Thanksgiving has a lot of elements that are a given. Most likely the holiday meal will include turkey (I am aware that there are a few mavericks out there that go another direction), family, and some form of alcohol. Another factor that comes into play (at least for me) is money. Most of us have some sort of budget that we use to determine how much we can spend on groceries and booze for that special day.

Wine is a huge part of Thanksgiving. It is one of the biggest weeks in the Fall for my wine department. As people peruse my selections of wine, and I ask them if they need help, I find that for many the cost of each bottle they buy is a factor, especially if they have a large crowd coming to their house. Let’s face it, a huge part of the population has to budget their money, or at least should. Even in my neck of the woods where there is a disproportionate amount of wealthy folks, even they want to spend their money wisely (they didn’t get rich by blowing their money foolishly).

With that in mind, I have just a couple of suggestions that will help guide you through your purchasing decisions.

If you go Pinot Noir, which is quite popular, remember that in this category it is harder to find good quality wines for under fifteen bucks. There are a few out there that I have discovered…

Montoya Pinot Noir (CA)… $14, McManis (CA) (if you want a little more fruit)…$12., Vina Ventisquero “Queulat” (Chile)… $15.
and last, but certainly not least is Montoya (CA) which is a very good quality Pinot for a mere $14.

You may decide to go with the traditional Beaujolais Nouveau which is released the week before Thanksgiving. I tasted both the Drouhin and the Duboeuf. For twelve dollars, I think Georges Duboeuf was the better of the two (as far as a pairing with the meal), delivering a light and fruity version.

Gewurztraminer and Riesling are also wines that match up nicely with the turkey meal and in this category you can find a huge amount of choices. As far as Gew goes, any Washington State version is a safe choice...Columbia Crest, Chateau Ste Michelle, Snoqualmie all role in at under $12. and they are good. Fetzer out of California is a nice version and very popular, at $12. it is not a budget buster.

With Riesling there is a plethora of choices in the budget range. From Germany…Clean Slate…$11. and Dr. “L”…$13. From Washington State Chateau Ste Michelle, Barnard Griffin, Washington Hills, Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl and Milbrandt all role in at under twelve bucks and they deliver excellent quality for the money.

Sparkling wine is a nice addition, and a good match with Thanksgiving. Again, there are a boat-load of choices under fifteen bucks and some right around ten that will do the trick and make you and your guests happy. Cava is an excellent choice because they are very good and the prices are ridiculously low. Take for instance Anna D Codorniu Brut…$10. It’s crisp and dry with excellent flavors. The package is really cool making it very festive. Chateau Ste Michelle produces an excellent Brut Rose` if you want to add a little pink to the table (not a bad idea), and it goes for a mere $14. which is a steal for a quality rose`.

Happy shopping and have a great Thanksgiving.

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

2013 Rio Madre Graciano (Rioja, Spain)… $10.

Fairly intense on the nose with notes of grape jam, black cherries, red flowers, blackberries and a tiny hit of black tea. Red and black cherry notes up front leading into earth and tobacco notes on the mid-palate. Black tea and mineral notes show up on the finish. This red is smooth and sturdy at the same time with enough acidity to stand up to stew, roast or grilled meats. (B)

2012 Vina Gormaz Tempranillo (Ribera Del Duero, Spain)… $12.

Very interesting aromas of smoked meat, licorice, cherries and crushed red flowers. Dark cherries, tobacco and red flower notes drench the palate front to back. There is a smoked meat component that hits on the mid-palate flowing into the finish of cherries with a rusty component lingering. This is exactly what I look for in a Spanish Tempranillo from this appellation. (B+)

2010 Lorinon Crianza (Rioja, Spain)… $12.

Interesting aromas of coffee bean, currants, tobacco and a light hit of wood and licorice. Red and black currants are layered with notes of tobacco and coffee. Mineral notes join the party on the mid-palate with some tannins showing up and an under-belly of worn leather. This is “old world” juice with just enough fruit to keep a lot of palates interested. 100% Tempranillo (B+)

