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.

2011 Bodegas Triton “Tridente” Tempranillo (Castilla y Leon, Spain)… $15.

Tempranillo is sometimes referred to as the Pinot Noir of Spain. If that is the case, than this is the Santa Barbara version of Pinot Noir in Castilla y Leon. This is a big boy for a Tempranillo with some serious fruit and a lot of old world attitude.
Very perfumed on the nose with a punch in the nasal cavities of some serious alcohol. Joining the nose party are notes of licorice, minerals, baking spices, currants and boysenberries. Powerful, solid dark fruit notes hit the palate on the front side with notes of black currants and dark cherries. There is an interesting perfumed soap element on the mid-palate and then the old world shows its head. Beauty bark and tar notes come through with trace minerals. Earth notes are the backbone of this big a^@ wine giving it a lot of appeal and helping you forget the heady alcohol. Also, the label is kicka@*! (B+)

2011 Barahonda Sin-Madera Monastrell (Murcia, Spain)… $15.

Monastrell, also referred to as Mourvedre is one of my favorite varietals. In Spain it takes on a whole new personality compared to its sibling in let’s say…The Rhone Valley. I always find that it has a real grapey characteristic when it hails from Spain…This one is no exception.
Aromas of grape juice (Welches comes to mind), dusty rocks, currants, cherries, black licorice and blackberries. Currants, blueberry and blackberry notes surround the crushed rock, tar and tobacco on the palate. This baby has very polished (smooth) fruit notes that are roughed up a bit by a heavy dose of minerality. Add a little grilled meat to the mix and “Viola”, you have a match made in heaven (so true with so many old world wines). (B)

2009 Ramos Pinto Duas Quintas Red (Douro Valley, Portugal)… $13.

Aromas of blackberries, minerals, leather and a touch of currants (old world baby!). Minerality rears it’s head all over the palate, backed by notes of tar, currants and blackberries. Good balance and intensity with a bright edge. Very fresh on the finish with a tar driven edge. This is a great example of the table reds coming from the land of Port. (B+)

2011 Heredade das Barras “Unique” Tinto (Alenteljano, Portugal)… $14.

Tarry black cherries and blackberries come through on the nose with a hit of worn leather, crushed rock and dusty cinnamon. Very tar driven on the palate (which I like), with a bright core of cherries and blackberries. Alcohol makes its presence on the front of the mid-palate with mineral notes sneaking in. The finish is bright and long with notes of tar, cherries, tobacco and a touch of blackberry. (B+)

2013 Marques de Caceres Verdejo (Rueda, Spain)… $8.

Marques de Caceres decided to go with a straight up Verdejo instead of the blend that they have been offering under this same label. The results are pretty nice. Aromas of grass, lemon, melon, crushed rock, honey and hints of orange blossoms. Very gravelly on the palate with notes of lemon pith, fresh-cut grass, melon and orange blossoms. Clean and fresh with a touch of roundness on the mid-palate. Mineral driven on the finish backed by citrus and grass notes. For eight bucks, this is a steal. (B)

2011 Renwood BBQ Zinfandel (California)… $12.

Old wood notes come through on the nose soaked in cherry and currant juice with a touch of raspberries and black licorice. There is a blast of black cherries and currants on the palate (what zin lovers look for), with a chocolate cherry back-end. Good integration of alcohol and fruit and very smooth with an edge of wood tannins. This wine is a “10″ in the delicious category. (B/B+)

2012 Elk Cove Vineyards “La Boheme” Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, Oregon)… $50.

Rose petals, cranberries, red cherries come through on the nose with hints of Root Beer and bark. Nice acidity on the palate drives notes of dark cherries, cranberries and hints of Root Beer. Bark and Root Beer notes join hands on the cherry driven finish with a touch of violets coming through. Fifty bones may seem like a lot, but put this next to a red Burgundy of the same quality and think thirty to fifty dollars more…. Just saying. (A-)

2013 Elk Cove Vineyards Pinot Blanc (Willamette Valley, Oregon)… $19.

Pinot Blanc is one of those varietals that flies under the radar. So many folks are attached to Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling. This Pinot Blanc gives a compelling argument as to why you should give it a shot. Very nutty on the nose with notes of almonds and walnuts coming through (sound interesting?). Peach notes back the nuttiness with hits of lemon, lime and lychee nuts. Lemon-Lime meets orange Creamsicle on the front of the palate flowing into a laser sharp lime sorbet finish joined by notes of cut-grass. The finish is bone-dry with a chalky edge. If you haven’t tried a Pinot Blanc yet, this may be a good place to start. (A-)

