BITS & BOBS…

I don’t know how many of you who read my blog have tried a Sangrantino. I recently shot an episode for my You Tube channel that features this varietal. It is a grape that is grown primarily in Umbria, which is a landlocked region in Italy, north of Rome. Australia is messing with this grape a bit, but it got its start in Umbria especially in the town of Montefalco in the southeast of Umbria. Sangrantino di Montefalco is now a DOCG, a status not given to any region, only those that produce top-notch juice. In this episode which I am putting out there tomorrow evening, I discover a couple Montefalco Sagrantinos that blew my socks off. The cool part is that one of them goes for a mere twenty bucks. The other was substantially more, but worth every penny of sixty-one dollars. If you haven’t tried this varietal yet, I suggest you watch episode 346 on Tuesday and see what I am talking about. I think it will peak your interest in expanding your palate horizons. A side note; the Sagrantino I was very excited about for twenty bucks closed up a bit on the second day opened. This is a good thing, because it means it has great aging potential. I’m guessing 8-10 years. I’ll try it again on the third day to see what happens. I’ll let you know.

Last week, a group my friends and I got together to taste several Mourvedre. Mourvedre is another grape that I feel a lot of you may not be familiar with. It’s used a lot in France, particularly in southern Rhone where they blend it with Grenache, Syrah and other grapes to produce Cotes-du-Rhone and Chateauneuf-du-Pape (where they allow up to thirteen grapes in the blend). Mourvedre is also used extensively in Provence, particularly in Bandol where they make some amazing reds using this grape. We had one from Bandol, Languedoc (France), Spain, California and two from Washington. We took a vote at the end of the flight and all agreed the Bandol was by far the best. Crazy Mary Mourvedre from Mark Ryan Winery garnered second place with the Kerloo Cellars and Tablas Creek close behind. For a couple of the guys there, it was their introduction to this varietal and they were impressed. It never ceases to amaze me how well Washington State does with so many different varietals. Probably one of the most diverse growing regions in the world.

Our trip to South Africa is less than two months away and Susie and I are going from nervous to excited. We are fine tuning the trip and nailing down our itinerary. We now have five wineries that we are visiting and of course Susie will excuse herself from a couple to go off exploring on her own. She is a good sport about my job, and actually very interested. I just don’t expect her to accompany me to all the wineries where I will be shooting You Tube episodes and interviewing the winery staff. Cape Town has been having water issues, but it looks like they got rained on recently which pushed back the critical water restrictions slightly. I hope they get more rain soon as I hate to see locals being put on water restrictions while the tourists like us are not. I know they do not want to discourage the tourist trade, but it still makes me feel funny.

I have been striving to keep up with all my blogging including this piece, as well as Friday’s Thirteen and my pick of the week on The Blue Collar Wine Guy P.I. blog. It isn’t easy, but I am doing a better job of it recently. I am also trying to put out a You Tube episode on Tuesdays and Fridays. Of course, I miss one now and then due to unseen events, but all in all it looks like I should be able to keep up with that schedule. I want to thank all of you who have subscribed to my You Tube channel and those of you who have watched my episodes. It makes me feel good to know that I have so many supporters out there. I hope you are enjoying my content.

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 Sonoma Cutrer Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley, CA)… $42.

Aromas of smoked strawberries and dark cherries with a good splash of Root Beer. Smooth and delicious with good acidity that backs notes of dark cherries and slight Root Beer. It expands on the mid-palate and flows into a slightly crunchy finish with a hit of Asian spice on the back-end. Great food Pinot.
(B+/A-)

2015 Newsprint Cabernet Sauvignon (Red Mountain, WA)… $25.

Bittersweet chocolate, tobacco and currants on a challenged nose. Red berries, currants and light chocolate notes on the palate with a green element that sneaks in on the back-end. Crunchy acidity with a pinch of minerality. Bright finish with a kiss of chocolate and white pepper underneath. (C+/B-)

2014 Baer Winery “Star” Merlot Stillwater Creek Vineyard (Columbia Valley, WA)… $35.

Aromas of licorice, chocolate and currants with underlying savory herbs underneath. Ripe currants on the palate with some chocolate thrown in and a big dose of tobacco. Good balance and integration with edgy but approachable tannins. Tobacco notes dominate on the long finish. (B+/A-)