2012 Xiloca Garnacha Vino De La Tierra (Ribera Del Jiloca)… $10.

Aromas of blackberries, black plums, strawberries and licorice. Strawberries and notes of red currants on the palate front to back with a tiny hit of spice on the back-end, joined by a touch of licorice. This is a fairly light and simple wine that has good flavor. (C+)

2012 Westerly Red (Happy Canyon, CA)… $32.

This is a blend of 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc. Aromas of red flowers, bittersweet chocolate, dark cherries, blackberries and an interesting whiff of bacon fat. Round and bright on the palate with notes of cherries and currants dominating joined by a hit of blackberry. This is a nicely structured wine with excellent balance across the palate and a long-ass finish of violets, a pinch of chocolate and tobacco with a little earth joining the fruit and bacon-fat notes lingering. This is a big red with enough acidity to keep it in check. (A-)

2010 Bonair Cabernet Sauvignon (Yakima Valley, WA)… $10.

This is a ’10, so it has some age on it especially for a ten-dollar cab. My first impression was… Wow! Intense currant and cherry notes with a touch of red flowers and meat marinade on the back-end. Very structured on the palate, showing just a little reduction on the finish. Notes of cherries and currants on the front end with a compliment of rose petal. Tobacco notes show on the mid-palate leading into a charcoal driven finish with hits of currants and cherries. Good balance of acid, fruit and tannins with a dose of reduction. (C+/B-)

2012 Shenandoah Vineyards Zinfandel (Amador County, CA)… $9.

Very light on the nose with notes of ripe cherries, raspberries and a touch of raisin coming through. The palate exhibits a blend of cherries and raisins with a bright edge. Blueberry notes show up on the finish that is very fresh. This was a hard zin to get a bead on…Light and simple with a lot of raisin elements, but in no way off-putting. (C/C+)

2011 Dow Vale Do Bomfim (Douro, Portugal)… $11.

Toasty cherries on the nose joined by notes of red plums, black olive and rose petal with a back-drop of herbs. Black tea, cherries and tar show up on the palate joined by a touch of blueberry on the mid-palate. It gets a little grippy and bright on the finish with white pepper notes lingering. Good intensity, balance and structure, but just a little youthful…Give it three to five years. (B+)

2012 Chateau Costis Bordeaux… $7.99

Aromas of rose petal, lavender. earth, balsamic vinegar and tarragon. Super tight on the palate…Imagine the string on a kite on a windy April day. Notes of under-ripe cherries, green tobacco and white pepper on the front of the palate, into the finish. High in acidity and minerals with underlying rusty metal notes . I’m not sure how this one will flesh out in the next ten years, but it has potential. (C+)

2012 Bonair Chardonnay (Yakima Valley, WA)…$10.

A ten-dollar chardonnay always peaks my interest and the nose on this baby kept the interest alive. Aromas of butter, caramel, pineapple and pears. Nice and fresh on the palate with notes of pineapple and pears coming through, joined by a healthy dose of oak. Good balance and structure with a little lemon coming through on the finish. The oak is a little too much for me, but I know a lot of folks will like this chard. (C+)

2013 Husch Gewurztraminer (Anderson Valley, CA)…$15.

If you want to know how dry a Gew can get, you need to get your hands on this baby. Aromas of apples, grapefruit pith and pineapple. This is bone-dry on the palate with notes of pineapple, lemon, cut grass and green apple. Laser sharp front to back, finishing with notes of grapefruit pith, lemon-lime and green apple. It’s been awhile since I thought shellfish when drinking a Gewurztraminer. This one screams for oysters, clams or mussels. (B+)

2010 Domaine D’Aupilhac “Montperoux” (Coteaux de Languedoc, France)…$25.

Pretty intense old world nose of red and black currants, dark cherries, rust and forest floor with a little perfumed red flowers and black licorice. Solid fruit on the palate, with notes of dark cherries, cherry pit and a little blackberry leaf underneath. Minerals join the party with a little worn leather on the mid-palate finishing with fresh acidity. Very, very old world on the palate with a good core of fruit. 30% Mourvedre, 25% Syrah, 25% Carignan, 16% Grenache, 4% Cinsault. (B+/A-)