2011 Jean Perrier Chignin Bergeron Cuvee’ Gastronomie 100% Roussanne (Savoie, France)… $9.

Aromas of roasted nuts, melon, honey, white flowers and wet stone. Honey, papaya and banana notes hit the front of the palate with a little wet stone sneaking in on the mid-palate. Banana peel notes hit on the back of the mid-palate leading into a very dry mineral driven finish. This white has a new world feel up front, but definitely finishes with old world attitude. (B-)

2011 Jean Perrier Apremont Cuvee Gastronomic 100% Jacquere (Savoie, France)… $9.

A little funky and smokey on the nose, joined by notes of crushed rock, lemon drop and melon. There is a bright backbone to this white on the palate with notes of honey, melon, white flowers, cut grass and a healthy dose of crushed rock. There is a nice fullness on the front of the palate leading into a dry, crushed rock and slate driven finish. If you want a little palate change and try something new, I think you will be pleasantly surprised with this white from the old world side. (A-)

2012 Copos Nature Tinto (Terra Alta, Spain)… $10.

As the name indicates, this is an organic red made from 40% Tempranillo, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Carignan. Aromas of crushed red bricks, earth, red licorice, bread dough and currants. Earthy brick notes on the palate (some bricks and dirt whipped up together), backed by cranberries, violets and a bright acidity. Mineral notes are subdued but there, with some licorice notes coming through on the mid-palate. This is a red for those who like mouth-watering, earthy, acidic wines with a lot of old world attitude. (B-)

2012 Tre Fili Pinot Grigio (Veneto, Italy)… $10.

Aromas of garden hose, wet stone, lemon and honeysuckle. Simple and refreshing (it’s Pinot Grigio you know) on the palate with notes of honey, white flowers and slight crushed rock coming through. Apple skin on the mid-palate and finish joined by some honeydew melon. A great back porch on a warm summer day white. (C)

2012 Husch Gewurztraminer (Anderson Valley, CA)… $15.

Aromas of lychee nuts, honey, peaches and apricots. Honey and almond notes hit on the palate backed by notes of peaches and apricots with lychee notes on the back-end. This is a very dry style Gew with a finish of almond and walnut skins blended with citrus and apricot notes. If you don’t like a super sweet white that is delicious, this should do. (B)

Stan The Wine Man

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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.

2010 Luna Vineyards Lunatic Red (California) … $18.

Powerful on the nose (a little alcohol comes through) with notes of violets, smoke, currants, boysenberries and a hint of oak. Interesting black olive notes come through on the palate, backed by currants and boysenberries with a touch of violets. Silky tannins carry the wine into a dark cherries, currants and violet finish. There is a worn leather backbone to this juice that gives it a nice, interesting mouth-feel. This is a big, smooth red with good structure. (B+)

2013 Charles & Charles Rose` (Columbia Valley, WA)… $10.

This Rose` from Charles & Charles is comprised mostly from Syrah with a little Cinsault and a splash of a couple other grapes. Nice aromas of ripe cherries with a backdrop of strawberries and rhubarb. Strawberries dominate the palate backed by notes of cherries, herbs and a nice minerality. The fruit notes expand on the mid-palate, but this baby finishes nice and dry like a good rose` should. Very nice effort for ten bucks and should hit the spot for most Rose` fans. (B)

2012 Charles & Charles “Eve” Chardonnay (Washington State)… $10.

Aromas of pineapple, pear, apples and an undertone of interesting baking spices. Good acidity on this puppy (not for the malo fans) backing notes of pineapple and apple (more green apple than red) with a splash of lemon. This Chardonnay is clean and refreshing on the palate, which will lend it well with shellfish. However, it has enough weight to go with roasted chicken or crab. I nice alternative if you are tired of oaky chards. (B-)

2011 Corvidae Wine Co. “Lenore” Syrah (Columbia Valley, WA)… $15.

Aromas of smoked meat, baked earth, cherries and red currants with a backdrop of red flowers. Polished on the palate (meaning very smooth) with notes of red currants, bacon fat, vanilla and red flowers. Baked earth notes come through on the finish joined by red currants, red flowers and tobacco that lingers. This is classic, old world style Syrah with a little new world love. (B)

