BARRY M — Empire Wine Community

BARRY M has been a customer since May 2016

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Reviews (37)

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Joseph Phelps 'Freestone' Pinot Noir 2019 image
Joseph Phelps 'Freestone' Pinot Noir 2019
Posted May 17, 2022[Verified]
DRINK OR HOLD"Has some candied aspect but shows that with a little aging (2 to 5 years) should soften current brilliance a tad. Outstanding Burgundian style PN for a fraction of equivalent French PN pricing. Highly recommended. Drink or hold up to 7 years."
M. Noir In Sheeps Clothing Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 image
M. Noir In Sheeps Clothing Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
Posted Feb 17, 2022[Verified]
LUSH AND VELVETY"Definitely on the "fatter side" for Cabernet without a lot of astringency from tannins that tend to hold wine together and make it more interesting over time. No need to age this wine. Bold and smooth reflecting a flavor profile more like a soft Merlot, this wine has over the top fruit (blueberry, blackberry, black cherry, raspberry, clementine) accompanied by black licorice, pine, rosemary, basil and nutmeg. This wine is not released for holding long term, and at Empire's price it represents outstanding value for those who enjoy New World style Cabernet. I'll order some more. Barry"
Marietta Cellars 'Arme' Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 image
Marietta Cellars 'Arme' Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
Posted Jan 12, 2022[Verified]
NEW WORLD POWER"Too powerful to be considered elegant at this time, but an incredible example of the potential of North Coast wines. If you can put away two cases and open a. bottle every 6 months or so, I predict this "Marylin Monroe" will turn into a "Kate Hepburn" before you are finished. This is a fantastic, young, balanced, polished wine at an unbelievable value. Drink now with lamb or risotto, or as a meditazione on its own. Or wait. This will stand up to the Napa Valley Cabs you are holding whenever you choose to open it, A vegetable free nose with nubile floral essences waiting to be unveiled. Bravo, Marietta."
Hardin 'Napa Valley' Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 image
Hardin 'Napa Valley' Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
Posted Sep 20, 2021[Verified]
PRIVATE REVIEW
Daou Vineyards 'Pessimist' Red Blend 2018 image
Daou Vineyards 'Pessimist' Red Blend 2018
Posted Mar 29, 2021[Verified]
BIG, YOUNG, COMPLEX, IMMINENTLY DRINKABLE.
Domaine de la Taille 'Michet' Chenin Blanc 2018 image
Domaine de la Taille 'Michet' Chenin Blanc 2018
Posted Nov 15, 2020[Verified]
REMARKABLE"A remarkable Chenin Blanc at a competitive price. As Vinous Media reviews, this wine has great complexity (it requires time to open and integrate) and yet is quite approachable. I found that the dominant flavor (and nose) was lemon meringue, but I wouldn't describe this wine as "fat". I would look for more viscosity and less structural acidity to describe a wine as fat or flabby. It is true the the wine is on the sweeter side, which is to be expected, so for folks who want a drink as a cocktail, be forewarned. I would pair this with spicy Thai or Sushi. I think it would be fantastic with turkey, gravy, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce too!For beginner wine drinkers, I would recommend Pine Ridge Chenin/Viognier blend, which is much easier to wrap your head around for almost 1/3 the price at Empire. But for those of you who look for greater complexity but want it in a sweeter wrapper, this is a great wine to try!Barry"
Marques de Caceres Rioja Reserva 2015 image
Marques de Caceres Rioja Reserva 2015
Posted Jun 22, 2020[Verified]
STUFFED ANIMAL."If you do not like structural acidity in your wine, this could be a homerun for you. It is extremely soft, mouth filling, round, and full of fruit. It lacks brightness and structure. There are many real high reserve as of this vintage from other makers I would much prefer to drink. Vina Alberdi Is way more food friendly, for example, and available for a very aggressive price from Empire. For a slam dunk Crianza I would try El Cotofor around nine bucks."
El Coto Crianza 2018 image
El Coto Crianza 2018
Posted Jun 17, 2020[Verified]
"Beautiful, clean, deep cranberry color. Nose of toasted new oak, black cherry and hints of lilac and licorice. Great, almost sweet fruit (black cherry, black raspberry, raspberry, faint pine essence and floral notes). Great acidity but soft in the mouth. A terrific, young, new world styled Rioja at a bargain price."
