Staff Favorites - Jim Barr

Jim Barr

Reviews

2007 Lanessan, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 11-08-2017
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I think of all the vintages from Lanessan, this is the most delicate, less aggressive one. Medium ruby in color, you get that classic cassis and blackberry presentation from this chateau, but with a less assertive characteristic, yet it still shows a powerful dimensional framework. The tannins are integrated, and soft, with fine depth, balance and soft complex, layered flavors. Rusty has informed me that this Gem will be one of our house reds for the next five to ten years, and that I need to bring home serveral caes for our wine cellar. Drink from 2013 to 2020. A REALLY NICE DRINKING VALUE! *****13.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2014 Husch "Nash Mill Vineyard" Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 11-02-2017
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The ensuing wine review will be totally objective and non-prejudicial. After spending two-plus years {ending in 2002} clearing a just over four acre parcel of South facing hillside at my place in the Anderson Valley, I had trucked in a hundred and fifty tons of crushed limestone and fifty tons of compost, to which Christine [my better half} and I had ripped into the site with a three way, three foot deep dredge. We then seeded the hillside with clover for ground cover and let it sit for a year. At that point, we planted it to three different clones of Pinot Noir; half to Pommard, and a quarter each to 115 and 667. In 2006 {its first harvest}, we sold the property including the vineyard to Zac Robinson of Husch Vineyards. Husch has subsequently kept the productions coming off of this site separate from everything else that they were vinifying. This 2014 is perhaps the best that has come from this site to date and what has been produced thus far has been wonderful. This 2014 Gem is medium-deep ruby in color, has an opulent, floral nose of violets and dried rose petals, with undertones of strawberries and black cherries fruit combined with clove-like to a rustic Burgundian forest floor notes. On the palate, it is lush, balanced, well-integrated, really fine and elegant, and uniquely complex, all of which leads to a long, silky finish. Rusty already has had me bring home two cases of this Gem, and we toying with the idea of maybe another case. Even though it is delicious right now with airing, we plan to age it for another ten-plus years. A GREAT WINE VALUE!!! ***** 13.9% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: Hidden View Price

2015 Sobon Estate "Rocky Top" Amador County Zinfandel
Review Date: 09-15-2017
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Planted before the turn of the last century by the original owners, the d’Agostini family, this old, head-pruned vineyard sits at an elevation site in the Sierra foothills that is one of highest in California (bordering 3000 feet). Yet, it consistently produces one of the riches, most complete and complex Zins to be found domestically, and at an unheard of ridiculously low price. I thought that the 2014 was one of most complete, definitive Zins to come from this estate and that it would be near impossible to duplicate its overall quality; that is, until this 2015 'Rocky Top' showed up at our door. Medium-deep ruby in color, the opulent, magnificent bouquet of blackberry, currants, violets, white pepper, and anise with undertones of cedar, mocha, and lava earthiness minerality, is profoundly distinctive and room-filling set of aromas. In its rich, lush, viscous, well-structured, yet elegant and balanced palate presentation, you will be treated to a complex, silky, round and totally assimilated Zin that has a long, warm, flashy finish. Regardless of price, this remarkable Zinfandel Gem is one of the best available on market, and Rusty and I plan to bring home cases of it for our consumption over the next three to five years. One final quick note: I was lucky enough to get a half of a ton of grapes for two years running, from this vineyard from Leon Sobon in the mid-1990s that, in both years, made some of the best wines that I have ever created. AN AMAZING VALUE - ENJOY!!! ***** 14.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2015 Baccinetti "La Saporoia" Rosso di Montalcino
Review Date: 08-30-2017
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About a year ago, I made the profound decision that with this great vintage {2015} of Rossos and Brunellos coming from Montalcino I would buy in small lots {i.e., 3 to 4 bottles each} of those wines that I really liked the best due to the fact that I am sitting on over 200 cases of wine in my wine room and do not have that much space left. Welllllll, it began that way with some of early arriving Rossos and would have continued that way, until this Gem arrived from Baccinetti. Okay, I will buy six bottles of this beauty, I said to myself, before I broke down and ended up buying a case. Medium-deep ruby in color, the opulent, flashy nose is loaded with wild black cherry to forest floor to spicy anise characteristics with undertones of cedar and clove-like herbal notes. Broad and lush across the palate, this amazingly complex, deeply flavored, well-structured, yet balanced though powerful declassified Brunello is a stunning wine that shows well now, but will age easily (which I plan to do) for another ten-plus years. Rusty has told me to bring home at least another case, maybe two, of this exceptional Gem, which I think I will. A PHENOMENAL VALUE!!! …..A K&L WINE MERCHANTS’ DIRECT IMPORT….. ***** 14.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2015 Kalinda Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 07-18-2017
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Produced by one of the oldest established Cabernet estates {and we cannot tell you who it is} in Napa Valley, which had its first crush in 1882, this absolutely astounding wine is deeply colored and offers opulent, powerful aromas of cassis, currants, blackberries, and violets, all of which is underscored by cedary, creamy, and dusty (Rutherford dust, of course!} qualities. This carries over fabulously to a broad, viscous, concentrated, yet integrated palate impression that offers excellent complexity, depth, balance, and richness. The finish is long, warm, and elegant. Although you can drink this Gem, with decanting and an hour or so of airing, currently, it will age easily another ten-plus years, which Rusty and I plan to do. Rusty wants me to bring home several cases of this amazing Gem and thinks that you need to give some serious consideration in doing the same. A GREAT VALUE! .....A K&L WINE MERCHANTS' EXCLUSIVE..... ***** 14.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart

