FRIDAY’S THIRTEEN…

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 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 Stanthewineman.com. Here for your reading pleasure, are thirteen wines that I have reviewed in my Moleskine (good or bad), this past week.

2015 Bodegas Atalaya Laya Red (Almansa, Spain)… $10.

Aromas of blackberries and cherries all day with a little perfume and char action underneath. Dark cherries on the palate with a little blackberry action on soft, chalky tannins. Red flower notes and licorice lie underneath into a clean mineral finish. A blend of Garnacha Tintorera and Monastrell. (B+)

2010 The Bolney Blanc de Blanc Brut (Sussex, England)… $50.

Roasted almonds and crispy bread dough on the nose with a saline element coming through. Hints of minerals come through on the palate along with notes of yeast, bread dough, lime and kiwi. This baby sparkles in the mouth, with lime and kiwi notes lingering. Proof as to why the French are seeking land to plant vineyards in this part of England. Watch out Champagne here they come. (B+/A-)

Non-Vintage Digby English Brut (England)… $50.

Apples and almonds on the nose with a solid background of bread dough. Excellent, cutting acidity on the palate with notes of almonds and bread dough resting on a bed of tart lemon. Apple notes join up on the bracing finish as the lemon notes linger. Excellent balance of acidity and fruit. (A-)

2014 Gerard Fiou Terroir Silex Sancerre (Loire, France)… $20.

There is just a touch of stink action on the nose, joined by notes of cut grass, kiwi, grape seed and melon. Notes of lemon, lime and kiwi with just a touch of a bitter element, rests on backbone of slate and crushed rock in the mouth. There is a little steel element on the finish with notes of kiwi hanging out with its crushed rock buddies. A bargain for such a true to the varietal and terroir Sancerre. (A-)

2013 La Chablisienny La Pierrelee Chablis (Burgundy, France)… $20.

Very interesting on the nose with notes of stinky seashells, banana nut bread, minerals and hints of lemon. Dry and bright on the palate. Nicely integrated acidity backs notes of lemon, lime and kiwi on a bed of crushed seashells, chalk and slate. This juice smacks the palate, wakes it up and leaves with minerals, kiwi and lemon waving a long goodbye. Chardonnay at its best. (A/A-)

2012 Valle Las Nencias Reserve Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina)… $12.

This baby gets a touch stinky on the nose with notes of black olive, boysenberry, old wood, violets and rose petals with hits of tobacco. Very interesting aromas for a $12 wine. Sweet tannins support notes of blackberries and plums, with a lace of white pepper and tobacco. Seamless front to finish with brooding fruit notes lingering, joined by wilted violets and worn leather with a splash of BBQ spices. (B+)

2013 Tuga Rosso (Douro, Portugal)… $8.

Aromas of meat marinade, dirt, spice, tobacco, smokey blueberries and dark cherries with a hint of vanilla. Deep cherry notes front to back on the palate with an undertow of tobacco and blueberries. Chocolate notes sneak in on the back of the mid-palate into the finish. Meat marinade notes lie underneath front to finish with powdered chocolate and leather notes lingering. Not true-to-Douro style but a lot of wine for the money. A blend of Tina Roriz, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional (B/B+)

2010 Tor Del Colle Riserva Rosso (Molise, Italy)… $12.

Slight bark notes come through on the nose, joined by currants, blackberries, a kiss of tobacco, black raspberry and smokey vanilla. Leather all day on the palate with a little bark action joining the party, along with notes of currants, black raspberry and a hint of black pepper on sturdy tannins. Black raspberry and tobacco notes on a decently long finish. This juice has rusticity and deliciousness at the same time. 100% Montepulciano (B/B+)

2014 Fefriani Laffite Syrah (Valencia, Spain)… $10.

A little smoke action on the nose joined by solid blackberry and plum notes. Hits of cherries, vanilla and tobacco come through. Solid yet smooth tannins with a meaty texture, support plum and tobacco notes with a backdrop of black and white pepper. A touch of leather and cherries sneak in on a finish that has a little tannic attitude. (B-)