2012 Soter Vineyards Planet Oregon Pinot Noir (Oregon)… $20.

This has a very expressive nose with notes of red flowers, cherries and raspberries with a little red plum and root beer sneaking in. Ripe cherries, raspberries and plums with a Root beer back on the palate. Solid acidity backs the fruit notes with hints of black tea, red flowers and licorice sneaking in. Raspberry notes dominate on the finish. For twenty bucks, you get a Pinot that represents Oregon nicely. (A-)

2012 Hiedler Gruner Veltliner (Osterreich-Austria)… $19.

Hits of fig, lemon, wet stone, cut grass and melon rind come through on the nose. Gravel and wet stone all over the palate (a good thing for you wine geeks out there), with notes of melon rind, white flowers and lemon-lime pith joining the party. Crushed rock dominates on the finish with a touch of cut grass. If you want to get a good feel for what old world Gruner is all about, this is a classic example. (A)

2010 Tempus Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley, WA)… $32.

A little alcohol sneaks in on the nose with notes of currants, cherries and baking spices. Structured, sweet tannins support intense currant and dark cherry notes. Leather and earth notes join the fruit on the mid-palate (which thins out slightly), leading into an earth and currant finish that lingers for some time. Classic Cab from Washington. (B+)

2010 Tempus Cellars Merlot seven Hills Vineyard (Walla Walla Valley, WA)… $28.

Aromas of currants, dust and rust come through on the nose with underlying dark cherries. Polished and intense notes of black currants and dark cherries with underlying bark and earth notes. White pepper sneaks in on the mid-palate leading into an intense finish with some nutmeg notes lingering around the palate. Excellent balance and structure, this is what Washington State Merlot is all about. (A-)

2012 Hanna Sauvignon Blanc (Russian River Valley, CA)… $16.

Aromas of grapefruit pith, ripe lemons and a touch of crushed rock with a little sweat thrown in the mix (not off-putting at all). Nice and dry on the palate with notes of crushed rock, grapefruit pith, bubble gum, and grass. Citrus notes dominate the palate with that nice minerality coming through. This is a great sauv blanc from an area that is not necessarily known for this varietal. (B+)

2013 Carlos Basso “Dos Fincas” (Mendoza, Argentina)… $13.

Fairly intense and perfumed on the nose with notes of black licorice, blackberries, black plums and charred oak. Black plums and blackberries on the front of the palate with interesting black and green olive notes. Oak comes through big time on the mid-palate and finish making it bitter and astringent. This is a fairly young wine and the char/oak notes could calm down with time. (C+)

2013 La Clotiere Rose D’Anjou (France)… $10.

Aromas of wet stone, rose petal, watermelon, herbs and cherries. Crushed rock, earth and cherries all day on the palate. Riper fruit up front and on the mid-palate, and then it dries up on the finish with notes of cherries, red flowers and crushed rock lingering. (B+)

2012 Husch Gewurztraminer (Anderson Valley, CA)… $15.

Aromas of Lychee nut, honey, peaches and apricots. Honey and almonds up front joined by notes of peaches and apricots. Lychee notes come through on the back-end finishing with almond and walnut skins, with notes of citrus and apricots lingering. This is a very dry style Gew. (B)

2013 Henri Bourgeois Petit Bourgeois Pinot Noir Rose (Loire Valley, France)… $13.

Somewhat challenged on the nose with trace notes of strawberries and watermelon with a little bubblegum action. Fresh, clean and lively on the palate with notes of crushed rock, watermelon and strawberries. There is a little Granny Smith apple presence on the mid-palate leading into a crushed rock citrus finish. This is a warm summer day Rose’ (or anytime for that matter) and would match up nicely with shellfish. (B)

Stan The Wine Man

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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.