2016 Domaine Cherrier Père & Fils Sancerre
Review Date: 07-13-2017
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Another exceptional vintage for this excellent Loire Valley estate has produced a Sauvignon Blanc of brilliant character and an elegant presentation. Aromas of honey-dew melon, lime zest, and fig-like qualities leads to a rich, yet snappish, clean, and crisp set of flavors across the palate, with undertones of a chalky, slate-like mineral nature. The finish is refreshing and mouthwatering. The Bean has demanded that I bring home at least several cases of this wonderful Gem to to serve with our shellfish dinners or to simply have with an aperitif plate in the afternoon. A MOUTHWATERING VALUE!. …A K&L WINE MERCHANTS’ DIRECT IMPORT… ***** 12.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2015 Rickshaw California Pinot Noir
Review Date: 06-30-2017
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Produced mostly from vineyards from the cooler North Coast and Central Coast appellations {Sonoma Coast, Anderson Valley, Monterey, and Santa Barbara} from a vintage that most of you know I feel as being a sensational vintage for Pinot Noir, this second label production from Banshee Vineyards is perhaps the best they have created since we have started from the very beginning carrying this wine several years ago. Native yeast fermented and aged ten months in both stainless steel {45%} and French oak {55% of which 10% was new}, and very reflective of this superior, low crop yield vintage, this lovely Pinot shows an excellent rich appearance and deep robe of medium to medium-deep ruby color, with a distinctive perfume of a violet floral to black cherry to plummy quality, with mild undertones of a forest floor to wet river stone quality. Following through well into its soft, silky, round palate impressions, this gorgeous, near-term drinker has a defined, weighty, yet juicy mid-range, excellent integration and a long, nicely definitive finish. Again, this is a near-term production, with Rusty wanting me to bring home several cases of this Gem for our enjoyment over the next couple of years. A NICELY DRINKING VALUE! ***** 13.9% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2013 Vidal-Fleury Côtes-du-Rhône
Review Date: 06-23-2017
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We have carried the Rhone Valley productions from Vidal-Fleury for well over ten years, with the bulk of the production selections being the Côtes-du-Rhône Rouge, which have been consistently wonderful near-term drinkers. And, just as I was beginning to wonder when this Northern Rhône Valley house was ever going to release their 2013, it arrived here in June {2017}. They must have felt that the 2013, since it is a much more reserved type of vintage, needed some extra bottle time development to show itself in a much better fashion. And it dose! Medium-deep ruby in color, this Grenache/Syrah base wine offers a lovely, distinctive bouquet of white pepper, anise, and violet-like qualities with undertones of truffles and forest floor to underbrush notes. Lush, broad, round, well-structured, yet balanced palate impressions lead to a warm, fleshy finish that lingers well. Rusty thinks that this Gem is a perfect wine to go with our occasional cassoulet and that I need to bring home several cases of it for our near term consumption for the next three to six years. A REALLY NICE VALUE! ***** 14.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
DC 95

