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Staff Favorites - Jim Barr

Jim Barr


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

2009 Mastrojanni Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 07-01-2015
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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: $44.99 Add To Cart

Ariston Aspasie "Carte Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-14-2014
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It is remarkable to me, and to much of our wine staff, some of the unique, profoundly produced Champagnes from the small producers that Gary Westby, our Champagne Wine Buyer, has discovered over the last decade. Virtually all of these producers, including the Aristons, are making sparkling wine strictly from estate fruit from Grand Cru recognized vineyard sites, and in small lots. As with any small producer, these wines are “hands-on” creations that are given extensive individual attention and long term aging before being disgorged. The Ariston “Carte Blanche’s” exquisite, superb quality is at a mind boggling low price vis-à-vis its style and complexity. Rich and authoritative both on its nutty, doughy yeasty nose and in the mouth, the very fine mousse leads to an amazingly rich, full style brut, with a long, intense finish. Some of you will probably not enjoy this Gem, due to the fact that you have gotten use to flavorless, bulk productions from the international, well-known, simply made name “brands,” but for those of you that seek complexity and profoundness in your Champagne, you will not find one even close in quality to this Gem at this price. The Guys (Rusty, Eby, The Beaner, and Rizzo) have forcefully made this our house sparkling wine forever. Don't be afraid to age this wonderful Champagne; it will only keep getting better. ABV 12%
Drink from 2014 to 2014
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart