to us at half the price. Medium ruby in color, the distinctive nose of raspberries, dried rose petals and red cherries carries over well into a nicely integrated, well structured, bright, and fleshy palate impression. As I mentioned, this lovely Pinot drinks well now, but will improve over the next three to six years. Rusty has informed me that I need to bring home a few cases of this Gem to be one of our house reds for the coming months. 13.5% ABV
Drink from 2014 to 2020
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart W&S 92 BC 0

2011 Bodegas Olivares "Altos de la Hoya" Jumilla
Review Date: 3-7-2014
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Medium-deep ruby in color, this puppy is loaded with fruit of a cassis, blackberry to raspberry, and Chilean Jasmine nature with white pepper spiciness and a creamy tone as a back note both on the nose and across its broad, rich, viscous, deeply flavored palate impression. On the finish it is long, warm and gives a wet forest floor note of minerality in what has to be one of the most amazingly complex, “cheap” red wines that I have ever tasted. Rusty has demanded that I bring home cases upon cases of this wonderful Gem to be one of our house reds for the next ten thousand years. And, no, it was not named after a professional boxer. 14.0% ABV
Drink from 2014 to 2020
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart ST 91 BC 0

2012 Kalinda "Cuvée Reserve" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 2-4-2014
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Most of us, locally, who are into wine collecting are cognizant of the quality of each harvest in California, particularly in the North Coast. The 2012 harvest has evolved into a great one, across the board. The 2012 vintage in Willamette Valley is also every bit as great as that which was created in California. This production that was produced for us by a well-known Pinot producer in the Willamette Valley is a stunning wine with deep ruby color, opulent aromas of rose petals, black cherry, and cloves, with an undertone of forest floor and game that explodes from the glass. Broad, rich, viscous, complex, well-focused varietal flavors abound in this Gem. It is well-integrated and focused, with excellent structure and depth of character, and a finish that is defined and long. This Gem, according to Rusty, will be one of our house reds for the next five to seven years, easy! 14.1% ABV
Drink from 2014 to 2024
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Kalinda Santa Ynez Valley Sauvignon Blanc
Review Date: 2-4-2014
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Bright, refreshing, and mouthwatering, this beauty is clean, crisp, and loaded with citrus (lime zest to grapefruit) fruit tones in the mouth and on the nose. According to The Bean, this Gem would be a perfect pairing with crab or lobster or any shellfish dinner and will be one of our house whites for the month. 13.0% ABV
Drink from 2014 to 2017
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Kalinda Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 1-16-2014
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If you are like me and are tired of trying many of the ridiculously high alcohol, low acid, high pH, jammy [some even having a residual sweetness], totally out of balance, and way overpriced Cabernets that many North Coast, and in particular Napa Valley, producers have been creating this last decade, then you will be delighted to try this "old-style" Kalinda 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon. Medium deep ruby in color, the distinctive, opulent bouquet offers cassis, currants, and blackberry fruit, with hints of cedar, mocha, and roasted coffee bean. Nicely structured and balanced, the aforementioned qualities carry over into a complex, well integrated, broad, viscous mouthfeel with a finish that is long, warm, and lingering. Although this Gem is currently drinking, it will age and improve easily another five to ten years. Rusty has ordered me to bring home several cases of this Gem to be one of our house reds for the next four to six years. 14.2% ABV
Drink from 2014 to 2024
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2001 Marques de Riscal "Baron de Chirel" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 1-14-2014
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In the last three to four years, our Spanish Wine Buyer, Joe Manekin, has become equally as dangerous as our Italian wine buyer, Greg St. Clair, in regards to the influence on my (and, I am sure, yours) wine purchasing habits for my collection. Of the several hundred cases of wine that I had in my collection a decade ago, I had maybe one bottle of Italian juice. Today, I have over thirty cases (you’re an evil person, Greg). The same can be stated regarding Spanish wines. I had one bottle, maybe, a decade ago. Today, I am looking at nearly thirty cases (Joe, you have also joined that lofty evil level held by Greg St.Clair) Seriously, the amazing quality and quantity of great wines at ridiculously reasonable prices that these two buyers have brought to all us over the last “X” amount of years is mind-boggling. This older Reserva Rioja production from Marques de Riscal is a prime example of some of the great wines that Joe Manekin has been discovering. Medium-deep ruby red in color with just a slight hint of age (brickish orange) on its edges, the magnificent scents of black cherry, cedar, cigar box, portabella, mocha, forest floor, and wild game are abundant in its highly perfumed bouquet. In the mouth, these elements are nicely incorporated with silky, very fine tannins. This Gem is lush, broad, viscous, deep, and layered, with superb focus and complexity, and with a long, warm, unrelenting finish. Although drinking incredibly well now (with decanting and an hour or so of airing), there is enough stuffing, structure, and backbone to allow it to age another seven to twelve-plus years. Needless to say, Rusty forced me into buying nearly a case of it and told me that this beauty will be one of our house reds in five to seven years. 13.5% ABV
Drink from 2014 to 2025

