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.

2012 Chateau Camarsan Bordeaux (Bordeaux, France)… $10.

Cranberries, currants and worn leather show up on the nose with a touch of forest floor. Almost a SweetTart element coming through. Bright, tight acidity on the palate (pucker up baby), with notes of cranberries, worn leather and tobacco up front. The acid component stays strong front to back finishing with leather, cranberries and tobacco with a dash of violets. This baby has good structure, and may calm down on the acid side in a couple of years as the fruit integrates. (C+)

2010 Jason Stephens Estate Merlot (Santa Clara Valley, CA)… $17.

Just a touch of funk on the nose joined by notes of perfumed cherries, ripe currants and a hint of tobacco. Ripe dark currants on the palate with loads of spice and tobacco. Nice balance of acidity and fruit with good structure. The finish is cinnamon driven joined by notes of leather, licorice and tobacco with just a touch of veggie. (B-)

2011 Ventisquero “Grey” Carmenere Trinidad Vineyards (Maipo Valley, Chile)… $20.

Licorice, cherries bark and green bell pepper on the nose with just a hint of menthol. Solid core of currants and cherries on the palate with a back-drop of white pepper and baking spices and a touch of blueberry. A hint of green bell pepper and asparagus join the party on the mid-palate leading into a long-ass finish. Excellent structure to this wine with a nice spine of acidity. Very drinkable now, but will age nicely over the next 5-8 years. (A)

2013 Milbrandt Vineyards “The Estates” Viognier (Wahluke Slope, WA)… $18.

Pears, pears, pears on the nose…Some Asian, some Bartlett. There is almost an oily quality on the front of the palate with notes of tangerine up front, joined by lemon in the middle leading into a long, citrus driven finish. This is like a tale of two wines. Viscosity up front with a leaner style finish. This baby would be very versatile with food. Try fish, try shellfish, try fowl try some Asian noodles. I think it will work with them all, besides the fact that it’s delicious. (A-)

2013 Ventana Chardonnay (Arroyo Seco, Monterey, CA)… $13.

Very tropical on the nose with notes of pineapple and apple coming through. Good weight on the palate with notes of butterscotch, pineapple and a backdrop of crisp apples. Apple notes are prominent on the mid-palate with butterscotch notes lingering on the finish. Fresh acidity keeps everything lively on the palate driving the flavors into the finish with just a touch of toast. This is one of those chards that will fit a lot of people’s preferences. (B+)

2012 Moss Roxx Ancient Vines Zinfandel (Lodi, CA)… $20.

Ripe currants and licorice all day on the nose with a touch of brown sugar and rubber boot. Smooth and delicious notes of ripe currants and brown sugar backed by a nice core of acidity. Although it has a lot of ripe fruit notes, the acidity keeps it in check with notes of red flowers and a little tar action. The finish is clean with a little menthol and white pepper showing up on the scene. (B-/B)

2011 Maggio Family Vineyards Merlot (Lodi, CA)… $10.

Aromas of ripe black currants, dark cherries, candied licorice and black raspberries. Polished currant notes hit the front of the palate with an edge of black licorice. Violets join up on the mid-palate with a little black raspberry showing up on the grippy finish. Structured tannins support the fruit with a backbone of solid acidity. (B-)

2011 Vidal-Fleury Cotes-du-Rhone (Rhone Valley, France)… $14.

Interesting aromas of roasted meats, leather, currants, coffee and plums (try to get at least 3 of those for practice). Currants and blackberries on the palate with fresh acidity backing it up. Violets hit the mid-palate on smooth tannins with crushed rocks showing up on the bright, fresh finish. 65% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre, 5% Carignan (C+/B-)

2012 Maison Des Chartrons Barons Des Chartrons Bordeaux (France)… $9.

Aromas of cherries and currants with a touch of worn leather and a little dirt. Bright cranberries and tart cherries hit the palate with a little worn leather and baked earth. This is a high acid Bordeaux making it a little mouth puckering. Crushed violets linger on the back-end. This has all the elements of a good Bordeaux, just a little too much acidity for me. (C-)