2015 Domaine Les Pins Cabernet Franc (Bourgueil, France)… $14.

Aromas of cranberries, red flowers and cherries with a little stem thrown in. Blackberries and cherries on the palate with underlying blackberry stem that is nicely integrated with the fruit. Crunchy acidity that blends in nicely. Big red flower hit on the mid-palate into the fresh finish. (C+/B-)

2015 Newsprint Chardonnay (Columbia Valley, WA)… $18.

Toasty pears and apples on the nose with a hit of corn nuts and caramel corn. Buttery pears and apples on the palate with a toasty oak edge. Stays fresh with balanced acidity. (B/B+)

2013 Pojer E Sandri Bianco Faye (Vigneti Delle Dolomiti, Italy)… $42.

Slightly challenged on the nose with notes of wet stone a touch of stainless steel and saline. Big hit of licorice on the front of the palate on wet stone notes and underlying apple and lemon. A fig component hits on the mid-palate into a clean finish with a dusty rock element coming through. Good balance and complexity. Expensive, but very interesting. A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc. (A-/A)

Non-Vintage Colin Champagne Premier Cru Blanc de Blanc Brut (Champagne, France)… $42.

Almonds, yeast and apples on the nose with a hit of lemon. Laser sharp on the palate with a good hit of lemon, almonds and apples that rest on chalky minerality. There is an interesting almond skin hit on the finish with citrus notes lingering. (A-)

2016 Rive Droite, Rive Gauche Cotes-du-Rhone (Rhone Valley, France)… $11.

Slightly perfumed on the nose with notes of lavender, boysenberries and plums and a hit of Twix. Sweet tannins support boysenberry and plum notes with a good dose of red flowers. A touch of blackberry stem comes through on the red flower driven, slightly crunchy finish. Bring on the food. (B-/B)

2015 Altos Las Hormigas Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina)… $10.

Boysenberries and plums on the nose with a background of tobacco, leather and hints of green. Blackberries blended with green tea and tobacco on the palate. Acidity gives the wine a lift in the mouth with plum and mineral notes joining the party on the mid-palate into the finish. (C+/B-)

2013 Soos Creek Stampede Pass Cabernet Franc (Columbia Valley, WA)… $30.

Perfumed cherries and oatmeal cookie on the nose with a splash of red flowers. Ripe red cherries on the palate wrapped in licorice and tobacco with a good spine of acidity that lifts the fruit in the mouth. Subtle chocolate notes hit on the mid-palate into the finish with tobacco and leather notes lingering. 78% Cabernet Franc, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon (B+/A-)

2013 Soos Creek “Palisades” Merlot (Columbia Valley, WA)… $30.

Boysenberries and cherries on the nose with a pinch of tobacco. Boysenberry and ripe currant notes are plush on the palate, underscored by good structure with solid, smooth tannins. Leather and tobacco notes join up on the finish with chocolate notes sneaking in as well. (B+/A-)

2013 Artist Series #13 Red (Columbia Valley, WA)… $30.

Wilted rose petals, currants and plums on the nose with a hit of boysenberry. Round currant and plum notes on solid structure and well-integrated acidity. Tobacco and chocolate notes hit on the mid-palate into the finish where it all gathers together with a little worn leather action. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Cabernet Franc (B+/A-)

2013 Soos Creek “Terrible Beauty” Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley, WA)… $30.

Solid currant and licorice notes on the nose with a pinch of dark cherries. Dark cherries and currants penetrate the palate front to finish with trace minerals. Chocolate and licorice notes lie underneath on solid, smooth tannins. There is a spine of red flower notes and fresh acidity that lights up the lingering finish. (B+)

Cheers!
Stan the wine Man

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BITS & BOBS…

I thought it was pretty cool that Rueben Brews out of Seattle came out with a beer named Bits and Bobs. Of course they are of British origin so it stands to reason. My friend Amy was the first to send me a picture and now I have it at the store. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m sure it’s good. I like just about everything this brewery puts out including their Crikey IPA.

