That headline has nothing to do with anything, but it looks dramatic, don’t you think? Anyway, in my case he is both. I’m not about to say that Jim has lost the dynamic that has made him a legend in this business, but… well heck, you may as well know: He has a grand total of three customers left. Three who trust him. Three who take his advice. Three blind friggin’ mice. Shemp must be close, ’cause apparently Larry, Moe and Curly shop with Master Barr. There is Don (not his real middle name). Don reads lips, and that helps their relationship immensely. Don is so busy that he rarely finds the time to see Jim in person, another sterling silver plus sign. Don must be a priest, as he has forgiven Barr all of his wine suggestion sins. One wine that Barr got right was the 1933 Justino Henriques Malmsey Madeira ($249.95), sweetish and rich and sporting an orange peel tang on the one hand, bittersweet chocolate on the other. In cold weather, Madeira makes easy friends. A real rarity. There is David. David makes wine with Jim, another mistake. David is a lawyer. If I were David, I’d file a class action suit against every recommendation Jim has ever made. Except the 1979 Latour ($199.95). Elegant, restrained, classy, and perfectly stored. A true claret. And there is C.T. I think C.T. has the ears of an elephant, because he can understand every word Jim says. C.T. is even o.k. with Jim’s voicemail message (“I will ATTEMPT to get back to you as soon as possible.” Like, how hard can it be to dial seven &!!@#$! numbers?) but has yet to actually speak with Barr on the phone. Fancy that. Take care of your health gentlemen. You are the last of the Barrhicans. Welcome The Newest K&L Team Members! Some have been here a bit. I should have introduced them before. But better late than never! Jorge Valencia: A prince of a man. And a fabulous cook as well. Pan-fried Marlin pancreas, sardine gazpacho, head cheese jello mold (or just plain mold), he does it all, and with panache, but you can have that on the side. Multi lingual, speaks Spanish when he wishes to say rude things about me. What does embecil de la aldea mean? Dan Buckler: Fresh from the Katrina catastrophe (only partly responsible) and looking for another. Found K&L immediately. Fits right in, never a good sign. Hobbies: traveling, placekicking and left wing extremism. Loves long walks on the beach. When he wishes to say rude things about me, he stays silent. I’ve never heard him speak. Jeff Garneau: Almost didn’t take the job because there was no resident chef (hadn’t met Jorge). Thank God he made the right decision (did we?). Jeff can (and will) discuss the global ramifications of T vine trellising, or maybe the effect the Norwegian whaling industry has on the uptick of Mondeuse consumption in the Pacific Northwest. Speaks impeccable English when he wishes to say rude things about me. Thornton Jacobs: We share an affinity for smuggling water bottles filled with Sauvignon Blanc onto airplanes. Hey, it’s a long trip. Or a short one (whatever). Used to work for a competitor, but when I Googled him all I got was a mug shot of former Phillies slugger Greg Luzinski. Maybe that’s why he looks up when a ballpark vendor yells “hey Polish!” Speaks German when he wishes to say rude things about me. What does was fur ein dorftrottel mean anyway? —Joe Zugelder
We (Clyde, to be more precise) are still finding an occasional 2000 Bordeaux (mostly of the Cru Bourgeois level) floating around from our sources both here and in France, and, in some cases, at very reasonable prices. One positive aspect of these classified lesser growths is that in exceptional vintages like 2000, they will be ready to drink at a much earlier date than the major growths. A perfect example of this comes from a 150-acre, northern Médoc estate, the 2000 Château La Cardonne Blaignan, Médoc ($14.99). Comprised of merlot (50%), cabernet sauvignon (45%) and cabernet franc, this puppy is deeply colored and exhibits lovely, opulent aromatics of black cherries to blueberries with just a touch of cedary oak as a back note. In the mouth, this well-balanced, medium-full bodied Médoc offers tons of ripe fruit, upfront and on through to the finish, soft integrated tannins, good complexity and a warm lengthy finish. Along the same thought patterns as the above, we have just received our third shipment of 2003 Château Souvenir, Bordeaux Superieur ($9.99), also from a very serious vintage. This excellent Bordeaux from Saint-Medard-De-Guizieres, just northwest of the city of Bordeaux, is totally vinified to drink now. A blend of merlot (60%) and equal amounts of cabernet sauvignon and franc, you will discover a wonderful wine that is lush, round and soft, loaded with cassis to blackberry fruit, good length and a very forward appeal. Buy this to drink near-term while you wait for your 2003 classified growths to evolve. One of the most unique and compelling red wines that I can recall tasting of late is the 2004 Domaine L’Attilon Marselan Rouge ORGANIC ($8.99). Marselan is a new grape that is a cross between cabernet sauvignon and grenache, and is being planted in southern France around Aude and Bouches du Rhone. This 2004 organically produced wine from Domaine L’Attilon explodes with currant to blackberry fruit with spicy undertones on the nose and in the mouth. There is a hint of floral tones reminiscent of jasmine, too, with excellent acid structure, excellent firmness and depth of character, and with a long, delicious finish. Anderson has told me that this is most definitely our house red for the month, with the other two in strong contention. Our Burgundy wine buyer, Keith Wollenberg, discovered the Mâcons of Denis Barraud, an extremely small but super-high-quality producer, in 2002. His estate productions have been exceptional, and the 2004 Domaine des Nembrets St-Veran ($13.99) from Barraud is, without a doubt, one of the finest village Mâcons that I have ever put in my mouth. It is very broad, very rich, almost creamy on the palate, yet bright and vibrant and has that classic minerality that comes from the hills of Roche De Vergisson. This is a must buy for those of you who are looking for excellent white Burgundy to buy but do not want to take a second mortgage out on the homestead to be able to afford to do so. If you have any questions regarding these wines, you can email me at email@example.com. Enjoy this month’s selection or else! —Jim, Anderson, & Eby
We are going to push the envelope a bit this month as we have just received some wines that don’t necessarily fit comfortably into our perceptions of German wine, but damn are they tasty! From the Nahe we have a weisser burgunder (pinot blanc) from Paul Anheuser that is simple, fresh and lip smacking. Try the 2004 Paul Anheuser Weisser Burgunder Classic ($10.99) with a salad of lump crab meat lightly tossed with peas, tarragon and fennel for refreshing and invigorating lunch. Keep a stock of this delicious bottle for unexpected guests and those nights when you just need a glass of wine. Fingers crossed, I have submitted this to Jim Barr and his crack staff and hope to get at least 63 cat heads and possibly a house wine designation from the master. Speaking of Jim Barr this next wine is as quirky as he is, though I believe it can hear a little better… In the Rheingau there are some plantings of red grapes, mostly pinot noir and some bits of st. laurent, which Mr. Molitor crafts into this expressive, cheery red. The 2003 Molitor St. Laurent Qba Trocken ($11.99) reminds me a bit of pineau d’aunis, another individualistic wine with its spicy nose of pepper, crushed black raspberries and hints of smoked sweet meats. Like most northern reds it is bright and focused, elegant and subtle, not a blockbuster, a wine best enjoyed with a fork in your hand. I suggest Asian-inspired meat dishes such as Kalbi Kui, Korean short ribs with sweet chili paste, garlic and soy. —Jeff Vierra, lover of Marginal Things
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