2015 Illahe Estate Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, OR)… $23.

Aromas of Asian spice, black tea, red flowers, cherries, strawberries with a touch of bark and caramel. Nice balance on the palate, showing notes of cherry skins, bark and hits of cola. Acidity lies beneath, but stays in balance and doesn’t take over. Cherry skins linger on the finish joined by notes of cola and dried bark. light on its feet and delicious. (A-)

2012 Luke Cabernet Sauvignon (Wahluke Slope, WA)… $18.

Aromas of bark, tobacco, dried cardboard, currants and perfumed rose petals. Nice and spicy on the palate with notes of chocolate and currants on polished tannins. Tobacco notes on the finish joined by bark and spice. Fairly complex cab for the money starting off fruit driven and finishing on a savory note with spice action front to finish. (B+/A-)

2013 The Inconceivable Wine Co. “After The Floods” Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley, WA)… $20.

Intense currant and baking spice notes on the nose, with hits of coffee bean and bark. Currant and chocolate notes on the palate with a bright edge. Seamless, with a little “grit” action on the back-end. Coffee bean and bark notes join up on the finish. This is smooth cab with the tannins showing a little attitude on the tail end. (B/B+)

2015 Cline Cashmere Black Magic (California)… $16.

Aromas of violets, currants and chocolate with hits of tobacco. Deep currant notes on the palate that is balanced by interesting citrus notes. The tannins have a little attitude, but stay in balance with the citrus and currant. A lot of wineries are coming out with these “black” wines, and this is one of the better ones. A blend of Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, Syrah and Grenache. (B)

Cheers!
Stan The Wine Man

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TOP FORTY WINES UNDER TWENTY BUCKS… 2016

Here I go once again on this labor of love. Why you ask? Good question, but one that is easily answered. I love wine, the wine world and all it encompasses. I love finding great deals and passing that information on to my readers. I am, as you all know, The Blue Collar Wine Guy who helps you spend your wine dollars wisely. There are many wines out there that are very good and do not bust the budget.
I flirted with the idea this year of raising the ceiling to thirty bucks. It makes this project a little easier because there a a ton of wines between twenty and thirty bones that are real gems. However, I have found by experience, that under twenty dollar wines that are good get a lot of attention from my customers that I help at the store I work at on San Juan Island. We have many folks with more than enough discretionary income that love to save a buck or two whenever they can. Especially when it comes to finding a great bottle of wine at a very reasonable price. So once again I embark on the project of going through my copious wine notes and finding the wines that earned the right to be on this list.

Remember, I try to list only wines that I think you can get your hands on. If they changed vintages since I took my notes, I leave them out. They must garner at least a B+ grade. Although I taste close to a thousand wines a year, I have not tasted everything, so I will leave wines out that are stellar simply because I have not tasted them, and I apologize to the producers I left out…Maybe next year. Here we go!

#40 2014 Waterbrook Melange Founders Red Blend (Columbia Valley, WA)… $14.

Cherries and tobacco on the nose with hits of violets and rose petals with a little leather action thrown in. Tobacco in spades on the palate, joined by notes of cherries and currants. Balanced acidity and chalky tannins. Leather notes join the party on the back-end. This is old school juice that has a nice balance of fruit and rusticity. You could age this baby for close to five years and get even more out of it. Just say’n. Mostly Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah with a dose of Cab Franc, Malbec, Grenache and four others. (B+)

#39 2014 Le Monde Friulano (Friuli, Italy)… $17.

Aromas of banana and grass with a touch of melon. Round, almost buttery on the palate with notes of melon, banana and fig coming through with a hint of lemon curd. Nice structure and an easy flow across the palate finishing both fresh and buttery. Hits of citrus and stainless steel sneak on the backside. (B+)

#38 Non-vintage Mestres 1312 Cava (Catalonia, Spain)… $15.

