Staff Favorites - Jim Barr

Jim Barr

Reviews

  
1982 Bodegas Olarra Añares Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 07-06-2015
I think of the two old Mugas, I would probably give a very slight favor to this Gem as to which one that I like best. Produced from an excellent vintage, this `76 also has that developed mature color to it of a medium ruby appearance with brickish edges. The bouquet is wonderful, with cassis to blackberry to raspberry fruit characteristics, supported by game-like to slate-like undertones. In the mouth, it offers cedary, mocha, white pepper to anise spiciness, and forest floor to mushroom-like notes, with a broad, viscous texture, yet well integrated and definitely complex and fully mature, and is long and warm on the finish. Rusty has ordered me to bring home some bottles of this Gem for our near term consumption. Another Great Old Wine Vale! Don’t miss it! ***** 12.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $99.99 Add To Waiting List

1976 Bodegas Muga Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 07-06-2015
I think of the two old Mugas, I would probably give a very slight favor to this Gem as to which one that I like best. Produced from an excellent vintage, this `76 also has that developed mature color to it of a medium ruby appearance with brickish edges. The bouquet is wonderful, with cassis to blackberry to raspberry fruit characteristics, supported by game-like to slate-like undertones. In the mouth, it offers cedary, mocha, white pepper to anise spiciness, and forest floor to mushroom-like notes, with a broad, viscous texture, yet well integrated and definitely complex and fully mature, and is long and warm on the finish. Rusty has ordered me to bring home some bottles of this Gem for our near term consumption. Another Great Old Wine Vale! Don’t miss it! ***** 11.0% to 14.0% *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $79.99 Add To Waiting List

1971 Bodegas Muga Crianza
Review Date: 07-06-2015
Joe Manekin has stumbled, quite literally, upon a caché of wonderful old Riojas from a private cellar in Spain. This marvelous `71 is fully mature. Medium-deep ruby in color with developed orangish edges, the nose offers a lovely set of evolved characteristics that carry over well across a complex yet silky palate; cedar, forest floor, anise, white pepper, antique-like, and cocoa. In the mouth, this Gem is unctuous, refined, and immensely complex, with great mid-range, and long warm finish. Rusty has ordered me to bring some bottles of this Gem home for near-term consumption. This is truly a Great Old Wine Value that would be priced well over $500.00 if it was from Bordeaux or Napa Valley. Don’t miss it! ***** 11.0% to 14.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $99.99 Add To Waiting List

2009 Mastrojanni Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 07-01-2015
It is still remarkable to me that when you have an incredible vintage such as the highly acclaimed 2010 Brunello productions that wines coming from vintages around 2010 generally get ignored and forgotten. That happened with the 2001 and 2003 vintages from Bordeaux with all the super hype for the 2002 vintage. There are some great wines produced from those two vintages. Soooo, when we did our most recent staff tasting of wines from Brunello, mostly from the 2010 vintage, this 2009 Gem blew everything off of the table. That is not say that the 2010s in the tasting were not very good. They were reflective of this great vintage and absolutely amazing. It is just plain simple truth that this Gem stood out as the best in the tasting and it is from 2009. Medium deep ruby in color, the nose explodes with lush, ripe aromas of anise spiciness and currants notes with a slate-like, dusty mineral undertone. In its broad and viscous, spicy mouthfeel, this lovely Brunello is loaded with fruit of cassis to blackberry quality, is well-integrated, hugely complex, deep , full, viscous, and layered, with a long, deeply flavored finish. Rusty has demanded that I bring home several cases of this brilliantly produced Brunello Gem for us to consume for the next ten years. INCREDIBLE VALUE! ***** 15.0% *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $46.99 Add To Waiting List
AG 90 JS 90

