FRIDAYS THIRTEEN…

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

2012 Milestone Cabernet Sauvignon (California)… $12.

Aromas of cherries and grape juice with hits of red flowers and cigar box. Very grapey on the palate (go figure, it’s made from grapes), with underlying dark cherry notes. Nice flow across the palate with black currants joining the party on the mid-palate leading into a grippy finish. I was actually surprised by the tannins on the finish, because they weren’t there up front. This cab actually reminded me a lot of some Spanish Garnacha. (C+)

2012 PopCrush Red (California)… $11.

This wine smells exactly like a chunk of black licorice with a touch of black currants and root beer. Kind of jammy notes of currant notes start to finish. However, there is an interesting mineral element that keeps it out of the fruit-bomb category. The tannins have good structure and a touch of grip. I know a lot of people who will like this wine, and I have to say that I think it has good balance and some complexity, which makes it interesting. (B-)

2012 Anderra Carmenere (Chile)… $12.

This bottle has the name Baron Philippe De Rothschild printed on the front of the label. That is a name that many of us are familiar with when it comes to French wines. Many of these top producers have looked to Chile, understanding the value of the land and fruit. Carmenere is king in Chile and this version is proof as to why that is so.
Aromas of red leaf lettuce, green bell pepper, asparagus. red cherries and blackberries. Nice currant and cherry notes up front, that evolves into notes of forest floor and minerals with tobacco joining the party. Wilted rose petal notes hit on the mid-palate with just a touch of veggie coming through on the back-end. The finish is delicious with notes of bittersweet chocolate lingering. If you haven’t given Carmenere a try yet, this would be a good start. (A-)

2011 Esk Valley Red Blend Gimblett Gravels (Hawkes Bay, New Zealand)… $21.

This baby has some old world action on the nose, with aromas of gravel, earth, dark cherries, currants, black raspberries and licorice. Crushed rock all day on the palate with a shovel load of dirt and a hit of iron (now that’s old world my friend). Red cherries and cranberries sneak into the picture front to back with a brightness that lingers. This is an old world style wine on an acid trip. A blend of 44% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon and 23% Malbec. (C+)

2012 PopCrush White (California)… $11.

This baby has a lot of Viognier in it and it shows. Aromas of apricots, peaches, tangerine and cantaloupe. Notes of mandarin orange, tangerine and apricot come through on the front of the palate leading into a rounder mid-palate. The finish is dry with a load of citrus coming through. Notes of tangerine, lemon and mandarin with a slight hit of mango on the back-end. A blend of Viognier, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay and Moscato. I expected it to be a lot sweeter, and was pleasantly surprised by the drier finish. (B-)

2012 Milestone Chardonnay (California)… $12.

I got a little lemon scented soap on the nose with slight pear and oak notes coming through. Light pear notes come through on the palate with a creamy edge to it, then there is a big oak hit on the finish. The finish is awkward and not well-integrated, and the wine tastes just a touch fake, like it has some makeup on it. (D-)

2012 Anderra Sauvignon Blanc (Chile)… $12.

I really liked the nose on this puppy. Aromas of diesel, cut grass, melon and wet stone. Zesty on the palate with notes of kiwi and lime in spades. Grass notes hit on the mid-palate and leading into the mouth-watering, dry finish. This is a perfect match for shellfish of all kinds. (B)

2012 Avignonesi “Cantaloro” Red (Toscana, Italy)… $20.

Aromas of stewed meats, marinade, baking spices, black olives, green olives, tobacco, leather and wilted red flowers (seriously, I got that much out of it). Good structure and balance on this wine. Notes of currants and dark cherries up front with a healthy dose of tobacco, crushed rock and tar. There is a forest floor component that comes through on the mid-palate with a slight minty edge showing up. There is a brightness to this wine that is like the spine leading into a dark fruit meets crushed rock, meets dirt, meets leather, meets tar finish. This baby screams for grilled (or broiled) meats, or a serious red sauce with pasta. (A-)

2011 Tormaresca “Neprica” Red (Puglia, Italy)… $11.

A little stink action on the nose with notes of leather, tobacco, currants, black olives, wilted rose petal, blackberries and a hint of chocolate (two in a row). Black cherries, blackberries and tobacco notes up front on the palate and into the middle palate. Red flower notes come through on the backside with an interesting brightness. The finish features minerals, tobacco, cherry, red flowers and a trace of white pepper that lingers. 40% Negroamaro, 30% Primitivo and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. (B+)

2012 Brooks Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, Oregon)… $26.

Very aromatic on the nose with notes of cherries, black tea, root beer with a little cherry candy and Red Vine licorice on the back-end. Red flowers all day on the palate with a backdrop of cranberries and black tea. There is a fair amount of acidity on this wine with some blackberry leaf coming through on the finish and a hint of black tea. This is a baby that needs some time to flesh out. (B-)

2010 Array Cellars Chardonnay (Columbia Valley, Washington)… $22.

Aromas of dusty oak, ripe pineapple, butterscotch and apple. The oak is prominent on the palate with hits of baking spices and butterscotch with a touch of pineapple on the astringent finish. This chard is very awkward on the palate and very oaky. (C-/D)