Klinker Brick 'Old Ghost' Zinfandel 2016 image
Klinker Brick 'Old Ghost' Zinfandel 2016
Posted May 13, 2020[Verified]
FABULOUS LODI OLD VINE ZIN."While not inexpensive the value of this Zinfandel is remarkable. It competes with the great Zins of Napa and Sonoma particularly Howell Mountain and the Mayacamas mountains. This is rich, complex, sophisticated, Zins of this quality from other origins can easily run 80~100. Fantastic wine!"
Freemark Abbey Merlot 2014 image
Freemark Abbey Merlot 2014
Posted Mar 1, 2020[Verified]
STUNNING HIDDEN VALUE"For those who like a complex and rich Rhone red, Freemark Abbey's Merlot surprises with layered complexity but ease of drinking associated with CA Merlot. For those not really into the two dimensional, flabby nature connected with CA Merlot, this is an amazing wine and a great value. Rutherford dust and a lush experience. Great value."
Klinker Brick 'Old Ghost' Zinfandel 2015 image
Klinker Brick 'Old Ghost' Zinfandel 2015
Posted Jul 18, 2019[Verified]
INCREDIBLE ZINFANDEL"After tasting Zinfandel for 40 years, I would say this in the top 3. Period. Vel;vety complexity, nuance. slip your sox off sexiness. A great value. This is wine no one could fail to love. Empire has the best price in the country."
Vina Zorzal 'Malayeto' Garnacha 2016 image
Vina Zorzal 'Malayeto' Garnacha 2016
Posted Jul 2, 2019
A DELIGHTFUL SURPRISE!"A veritable steal. If you like the less powerful, beautifully balanced style of great Burgundy or Oregon Pinot, I recommend this wine. It has a pretty rust tinged, ruby color and a complex palate of rose hip, minerals, red raspberry, pine, orange peel and charcoal--doesn't sound that great, but this wine is really delicious. I've never had Garnacha made in this style, but Navarra produces some of the best wines in Spain. Great food wine. Fabulous bargain."
Lopez de Heredia 'Tondonia' Reserva Rioja 2006 image
Lopez de Heredia 'Tondonia' Reserva Rioja 2006
Posted Jul 2, 2019
OLDEST OF THE OLD WORLD"I visited Maria and her sister at the winery in the late nineties when I began importing Cune wines. Of the 5 old growth bodegas of Rioja, Lopez de Heredia is the most traditional, and arguably, the most venerable. They age their wines longer than anybody in Spain, and while all great Riojas age incredibly well, these wines are the longest lived. Perhaps the other reviewers were impatient-the current release of Tondonia is still extremely young. The key to drinking this wine is patience. It should be decanted for at least a couple of hours or it will be too tight fisted for most folks to enjoy at this stage of development. I like to decant it the day before and leave it in the basement until the next evening's meal. Lopez is selling a fabulous Crianza, "Bosconia" 2009 which is more ready to drink when you pop the cork. Around $21 at Empire. One of the world's great producers....."
La Rioja Alta 'Vina Ardanza' Rioja Reserva 2009 image
La Rioja Alta 'Vina Ardanza' Rioja Reserva 2009
Posted Jul 2, 2019
A SCHOOLING IN OLD WORLD RIOJA"Simply put, one of the greatest producers in the world and one of only five producers in Spain known as "old or first growth". Try and find a winery in the US holding wines for 10 years before release. Think of what that costs. If you want a schooling in great wine at an unbelievable price, try it. And if you can afford it, lay a case or two down for 10 years. Decant for an hour. Spoil someone you love!!"
Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 image
Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
Posted Jul 2, 2019[Verified]
COMPARE TO HOWELL MT. FRUIT"Freemark Abbey is a venerable estate that has produced exceptional Cab for decades, flying below most reviewers radar. In my view, their basic Cab competes, and in many cases, outshines the great wines from Howell Mountain, Spring Mt., Mount Veeder and Mayacamas Range. I drink wines from those appellations, and pay 2 and 3 times what Freemark costs. Balanced, sophisticated, tannic, elegant Cabernet from a winery that has never sought the press spotlight. This is just plain terrific wine, at any price."
