I think it most appropriate to start this by saying I am very sad that Arnold Palmer has died. I know that we all die eventually, but this guy inspired me with his style of golf. His dad was a grounds keeper for a golf course and taught Arnold how to play the game. Arnie as fans affectionately called him broke 100 at the age of 8. He came from a working class family, developed a style of golf that was hardly traditional and became perhaps one of the greatest golfers to play the game. He had style, charisma and was very approachable. You will be missed Arnie.

The one thing that Arnold did was bring an elitist sport down to the level of the common person. In that spirit, there are many wine writers like myself who want to keep wine where is should be, as a beverage that can be enjoyed by anyone. For reasons unknown to me, there are still a lot of folks out there who seem to think that wine is more than that. They want wine to be high society, blue blood juice. They stick their noses up at any wine that doesn’t have some sort of pedigree and heaven forbid they buy an eight dollar bottle. For all of you out there who shy away from wine because of this attitude, please reconsider. Ignore the ignorance of wine snobs and join me in finding great wines without spending a lot of money. There are a lot out there, and i will go to my grave helping you find them.

One question that has been thrown my way often is how do you know if a wine will age? I’ve been in wine for a long time and one thing I can say for sure is that no one will get it right 100% of the time. There are four basic elements I look for in a wine to determine its ability to age, and one other factor that plays a role. Acidity, fruit, tannins and balance. These are the most important elements to look for in a wine that will age. For me, acidity is crucial to aging. Without acid, a wine will go flabby before its time. However, the acid cannot be so harsh that it dominates the fruit. Otherwise, you will have a wine that will end up quite tart in a few years. There must be fruit behind the acidity. Tannins also play a key role in a wines ability to stand the test of time. That is where barrel aging comes in. There are both wood tannins (barrels) and skin/seed tannins. Both are important in the wines ability to continue to improve over time. Balance of the three elements makes for a wine that will improve as it rests in your cellar. The other factor is quite important…Reputation. Is the producer known for making age-worthy wines. A little research and guidance from your trusted wine steward should help you in building a modest cellar with wines that will age.

I took a trip to Walla Walla last week compliments of Vehrs Dist. out of Kent WA. It was their inaugural trip and I was one of the fortunate they invited to come. Let’s just say that it was a stellar trip…Treveri, Leonetti, Long Shadows, Woodward Canyon, Gordon Brothers, Fidelitas, Waters, and more. I will be writing something about that trip soon, but I wanted to share something that most of you will be interested in. All of the wine makers and vineyard managers were quite high on the 2016 vintage. I would keep my eye and wine spending budget out on the wines from this vintage out of Washington State…Just say’in.

One last tidbit…For those of you that were fooled by the storm predictions that came our way recently, I hope you learned something. Hype sells, and most of us fall for it. How many times has the weatherman predicted 5 straight days of eighty degree weather and none of us believed it? We want to believe the worst! Weather happens, and there is nothing we can do about it. We live in a time where power outages are taken care of in a timely manner. Roads get cleared, life goes on. I know there are a lot of you out there that now have enough water, milk and food to last you a few months. Good for you! However, we barely got a puff of wind in my part of the hood, and now, what do you do with all the excess? Blame the weatherman!

Stan The Wine Man

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Bulliat Beaujolais-Villages

Bulliat Beaujolais-Villages

It’s nice to see a trend towards appreciation of wines that are not bombastic. Wines that show finesse and character, rather than big bold fruit flavors. Mind you, I have nothing against the later. I find myself craving a big, bold wine from time to time. However, I find that to keep balance in my wine life, I often seek out old world wines like this little gem from southern Burgundy.

2014 Bulliat Beaujolais-Villages (Burgundy, France)… $12.

Do not in any way confuse this wine with Beaujolais Nouveau. Certainly a cool wine to buy in late November to enjoy with your Thanksgiving fare, but hardly the real representation of what Gamay is all about. The Gamay grape is what Beaujolais is all about and they take it quite seriously in southern Burgundy. This wine is a classic example of what this grape can do at a very reasonable price. Trust me when I tell you that there are cru Beaujolais out there that demand some serious bucks.

Aromas of red clay, iron, violets, rose petals crushed rock, currants, tobacco and bark. No kidding, this baby has a lot going on with the nose. Red flowers are prominent on the palate, backed by cherries and tobacco with a hit of bark on the back-end. Soft tannins with good structure and a little rust action front to back. This wine is light yet intense at the same time. Instead of scrambling for the Nouveau when it hits the market, why not stock up on some of this. It is quite a step up, and in some cases less than its little sibling. (B+/A-)

Distributed by Cru Selections (Seattle, WA)

Stan The Wine Man

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For September, I go to Spain for my pick. I also go to a varietal that most folks are not familiar with…Mencia. Mencia was once thought to be an ancient clone of Cabernet Franc, but that was found to be false. It has very similar qualities to Cab Franc, floral, a touch vegetal and lighter on the palate. However, it is not a relative. There is a grape from Portugal called Jaen, and that is the twin to Mencia which is also known as Loureiro Tinto among other names. The cool thing is that Spanish producers who once treated this varietal as a simple table red, are now taking it seriously, and we get to enjoy the fruits of their labor (no pun intended). My pick this month is 100% Mencia.

