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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Event: 10th Anniversary Portfolio Tasting of the Barrel Select agency, May 20, 2008

The Time and Date: Tuesday, May 20, 2008  2PM to 5PM
The Event: 10th Anniversary Portfolio Tasting of the Barrel Select
The Venue: Rosewater Dinner Club
The Target Audience: resto-clients in afternoon, consumer-clients in
the evening.
The Availability/Catalogue: everything is available for ordering,
through or The
catalogue was full and complete, with profiles of the wineries and
wines, case production, percentages of grapes used, vineyard names.
There was a separate price list for licensee and consumers.
The Quote: "We spent about $11,000 on LCBO lab fees for this tasting".
The Wines: Barrel Select began 10 years ago by repping higher end
California wines. Tom Eddy has been with them from the start. They do
not submit samples for purchase by Vintages/Classics. 80 wines were
available for tasting, but I did not taste all of them. The range
includes California wines, some from Oregon via Siduri of California,
some from Argentina via Paul Hobbs of California, and some from the
portfolio of Kermit Lynch Imports (110 winemakers in France alone,
about 10 from Italy). Indeed, Barrel Select has access to ALL of Kermit
Lynch Imports EXCEPT for what is available via other agents. Here are
my rankings (licensee prices):
**** Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Andrew Will 2004 Sorella Red [Bordeaux blend] $92.24
-Brewer Clifton 2005 Pinot Noir Ashley Vineyard  $73.79
-Hanzell 2005 Sonoma Chardonnay Estate  $89.78
-Kunin Wines 2004 Syrah Alios Vyd $49.39
-Mantra 2005 Old Vine Reserve Zinfandel $43.95
-Neyers 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Neyer Ranch Conn Valley [organic]
-Ramey Wine Cellars 2005 Chardonnay Ritchie Vyd  $98.37
-Ramey Wine Cellars 2005 Cabernet Pedregal Vyd  $180.04
-Tom Eddy 2002 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon  $118.99
-Vina Cobas Bramare Appellation 2005 Malbec Lujan de Coyo [Argentina]
-Vina Cobos Cobos 2004 Malbec [70 year old vines, Argentina] $218.62
***1/2 Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Arietta 2006 On the White Keys White [Bordeaux blend] $79.26
-Arietta 2005 Variation One Red [syrah/merlot] $129.52
-Brewer Clifton 2005 Chardonnay Sweeney Canyon  16.4$ ABV   $83.29
-Castle Rock 2006 Central Coast Chardonnay $16.95
-Aldin Red 2005 [Meritage blend] $81.96
-Saint Martin de la Garrigue Rose 2007 (France)  $14.81
-Regis Minet 2006 Pouilly Fume Vieilles Vignes $26.55
-Kunin Wines 2005 Santa Barbara County Syrah $39.96
-Neyers 2006 Napa Chardonnay  $42.11
-Paul Hobbs Wines 2005 Russian River Chardonnay $70.09
-Paul Hobbs Wines 2004 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon  $114.20
-Ramey Wine Cellars 2006 Syrah Rodgers Creek Vyd  $89.93
-Siduri Wines 2006 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir [Oregon] $27.97
-Vina Cobas Bramare Appellation 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Lujan de Coyo
{Argentina] $46.45
*** Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Arietta 2005 H Block Cabernet Franc Hudson Vineyard Red  $177.36
-Castle Rock 2006 Monterey Sauvignon Blanc  $16.95
-Copain Wine Cellars 2006 Pinot Noir Cerise Vineyard Anderson  $55.89
-Two Wives 2007 Napa Sauvignon Blanc $24.89
-Mantra 2004 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon $36.20
The Food: excellent cheeses and breads, fruit. I noted Thunder Oak
Gouda (aged, ON), Le Cru du Clocher (raw cheddar from PQ), Le
Explorateur (PQ), Benedictine Bleu (PQ), Manchego, Provolone Picante,
and Coulommiers Au Lait Cru.
The Downside: water was in short supply, and there was never a spit
bucket around when I needed one. I'm high maintenance…
The Upside: great opportunity to taste fine California wines.
The Contact Person:
The Effectiveness (numerical grade): 93.

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