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

Steely on the nose with notes of grape seeds, grape skins and apples. Apple and wood notes on the front of the palate with hits of grass and melon. Apple notes continue on the mid-palate leading into a kind of funky burnt wood sort of finish. Medium acidity keeps it from being even close to laser sharp. I’m not a huge fan of oak aged Sauvignon Blanc, and this one doesn’t help the cause. (C+)

2011 Chateau La Barron “Coste Lise” Corbieres (Corbieres, France)… $15.

Very old world on the nose with notes of bark, tobacco, currants and hints of rust and red flowers. Solid fruit notes on the palate with an old world attitude. Notes of currants and blueberries come through backed by notes of crushed rocks, leather and a touch of rust and old wood. Structured, approachable tannins with solid acidity that is well-integrated. This will age nicely over the next five years. (B+)

2011 Iuli Rossore Barbera del Monferrato Superiore (Piedmont, Italy)… $24.

Another old world nose with notes of black olives, red currants, cherries, rust and rose petal with a touch of violets and bark. Solid core of acidity that is integrated nicely with notes of cranberries, blueberries, rust and violets. Very tight, but still in the delicious category. Bright, bright, bright, rusty finish with some baked earth components coming through. This is a baby, and has great potential…Give it five years. Love the true to northern Italy style. 100% Barbera (B/B+)

2013 Cantine del Indie Langhe Rosso “Vin Rosso di Popolo” (Piedmont, Italy)… $15.

Aromas of sweet cranberries and cherries, joined by notes of violets, rose petal and a touch of Cinnamon Imperials. Rusty, acidic baked earth notes on the front of the palate joined by red flowers and cranberries. Very, very old world. Notes of green olives show on the surprisingly pleasing, red flower driven finish. (B-/B)

Stan The Wine Man

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As I learn the ins and outs of the internet and YouTube, I am thankful for the handful of you that are watching the episodes that I am putting out there on Stan The Wine Man TV. There are things that I can do to increase traffic, and I am slowly learning what to do to improve not only the viewership, but the content.

My son Micah has jumped in to help me record some of the episodes and that has been really helpful…Having an audience and interaction with someone behind the camera. One thing that helps immensely is having subscribers to my channel. If you can find it in your heart to go to my episodes and hit the subscribe button. It’s easy to do, and it doesn’t obligate you to watch every video I put out there. I am putting a few links to some of the episodes that I am proud of. Take a look and see if they are helpful and educational. My goal is to put some great content out there that is entertaining and useful. If you have any suggestions as to how I can improve on what I am doing, please share those with me either through email or by making a comment on my YouTube channel.

Please sit back and enjoy a few of my favorite episodes on Stan The Wine Man TV…

Stan The Wine Man

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Hallmark holiday…Isn’t that what most call February 14th these days? I guess society has become cynical in its old age. It is true (you will have to admit), that it has become one of those holidays where many of us (especially those of the male gender) feel obligated to do something for our significant other. As tradition would have it, most of us resort to a card, flowers and a reservation for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. I was told by someone in the hospitality industry, that if you don’t book out at your eating establishment on V-Day, you probably won’t stay in business long.

There you have it. Spend a few minutes shopping for a funny or romantic card, grab a bouquet of flowers at the grocery store, and make that reservation for dinner a couple of days in advance…Another Valentines Day in the books. If that’s the way you play it, then stop reading this article now, because the rest of this will just be white noise to you. For those of you who feel like you would like to think outside the box or add a personal touch to V-Day and be a little creative this year, read on.

Are you at least slightly comfortable with your abilities in the kitchen? I will speak from my personal experience and say that doing a little cooking for your sweetheart on Valentines Day is a big hit. Depending on your skill level, pick something you can handle. It doesn’t have to be fancy to make an impression. Simply the fact that you are taking the time and doing something on your own speaks volumes. If you go that route, avoid something like meatloaf, unless for some reason your partner likes that so much that it is a no-brainer. Otherwise, focus on something that you feel will be enjoyed by both of you, and will not get you stuffed, so you are in the mood for other activities (get my drift).

