STAN’S PICK FOR SEPTEMBER 2018

Nestled just south of Beziers in the Languedoc-Roussilon region of France the Coteaux d’Enserune IGP is a small area consisting of limestone plateaus that make up the soil where wine grapes are grown. Hot summer days are tempered by the breeze that comes off the Mediterranean to the east. For wine geeks like myself, this spells excellent conditions for growing a variety of grapes for wine production. Known mostly for growing Grenache and Carignan. Consumers often dictate what is grown, so they have also planted Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, with the whites consisting of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. However, they also grow a very unusual hybrid of Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache called Marselan. The first wine I have ever tried that is 100% Marselan immediately caught my attention and is therefore my pick for September.

SEPTEMBER PICK OF THE MONTH



2016 Les Vignobles Foncalieu Ensedune Marselan (Coteaux d’Enserune, France)… $9.

Aromas of tobacco, coffee bean, blackberries, violets and plums. Solid blackberry and mashed violet notes on the palate with a strong underscore of tobacco and coffee bean. Edgy tannins are the backbone with well-integrated acidity. The finish is fresh and savory with coffee bean and tobacco notes lingering. Good balance of tannins, fruit and acidity with a good dose of minerality. Absolutely old world in style with just enough fruit to keep most palates interested. (B/B+)

Cheers!
Stan The Wine Man

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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.

2014 Gard Isidro Red Lawrence Vineyard (Columbia Valley, WA)… $20.

Perfumed currants, violets, tobacco and natural licorice on the nose. Plush currant notes on the palate, backed by BBQ spices and tight tannins. Starts out open knit, than closes up. Chocolate and tobacco notes sneak in on the mid-palate into the tight Finish with a hit of BBQ spices. This baby is still in its adolescence. Give it 5-8 years to start showing itself. 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Syrah, 18% Merlot, 7% Malbec (B/B+)

2014 Paco & Lola Paco Red (Galicia, Spain)… $18.

Aromas of violets, rose petals, crushed red brick and a backdrop of cherries and blackberries. Blackberry and cherry notes on the front of the palate with a little dirt and tobacco thrown in. The tannins have a little attitude, but don’t get out of line. Chocolate notes sneak in on the mid-palate into a dirty finish. Dry, but delicious. 50% Grenache, 50% Tempranillo (B+)

2016 Alexandria Nicole Shepherd’s Mark White (Columbia Valley, WA)… $20.

Apricots, mango, papaya and petrol on the nose. Mango and papaya on the palate with a slight bitter edge on the back-end. Good weight in the mouth, but fresh and packs a punch. Orange notes come through on the finish and linger. Almost orange sorbet like with a bitter edge. Great food wine. 62% Viognier, 20% Marsanne, 18% Roussanne (B)

2015 Adelsheim Chardonnay (Willamette Valley, OR)… $22.

Aromas of apples and pears with a little fan belt action coming through. Lean and mean on the palate. Bright and tight. Notes of pears and apples on a bed of minerals and a big wet kiss of citrus. Very clean on the palate with a slight rough edge underneath. Chablis-like and a great shellfish white. (B-/B)

2016 Vina Reboreda Mencia (Ribeiro, Spain)… $14.

Cherries, blended with veggies, earth and brick on the nose with a big hit of red flowers. Good texture on the palate with a touch of grip action on the finish. Notes of cherries, BBQ spice and earth are blended nicely together front to
finish where a hit of white pepper sneaks in. Nicely integrated acidity leads to a fresh finish. (B-)

2015 Macedon Tikves Cabernet Sauvignon (Povardarie, Macedonia)….$13.

Aromas of violets and crushed red brick with slight chocolate tones and a bret component that comes through. Violets and the flavor of grapefruit (without the citrus) on the palate with a splash of cherries, tobacco and a slight cinnamon component underneath. Well integrated acidity and easy structured tannins give it nice complexity. Finishes earthy and savory. (B-/B)

2016 Raphael Rosso Piceno (Marche, Italy)… $10.

Baked bread dough on the nose with hits of violets and candied blackberries. Blackberries and tobacco all day on the palate with a little dirt thrown in on the mid-palate into the finish where it meets up with notes of rust and tobacco that lingers with a dirty edge. A blend of Sangiovese and Montepulciano (C+)

2016 Poggio Vignoso Chianti (Tuscany, Italy)… $13.

Aromas of bark, Root Beer, dark cherries and currants with a kiss of tobacco. Round cherry and currant notes on the front of the palate with a good dose of tobacco and a touch of funk. Root Beer notes hit on the mid-palate into a dry, grippy finish where the tobacco notes linger. Almost new world up front and old world on the finish. 85% Sangiovese, 10% Canaiolo, 5% Malvasia (C+/B-)

2015 Domaine de la Meuliere Chablis (Burgundy, France)… $21.

Dried herbs, chalk, dust and Asian pear on the nose. Lemon and pears on the palate with a backdrop of dusty rocks and chalk. Fresh, bright and balanced. Gets a little fatness on the mid-palate into the finish with a lingering dusty rock and chalky finish. Balanced with good structure. (B/B+)