2011 Hooked Riesling

2011 Hooked Riesling

2011 Hooked Riesling Rudi West Selections (Nahe, Germany)… $10.

The label on this one is a little corny, but sometimes the package has to attract the folks who normally would not look for a Riesling when wine shopping. Forget the label though, this is a seriously good bottle of juice. It has everything I look for in a Riesling sans the petrol (sometimes you can’t have everything).
Aromas of wet stone, melon, peach skin and white flowers. It’s a wet stone/slate fest on the palate backed by notes of melon, peach, and white flowers. The acidity is not over-powering, but it is present and enough to keep the Riesling geek happy. It hails from the Nahe region of Germany, where a lot of good Riesling comes from. The label does not do justice to what’s in the bottle, so close your eyes, pour a glass and enjoy. (B)

2012 Esporao Alandra White (Alentejo, Portugal).. $8.

A blend of three Portuguese white grapes. Aromas of bananas, fig and melon with a touch of wet stone and orange blossoms. Very fresh on the palate with balanced acidity. A ton of white flowers on the palate with a touch of herbs. Figs and melons come through up front leading into a fresh finish with a touch of tangerine. At 12.5% alcohol you can drink this all day without getting hammered. Perfect match with shellfish or a garden salad or a summer day in the backyard. (B)

2012 Herdade Do Esporao Verdelho (Alentejo, Portugal)… $14.

Loads of crushed rock on the nose, with a trace of lemon and saline. Some peach pit notes come through with a little tangerine and coconut. Fairly rich on the palate with notes of apricot, tangerine, mango and honeydew with trace notes of crushed rock. It has some viscosity, but it doesn’t get heavy on the palate, retaining an appealing freshness. There is an interesting saline or seawater component that comes through on the long finish (don’t be afraid, it’s a good thing). If you haven’t taken a dive into the Verdelho category yet, I would strongly recommend this as one to try. For the money, it represents the varietal well. (B+)

2013 Doyenne Rose (Columbia Valley, WA)… $25.

Aromas of strawberries and sweet oranges with a little peach action going on. Cherries and strawberries with a touch of plum on the palate. Nice and dry like a rose` should be with enough fruit to put it in the delicious category with a cherry skin and mineral hit on the finish. (B-)

2013 Hahn Winery Pinot Gris (Monterey, CA)… $12.

Tangerine, mango and pear notes come through on the nose. Pears, mango and a touch of crushed rock come through on the front and mid-palate with a touch of banana. There is a little honey hit on the middle palate leading into a mango/peach/apple finish. Medium acidity and decently complex for a Pinot Gris at this price. (B-)

2013 Groth Sauvignon Blanc (Napa Valley, CA)… $21.

Aromas of melon, lemon, tangerine and honey. Round on the palate with notes of lemon pith, grass and a touch of Bazooka bubble gum. Some minerality shows up on the pithy medium to long finish. Groth is a great producer and this is one of the few Napa Sauvignon Blancs that I like although I think it is over-priced. (B)

2012 Undurraga Sauvignon Blanc (Maipo Valley, Chile)… $10.

Aromas of cut grass, petrol, a little arm-pit action joined by notes of grapefruit and lemon pith (it’s not as bad as it sounds). Notes of cut grass, melon and grapefruit pith on the front palate, leading into a finish of crushed rock and grapefruit pith. The acidity on this one is just slightly challenged leaving it a little flabby in the mouth. (C+)

2012 Cougar Crest Viognier (Walla Walla Valley, WA)… $15.

Viognier from Washington state rocks…Just saying. Apricots, tangerine, melon, mango and honeysuckle on the nose (a literal fruit salad perfume). This is a drier style Viognier with notes of tangerine and mango. There is a lemon and orange pith element that comes through on the mid-palate leading into a crisp, fresh finish. (B-)

2012 Lenz Moser Gruner Veltliner (Austria)… $10.

Aromas of pears, wet stone, white flowers, apple and a touch of honeysuckle. I was anticipating a more interesting wine in the mouth than I got. Very soft on the palate with little or no acidity. Pears and apples come through with a touch of wet stone and a hint of lemon and crushed rock on the finish. This is a very simple white (compared to other Gruners I have tried), but I do think there are a lot of Pinot Grigio drinkers out there that will like it. (C-)

Non-Vintage Gloria Ferrer Brut Sparkling Wine (Sonoma, CA)… $22.

Great nose on this baby with nuts, yeast and marzipan coming through. Bazooka bubble gum on the palate joined by notes of apples and pears on the mid-palate. Finishes dry with a little apple skin coming through. Gloria Ferrer does a very nice job with sparkling wine, this one consisting of 9% Chardonnay and the rest Pinot Noir. (B)

Non-Vintage Gloria Ferrer Blanc De Noir Sparkling Wine (Sonoma, CA)… $22.