2011 Fantino “Cascina Dardi” Barbera D’Alba (Piedmont, Italy)…$25.

A little stinky leather on the nose, joined by notes of red cherries, currants, red bricks, red flowers and a pinch of rusty metal. Cherries, currants and cranberries up front on the palate, balanced by red earth, crushed rock and rust. Good structure and balance across the palate finishing with notes of worn leather, red cherries and cranberries with a touch of orange peel. This is classic old world Barbera. (A-)

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

2011 Steele Wines Out Kaste Red (Lake County, CA)… $22.

Aromas of black raspberries, blackberries, currants, a hit of oak, beets, tobacco and black olives. This is 53% Zinfandel and it shows on the palate. Big, delicious notes of black raspberries and ripe cherries. This is not a fruit bomb at all, it has good structure and balanced acidity. The fruit notes expand on the mid-palate flowing into a long, clean finish of black raspberry, currants and cherries with a good hit of white pepper and tobacco. If you’re looking for a good turkey wine, I would highly recommend this delicious red. There are some good deals going on this wine now, I have it at the store for $17. making it a steal for the quality. (B+/A-)

Non-Vintage Anna Codorniu Cava (Penede`s, Spain)… $10.

Aromas of toasty apples and pears. This Cava has excellent acidity, making it nice and dry on the palate. Notes of ripe lemons and limes cut across the palate with a hit of apple and honey notes on the back-end. This is a great deal on some quality sparkling wine (all done in the traditional methode). I don’t know how they do it. 70% Chardonnay and 30% Parellada (B+)

2013 The White Doe White (California)… $14.

There is a pretty cool story behind this wine, and without wearing you out with words, look up the wine on the internet and see what it has to say, I think you will be intrigued. A blend of 80% Chenin Blanc and 20% Viognier.
Peaches, apricots and melon on the nose, with just a hint of perfumed soap and wet wool. Apples and apricots all day on the palate, this white is crisp with a slightly sweet edge (think Thanksgiving baby!). There is an under-currant of lemon and peach pit on the fresh, lingering finish. (B)

2009 Domaine Diochon Moulin-A-Vent (Beaujolais, France)… $25.

Earth, cherries, red flowers and leather on the nose. Deep cherry, earth and leather notes wrapped in tobacco leaf and minerals on the palate. Wet stone and red flowers rear their head on the mid-palate as it tightens up on the finish featuring leather and mineral notes. This Gamay needs some time in the bottle, and then it will show its true colors. (A-)

2010 Chateau Thivin Cote de Brouilly (Beaujolais, France)… $25.

Aromas of red flowers, wet stone, beets and perfumed ripe cranberries. Very herbal on the palate with notes of cherries and minerals. Tobacco notes show up on the back of the mid-palate leading into a toffee and coffee bean finish. This is a layered, balanced red that is just a little high on the acid side. Back off the Hendricks guys and we have a wine to drink now. (C+/B-)

2013 Marce Lapierre Morgon (Beaujolais, France)… $30.

Raspberries on the nose joined by under-ripe cherries, wet stone, blackberry stems and slate. Cinnamon notes come through in spades on the palate backed by raspberries and cherries with a bright acidity. Loads of skin tannins and minerality with a leafy component on the back-end. This wine has good structure and complexity with a touch of green tobacco leaf and cinnamon that lingers for some time on the finish. This wine is young and will definitely improve over the next 3-5 years. (B+/A-)

2012 Paul Henri Thillardon Chenas (Beaujolais, France)… $25.

Slightly perfumed on the nose with notes of red flowers, cherries and hints of tobacco. Very tight and acidic on the palate (no doubt due to its youth) with notes of under-ripe cherries, cherry pits and under-ripe blackberries. A touch of cranberry shows up on the thin, tight finish. I’m not positive how this will age, but I wouldn’t take a chance. (D+/C-)