2013 Bodega DiamAndes "Perlita" Malbec-Syrah Mendoza
Review Date: 06-29-2015
As many of you know by now, our wine buyer for South American wines is Joe Manekin and he does an extraordinary job of selecting wonderful wines from that area. And, as many of you know, our wine buyer for the wines from Bordeaux is Clyde Beffa, and he, too, does an exceptional job with his selections. Once in a great while, Clyde will journey outside his area of expertise and make purchases from other areas and countries, to which we scratch our heads and ask, “What was he thinking when he bought this?” Clyde did the purchasing of this wine and for the first time in a long while, he has made one of finest purchases to be featured in our stores. Medium deep ruby in color, the nose explodes with lush, spicy fruit of a white pepper to anise characteristic, with undertones in the bouquet of mocha, cedar, and a forest floor quality. In its fleshy and flashy mouth presentation, this Gem is viscous, broad, well-integrated, and nicely structured, yet round and soft for near-term drinking. Joe Manekin is even excited about this amazing wine! Don’t miss this Gem! Great Value! 14.5% ABV
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $12.99 Add To Waiting List
JS 93

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: $19.99 Add To Waiting List

2013 Colonias de Galeon "Petit Ocnos" Tinto Vino de la Tierra de Sierra Norte de Sevilla
Review Date: 06-19-2015
Medium deep ruby in color, this unusual, yet lovely Cabernet Franc, Syrah, and Tempranillo blend offers pronounced aromas of bright red fruit driven to anise-like fruit characteristics with a mild undertone of wet river stone minerality. This carries over nicely to a balanced yet focused palate set of flavors of the same that is bright, refreshing, flashy, and just a joy to consume near-term. This Gem is a perfect wine to serve with lighter meat dishes such as pork and Rusty has decided that this Gem will be one of our house reds for the month. Excellent Value! Enjoy! ***** 13.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $12.99 Add To Waiting List

2011 Ugo Lequio "Gallina" Barbaresco
Review Date: 06-11-2015
Many of you who know me also know how I feel about Nebbiolo (in particular, Barolo and Barbaresco). I find the wines from Barolo and Barbaresco to possess way too much tannin, especially when they are infants. I think of the several hundred of cases of wine that I have in my temperature controlled wine room, I can count on one hand how many Barolos and Barbarescos that I have in that vast collection. Well, that is about to change! This Gem was unbelievably great at our last staff tasting of Italian wines (June 9th) and, after Rusty tried it too, I was ordered to bring home several cases. Medium-deep ruby in color, the nose is opulent and pronounced with blackberry, dry rose petals, and dusty mineral characteristics. In the mouth, this Gem gives forth a broad, rich, sweet core of fruit, that is deep, concentrated, and well integrated. Perfectly balanced and with excellent structure and acid backbone, the finish is long and warm. This has to be one of the most complex young wines that that I have ever tasted. Don’t miss it – it is a Great Value! ***** 15.0% *****
Drink from 2020 to 2020
Price: $44.99 Add To Waiting List
WE 95 RP 92

2012 Pian dell'Orino Rosso di Montalcino
Review Date: 06-11-2015
Medium deep ruby in color, the nose gushes forth with distinctive aromas of blackberry to cherry to plum-like fruit characteristics, all of which is underscored by a slate-like minerality, as well as mocha and anise tones. In the mouth, this Gem is full, deeply flavored, layered, complex, viscous and broad, well-integrated, and rich with a long finish. When one tastes such an outstanding wine as this, one needs to ask, why was this wine de-classified from a Brunello level. This Rosso is equal to Brunellos that are as outstanding . I would recommend that you treat this as a great, well structured Brunello and age it as you would any Brunello. Rusty has given this Gem nine dog tail wags and has ordered me to bring home at least a case for future consideration. If you have it near-term, decant and give it a few hours of airing. Great Wine! ***** 14.5% *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $39.99 Add To Waiting List
AG 93

2010 Bodegas Puelles Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 06-01-2015
Again, one of my favorite Rioja producers and this Crianza is a wine that warrants your attention. Produced from Tempranillo, this silky, lush, fleshy wine shows an opulent nose that is red fruit driven with a hint of spicy anise tones and a touch of cedary oak. This classic new-world style Rioja is bright, fleshy, and creamy on the palate, particularly in the mid-range, with excellent structure and acid backbone, and a lasting, deeply flavored finish. This Gem drinks well now but will continue to improve with another five to seven-plus years of cellaring. Rusty wants me bring home several cases of this Gem for our near-term enjoyment. Don’t miss this Rioja! ***** 14.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $12.99 Add To Waiting List
RP 90