2015 Domaine Renaud St-Véran
Review Date: 05-23-2017
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After all these years in the wine retail trade, I am still captivated by the notion that two neighboring Macon Villages of Burgundy (Pouilly-Fuisse and Saint-Véran) can have vastly different prices for the same grape (Chardonnay), produced in virtually identical styles, and, in most instances, from the same producers. The concept for this vast price variance (Pouilly-Fuisse retailing for fifty percent or more than Saint-Véran) stems from the fact that many Americans way back when thought it much more romantic and classier to say at a restaurant, "I would like to have a bottle of Pouilly-Fuisse with this dinner, waiter," than to ask for a bottle of a much more mundane, rural sounding word as Saint-Véran, thereby creating a much greater demand. What amuses me the most, I believe, is the fact that this "variance" has been able to sustain itself, even with many of us wine "specialist" telling everyone that this pricing is stupid. This gorgeous, estate Saint-Véran from the Renauds is a perfect example of just how brainless that notion of pricing can be. Tons of bright apply, melon-like to lime zest tones with a slate-like mineral undertone abounds in the nose and on the palate of this remarkably rich, well-structured, classic style Chardonnay from that village of Macon and will rival any exceptional Pouilly-Fuisse. The finish is bright, clean, and crisp and invites another glass or two or three. Rizzo has asked me to bring home several cases of this finely crafted Gem for our near-term consumption over the next two to five years. A REALLY, REALLY NICE VALUE!! >>>A K&L WINE MERCHANTS’ DIRECT IMPORT<<< !***** 13.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2014 Von Strasser "Rudy" Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
Review Date: 06-29-2016
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I thought the 2013 Pinot was a wonderful, near-term great drinker, but this 2014 absolutely steals the show. Rich in appearance and color, this highly refined, well-structured Pinot shows incredible aromas of strawberry, dried-rose-like petals in a Burgundian sense to forest floor qualities on the nose, that carry over exceptionally well to a long, complex, rich, viscous, deeply flavored palate impression. A broad mid-range, this is an outstanding Pinot Gem at a ridiculously low price that is obviously meant for near-term consumption, although I thoroughly believe that it will age nicely and improve well beyond that [five to ten years+++]. Rusty wants at least two cases of this Gem in our wine room. GREAT VALUE; DON’T MISS THIS WONDERFUL PINOT! ***** 14.2% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $19.99 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: $27.99 Add To Cart

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

2010 Ferrero Rosso di Montalcino
Review Date: 10-11-2013
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Medium deep ruby in color, this lovely rosso offers every aspect that you would be looking for from an outstanding Brunello. With its deep color and rich appearance, the opulent, powerful nose offers concentrated anise spiciness to black current fruit, notes of slate-like minerality and hints of mushroom [portobello]. This Gem is broad, deeply flavored, complex, lush and viscous, well-focused, and integrated in its immensely wonderful varietal profile. It finishes long and warm, and Rusty has designated this Gem as one of our house reds for however long it is around. Treat it like a Baby-Brunello and get some air to it. 14.5% ABV
Drink from 2013 to 2013
Price: $15.99 Add To Waiting List

2012 Quinta da Aveleda Vinho Verde
Review Date: 10-11-2013
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This lovely, bright, and refreshing white from Portugal offers up lovely aromas of lime zest and wet river stone mineral notes that carry over nicely to its lively, mildly spritzy [intended], crisp and dry, and mouthwatering flavor profile and finish. The Bean wants cases of this lovely Gem at our house because it is the perfect wine to match with shellfish. 11.5% ABV
Drink from 2013 to 2013
Price: $8.99 Add To Waiting List
W&S 92 WE 90

Launois "Cuvée Reserve" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 05-14-2013
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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 Cart

2009 Malmaison, Moulis-en-Médoc
Review Date: 06-29-2012
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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: $21.99 Add To Cart

2006 Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 02-17-2012
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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: $44.99 Add To Cart
RP 92 JS 91