Staff Favorites - Jim Barr

Jim Barr

Reviews

  
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 Bodega 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
JS 92

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

Wine Club

$22.99

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 Château de Montfaucon Lirac
Review Date: 11-19-2015
A new production for us from Montfaucon, this deeply colored Lirac from their older estate vineyard is vinified from Grenache (60%), Syrah (30%), and Cinsault (10%) and provides a high profile and distinctive aromas of anise, white pepper, plums and blackberry fruit with a pronounced undertones of meaty to game-like minerality. Broad, viscous, and rich in the mouth, this Gem provides tons of flavor, balance and integration to go with a subtle complexity and a excellent focus. Long, round, warm and fleshy into the finish, Rusty has demanded that this Gem needs to be one of our house reds for however long it is around. Great Value! Drink now and over the course of the next seven to ten years. Don’t miss this puppy! ***** 14.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $14.99 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

2014 Quinta da Aveleda Loureiro Alvarinho Vinho Verde Regional Minho
Review Date: 11-11-2015
Bright, distinctively characteristical with a lime zest to wet river stone taste, this lovely clean, crisp, bright Gem, with just a touch of effervescence to make the fruit much more refreshing and upfront, is a perfect wine for shellfish (lobster, crab, and clams) meals, and for spring and summer time refreshment. The Bean has asked me to bring home several cases of this Gem. It also serves well as an aperitif wine for parties. ***** 11.5% ABV *****
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart
W&S 90 WE 90

2004 La Temperance Prestige, Haut Medoc
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

2014 Domaine de Biéville (Louis Moreau) Chablis
Review Date: 11-01-2015
We have imported two delicious Chablis from Louis Moreau, the Moreau regular villages production and this Gem from their Domiane de Bieville estate. Both of them our incredible buys and may be the best deal for great drinking Chablis' for the year. As with the regular Moreau, the Bieville drinks as if it is a Premier Cru at two to three times the price. Aromas of green apples, almonds, and jasmine-like floral notes are distinctive and underscored by that classic chalky, limestone mineral quality. Carrying over nicely across a clean, crisp, mouthwatering palate impression and finish, this Gem has excellent structure and acid backbone, and would be the perfect accompaniment to shell fish, particularly crab or lobster. The Bean has demanded that I bring home several cases of this Gem for our near-term consumption. Don's miss this Great Value! ***** 12.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $16.99 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

2014 Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis
Review Date: 10-02-2015
It is such a joy to discover, taste, and enjoy a simple villages production from this great Chardonnay area that comes across with the complexity and elegance of a Premier Cru. That is exactly what this 2014 from Louis Moreau delivers. Distinctive, pronounced aromas of an apple-y note that is supported by that classic slate-like to chalky mineral quality, the flavors are so precise and well defined with excellent structure and viscosity, yet with that characteristic acid backbone and clear Chablis definition, both in its mid-range palate impression and in its mouthwatering finish. This is a steal, and The Bean has demanded that I bring home several cases of this Gem for our everyday consumption with the upcoming crab season. Great Value! Don’t Miss This! ***** 12.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $18.99 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

2013 Les Vignerons de Fontès "Prieuré Saint-Hippolyte" Languedoc Rouge
Review Date: 09-29-2015
This is a first for us, in that wines that we have seen from this producer have been delicious Rosés, which we have imported for the last five years (I buy one to two cases each year of their Rosé, it’s that good!). For whatever reason, Saint-Hippolyte decided to produce a meager amount of red in 2013, and, as with the Rosés, is also a Syrah (75%) and Grenache (25%) blend. A lush, opulent aroma of cassis and white pepper spiciness dominate the nose of this wonderful Lanquedoc red, with a toasty, smoky background tone evolving. These qualities carry over well to an integrated, fairly concentrated, round, rich mouthfeel that leads to a long, deep finish. Rusty has ordered me to bring home cases of this Gem, and you need to do the same. Great Value! Drinking near-term, too. ***** 11.0% to 14.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$9.99

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 Cart
JS 95 VN 90

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 Cart

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: Hidden View Price
JS 90 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

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 Cart
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 Cart
VN 93

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

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 Cart

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

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 Cart

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: Hidden View Price

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

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

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: $21.99 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

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

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 Cart
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 Cart
WE 89