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

Wine Club

$24.99

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2010 Ostler "Caroline's" Pinot Noir Waitaki Valley North Otago
Review Date: 11-20-2014
If any one Pinot Noir makes a statement that New Zealand has joined the ranks of great Pinot producers of the world, this incredible Gem from Ostler is it! Deeply colored, the high profiled, profound aromatics of dried rose petals, raspberry, black cherry, and spices fruit characteristics with distinctive undertones of slate-like minerality, and meaty notes, all of which carries over nicely in the mouth. It is deeply complex, broad and viscous, well-integrated and wonderfully balanced, has great structure, acid backbone and excellent mid-range, yet is lush, rich, and beautifully focused with a finish that seems to go on and on. This is an amazing Gem, and Rusty has told me that we need at least a case of this in our collection. This lovely Pinot should easily age and get better for the next five to ten years, although I think once you taste it, you will find it very difficult to keep your hands off of it. In any case, you should not miss this Gem and need to buy it in quantity. Also, Matt Kramer recently wrote glowingly about this great Pinot in one of his columns, equating it to a single vineyard production from a great vintage from Chambolle-Musigny, but he did not give it a score. So, I'll do that for him - 96 points! 13.5% ABV
Drink from 2014 to 2014

2013 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 07-15-2014
Although New Zealand has been almost exclusively known for wonderful Sauvignon Blancs the past several decades, we have seen in the past several years some nicely produced, but not outstanding, Pinot Noirs coming from many producers there. A few of these productions have impressed me to the point that I have told many customers that New Zealand is on the same quality threshold that the Willamette Valley wineries were thirty-five to forty years ago. And I have told customers that while these productions were promising, like those of the Oregon producers, it would probably be another seven to ten years when we would see some incredible quality Pinots coming from New Zealand that would rival the fabulous Pinots that now are coming from the Willamette Valley, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast and the Santa Lucia Mountain range. Then Ryan Woodhouse brings in the 2012 Te Whare Ra, and it was thoroughly impressive. And now with the 2013, I have to take several steps back and tell you that I was off by five to ten years, in that it would not take the New Zealand producers so long to create Pinots that would be on an equivalent level as the aforementioned wines. This is an amazing Pinot from a truly great, great vintage. Medium–deep ruby in color, with opulent, distinctive aromas of dried rose petals, strawberry, red fruits and spicy notes underscored by a slate mineral tone and a mild gamey quality. This carries over to a complex, layered, deep set of flavors with excellent balance, broadness and viscosity, and a lush mid-range and finish. Rusty has told me that this Gem is a truly great wine and needs to be in our collection immediately before it vanishes. Good work, Ryan, and thanks for making me eat my words. 19.0 UC Davis points out of 20.
Drink from 2014 to 2014

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

2009 Peyrabon, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 09-20-2013
Deeply colored, this ripe, rich, plumy wine shows soft, integrated tannins and near term drinkability. 14.0% ABV
Drink from 2013 to 2013
Price: $19.99 Add To Waiting List

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

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

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

2004 Lanessan, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 02-21-2013
In a so-so vintage, Lanessan has created a wonderfully balanced wine that is soft and round in the mouth with blackberry to currant-like fruit, with portabella and earthy notes, and a clean, warm finish. This Gem will be one of our house reds for the month, according to Rusty. 13.0%
Drink from 2013 to 2013
Price: $19.99 Add To Waiting List

2003 Lanessan, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 02-21-2013
The 2003 vintage was an incredibly warm vintage that resulted in certain grapes becoming a bit too ripe and, as a result, producing rather fat style wines. This Lanessan is not that, and if one discription has to be used, it is power. Deeply colored, this Gem shows a ripe, rich, focused cassis to current fruit note with mocha undertones on the nose, that leads to a broad, viscous, complex, almost creamy mouthfeel. It is long and luscious, and will be our house red, according to Rusty for the next three to six years. 13.0% ABV
Drink from 2013 to 2013
Price: $19.99 Add To Waiting List

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

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: $29.99 Add To Waiting List

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 Waiting List
RP 90 ST 89

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