Zorzal 'Eggo Tinto de Tiza' Malbec Blend 2016 image
Zorzal 'Eggo Tinto de Tiza' Malbec Blend 2016
Posted Jun 30, 2019[Verified]
HEAVY, SOUR, TRULY EITHER JUST PLAIN BAD OR NOT READY!"I have been tasting wine for 40 years and imported and marketed wine nationally for 16. I have had lunch with Bob Parker at his home. Really, Bob? SOUR! Read my reviews of other wine if you would like to find out about wine."
Il Chiosso Ghemme DOCG 2009 image
Il Chiosso Ghemme DOCG 2009
Posted Jun 28, 2019[Verified]
DRINK NOW OR IN 2030!"Il Chiosso Ghemme 2009; 13% alc.Color: rust and brick red with salmon edge; transparent throughout. Very good legs.Nose: old wood, leather, tar, baked black cherry saturated cake. Pine and forest floor. Black licorice.Palate: Big tannins upon entry followed by woodsy strawberry, boysenberry, raspberry and cherry. Long with great structural acidity and tannins. Some notions of a fine Cognac without the heat. A stunning Nebbiolo. Barolo of this quality can’t be had for twice the price. Drink now through 2030."
Klinker Brick Winery 'Farrah' Syrah 2015 image
Klinker Brick Winery 'Farrah' Syrah 2015
Posted Jun 14, 2019[Verified]
POWERFUL, SEDUCTIVE LODI SYRAH"Kinker Brick Farrah Syrah Lodi 2015Tasting 6/2019Color is clean and clear but practically opaque garnet/ruby/black raspberry through to a tiny, salmon edge. Beautiful, viscous long legs.Nose has mint, licorice, floral notes, black cherry, herbs, asparagus, toast and a faint volatility of nail polish remover which blows off in a few minutes. As deep as this wine is, the nose is dominated by light fragrances that invite the taste.Palate is reminiscent of black cherry vanilla pie with spicy acidity. There is forest floor in the mid palate and finish with an emphasis on pine. The finish is long and warm and in perfect balance. Tannins are significant but do not overtake the fruit or acids or viscous nature of the wine. This wine should have at least 5 more years of development before it matures.Patience to decant for an hour pays off.Bolognese, wild boar, pepperoni pizza, chili, curried wild blend rice with chicken breast, Manchego and hard salami. A smokin’ buy for $17-Empire"
Klinker Brick Winery 'Old Vine' Zinfandel 2015 image
Klinker Brick Winery 'Old Vine' Zinfandel 2015
Posted Jun 1, 2019
MEDIUM BODIED, VERSATILE, BEAUTIFUL OLD VINE ZIN"Kinker Brink ’15 Old Vine Zin Lodi—first tasteCork is wet, color is good, no presence of “corkiness”.Color is deep cranberry with salmon edge and clear.Nose presents heavily toasted oak and considerable volatiles—fuel, nail polish and alcohol. The strawberry, black cherry, black, red raspberry aromas lie underneath this mask of volatiles. There is some underlying lilac and lavender.In the mouth there is no volatility, and medium in weight. Lots of lively acidity, cherry pie and vanilla combine with red and black licorice and dark cocoa in proper balance. Typical of Zinfandel, it has a finish respite with white pepper and briar acidity with tremendous length inviting a sipping approach. A warm, versatile, medium bodied Zinfandel.Volatility blew off after 10 minutes. Pepperoni pizza, any spicy recipe containing Herbs du Provence, cardamom, Chinese five spice, curry, red pepper flakes will be good with this wine, as well as barbequed meats, arrabbiata sauce or rotisserie chicken will all pair well with this rich but not heavy Zin. A smokin’ buy for $15 bucks."
Edmeades Zinfandel 2014 image
Edmeades Zinfandel 2014
Posted Feb 18, 2019[Verified]
A VERY GOOD ZIN"I am partial to Zins that have a slightly less candied aspect, but this is clean, smooth, elegant, and with high alcoholic content, not hot in the least. If you are looking for a Zin that's a bit on the sweeter side, this won't disappoint!"
Teso La Monja 'Romanico' Tinto de Toro 2016 image
Teso La Monja 'Romanico' Tinto de Toro 2016
Posted Feb 18, 2019[Verified]
TERRIFIC TORO WITH EDGE."While this is the low end of the Teso line up, it is every bit as good as some of the higher priced entries. Lots of tannin, but accessible, and terrific food wine. Plenty of alcohol, but balanced acids and fruit. Will not disappoint the most discriminating Toro drinker. A bargain."
