STAN’S PICK FOR JUNE 2018

Soave is fast becoming one of the most popular white wines out of Italy next to Pinot Grigio. Soave is an appellation found in the hillside vineyards east of Verona where they grow Garganega, Chardonnay and Trebbiano di Soave also known as Verdicchio. For years, Soave was associated with watered down white wine such as Bolla and the like. Quality levels are certainly not consistent today, but you can find some real gems such as my pick for June.

2016 La Cappuccina Soave

2017 La Cappuccina Soave… $10.

Made from 100% Garganega this white exhibits aromas of dusty stones, beeswax and lemon with hits of stainless steel and herbs in the background. Beeswax, melon and lemon notes combine nicely on the palate, backed by nicely integrated acidity and wet stone notes. There is a nice polished feel on the mid-palate with hits of beeswax leading into a finish with interesting white pepper notes joining up with melon and lemon that lingers. A most interesting white that helps new world wine drinkers enjoy a very old world style wine. Great for shellfish, salads, fowl or simply enjoying on the deck. The price is stupid for what you get…Just saying.

Cheers!
Stan The Wine Man

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BITS & BOBS…

Back from South Africa for just over a month, and the trip is still fresh in our minds. I will never forget the kindness of the folks we met while we were there. I know that there is a lot going on in that country, but humans are inherently good with just a few bad ones sprinkled in the mix. Susie and I would love to go back, but there are so many other places to visit that it may be a long while. The next time we go, it will be to venture to some of the wine lands that we missed.

South Africa has come a long way with their wines since the end of apartheid in 1994. Although known for Pinotage (I believe the only country to produce this wine), wineries throughout South Africa are producing amazing Chardonnay, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and of course Chenin Blanc to name a few. While dining at Ryan’s Kitchen in Franschhoek, I ordered a Cabernet Sauvignon from Lynx Winery that blew my mind! It will be interesting to watch as more and more wine drinkers start to discover the many gems that are being produced in this part of the world. If you ever decide to go there yourselves, make sure you put a visit to Franschhoek in your itinerary. It is surrounded by wineries and the small town is really quaint. Wine shops and some of the best restaurants ever, are in this small town. They even have tour buses that will take you to many of the wineries throughout the area. It reminded me a bit of Napa without the mass of people.

I have not put up much on You Tube lately due to scheduling and other issues. I am back at it and will be posting a couple of canned wine episodes this week. After resisting this trend, I have come to realize that the quality of canned wine is getting better along with more selections. The area I live in almost demands that I have some choices at the store for campers, kayakers and cyclists. I have discovered two already and found some others I like as you will see in Part 1 & 2 of my review of wines in a can on You Tube.

Next week I will be posting part 1 and 2 on You Tube featuring the wines from Maloney. Josh Maloney started a project while he was head wine maker at Milbrandt Vineyards. They are single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from selected areas throughout Washington State. The first was a 2012 Elephant Mountain Vineyard in the Rattlesnake Hills appellation. Josh has since left his position at Milbrandt, but is still pursuing his own brand. Recently he has released the 2015 Phinny Hill Vineyard (Horse Heaven Hills, WA) Cab and has lowered the price to $45. a bottle. I review two in part 1 and 2 in part 2. They will be on my You Tube channel next week and I will let you know when they are live. Josh is also starting a second label and I am very excited to see what he is up to.

Cheers!
Stan The Wine Man

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BITS & BOBS…

Still writing from South Africa, this time from a safari in Gondwana, four hours due east of Cape Town. It has been one of the most fantastic trips I have ever experienced. Susie and I are the best travel companions, and I can’t imagine doing this with anyone else. To tell the truth, Susie was responsible for most of the itinerary, and she couldn’t have done a better job. We have had amazing accommodations and perfect timing of events. She is amazing!

While in Cape Town, we took a trip over to Constantia, an appellation in South Africa that consists of nine wineries. Our visit was to Constantia Glen. We met with Justin Van Wyk, head wine maker at said winery. He kindly gave us a tour of their small winery (10,000 cases a year). Although it was only a week after harvest and he was very busy, he was very accommodating. He was even willing to do a You Tube episode with me… Check it out. It turned out great with just a little sound distortion.