Apples all day on the nose with hits of roasted nuts. Yeast, bread dough and dusty apples on the palate, backed by a solid core of acidity. Bread dough notes hit hard on the mid-palate, joined by a nice citrus hit on the finish. Clean, crisp and delicious. Very Champagne like for a prayer. (B+)

#37 2014 Rocca delle Macie Toscana White (Tuscany, Italy)… $15.

Banana bread and slight peach notes with a little wet stone action on the nose. Seamless blend of banana, apples and peaches on the palate with a splash of citrus. Very fresh, but not bright. Wet stone notes sneak in on the finish with a hint of white pepper that lingers. 35% Chardonnay, 30% Vermentino, 20% Pinot Grigio, 15% Trebbiano (B+)

#36 2014 Cashmere Black Magic (California)… $15.

Aromas of blackberries, currants and tobacco with underlying black cherries and petrol. Dark cherries and currants up front on the palate leading into a clean finish with black licorice and blackberry liquor joining the party. This could be a fruit bomb, but it stays in check nicely. Lots of “Black” wines hitting the shelves, but this is one of the best I’ve tasted in ’16. 37% Mourvedre, 18% Syrah, 17% Petite Sirah, 17% Alicante Bouschet, 11% Grenache. (B+)

#35 2014 Cantina di Trento Muller Thurgau 1339 Block (Trentino, Italy)… $11.

Wet stone all day on the nose with notes of peaches and apricots joining in. Dry on the palate with a slight sweet edge of papaya and apricots. Loads of minerals that are nicely integrated with the acid and tropical fruit notes. Citrus hits on the mid-palate leading into a clean, delicious finish. (B+)

#34 2013 Corvidae Wine Company Ravenna Riesling (Columbia Valley, WA)… $12.

Rubber boot all day on the nose, joined by hits of pineapple and apple. Light sweetness on the palate with a good core of diesel that is backed by pear and apple notes. Nice balance front to finish with a fresh acid kick on the back-end (B+)

#33 2014 Sawtooth Pinot Gris (Snake River Valley, Idaho)… $13.

Aromas of pears and apples with hits of peaches. Great mouthfeel with creamy pear notes front to back, joined by an undertow of apples and peaches. A tiny hit of white pepper and pear skin joins up on the dry finish. (B+)

#32 Bodegas Baron Micaela Cream Sherry (Jerez, Spain)… $16

Fig, coffee bean and mixed nuts all day on the nose. Coffee bean, figs and nuts on the palate front to finish with a nice citrus hit on the delicious finish with mixed nut notes hanging around for a long time. You sense a power hitter here, but it dances lightly on the palate. If you haven’t explored the Sherry world yet, this might be a good place to start. (B+)

#31 2014 Terrapin Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, OR)… $16.

Root Beer, earth, mushroom pizza, dark cherries and plums on the nose. Nice core of dark cherries on the palate with Asian spice and Root Beer underneath. There is a touch of bark action on the mid-palate into the finish, with a little tobacco joining the party. Good acidity, that is well-integrated with the fruit. Delicious medium to long finish. (B+)

#30 2013 McManis North Forty Red (California).. $15.

Candied fruit on the nose, cherries and plums, backed by violets and tobacco. Serious structure on this baby with notes of red flowers, currants and cherries coming through on the palate. Bright on the finish with red and black licorice notes joining in and a hint of blackberry hard candy. A blend of Petit Verdot and Tannat. (B+)

#29 2015 Ryan Patrick Vineyards Rock Island Chardonnay (Columbia Valley, WA)… $17.

Aromas of butterscotch, apples and pineapple. Creamy on the palate, with butter and butterscotch notes backing notes of pears and apples. Seamless with excellent balance of fruit and acidity, finishing with a nice freshness. Clean and round at the same time. Very cool. (B+)

#28 2011 Alto Cinco Garnacha (Carinena, Spain).. $13.

Aromas of currants, blueberries, strawberries and a pinch of tobacco. Big currant notes on the front of the palate backed by chalky tannins. The fruit expands somewhat on the mid-palate leading into a surprisingly drier finish. Notes of blueberries join up on the back-end along with hits of dried currants and tobacco. (B+)

#27 2012 Franco Mando Divino Monferrato Rosso (Piedmont, Italy)… $14.