Mettler Family Vineyards Old Vine Zin 'Epicenter' 2015 image
Mettler Family Vineyards Old Vine Zin 'Epicenter' 2015
Posted Feb 18, 2019[Verified]
MONSTER ZIN WITH ELEGANCE"This wine carries 15.5% alc. with grace. Not too sweet or hot or viscous. Surprisingly sophisticated for the price. If you like Lodi Zin, here's a value not to be missed!"
Franciscan Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 image
Franciscan Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Posted Jan 14, 2019[Verified]
BALANCED, AUTHENTIC, CAB PIONEER IN NAPA"This is Franciscan's entry level Cab and it is notable. It is highly drinkable; it is not over the top or highly viscous, sappy, alcoholic juice that is the trend in new world wine making today. This is truly elegant Cab, and easily competes with entries at 3 and more times the price (think Faust, for example). It has structural acidity, and tannins, which make it a great food wine, but with 14.5 alc., there is not a bit of heat. In its way it is every bit as good as Franciscan's "Magnificat" (their mid-level red blend). At Empire you can buy this wine for $15.95 and happily drink this 2016 for at least 5 years. If you want an Orin Swift copy cat, this isn't it. But if you're looking for something more like Freemark Abbey at a lower price point, this will satisfy."
Bodegas Sabor Real Toro Joven Red 2008 image
Bodegas Sabor Real Toro Joven Red 2008
Posted Oct 16, 2018[Verified]
REMARKABLE VALUE"Toro wines have traditionally been more savage than elegant. In the past twenty years, they've come a long way with replanting, overhauling wineries, and becoming competetive with winemaking practices. I love Numantia Numanthia which I have bought from Empire. But at nearly $50/btl, I was searching for a value in the zone. This is it. Already mature (at considerable cost to the winery), Sabor Real can help you out with a steak, lamb, or pepperoni pizza. It is ready to drink, and a lesson in the developments in Toro. Don't wait, I bought the 2008 (not a vintage to scream about but....you won't be disappointed), experience something new!"
Bodegas Lan Rioja Reserva 2011 image
Bodegas Lan Rioja Reserva 2011
Posted Oct 16, 2018[Verified]
DISAPPOINTED"I cannot say, unequivocally, that I would not recommend this wine to a friend, if, that friend, were a Rioja snob. At this point in its evolution, I would describe it as flat, or without characteristic dimension. I think it is going through a funk that it will come out of and surprize, as many quality wines made for the cellar do. It is a superior vintage, a very good bodega, and might well turn into something special. Its cheap (compared to CVNE or Lopez de Heredia.....), and if you're into Rioja, worth a gamble. I'm holding 6 to open one every six months."
Faust by Quintessa Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 image
Faust by Quintessa Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Posted Aug 21, 2018[Verified]
ODDLY SOAPY"I purchased this wine based on reviews. It is over the top Napa Cab, for sure. And in my book, it is way too young to drink. There's a lot going on here in addition to big fruit and oak, but the wine is out of balance at this point in its development, with an oddly soapy nose and overly viscous palate. The tannins are buried by comparison. If you're purchasing Napa Cab for today, I would recommend Freemark Abbey. Empire's price is the best in the country and it is far more balanced and versatile than Faust. If you're more of a gambler, buy this and open it in two years."
Martinelli 'Bella Vigna' Pinot Noir 2015 image
Martinelli 'Bella Vigna' Pinot Noir 2015
Posted Aug 17, 2018[Verified]
STUNNING"I am partial to Burgundy and Oregon for Pinot, but the Russian River has become increasingly appealing over time. If you prefer the complexity and delicacy that come with the preceding origins, you will appreciate what this wine promises in a few years, but may be too hard to wait for. A sophisticated, sleek, approachable, if not alluring wine. And, a really good value."
Outpost Zinfandel 'Howell Mtn' 2015 image
Outpost Zinfandel 'Howell Mtn' 2015
Posted Aug 8, 2018[Verified]
HOWELL MT. FRUIT SOARS AGAIN"This is not a burly, briary, highly tannic sort of old fashioned Zin. If you like sleek, modern, viscous, big fruit without the fat, you got it. From this AVA, it is a steal."