September Pick Of The Month....Mencia

September Pick Of The Month….Mencia

2012 Vinos De Arganza Lagar De Robla (Castilla Y Leon, Spain)… $8.

Aromas of rusty cherries, violets, sage and earth with hints of raspberries and licorice. Mineral notes front to back on the palate supporting intense notes of currants and dark cherries on a spine of violets and raspberries. Tobacco notes join the party a bit late with gritty tannins on the finish. Finishes clean and delicious with mineral and fruit notes lingering. This is an amazing wine for eight bucks which I believe crosses the line between old world and new world quite nicely. (B/B+)

Stan The Wine Man

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A boatload of wine

A boatload of wine

In a weeks time, I taste a boatload of wine (seriously). I lot of my friends think that I’m lucky. Well, they’re right, and I wouldn’t give this job up for the world. The only thing that makes my job hard, is my feeling of responsibility to taste the samples given to me as quickly as possible and to put my reviews either in my Moleskine, on my Youtube channel (Stan The Wine Man TV), or right here on Here for your reading pleasure, are thirteen wines that I have reviewed in my Moleskine (good or bad), this past week.

2013 Chateau Recougne Bordeaux Blanc (Bordeaux, France)…$13.

Aromas of Meyers Lemon and apple, with hints of golden raisin and pears. Notes of cut grass and lemon hit up front on a bed of stainless steel. Hints of green pears come through on the mid-palate with a hit of mint underneath. Finishes clean and crisp with lemon notes hanging around. 75% Sauvignon Blanc, 25% Semillon (B/B+)

2013 Chateau Saint-Florin Bordeaux Blanc (Bordeaux, France)… $10.

Grape seed, honeydew rind and watermelon on the nose. Lemon on the palate with slight cut-grass notes. Grape seed notes hit front to finish joined by slight hints of wet stone and white flowers. 60% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Semillon (C/C+)

2015 Portillo Sauvignon Blanc (Mendoza, Argentina)… $14.

Grape skin notes come through on the nose, joined by notes of honeydew melon, hints of cut grass and grape seeds. White pepper notes front to back on the palate with notes of honeydew melon and white flowers. There is an undertow of grapefruit pith and grape seeds that flows into the delicious finish. Very clean and fresh on the palate. I believe you can find this for closer to $10. in most wine shops. (B/B+)

2014 King Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina)…$12.

Aromas of boysenberries and raspberries with underlying licorice and bittersweet chocolate with a kiss of mint. Plush on the palate, but in control, staying away from goopy. Boysenberry and currant notes in spades with an edge of raspberry. Licorice and chocolate notes join up on the mid-palate with a little tar and tobacco. Dark cherry notes hit on the finish that is clean not syrupy at all. This is a good bang for the buck and stands out in the sea of Malbecs that are in the market. (B+)

2014 La Chablisiene Saint Bris Sauvignon Blanc (Chablis-Burgundy, France)… $12.

Filberts all over the nose, joined by notes of wet slate, cut grass and melon. Herbs, chalk and crushed seashells on a mouth-watering bed of acidity that pulses throughout the palate. It gets a little steely on the mid-palate leading into a chalky lemon and grapefruit finish that leaves your mouth-watering and yearning for more. (B+/A-)

2012 Franco Mondo Di Vino Monferrato Rosso (Italy)… $14.

A little funk action on the nose with notes of leather, cherries, oatmeal cookies and violets. Solid currant notes on the palate blending with notes of leather, stone and a kiss of tobacco. Violet notes come through underneath with a backbone of acidity that cuts through on the palate in a good way, joined by a touch of funk on the finish. This is old world juice with a good dose of fruit. 70% Barbera, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon (B+)

2011 Dante Red Blend (California)… $9.

Slightly reductive on the nose with notes of roasted meats, cherries and rose petal with a little candied cherry element coming through on the back-end. Intense ripe currant notes front to finish on the palate with a touch of black raspberry. It brightens up a bit on the finish with notes of leather and a hint of make-up joining in. This is a crowd pleaser for sure and most won’t notice the make-up element. 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Zinfandel, 5% Syrah (B-)

2012 Trefethen Family Vineyards Merlot Oak Knoll District (Napa, California)…$42.

Intense notes of violets and currants on the nose with a sweet edge to it, joined by hits of cinnamon. Fairly big on the palate with good structure. Grippy, sweet tannins support notes of currants, violets and cinnamon. Pretty intense oak notes finishing with hits of licorice joining the party and lingering cinnamon notes. The oak is just a bit too much for me. (B-)

2013 Corvidae Wine Co. Ravenna Riesling (Columbia Valley, WA)… $12.

Classic Riesling nose with aromas of rubber boot, pineapple and apple. Light sweetness on the palate with a good core of diesel supporting notes of pears and apples. Good balance start to finish with a fresh acid kick on the back-end. (B+)

2014 Canoe Ridge “The Expedition” Sauvignon Blanc (Columbia Valley, WA)… $16.

A little restrained on the nose with hints of melon, apples and white flowers coming through. Creamy in the mouth with notes of apples and melons. A little wet stone action front to back and a hint of cut grass joining on the finish. (B-)

2015 Elk Cove Vineyards Rose` (Willamette Valley, Oregon)… $16.

Cherry Bubbleyum on the nose with a touch of pie crust and dried herbs. Strawberries and cherries on the front of the palate, evolving into sweet rhubarb and rose petal on the finish. Good acidity develops on the mid-palate making this rose` dry and delicious. (A-)

2014 Sawtooth Pinot Gris (Snake River Valley, Idaho)… $13.

Aromas of pears and apples with a slight peach element coming through. Creamy mouth-feel up front with pear notes dominating front to back underscored by notes of apples and peach. There is just a hint of white pepper and pear skins on the dry finish. This Pinot Gris has good balance and integration of fruit and acidity. (B/B+)

2014 Sagelands Chardonnay (Columbia Valley, WA)… $10.

Almost nutty on the nose, like a can of mixed nuts, along with slight pineapple and pear notes. Creamy in the mouth with hints of butter joining pineapple, apple and pear notes. Solid and seamless front to back with a fresh somewhat thin finish. Pretty decent Chardonnay for ten bucks. (B-/B)

Stan The Wine Man

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