Staff Favorites - Jim Barr

Jim Barr

Reviews

  
2013 Banshee Sonoma County Pinot Noir
Review Date: 08-25-2015
The 2012, 2013, and 2014 vintages are going to produce some amazing domestic coastal Pinot Noirs, particularly those from the Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, and, from my old stomping ground, the Anderson Valley. It has a lot to do with the drought and the long, cool growing seasons there. This 2013 Sonoma “County” (it is virtually all Sonoma Coast in appellation) Pinot Noir from Banshee is a stunning example of this great vintage from this coastal friendly area. Medium deep ruby in color, the nose explodes with opulent smells of dried rose petals, fields of ripe strawberries, wet river stone mineral undertones, and a mild toasty, cedary undercurrent to support all of this in the nose, which definitely carries over nicely to a complex, integrated, lush, viscous, well-focused palate impression. With an impressive, deeply flavored mid-palate range, this Gem finishes long and warm. Rusty has informed me that I need to bring home several cases of this lovely Pinot Gem. You honestly need to do the same. This is a Great Value, and it shouldn’t be missed. ***** 13.4% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $22.99 Add To Waiting List

2014 Domaine Renaud Mâcon-Charnay
Review Date: 08-25-2015
From a single "Estate" hillside vineyard (Charnay) in the Macon district of Southern Burgundy, this lush, eminently drinkable Macon is our fifth vintage (I think?) that we have directly imported and may be the best to date. This beauty drinks more like a single vineyard, village production (i.e., Saint Veran or Pouilly Fuisse) rather than a general district wine from Macon. A lovely aroma of apples, lime zest, and white peach is supported by a distinctive slate-like to seashell mineral tone. In the mouth, it is refreshing, bright, and mouthwatering, which carries over to a clean, crisp, flavorful finish. The Bean has demanded, as she usually does, that I bring home cases of this Gem, and you need to do the same. An Amazing Value! Don’ miss it! ***** 13.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $13.99 Add To Waiting List

2014 Domaine Renaud St-Véran
Review Date: 08-22-2015
From one of Renaud “Estate” vineyard village Macons , this lovely, very distinctive, mineral driven Chardonnay offers up lush aromas of green apples, white peach, and a nutty-like fruit quality that is underscored by a slate-like, but unique minerality that has defined this property for us the last five-plus years that we have been directly importing it. All these wonderful aspects carry over solidly in the mouth to a rich, deeply flavored wine of excellent intensity and acid structure, with an opulent mid-range, and a long, delicious, mouthwatering finish. The Bean has demanded that I bring home at least two cases of this Gem for enjoyment with chicken or turkey dinners. And so should you. Great Value! ***** 13.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $18.99 Add To Waiting List

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: $44.99 Add To Waiting List
JS 95 AG 90

2013 Bodegas Puelles Blanco Rioja
Review Date: 08-11-2015
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. The nose will remind you of dandelions 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 *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $9.99 Add To Waiting List

2006 Baron Fuente "Grand Millésimé" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 07-16-2015
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. ***** 12.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $29.99 Add To Waiting List
WS 91

2010 Belpoggio Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 07-16-2015
Ho-Hum, just another really great 2010 Brunello. Deeply colored, this Gem offers up opulent aromas of red berry-driven fruit of cherry-like to plum-like characteristics intermingled with an almost Burgundian-like dried rose petal to violet-like quality, with just a touch of toasty oak in its background. In its broad, viscous, lush mouthfeel, this 2010 delivers layers of well defined flavors of the same, with excellent focus and complexity, great integration and depth, a silky, round mid-range, and an amazing powerful distinctiveness across all aspects of the palate. This Gem is long and creamy on the finish, and Rusty has ordered me to bring home at least a case or two of this Gem for future considerations. Drinking well with decanting and two hours of airing. Great Value! Don’t miss this Gem! ***** 14.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2020 to 2020
Price: Hidden View Price
JS 92 RP 91

1982 Bodegas Olarra Añares Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 07-07-2015
Another fully mature Rioja that offers an elegant, well preserved presentation. As with the 1982 Cerro Anon Reserva, this `82 is subtly complex and distinctively evolved, with the nose on this Gem offering cedary to leathery notes in combination with black cherry to anise like qualities. It is well balanced, nicely integrated, delicate, possessing excellent structure and acidity, and has a finish that is round and soft. Drink this Gem over the course of the next year or two. Rusty also wants me to bring home some bottles of this Gem for our consumption for the near term. Another Great Old Wine Vale! Done miss it! ***** 12.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $99.99 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 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: $14.99 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: Hidden View Price

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

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

2009 Bodegas Casa Juan Señor de Lesmos Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 05-29-2015
What has become some of my two favorite Rioja producers are Bodegas Puelles and the productions from this fabulous house, Bodegas Casa Juan Senor de Lesmos, which are DI's for us. Medium deep ruby in color, this 2009 Gem offers a traditional style nose of cedar, an antiqueish tone, and red fruit driven aromas. In the mouth, it is balanced, complex, integrated, broad, and deeply flavored. It is a truly wonderful wine at a very reasonable price. Rusty has informed me that I need to bring home at least several cases of this Gem soon, and you need to do so, too. ***** 13.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $12.99 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

2014 Domaine des Côtes Blanches Sancerre
Review Date: 04-14-2015
A deliciously lush Sancerre, this Gem offers pronounced aromas of tropical fruit, white peach, melons and a filings mineral note, which carries over to an exceptional palate impression with good entry and a viscous mid-palate. Excellent structure and acid, the finish is mouthwatering and crisp. According to Rizzo, this Gem would be perfect with a shellfish dinner or a lighter fish dinner, and she has ordered me to bring home a few cases of this lovely wine. ***** 13% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $17.99 Add To Waiting List

2012 Waterkloof "Circle Of Life" White Blend Stellenbosch South Africa
Review Date: 04-14-2015
An unusual blend of Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier from a biodynamic “estate” vineyard, that really works great, the incredibly perfumed nose on this lovely white Gem is distinctive and well-defined, showing loads of Chilean jasmine to honey-dew melon to white peach-like aromas. All of this carries over to a richly flavored white that is lush and viscous from entry to finish, yet has definitive structure, depth, and a wet-river stone minerality note to it, without being over-the-top or sloppy fat. I loved this Gem from the first sample we tasted several months ago, at which time I told Ryan Woodhouse to bring in as much as he could get his hands on. This Gem has now become one of my favorite white wines in our store, with The Bean, who thinks it deserves a “nine cat face” rating, is demanding that I bring home cases of this beauty. Do yourself a giant favor: buy this in case quantity. You can thank us at a later time. ***** 13.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $16.99 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

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 Waiting List

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 Waiting List
W&S 91

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

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 Waiting List

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

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