La Rioja Alta 'Vina Arana' Tempranillo 2009 image
La Rioja Alta 'Vina Arana' Tempranillo 2009
Posted Jun 14, 2018[Verified]
VINA ARANA RESERVA"While pretty much at the same price point, these Riojas prove how microclimatic conditions can produce vastly different results. I find that the Vina Arana was denser and less evolved compared the one year older Ardanza, who is fully mature (ready to drink)."
Hugel Gentil Alsace Blend 2016 image
Hugel Gentil Alsace Blend 2016
Posted Jun 14, 2018[Verified]
Bodegas Castano 'Hecula' Monastrell 2013 image
Bodegas Castano 'Hecula' Monastrell 2013
Posted Mar 18, 2018[Verified]
PRIVATE REVIEW
Companhia Das Lezirias 'Tyto Alba' Red 2012 image
Companhia Das Lezirias 'Tyto Alba' Red 2012
Posted Feb 20, 2018[Verified]
WELL MADE AND DRINK OR HOLD"I think Edward wrote a great review on this wine. My order of six bottles was a complete crapshoot, and both my girlfriend and I were amazed by the value. It is a rich wine, but with lots of nuance, tannin, and promise for the future, if you have any self discipline. Great wine for the money. I give it a 92-93."
Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 image
Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
Posted Feb 20, 2018[Verified]
95 AND A TERRIFIC VALUE"Although this year Robert Parker gave this wine a 92, I feel from vintage to vintage this wine is consistently underrated. Lots of reviewers rate voluptuousness over nuance and complexity; I don't. I frequently buy cabs from Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain, Howell Mountain, and Rutherford because I want tannins! Well, those wines are extremely expensive, and even wines like Keenan and Dunn are not better than this fabulous, cheap (again, Empire beats everyone by a long shot) age worthy Cabernet. Finally, if a $120 Dunn gets a score of 98-99, so does this, at $33. A stingy score from me would be 94-95!"
Bodega Classica Hacienda Lopez de Haro Crianza 2014 image
Bodega Classica Hacienda Lopez de Haro Crianza 2014
Posted Feb 20, 2018[Verified]
A TREMENDOUS FIND"I am a former Rioja importer (Compania Vinicola del Norde de Espania--Cune) and a great fan of all old world Rioja. I do not agree with all of the reviewers of Lopez de Haro as my score would be above 90. While I prefer to drink older vintages, this bodega produces young Crianza that has fabulous old world components now '14 that will blossom and continue to integrate over the next 10 years. I recently finished my 2008s, and wow!! Values don't get better than this, and as usual, Empire's pencils are really sharp! Drink or hold."
La Rioja Alta 'Vina Ardanza' Rioja Reserva 2008 image
La Rioja Alta 'Vina Ardanza' Rioja Reserva 2008
Posted Feb 20, 2018[Verified]
BEST VALUE IN FIRST GROWTH BODEGA FROM RIOJA"While La Rioja Alta does not hold their wines as long as Lopez de Heredia, they do hold them longer than any other Rioja producer. This wine needs a couple of hours in the decanter or glass, but it is stunning, old world wine. Another fabulous value in a younger wine from them is the Vina Alberdi '11 Reserva, and Empire has an excellent price on that wine, as well."
Lopez de Heredia Bosconia Reserva 2005 image
Lopez de Heredia Bosconia Reserva 2005
Posted Feb 20, 2018[Verified]
GREAT OLD WORLD BODEGA"They are very high priced at every level of Rioja (cheapest Crianza is $20-$25, but if you like old world wine from a producer that ages their wines in the bodega before release longer than any other, it doesn't get better than Lopez de Heredia."
La Rioja Alta 'Vina Alberdi' Rioja Reserva 2011 image
La Rioja Alta 'Vina Alberdi' Rioja Reserva 2011
Posted Dec 8, 2017[Verified]
BEST VALUE IN FIRST GROWTH BODEGAS"At this price you cannot do better than Vina Alberdi if you like old world Rioja. This wine has great fruit, balanced with saddle, barnyard, forest floor, acidity and smooth tannins the first growth producers are famous for. Marvelous complexity and ageability in a delicious, approachable Rioja. A winner!!"
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