A little funk on the nose joined by notes of leather, cherries, oatmeal cookies and violets. Full currant notes on the palate, balanced by notes of leather, wet stone and tobacco. Violet notes underneath, front to finish with a solid backbone of acidity that cuts through in a balanced way. Just to let you know it is all about old world, there is a touch of funkiness on the back-end. 70% Barbera, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon (B+)

#26 2014 Lupino Chianti (Tuscany, Italy)… $14.

A little stink action on the nose with notes of cherries, violets and tobacco with hits of rose petal and red plums. Balanced acidity and grippy tannins support bright cherry and orange peel notes. Mineral and leather notes back up the fruit front to back with dried wood and red flower notes lingering. This is Chianti at its best for a very good price. Rusticity and enough complexity to keep it interesting. (B+)

#25 2015 Falesco Tellus Cabernet Sauvignon (Umbria, Italy)… $16.

Cherries and blackberries on the nose, joined by a little petrol and crushed rock. Crushed rock all day on the palate with notes of cherries blending in. Solid core of acidity gives this wine a bright lift in the mouth, finishing with notes of red flowers, licorice and crushed brick. A solid cab that really needs food, unless you are like me and enjoy the old world action all by itself. (B+)

$24 2014 Disruption Wine Co. Red (Washington State)… $15.

Red flowers on the nose, joined by notes of red cherries, cinnamon, plums and licorice. Gritty, approachable tannins support notes of plums and cherries along with blackberries and baking spices. The fruit notes are deep and resonant front to finish with a little chocolate sneaking in on the tail end. Good structure and balance. (B+)

#23 2013 Balancing Act Cabernet Sauvignon (Washington State)… $15.

Aromas of currants, bark, worn leather and chocolate. Great balance on the palate with smooth but not polished tannins and a solid backbone of acidity. Notes of currants and bittersweet chocolate front to finish with hits of tobacco on the mid-palate. Finishes long with notes of red flowers joining in and hits of minerality, with tobacco notes lingering. (B+)

#22 2014 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley, WA)… $12.

Deep blackberry notes on the nose mingled with red cherries, tobacco and hits of chocolate. Blackberry notes come through on the palate with a backbone of chocolate and tobacco. Smooth with just a little grit on the back-end. Nicely balanced with a bright edge underneath and hits of violets, mid-palate to finish. Chocolate and tobacco notes join up on the fairly long finish. (B+)

#21 2015 Michel Chapoutier Les Vignes Bila-Haut Cotes Du Roussillon (France)… $13.

Licorice and red plum notes on the noses with a slight candied element coming through, joined by hits of cherries and minerals. Cherry and blackberry notes dance lightly on a bed of minerals in the mouth. Licorice and bark notes join up on the mid-palate into the finish. Licorice, crushed rock and red flower notes linger. (B+)

#20 2012 Valle Las Nen Cias Reserve Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina)… $12.

Just a touch of stink action on the nose with notes of black olive, boysenberry, old wood, violets and rose petal. Tobacco notes linger underneath. Sweet tannins support notes of blackberries and plums with a lace of white pepper and tobacco. Seamless on the palate with brooding fruit notes on the finish joined by notes of leather, wilted violets and BBQ spices. When Malbec comes through with this kind of complexity, it’s a winner in my book. (B+)

#19 2015 Bodegas Atalaya Laya Red (Almansa, Spain)… $10.

Blackberries and cherries all day on the nose with a little char action underneath. Dark cherry notes on the palate with notes of blackberry mingled in front to finish. Soft, chalky tannins with a little mineral action coming through. Red flowers and licorice notes join the action on the clean finish that lingers. Nice complexity for a ten-dollar wine. A blend of Garnacha Tintorera and Monastrell, (B+)

#18 2012 Vinos De Arganza Lagar De Robla Mencia (Castilla Y Leon, Spain)… $11.