If you go the shellfish route, there are many wines at your disposal. New Zealand has abundant choices in Sauvignon Blanc anywhere from ten bucks a bottle to twenty-five. You could go Sancerre, if you know your partner likes bone-dry whites. All of them worth their weight are over twenty bucks. If you are on somewhat of a tight budget, find a white from Cotes de Gascogne in France. You can find a bunch of these in a very reasonable price range, and most deliver a big bang for the buck. They are usually a blend of Ugni Blanc, Colombard and Petit Manseng. Recently I tried an excellent version…A blend of Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc from Domaine Du Tariquet for only twelve bucks.

If salmon is available, which is a great choice because it is easy to prepare and it is a very romantic dish (at least in my opinion), Pinot Noir is the ringer. Just be careful that you don’t get to eclectic with your choice here. Another words, you may like stinky, earthy pinots, but more than likely your partner won’t. Keep it safe with a Pinot Noir from the Rogue Valley in Oregon, or the Russian River Valley and Carneros in California. Why? These are warmer climate areas and will give you Pinot Noir with a touch of baby fat or love handles. They will fall into the delicious category, which is always a safe place to be on a dinner date (compromise is important).

A beef dish may be your choice, and the list is endless when it comes to red wine selections. The K.I.S.S. method (makes sense for Valentines Day…No pun intended) is suggested in this case (keep it simple stupid). Red blends are a huge play these days, and I think you will hit a home-run if you choose a solid blend with cab, merlot and syrah as some of the key varietals in the wine. Cabernet is also a solid choice and it isn’t hard to find a cab that is very drinkable even at a youthful age. Go blend go cab, and you will be a hit.

Wine and food are the foundation of our society, and they deserve recognition on a celebration where love and commitment are reinforced. I hope all of you have a great Valentines Day with your loved one, and if you need help finding a good wine for the occasion, check out my latest YouTube episodes or fire me an email and I will be more than happy to help you.

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.

2012 Oak Ridge Winery “Old Soul” Zinfandel (Lodi, CA)… $12.

Aromas of ripe cherries, and black currants with hits of black licorice and raspberries with a touch of caramel. Smooth and polished front to back with notes of ripe black currants and a pinch of brown sugar and dark red cherry notes underneath. There is just enough acidity in this wine to keep it lively on the palate and not flabby or jammy. There is a hint of white pepper on the long finish. This is a great price on a Zinfandel lovers zin. (B-)

2012 McCay Cellars Zinfandel (Lodi, CA)… $16.

Black tea and red cherry notes on the nose with a backdrop of red cherries and coffee bean. Currants and black raspberries on the palate with a touch of black olive and dark cherries. Solid acidity backs the fruit notes with structured tannins. Nice Zinfandel like intensity front to back with a little chocolate and white pepper sneaking in on the long finish. (B+)

2011 Le Dix De Los Vascos (Colchagua Valley, Chile)… $60.

Fragrant aromas of violets and cherries with hits of blackberries, plums and raspberries. This is a flower garden in the mouth with a bed of cedar and firm, chalky tannins with balanced acidity. Raspberries and cherries join the party on the mid-palate with chestnut and chocolate notes sneaking in on the back-end and a touch of veggie. Fresh, clean and long on the finish. This baby has some muscle and should be decanted, to show all it has to offer. 85% Cabernet Sauvignon with a splash of Syrah and Carmenere from 70-year-old vines. (A-)

2010 Louis Latour “Ardeche” Chardonnay (Vin De Pays Coteaux De L’Ardeche, France)… $10.

Burnt match on the nose joined by notes of pineapple, apple and a touch of copper penny. Butter, pineapple and apple notes penetrate the palate with good acidity and a dose of minerals. Grass notes join up on the mid-palate and finish. For ten bucks, this little chard shows some interesting complexity and is really delicious. The nose has some funk on it for sure, but the palate makes up for any flaws. (B-)