2012 Tempus Cellars Riesling Evergreen Vineyards (Ancient Lakes, WA)… $16.

Pine notes come through on the nose joined by ripe lemons, saline and apples. Cutting acidity on the palate with a backdrop of ripe apples and peaches with a touch of apricots and ripe lemons. Minerals and orange blossoms come through on the long, bracing finish with a hint of rubber boot on the back-end. This is a classic example of how good Washington State Riesling can be (A-)

2012 Efeste “Feral” Sauvignon Blanc “Evergreen Vineyards” (Ancient Lakes, WA)… $21.

Aromas of pine needles, lemon, melon and a touch of sweaty arm-pit. Zesty, sharp and acidic on the palate with notes of under-ripe kiwi, lemon and lime. Very grassy and herbal on the mid-palate leading into a steely, lemon-lime driven finish. This is typical Efeste Sauvignon Blanc, wild and wooly. It needs a little time in the bottle to flesh out. (B+)

Cheers!
Stan The Wine Man

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WASHINGTON WINE ICON BILL POWERS DIES AT 88.

I had the awesome privilege of meeting and interviewing Bill Powers earlier this year on Stan The Wine Man TV, and Bill did an excellent job. The interview went for an hour, and it turned into a four part series. Bill will be missed by all those in the wine world.

Bill, one the first to grow grapes organically in Washington State was tireless in his efforts to improve in his grape growing practices. However, he was also an innovator and hard worker. In the interview, which I encourage you to watch, he talks about his start in the grape growing industry, the transformation of his vineyards to organic, and the start of his winery. Powers Winery now run by his son Greg Powers is on of the top producing wineries in the State of Washington. It’s sibling Badger Mountain Winery which is entirely organic, has become one of the most respected wineries in that segment. One of the highlights of the interview is when Bill talks about his entry into the wine making business…He was truly a forward thinking individual.

Bills legacy will never fade and we are all grateful for his pioneering efforts. Even as his health was deteriorating he showed up at the winery on a daily basis to help out wherever he could. I am lucky to have had the opportunity to meet him and we are all going to miss him dearly.

Stan The wine Man

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FRIDAY’S THIRTEEN…

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

2011 Franco Mondu Barbera d’Asti (Piedmont, Italy)… $16.

Aromas of wilted violets, iron, black olives, perfumed currants and hints of tobacco. You might ask why I say “wilted violets”? Well, the aromas did not smell fresh, more on the earthy side…Thus, wilted violets, which is actually a good thing when you’re talking Barbera. Ripe cranberries and blackberries hit the palate up front soaked in violets with a spoonful of minerals. Excellent acidity leads into a mouth-watering finish with a splash of iron. For the money, this is an outstanding example of Barbera from Asti in Piedmont. (B+)

2013 Teutonic Wine Co. Pig & Swords White (Willamette Valley, OR)… $25.

This winery has definitely caught my attention recently. This white is a blend of Pinot Noir, old vine Slivaner and old vine Chasselas. Honeysuckle notes come through on the nose along with slight peach and strawberries. Cutting acidity on the palate with notes of mandarin, kiwi and under-ripe strawberries. There is a steely edge to this wine with lemongrass notes coming through on the finish. Excellent balance and very lively. Perfect white for shellfish or salads. (B+)

2011 Memaloose Yorks Reward Red (Columbia Gorge, WA)… $22.

Aromas of cherry Bubblyum, rose petal, violets and a touch of iron on the back-end. Very bright on the palate (acid freaks will love this one), with notes of cherry and raspberry Bubbleyum, joined by notes of cranberries and violets. There is a little rust action on the mouth-puckering finish. This baby needs food, like a fatty steak or some BBQ ribs. But, if you feel like drying your mouth out with some bright fruit and rust, knock yourselves out. (B-)

2011 Fall Line Winery Tempranillo (Yakima Valley, WA)… $22.

Aromas of raspberries and cherries backed by notes of crushed rose petals and beauty bark. This red is very rustic in style with gritty tannins backing notes of raspberries and violets. Bright, but not over-the-top acidic. Finishes with raspberry and cranberry notes mixed with crushed violets. This is actually quite close to what you might get out of Rioja, but quite a bit brighter. (B-)

2012 Soter Vineyards North Valley Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, OR)… $35.

’12 was a great vintage in both Washington and Oregon, so I am always very curious how these have turned out. This Pinot shows the quality of that vintage. Notes of bark, cherries and tar on the nose, with hints of strawberry and vanilla. Fresh and lively on the palate and very earthy. Notes of cherries and bark up front with a hit of white pepper and violets. There is a backdrop of root beer that hits on the mid-palate and lingers on the finish. Nice balance of acid and fruit, but this is still a baby in need of maturing. I will be really curious how this fleshes out over the next five years. (B+)

2013 Savage Grace Cabernet Franc “Copeland Vineyards” (Rattlesnake Hills, WA)… $22.

Very veggie on the nose with notes of beef soup, rose petals, violets and soft underlying cherry notes. Very elegant and sexy on the palate with round cherry notes and a soft vegetal edge with a dash of white pepper. Interesting floral notes front to back finishing with vanilla mocha and root beer notes. This is a classic example of not judging a wine by the nose. I thought it was going to be a mixed salad in the mouth, and it proved me wrong. (B+)