Aromas of rusty cherries and violets joined by notes of earth and sage with a dash of raspberry and licorice. Minerals front to back on the palate joined by intense, currant and dark cherry notes backed by a spine of violets and raspberries. Tobacco notes show up a little later with a bit of grip to the tannins. Finishes clean and delicious with minerals and fruit lingering. (B+)

#17 2014 Alder Ridge Six Prong Cabernet Sauvignon (Horse Heaven Hills, WA)… $18.

Aromas of currants and rose petals, with a backdrop of earth, tobacco and licorice. Nice intensity on the palate with notes of currants, licorice and vanilla joined by a touch of chocolate and coffee bean. Excellent structure with a nice flow across the palate front to finish, featuring a little leather grip on the back-end. (B+/A-)

#16 2014 Pazo das Bruxas Albarino (Rias Baixas, Spain)… $16.

Aromas of apple, melon, tangerine, wet stone and orange flower blossoms. There is a solid core of acidity that supports notes of apples, lemon and tangerine with a good dose of minerals. Interesting wet stone meets stainless steel on the finish with a touch of sweetness. For those who have discovered Albarino, this is what it is about. (B+/A-)

#15 2014 La Chablisienne “Saint Bris” Sauvignon Blanc (Burgundy, France)… $12.

Filberts all over the nose, joined by notes of wet slate, cut grass and hits of melon. Herbs, chalk and crushed seashells lie on a bed of bright, mouth-watering acidity that pulses through, front to finish. Steely on the mid-palate, finishing with notes of lemon and grapefruit pith that leaves the mouth-watering. (B+/A-)

#14 2014 Moutard-Diligent Chablis (Burgundy, France)… $18.

Chalky white flowers and melon on the nose with just a hint of stink (a good thing) and interesting roasted nut notes. Bright acidity backs intense citrus notes with just a touch of honey. Minerality is dominant with notes of chalk and crushed seashell. Finishes long and crisp with a little nuttiness on the back-end. (B+/A-)

#13 2014 Domaine Allimant-Laugner Riesling (Vin D’ Alsace, France)… $16.

Aromas of slate and lemons with a touch of honey and white flower blossoms. Crushed rock mingled with notes of Mango and papaya on the palate. Cutting acidity across the palate sending the tropical fruit notes to a new height. Steely slate backbone front to finish. Dry, clean citrus driven finish with tropical fruit notes brooding underneath. Surprisingly no petrol on this little gem, which a lot of you might like. (B+/A-)

#12 2013 Alta Luna Pinot Noir (Dolomite Alps, Italy)… $15.

Cherries all day on the nose with underlying forest floor and Root Beer notes along with hits of licorice and rose petal. Very old world on the palate with a solid core of acidity and minerality. Earth and violet notes come through with a blend of cranberries, Root Beer and cherries. It’s somewhat bright but balanced with the fruit and earth notes. If you want to enjoy this one at its best, make sure you have it with food. (B+/A-)

#11 2015 Tenuta Sant Antonio Scaia White (Delle Venezie, Italy)… #12.

Just a touch of stink action on the nose with interesting aromas of rosemary, sage, wet stone and loads of peaches. This little white tastes just like biting into a fresh ripe peach with some stainless steel, melon and crushed rock thrown in. Finishes with peach notes hanging on the palate. A blend of Garganega and Chardonnay. Just a side note, it comes with a cool glass stopper. (B+/A-)

#10 2014 Erste + Neue Pinot Bianco Sudtirol (Alto Adige, Italy)… $13.

Aromas of wet stone, melon and a touch of cut grass and lemon. Mouthfeel is like polished marbles with notes of lemon curd, green apples and melon. Hits of cut grass and white pepper hook up on the clean, long finish. (B+/A-)

#9 2014 Bulliat Beaujolais-Villages (Beaujolais, France)… $12.