Made from 100% Pinot Noir this definitely has a different flair than the Brut. Aromas of strawberries, bread dough, marzipan and honey. Strawberries, raspberries and a little citrus element comes through on the palate. The fruit notes expand on the mid-palate with the yeast and bread dough components joining the party. It finishes dry with cherry notes dominating the finish. Once again, Gloria Ferrer comes through with this sparkler. (B)

2012 Waterbrook Sangiovese Rose (Columbia Valley, WA)… $14.

This baby is very challenged on the nose with slight hits of herbs and watermelon rind coming through. Watermelon rind and herbs all over the palate. It gets a touch of baby fat on the mid-palate, but finishes dry and a little astringent. There is not a lot going on with this one except watermelon and herbs with just a hit of citrus. (C+)

2013 Maryhill Rose of Sangiovese (Columbia Valley, WA)… $10.

Nice aromatics on this baby with notes of watermelon, strawberries and a hint of herbs and rind. Good acidity on the palate, with fresh notes of strawberries, and watermelon with a hint of cherry on the back-end. It finishes bone dry with hits of watermelon rind and cherry skins. This strikes a nice balance of acidity and fruit and is very tasty. At this price it’s a steal. (B+/A-)

Stan The Wine Man

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I had to look up the word inane as soon as I read Matt Kramer’s editorial in the June 15, 2014 Wine Spectator, because that is the first word to come to my mind. I know it’s just his opinion, and he is rightfully entitled to it just as I am to mine. However, when it lacks substance or sense, it deserves a reasonable response. Kind of like listening to someone defend Hitler’s acts during the war…Wouldn’t you feel impelled to respond?

The title of the article is “Why “Amateur” Matters.” The gist of the article is that there is now too much emphasis put on credentials in the wine world. I am assuming he is excluding himself, since at the end of his article there is a footnote letting readers know how long he has contributed to the Wine Spectator. He leaves a loop-hole for himself indicating that perhaps he is still a talented amateur that is not a credential seeker. I think it is easy for him to make those statements since most of us don’t know him personally, so we have to take him on his word. All that aside, the word inane came to me after he made this statement.

“Did you see the movie Somm? The only thing those guys mastered was flash cards filled with wine trivia. Where was the wine love? Nowhere.” Are you kidding me? The pure dedication the guys (as Kramer calls them) have for wine is immeasurable. Why would they spend so much time studying the subject unless they cared. There was a scene where all of them are drinking wine (no doubt because they love it) and I believe they are slightly buzzed. There is some bantering back and forth, and it is a fun scene that tells the audience that these “guys” and girls are into wine, not flash cards. Now, the question is… Did Matt Kramer get inspired to write his editorial based on the documentary Somm? And, did Matt Kramer have some sort of problem with one of the individuals in the film? At this time, I cannot give an answer to either question. However, it seems obvious to me that he has a problem with the titles “Master of Wine” or “Master Sommelier”.

Would anyone go through all the trouble of attaining either of those credentials unless they had a passion for wine? Does Matt Kramer write for the Wine Spectator for money, fame or because he loves wine? Only he can answer that, not me or anyone else. I am going to give Matt the benefit of the doubt and say that he loves wine. I will also say that you have to be insane if, after watching Somm you don’t believe that every individual in that piece loves wine and everything it involves.

Credentials are not the end itself, but a means to the end. They are a bookmark to our progress, and they let people around us know that yes, we are serious about the subject, whatever it may be, in this case our passion for wine. Master Sommeliers or Masters of Wine are not in it for the credential, I believe they are in it because they love the world of wine, and want to prove that to themselves and the world around them.

This is conjecture, but I believe three things could have happened to Matt that inspired him to write his editorial. He could have failed a test that involved a desired credential. He may have tried to interview one of the subjects of the film “Somm” and they refused, or he watched Somm and it gave him the inspiration to write this article. Whatever the case, I think his article is bullS^$t. He is implying that talented amateurs trump veterans of wine. That is crazy talk on any level.

Veterans, whether they have official credentials or not, deserve the utmost respect. Robert Parker Jr. Jancis Robinson, Eric Asimov, James Laube, Antonio Galloni, James Suckling, Steve Heimoff and Kramer himself are all veterans. They are not talented amateurs. I am not sure if they are all talented, but the aforementioned individuals are veterans. And, I am not sure that even though they all love wine, that they would dedicate their efforts to attaining the credentials required to give them the title of “Master of Wine” or “Master Sommelier.”

Matt needs to stick to things he knows, not inane statements.

Stan The Wine Man

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