2013 Gorghi Tondi Coste A Preola Nero D’Avola (Sicily, Italy)… $13.

I think that Nero D’Avola is a nice segue from New World to Old World wines for those wanting to break into that side of the wine world.
Smokey on the nose with notes of red flowers, iron, stewed meat, coffee bean and cranberries. Red raspberry and cranberry notes on the palate backed by a nice backbone of acidity. Red flowers join the party with a good dose of minerals and a little iron thrown in. The finish is bright and mouth-watering. This Nero is a little more rustic than most, so it breaks the mold just a bit, but I like it. (B+)

2012 Hawkins Cellar Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, OR)… $21.

Aromas of cinnamon, cherries, root beer, violets and beauty bark with a pinch of iron (love this nose). Red flowers all day on the palate, backed by earth and cherry notes with a hit of cranberries. Good acidity but integrated nicely with the fruit. Earth notes come through on the finish with touch of root beer and cinnamon. This is ready to drink now, but will develop nicely over the next ten years. (A-)

2013 Hawkins Cellar Pinot Gris (Willamette Valley, OR)… $18.

Very challenged on the nose with slight hits of pears, white flowers and spice. Creamy pear notes on the front of the palate, but then it goes lean right away into citrus. Notes of lemon, orange and tangerine on the mid-palate into the clean finish. (B)

Non-vintage Trust Cellars T.A.T.T. “Tried & True Table Wine” (Columbia Valley, WA)… $18.

Kind of old school on the nose with notes of violets, cherries, black raspberries. An interesting iron element comes through with hits of tobacco. Dominant cherry notes on the palate joined by currants and warm spices. Tobacco and violets come through on the mid-palate with a hint of vanilla leading into a violet driven finish. Smooth with good structure. This wine has an old world attitude. 51% Syrah, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc, 7% Merlot, 7% Mourvedre. (B-)

2013 Domaine La Rocaliere Rose` (Tavel, France)… $16.

Aromas of rose petals and cherries with a backdrop of herbs and a little watermelon rind. This has that nice meaty quality that rose` has from Tavel. Cherries, plums, watermelon and herbs come through on the palate with cherries dominating the finish. Nice balance, and a “10” in the delicious category. In Tavel, all they do is rose`, so they know how to do it right. (B+/A-)

2013 Lone Birch Pinot Gris (Yakima Valley, WA)… $8.

Nice and fruity on the nose with notes of peaches, cantaloupe, watermelon and a touch of honey. Creamy on the front of the palate with notes of pears and honey coming through. There is a hint of peach pit on the mid-palate and Red Delicious apple on the finish. Good balance, a bit thin, but delicious. (C+)

2012 The Winery Of Good Hope Pinotage (Good Hope, South Africa)… $14.

Pinotage is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, and I have yet to find one that I like until now. Aromas of stewed meats, bark, red & black currants with a touch of cranberry. A little restrained on the front of the palate but then violets hit hard on the mid-palate, joined by cherries and minerals. The finish is mouth-watering. Who would have known? A drinkable, likeable Pinotage. (B-)

2013 Les Hospice Sancerre (Loire Valley, France)… $20.

Aromas of grapefruit pith, lemon and a touch of grass and wet stone. Lemon and grapefruit in spades on the palate with excellent acidity and minerality. Laser sharp lemon and lime notes hit on the mid-palate, leading into a mouth-watering clean finish. This is a very good Sancerre for the price with all the right elements. (A-)

Cheers!
Stan The Wine Man

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STAN’S PICK FOR SEPTEMBER 2014

As I am sitting here in my room in Salamanca, Spain, I realized that I had not written up my pick of the month for September. Having discovered this gem from Spain before coming to this great country, I feel impelled to write about it now.

2011 Cellars Unio Dairo Crianza (Montsant, Spain)… $9.

This blend of 40% Grenache, 40% Carignan and 20% Syrah is one of those rare wines that delivers a crap-load of juice for the money. I will tell you right now, that it never ceases to amaze me what Spanish wines can deliver for next to nothing. A wine of this level from the states would go for close to twice as much (I am reasonably sure of that). This is also one of those wines that sits on the fence between old world and new in style, actually leaning towards the old world style. Grant it, I always give it a lot of thought before I go old world as my pick choice, but it wasn’t as tough with this one since it delivers so much.

Aromas of black currants, blackberries and crushed rock with a healthy dose of red flowers and herbs thrown in. Red flower notes are prominent on the palate backed by notes of currants, black olives and tobacco. Crushed rock, iron and stewed meat notes join on the mid-palate (old world baby), leading into a cranberry, blackberry and currant driven finish with mineral notes and red flowers lingering. This red has good structure, nice balance, approachable tannins and amazing complexity for the money. (B)

I have a lot to write about after I get back from my trip to Portugal and Spain. I hope you take the time to check out my stories in the days to come. In the mean time, give the Dairo a try, I believe you will be impressed.

Cheers!
Stan The Wine Man

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