Very interesting on the nose with notes of red clay, iron, violets, rose petals, crushed rock, currants, tobacco and bark (it’s o.k. if you don’t find that much, I kind of geeked out on this baby). Red flower and red cherry notes on the palate with a little tobacco thrown in and bark notes on the finish. Soft tannins with a little rust action underneath. This baby is light but intense at the same time. As this one opens up, the acidity becomes more pronounced. Will age nicely over the next 3-5 years. (B+/A-)

#8 2015 Pajzos Furmint (Tokaji, Hungary)… #13.

Aromas of mint leaf, vanilla, wet stone, orange peel and white flowers with a splash of nuts and banana. Creamy on the palate with notes of banana and fig, with a dash of white pepper underneath. Nice flow across the palate with notes of orange peel and white flowers joining up on the clean finish. White pepper notes lingering. (B+/A-)

#7 2014 Montague Malbec (Columbia Valley, WA)… $15.

Red berries and cherries on the nose with an edge of blackberries and hits of licorice. Nice and full on the palate with big hits of plum and cherry notes with underlying spice. Good structure and smooth tannins. Baking spices join up on the mid-palate with the tannins showing a little attitude on the finish and hits of licorice coming through. It’s almost 15% alcohol, but it does not show the heat. Everything is well-integrated, making for a well made, delicious Malbec. You would expect no less from wine maker Charlie Hoppes. (B+/A-)

#6 2011 Seis de Luberri Rioja (Rioja, Spain)… $17.

Aromas of currants, worn leather, dill pickle and hints of chocolate. This is a sexy Rioja, very polished in the mouth with underlying minerality. Chocolate and currant notes front to back, with an undertow of white pepper. Tobacco notes hit on the back-end with hints of blueberry coming through. Tasty Tempranillo that keeps true to old world with mineral notes as the backbone. (B+/A-)

#5 2014 Airfield Estates Syrah (Yakima Valley, WA)… $15.

Dried rosemary and tarragon on the nose that rest on notes of candied blackberries and currants with hints of chocolate. Dark fruit notes mingle nicely on gritty tannins. Notes of black plums and currants are the core of this Syrah with a nice freshness underneath. Blueberry notes sneak in on the long finish. Very drinkable now, but will benefit with a little age, I’d give it 3-5 years. Excellent balance of fruit, acidity and tannins. (B+/A-)

#4 2015
Nisia Verdejo (Rueda, Spain)… $15.

Wet stone, lemon and melon on the nose. Good balance of acid and fruit on this little gem. Nice and vibrant yet creamy on the front of the palate transitioning into a steely finish. Citrus, wet stone, honey and white flower notes flow across the palate leading into a very long finish. Verdejo is the grape of Rueda, and this is an excellent expression of what it can do. (A-)

#3 2015 Nieto Senetiner Malbec (Lujan De Cuyo…Mendoza, Argentina)… $14.

Aromas of cherry cola, chocolate, light smoke and tobacco notes with hits of vanilla and bark. Currant and red plum notes penetrate the palate with a core of acidity hanging in the background. Tobacco and bark notes join up on the mid-palate into the finish. Tannins show a little grit and chalk action on the back-end. This baby has excellent structure and acidity which will help it age close to eight years. Certainly not your typical vanilla ice cream Malbec. (A-)

#2 2013 Love & Squalor Riesling (Willamette Valley, OR)… $19.

Diesel all over the nose, joined by notes of lemons and apples with a little hit of dried apricots. Cutting acidity drives notes of lemon, tangerine, white peaches and apricots with a spine of petrol front to finish. This is what Riesling is all about and one of the best I tasted in 2016. (A-)

#1 2014 Visalba Corte C Malbec-Cabernet Sauvignon (Mendoza, Argentina)… $14.