2016 Domaine Girard Chardonnay Pays D’Oc (Languedoc-Roussillon, France)… $12.

Dusty rocks on the nose with a touch of butter and apple. Bright acidity up front on the palate with notes of citrus, pears and apple. A dusty rock component lies underneath with a little butter sneaking in on the finish. Good balance and a great shellfish white. (C+/B-)

2014 Seven Hills Red (Walla Walla Valley, WA)… ?

Aromas of dried bark, currants, black tea and a hit of licorice. Solid tannins support notes of spicy currants, earth and red berries. There is a spine of red flower notes with licorice showing up on the long finish. Nice integration of acidity, tannins and fruit. 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, 5% Petit Verdot (B+/A-)

2015 Double Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon (Horse Heaven Hills, WA)… $28.

Black currants, brown sugar and bacon fat on the nose. Concentrated currant notes on the palate with a good hit of acidity and spice. Good structure and almost crunchy with nice balance and integration. Vibrant, mouth-watering and delicious. Not your typical Washington State Cab. (B+)

2015 Archery Summit Pinot Noir Premier Cuvee (Willamette Valley, OR)… $50.

Aromas of bark, black tea, old twigs, Root Beer, currants and cherries with a kiss of char. Solid round cherry notes on the palate with a trace of Root Beer underneath. Oak is present, but nicely balanced with the fruit. Good texture and nicely integrated acidity. Cherry notes linger with a kiss of spice. (B+/A-)

Cheers!
Stan The Wine Man

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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.

2016 Bodegas Naia Las Brisas Verdejo (Rueda, Spain)… $12.

Aromas of banana nut bread, lemon, wet stone and tangerine. Fresh on the palate with notes of crushed rock, white flowers, tangerine and lemon. Nice clean finish with hits of beeswax and lemon notes lingering. (B-/B)

2015 Cantine Colosi Salina Rosso (Salina, Italy)… $24.

Aromas of earth, dark red flowers, licorice and dark cherries with the dirt notes lingering. Smooth and structured on the palate with sweet tannins and a touch of old world funk. Notes of earth, dark currants and a little chocolate with a slight background of salal leaf coming through on the back-end. White pepper notes hit on the finish, joined by minerals and currants. A little dusty on the back of the finish. 50% Nerello Mascalese, 50% Nerello Cappuccio (B+)

2016 Colosi Nero D’Avola (Terre Siciliane, Italy)… $14.

A little stink action on the nose, joined by notes of earth, subdued herbs, beets and dark red flowers. Ripe cherry notes on the front of the palate with a kiss of currants. Wet stone and dark red flower notes ride underneath with the slightest kiss of white pepper into the finish where leather notes join up and linger with a hint of earth. (B/B+)

2015 Colosi Rosso (Terre Siciliane, Italy)… $10.

Crushed red brick on the nose joined by notes of red flowers, raspberries and cherries. Red brick notes, blended with raspberries and cherries on the palate front to finish with a slight kiss of cinnamon coming through. Chocolate notes sneak in finishing with a good dose of red flowers. 85% Nero D’Avola, 15% Nerello Cappuccio (B)

2016 Colosi Salina Bianco (Sicily, Italy)… $24.

Aromas of crushed rock, fresh mushrooms, fig, salt and melons. Crushed rock, figs and melon on the palate joined by a peach/apricot component. Sweet fig notes dominate front to finish where white pepper notes join up and linger. Nice weight in the mouth yet stays fresh. 50% Inzolia, 50% Catarrato (B/B+)

2016 Colosi Grillo (Sicily, Italy)… $13.

Rosemary and tarragon on the nose, joined by hits of wet stone, melon and hits of white flowers. A solid lemon hit on the front of the palate, melding into a saline/orange flower blossom blend. Fresh on the palate with a saline element that lies underneath and shows up on a lingering finish. A very savory, earthy white that keeps it fresh at the same time. (B)

2016 Colosi Bianco (Terre Siciliane, Italy)… $10.

Wet stone, melon, melon rind and white flowers on the nose. A nice core of minerality backs notes of fig, melon and slight banana notes. Acidity keeps it fresh, but is not dominate. There is a spine of salinity, giving it some complexity. Good balance. 40% Inzolia, 40% Cataratto, 20% Grillo (C+/B-)

2015 Chateau Hauchat “LaRose” Fronsac (Bordeaux, France)… $17.

Aromas of dirt, licorice, cinnamon and a background of cherries. Smooth, fleshy tannins support solid notes of earth, cherries and tobacco. Still a little youthful but open enough to show its potential. Brooding fruit notes lie underneath leading into a long, earth driven finish. 2015 is a great vintage out of Bordeaux and this is just one of many examples of what you can get from this vintage for a prayer. 100% Merlot (A)