Ariston Aspasie "Carte Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 12-6-2013
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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 2013 to 2020
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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

2012 Au Bon Climat/K&L Wine Merchants "Bien Nacido Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 10-2-2013
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Great vintage... classic Central Coast, single (GREAT) vineyard fruit source, and a wonderful Pinot. Incredible balance, lush perfumed aromas of strawberries and rose petals, with wet river stone mineral tones. Excellent complexity, deeply flavored, integrated and focused, and a long, warm finish. This Gem is a barrel-selection by our very own Bryan Brick from the Bien Nacido Vineyards at Au Bon Climat and should rival Pinots that are three times the price. Buy it!!! Or else!!! My dog Rusty has demanded that I bring home at least three cases of this great Gem (like we need more wine in the house)... Well, okay.
Drink from 2013 to 2020
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2009 La Tour de By, Médoc
Review Date: 9-20-2013
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If any one minor growth achieve an incredible success in this vintage, it is La Tour De By. Medium-deep ruby in color, this wine offers wonderful aromas of cassis, currents, and vanilla. In the mouth, you are treated to an amazingly complex wine with wonderful structure and depth of flavor, excellent complexity, and a finish that refuses to give up. Rusty has informed me that this Gem will be one of our house red for the next 3 to 6 years. 13.5% ABV
Drink from 2013 to 2020
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2009 Peyrabon, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 9-20-2013
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Deeply colored, this ripe, rich, plumy wine shows soft, integrated tannins and near term drinkability. 14.0% ABV
Drink from 2013 to 2015
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 I Stefanini "Selese" Soave
Review Date: 9-18-2013
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A great discovery by our Italian Wine Buyer, Greg St.Clair! This may be one of the finest Soaves that I have ever tasted. Wet river stone notes are an eminent back feature to this delicious wine with unusual richness and focus for a Soave. Yet, it is refreshing and mouthwatering in the mouth, with perfect acid structure and a clean, crisp finish. The Bean wants this Gem to be one of our house whites for the next six months to a year. 13.0% ABV
Drink from 2013 to 2016
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Blason Brut B3 Friuli Sparkling
Review Date: 9-18-2013
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Lush and delicious, with a bright and dry presentation, this highly aromatic, wonderful offering is clean and crisp in the mouth, and offers a nice everyday drinking sparkler at a “cheap” price. This is the first time that Greg St.Clair has had this exceptional sparkler imported to us from Blason. Eby has informed me that this Gem will be one of our house sparkling wines for the month. Enjoy! 12.0% ABV
Drink from 2013 to 2014
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2003 Verdignan Rouge, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 8-21-2013
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I get a kick out of how most of my colleagues and many wine writers talk about how extreme (cold to hot to very hot) the “historic” weather conditions during the summer of 2003 were in Bordeaux (and Europe). Look at where many of the alcohol levels of the wines of 2009 are, particularly the Right Bank (14.5% to 15+% ABV), and we need to ask ourselves, “What are they talking about?” This 2003 Gem is sitting at 13% ABV and provides lush, viscous, complex, silky fruit on the palate, lovely aromatics of currants and cassis, with an almost earthy undertone, an excellent core of well-integrated fruit, and a finish that is long, warm and satisfying. Rusty has informed me that this Gem will be one of our house reds for the month.
Drink from 2013 to 2018
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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