2011 Domaine Des Nugues Fleurie (Beaujolais, France)… $22.

French toast on the nose (very nice), joined by notes of wet stone, tobacco, plum, cherries and a touch of licorice. Skin tannins hit right up front on the palate, with cherries and a bright acidity joining the party. This Gamay has good intensity and balance with a little ripe cranberry element coming through on the back-end joined by a healthy dose of minerals. I have a feeling this will only get better with another three years under its belt. (A-)

2013 Acta Alella Garnacha (Catalunya, Spain)… $13.

Notes of cherries, blackberries tobacco and wet stone come through on the nose. Blackberries and cherries with a little acidic punch underneath on the palate. Bright red flower notes hit on the mid-palate, followed by gravel, bright cherry and tobacco notes on the finish. (C+)

2013 Ontanon Tempranillo (Rioja, Spain)… $12.

Aromas of licorice, violets, cherries, red raspberries and a touch of wet stone. Minerals all over the palate, blended with red flowers, red plums, cherries, raspberries and hints of tobacco. This is a light bodied red with smooth tannins and reasonably intense flavors that linger. I had mixed feelings about this wine and finally decided on average. (C)

2011 Bodegas Riojanas Crianza (La Rioja Alta, Spain)… $14.

Classic Rioja nose of currants, cherries, red flowers, crushed rock, wet leather and tobacco. Deep and resonant on the palate with notes of leather, currants, black olives and green olives. Red flowers come through on the mid-palate, joined by crushed rock that follows through to the finish. Forest floor notes come through underneath front to back. Good balance and structure. 80% Tempranillo, 15% Vazuelo, 5% Graciano… (B+)

2008 Bodegas Riojanas Reserva Rioja Vina Albina (Rioja, Spain)… $25.

Stinky and perfumed on the palate with notes of cherry soap, earth, tobacco, oregano and rosemary. A little tight on the palate
with notes of olives, cherries, wood and leather. Soft yet structured with leather and crushed rock notes showing up on the mid-palate into the finish. Earth notes come through on the under-belly of this wine with Olive, currants, leather and sage lingering on the finish. (B+/A-)

2006 Bodegas Riojanas Monte Real Rioja 100% Tempranillo (Rioja, Spain)… $25.

This has a pretty incredible nose of cigar, orange peel, crushed rock, stewed meats and currants. Ripe currants, violets, wet stone and cigar on the palate. This baby has smooth tannins with notes of black olive and worn leather showing up. Sage, oregano and rosemary hit the palate in the middle with a little orange peel joining up on the finish. Excellent balance and firm structure, this baby will age nicely twenty-plus years. (A)

Stan The Wine Man

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November is my birth month, so I went a little “my palate” on you guys for this pick. I am a huge “old world” wine fan, especially when it shows you what old world is all about. Minerals, earth (dirt), tobacco, solid acidity and oh yeah, fruit. Of course, I am aware that not a huge crowd of folks share my palate preferences, so I always try to find something in the middle so that more will actually take a chance, give it a try, and hopefully like it. This one hedges just a hair to the left of middle, but I think a lot of you out there will enjoy it.



2012 Pazos de Eguren Tempranillo (Vino De La Tierra Castilla, Spain)… $10.99

Although Vino De La Tierra status (equal to Vin de Pays in France), this wine brings the thunder for eleven bucks. Aromas of minerals, red cherries, red currants, blueberries earth and tobacco. Blueberry and currants come through on the palate with a backbone of leather and earth. Sturdy, smooth tannins support the fruit and earth notes with a core of acidity that brightens everything up. The fruit notes expand on the mid-palate and flow into the finish joined by a healthy dose of minerals and earth notes with red currants lingering. This is a great food wine, that I would match up with stews, pizza, hamburgers or grilled meats. 100 % Tempranillo

Stan The Wine Man

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