After our visit to Constantia Glen winery, we finished our visit to Cape Town and ventured off to Franschhoek. It was certainly interesting driving on the left hand side of the road and I think I made Susie scream just a couple of times. On our way, we stopped at Simonsig, one of the oldest wineries in South Africa. We had a great tour there and tried some amazing wines, including a reserve Pinotage and special Cab. I just had to buy a bottle of said cab, which I will put away for five years or more.

Before Simonsig, we met with Kara to check out a Montessori School that Indaba Winery supports. It’s for a great cause, and I promised Kara that I would do a feature article on this school and all it represents. I have to say that both Susie and I were thoroughly impressed with the purpose of this project and how it is aimed at helping poor families get their children off to a proper start in the world of education. Kara represents Indaba Winery among many others. I will upload a review of their wines soon.

We ended the days drive at Chamonix Winery, which hovers over the town of Franschhoek. The winery also has accommodations which we took advantage of. A beautiful spot with an amazing lodge and the wines are to die for. Franschhoek has a ton of wineries and we were only able to visit a few. Susie and I had fun in this town and experienced some of the great cuisine that the town is known for. A highlight of our stay there, was a dinner at Ryan’s Kitchen. Both of us will never forget the experience. There is more to come, so I hope you stay tuned.

Cheers!
Stan The Wine amqn

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BITS & BOBS…

It’s early Monday morning here in Cape Town as I write this, and late Sunday night in the San Juans where I live. Kind of weird to be in such a different time zone. I’ll have to wait to publish this until around 5pm tonight to hit most of my readers on Monday morning in Washington State. I think I could write a book right now on our adventures since we landed in Dubai for a couple of nights and now in Cape Town South Africa. I’ll save that for later, and just give you a couple of highlights.

It’s raining outside as I type away which is a good thing. They have endured a four-year drought in Cape Town, so rain is a welcomed sight. Susie and I are off to see the Penguins and the Cape of Good Hope. We don’t mind the rain as it reminds us of home. Speaking of home, we have been eating out of course and the food is absolutely the best. If we ate this well at our home restaurants we would have already spent well over eight hundred bucks. In Cape Town, we can barely spend $80. on a meal for both of us which usually includes a bottle of wine and a few extra glasses. We had an amazing meal of brazed rabbit for myself and ostrich for Susie, with 5 glasses of wine, a cheese board and creme brulee`. The total came to $65. with tip! We had to pinch ourselves to make sure we weren’t dreaming. On top of that the service is sublime. The people here are most friendly and at the ready to make sure their customers are well cared for. It is going to be hard to eat out again when we get home.

Dubai of course is a much different story. We stayed at Five on the Palm which is an exquisite hotel. We had a chance to lay on the beach, take a bus tour, and have some very nice meals. It was here where the prices reminded us more of our home town. Of course, booze is quite expensive, because it is a Muslim country and they don’t partake of alcohol. However, that doesn’t stop them from selling it to visitors. Dubai is growing fast, and the amount of new construction we observed was staggering. The highlight of our trip there had to be meeting Nigel our server, commiserating with him as we ate next to the palm trees and pool on a warm evening. We thought it peculiar that someone from India is named Nigel. He was very engaging, told some very funny stories and took care of us beyond expectations. That was our last evening in Dubai before taking off to Cape Town. Warm memories that left us talking of perhaps going back again sometime.

Here in Cape Town, they are very proud of their wine. So much like taking a trip over to eastern Washington. I am going to try and get Susie to contribute an article on the bubbles of South Africa. We have already consumed a couple of bottles of Graham Beck Brut, which is an outstanding Sparkling wine from the Robertson Wine Valley, Franschoek . We will try many more before the end of our stay, so she should have a plethora of things to write about. Graham Beck goes for about $30. a bottle at the restaurants in Cape Town, and reminded both of us a bit of Veuve Cliqout without the steroids. I don’t think a lot of people associate South Africa with sparkling wine, but they do an awesome job with it, and I hope to bring some into the store when we get back. I’ve also enjoyed a wonderful Mourvedre and Cinsault while dining out. I am really looking forward to our visit to wine lands (Stellenbosch and Franschoek). Our first visit will be to Constantia Glen where I hope to do an interview with the wine maker for my You Tube channel. After that, we are off to visit Indaba and Simonsig among others. I will be writing about my South African wine adventures both here and on my P.I. blog… The Blue Collar Wine Guy. Stay tuned.

Cheers!
Stan The wine Man

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