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

Aromas of lemon, tangerine, walnuts and banana bread on the nose. Very fresh and clean on the palate and a touch astringent. Notes of citrus (lemon & tangerine) mingled with notes of banana nut bread and lemon pith. Grass notes hit on the finish with a little wintergreen thrown in the mix. Not the best example of a Washington State Viognier, but it has a lot of good qualities. (C+/B-)

2012 Hahn Estate S.L.H. Chardonnay (Santa Lucia Highlands, CA)… $20.

Very fresh on the nose with notes of pineapple, pear and apples with a hint of butter. Round butterscotch and pear notes on the palate with a little liquid butter sneaking in. Apple notes come through on the mid-palate with butterscotch notes lingering on the finish. Good flavors that don’t get heavy with a freshness front to back. I know a lot of folks who will love this Chardonnay (Rombauer like at a much better price). (B)

2012 Hahn Estate S.L.H. Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands, CA)… $20.

Cherry and tea notes on the nose with hits of root beer, crushed red flowers and cranberries. Nice balance of fruit and acidity on the palate supporting notes of dark cherries and Earl Grey tea with a little white pepper thrown in the mix. Root beer notes join a peppery finish that lingers. This is a good example of what Pinot can do in California without tasting like it has a heavy dose of Syrah. (B+)

2012 Cape Roca Fisherman Red (Tejo, Portugal)… $14.

Black licorice all day on the nose with a backdrop of currants, black raspberries and a hit of rose petal. Notes of black licorice and black raspberries rest on structured tannins with a good dose of crushed rocks. Notes of violets show up on the mid-palate into the finish that shows a touch of sweetness and a little grip-action. Lingering notes of crushed rock and spices. This is a rock solid red (no pun intended), from Portugal for the money. 75% Aragonez (Tempranillo) & 25% Touriga Nacional (B/B+)

2012 Christopher Michael Red (Columbia Valley, WA)… $12.

Aromas of red flowers, red brick, red cherries and slight hits of licorice and blackberries. A touch rustic on the palate (a little old world action). Notes of toasty cherries and blackberries on chalky, structured tannins. Notes of worn leather on the mid-palate leading into notes of tobacco and white pepper lingering on the finish. Very intriguing red with a lot of character, keeping it interesting. A perfect red for grilled meats, hot dogs, hamburgers or pizza. 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot and 2% each of Petit Verdot and Malbec (B)

2011 Chateau Reynon Bordeaux (Cadillac, Bordeaux)… $21.

Violets, rose petals, tobacco, blackberries and currants come through on the nose with a toasty edge. Iron, rust and minerals on the palate, joined by a bright edge of currants and cherries. Nice balance and a seamless flow across the palate. Sturdy, approachable tannins lead the way with tomato leaf, a slight edge of cinnamon and mineral notes on the finish. This wine drinks well now, but will improve over the next 5-8 years. (A-)

2011 Chateau Aquitaine Saint-Andre Corbin Saint-Georges-Saint- Emilion (Bordeaux, France)… $20.

Aromas of rose petals, licorice, earth, leather, meat tenderizer and currants (classic right bank, baby!). A little closed up and tight on the palate. Earth notes come through, joined by currants, wood, red flowers and an under-tow of acidity. A little hard to tell where it will go, but showing promise. 75% Merlot & 25% Cabernet Franc (B+)

2013 Sichel Bordeaux Blanc (Bordeaux, France)… $14.

There is a steely element to this on the nose with big hits of grapefruit and grass with a touch of tangerine. Lots of minerals and cut grass on the palate, joined by notes of grapefruit and lemon front to back. Crushed rock and citrus notes linger on the finish. A blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. (B+)

2013 Welmoed Chenin Blanc (Stellenbosch, South Africa)… $10.

Bright, light aromas of cut grass and lemon with a touch of wool. There is a fig and lemon oil component on the palate with a little wool sneaking in. Cut grass notes show up on the mid-palate leading into a clean finish of lemon oil and wool. This Chenin has good balance and structure, holding true to the varietal. If you are a Chenin Blanc fan like myself, you will like this little gem from South Africa. (B)

Stan The Wine Man

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