This could be the first time that two wines from Argentina made it in my top five, but they certainly deserve to be there. This little gem shows a ton of character. Aromas of licorice, currants and wilted rose petals, joined by hits of violets and Cinnamon Imperials. Cinnamon, cherries and currants rest on solid structure in the mouth. Good acidity that is well-integrated with the fruit. There is a little earth action that comes through with hints of licorice. Finishes with white and black pepper notes joining up with hits of rose petal on the back-end of a long finish. Smooth on the palate with just a little attitude coming through. (A-)

Cheers!
Stan The Wine Man

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STAN’S PICK FOR DECEMBER 2016…

December can elicit many choices for pick of the month. There is prime rib, ham, apps galore, and year-end celebrations just around the corner. The wine that caught my attention this month is a Malbec. Malbec is such a good wine for a variety of foods from the said prime rib to ham to pizza to appetizers. You name it, and many times, Malbec is an excellent pairing. Although I find a lot of Malbec offered up to be somewhat Homogeneous, this one showed some interesting elements at a great price.

Stan's December Pick.

Stan’s December Pick.

2012 Valle Las Nencias Malbec Reserve (Mendoza, Argentina)… $11.

Named after the flower that grows in this high altitude valley, this Malbec displays aromas of black olive, boysenberries, old wood, violets and rose petal, with tobacco notes lingering underneath. Sweet tannins support notes of boysenberries and plums with a lace of white pepper and tobacco. Seamless across the palate finishing with brooding fruit notes, wilted violets, leather and a little BBQ spice action on the back-end. At eleven bucks, this bottle of juice shows nice complexity. A lot of wine for the money, and my pick for December. (B+)

Cheers!
Stan The Wine Man

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BIT & BOBS…

I’m actually proud of myself for not writing an article on wine pairing for Thanksgiving. Let’s face it, wine is a personal choice, subjective as we like to say. Who needs a thousand articles guiding us as to what we should or should not drink with the Thanksgiving meal. As an example, I’ve read over and over again how Zinfandel is one wine that should be included in this meal. Hell, I’ve recommended it myself. After trying it over and over again, I’ve only been successful one time with the pairing, and that was this year (2013 Klinker Brick if you need to know). All the other times the wine just did not work. Too many tannins and too much alcohol. The wine I found to be most successful this year was Grenache. Yes, Grenache can have tannins, but they are less aggressive than the latter. Writer’s Block Grenache from Steele Winery out of Lake County California was absolutely perfect with my Thanksgiving meal. I may write an article again on Thanksgiving and wine, it’s in my blood as a writer. However, I would like to know what your best wine experience was during Thanksgiving. Stop by the store and tell me, or send me an email. I would love the input.

Have you ever noticed that Fall is the forgotten season? How many times have you heard October and November referred to as winter? Unless I’m mistaken, winter begins in the third week of December and ends in March. Why is it that when it rains a lot in October, people say…”Wow! We are sure having a wet winter.” Or, if it is sunny most of October you will hear…” I think we are having an Indian Summer.” Not true by the way, look up Indian Summer and find out. I could be off my rocker here, but I rarely hear Fall mentioned. Summer and Winter yes, but Fall seems to fall off most people’s radar. Fall and Spring are my two favorite Seasons. Spring gets a lot of attention, but Fall is forgotten.

I am now working on my “Top Forty Wines Under Twenty Bucks” for 2016. It’s crazy, but I think I was a little hard on most of the wines I tried. I only found 39 wines in my Moleskine with a B+ or higher. I’m still tasting, and many of the wines I try in the next few weeks could make the list. However, this is the first year I had so few with a higher grade. Most interesting to me, was the amount of white wines that showed so well. My list this year will include an inordinate amount of white wines.

I also have decided on my winery of the year. I’ve only spilled the beans to a couple of folks, but I am very excited about this winery and what they are doing. It’s hardly a new winery, but the juice they are putting out is fantastic and affordable. I should be revealing my choice in mid-December. Stay tuned!

Speaking of mid-December, I’m getting very excited for my trip to London/Paris/Champagne at the end of December and into January with my lovely girlfriend Susie. We have it all planned out, and we are both trying to slow down time so that we can enjoy each day leading up to the trip. I have my top forty list and winery of the year articles to finish up. Big projects for sure. Christmas is coming and family time is important. England is just around the corner, but not before we enjoy the last days of Fall, family and friends.

Cheers!
Stan The Wine Man

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