2015 Terres Falmet Cinsault Pays D’Oc (france)… $14.

Aromas of bark, wet stone, violets, cherry pie and hints of black raspberries. Solid structure and gritty tannins back notes of crushed rock and bark with hits of both tart and ripe cherries blended with a little earth and white pepper. Good balance with solid old world coming through. There is enough fruit to keep most palates happy. (B-/B)

2015 Trisaetum Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, OR)… $26.

Quite perfumed on the nose lifting notes of mushroom, cherries, Root Beer and red flowers, with a pinch of tea and earth. Smooth and polished on the palate with an earthy edge. Notes of cherries, Asian spices and a kiss of Root Beer come through on solid structure and nicely integrated acidity. Seductive and a little dirty with a long-ass finish. (A-/A)

2017 Eyrie Rose` of Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, OR)… $26.

Aromas of cherries and watermelon with just a hint of stink. Earth driven on the palate with notes of cherries and watermelon backed by underlying mineral and white pepper notes. Cherry notes hit big on the mid-palate into the finish with underlying watermelon and white pepper notes. (B+/A-)

Non-Vintage Col Mesian Brut Rose` Cuvee (Veneto, Italy)… $13.

Very slight stone and strawberry notes on the palate. Solid bubbles support strawberry and plum notes front to finish. Good acidity and structure with a kiss of minerals. (C+/B)

2014 Gard Vintners “Don Isidro” Lawrence Vineyards Red (Columbia Valley, WA)… $20.

Perfumed currants, violets, tobacco and natural licorice notes on the nose. Plush currant notes on the palate with a good dose of BBQ spices. Tight tannins on this baby. It starts to open up than goes tight again. Chocolate and tobacco notes sneak in on the mid-palate into the finish where BBQ spices show themselves once again on a tight finish. Needs 5-8 years to really show itself properly. 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Syrah, 18% Merlot, 7% Malbec (B/B+)

Cheers!
Stan The Wine Man

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BITS & BOBS…

Wine itself is not a mystery. What’s mysterious is the uniqueness of the individual’s palate. Why do some enjoy a wine so much and another can absolutely hate it? I’m not talking the beginning wine drinker’s palate vs. the experienced wine drinker. I’m talking experienced vs. experienced. Take for example the wine salesperson who comes by my department to taste wine. They extol the virtues of the wine they are about to pour for me, telling me how well it was received by many a buyer. I give it my best effort, trying to understand what it is that makes the wine so special. This red wine is highly acidic, in fact so much so I cannot extract anything else. I will confess that when I taste wine, I taste it for the masses. I have to sell this stuff and if it is out of balance, leaning towards the acidic side our the rustic side to the extreme, it will not be well received by the majority of my customers. I certainly can’t lie in my tasting notes and steer my customers in the wrong direction. The question is why? Why would any experienced wine drinker like this style over a balanced wine? I like acidity in my wine for sure, but it needs to be balanced with the fruit and tannins.

I believe part of it is an effort to be unique for the sake of being unique. It makes you look like a hip wine drinker if you like a rusty, highly acidic red wine, especially if you’re hanging with a bunch of wine drinkers who are of the same mind. It’s like the first time you took a shot of bourbon with a bunch of friends. The stuff burned like hell going down and every fiber of your being wanted to spit it out of your mouth. But, because you were surrounded by a bunch of experienced bourbon drinkers, you kept a brave face, drank it down and acted like you really enjoyed it. You may have even declared that it is your favorite, just to fit into this group. Now you are one of the hip bourbon drinkers and thus gained new friends.

As you may have noticed, I am talking red wine here. High acid whites are a different story all together. Many whites benefit from higher acidity. Sauvignon Blanc without a good dose of acidity is flabby and quite boring. Sancerre out of the Loire Valley in France, is a SB that is famous for its minerality and higher acidity. This is just one example of whites that show better with a solid spine of acidity. However, there are very few reds that fall into the “wow” category if they are over-the-top with acid. Even in Burgundy where Pinot Noir rules, too much acid is not necessarily considered advantageous. Yes, they are higher in acid, mainly because of the cooler conditions in that area of the world. The hipster wine drinker I have referred to earlier gets giddy when drinking a red Burgundy with high acidity. When they do this in front of me, I am astounded at their insistence that if a red Burgundy shows any fruit, it is flawed. Screw those warmer vintages where you get a little plush fruit with loads of Asian spices and of course, balanced acidity. They will actually tell me they don’t like those wines. Huh? One of the best Pinot Noir from Burgundy I have ever put my lips to was an older vintage of La Tache from Romanee Conti. Silky and delicious with notes of strawberries, cherries, black tea and Asian spices. There was acidity of course, but it was so well-integrated, you hardly noticed it. Even the hipster acid freak wine drinker might be lured into changing their ways if they tasted this baby (very expensive and hard to get). The point is…It was well-made, delicious and memorable. Yes, the individual palate is quite mysterious, but be careful not to get lured into thinking you are hip if you like wines that are out of balance. No one will think lesser of you except of course those acid freaks out there who are convinced that they might lose their hipster status if they ever admit they actually like a “delicious” fruit-forward style wine. Heaven forbid!

Cheers!
Stan The Wine Man

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