Speaking of Crikey, I had one of the smallest turn-outs ever for a wine tasting event. I have to say that it was one of the first beautiful days in the Juans in a while and I’m sure that a lot of folks were just taking it in and forgot about the wine tasting. I love putting these events on, I just hope they are not losing their thunder. The small group that did go were not disappointed. We had one of the best line-ups for the “Fifteen Wines Under Fifteen Bucks” I have seen. I am very proud of my group for showing the most interest in some of the old world wines that were there. A Furmint from Hungary, a Tempranillo/Cab blend from Spain and a Carignan/Grenache/Syrah blend from Corbieres in France. We had some pretty good new world wines there, but most of the interest was in the old world. My wine group has come a long way over the years and it is interesting to watch their palates change.

Wine palates are a funny thing. They fluctuate over the years, mine included. For months one can drink the same style of wine and then magically for some reason that same type of wine doesn’t tickle their fancy anymore. Why is that? It is true that there are people out there that can drink the same wine everyday of the week and never tire of it. This is something I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around, nor do I want to. If variety is the spice of life, I think they are in need of a spice rack. For a lot of us, we seek variety in our wine drinking experience. I think one of the reasons our palate changes is diet. I know that throughout my life, my culinary experiences have changed dramatically, and with that came a change in my wine drinking preferences. Another possible reason for palate change is our mood and physical activities (which are closely related by the way). Also the crowd we hang with may affect what we choose to drink. Maybe you start hanging with a group that really enjoys old world wine. At first you may resist, but after a while you start wondering why they like the wines so much, so you start experimenting. Whatever the reasons may be, our palates do change, and thankfully there is an abundance of wines to choose from. Whatever you do, please do not get in the rut of drinking the same wine all the time. There’s just too much out there to try, so get after it!

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.


2015 Lenz Moser Blaufrankisch (Burgenland, Austria)… $11.

Aromas of smoke, bark, cherries and a hit of tobacco. Very polished on the palate with notes of plum and cherries front to finish with an edge of tobacco. A little boysenberry action shows on the mid-palate into the finish. Simple and soft with enough going on to keep it interesting. 1 liter (C+/B-)

2016 Balletto Pinot Gris (Russian River Valley, CA)… $30.

Roasted nuts and melon on the nose with a hint of lemon. The initial hit on the palate feels rich, with a honey element coming through. It changes gears immediately with notes of melon and apple on a bracing, bright core with a little mineral action on the back-end. A trace of fresh-cut grass on the mid-palate into a clean stainless steel finish. Kind of expensive for a Gris that is not from Alsace. (C+/B-)

2015 Vaulted Wines Elevage Red (Oregon)… $29.

Aromas of crushed rock, red flowers, tobacco and cherries with a little blackberry action. Loads of vanilla and mocha up front on the palate with a backbone of cherries. Fresh underneath with a little grip action from the tannins on the tobacco and tar driven finish with a little hit of vanilla in the background. 34% Tempranillo, 33% Grenache, 16% Touriga Nacional, 17% Tinto Cao (C+/B-)

2017 Vaulted Wines Albarino (Washington)… $20.

Fruit Stripe bubblegum on the nose with hits of grass, lime, lemon, orange and peach (very expressive). Nice oily feel on the palate giving it a richness in the mouth. Notes of mango, lime and mandarin orange on a fresh bed of acidity that keeps it clean and fresh. Lime and orange notes linger. (B+/A-)

2014 Ambassador Syrah (Red Mountain, WA)… $20.

Smoke lies under blueberry and red raspberry notes on the nose with a pinch of licorice and Red Mt. earth. Nice weight on the palate with notes of boysenberry and currants on smoked bacon fat and white pepper. Good acidity that is well-integrated. Mocha and vanilla dominate the finish with a kiss of tobacco and white pepper notes that linger. (B/B+)

2014 Airfield Estates Merlot (Yakima Valley, WA)… $15.

Licorice and cherry liquor on the nose with a solid hit of red flower notes. Earth, dark cherries and rose petal on the palate, backed by solid tannins that are approachable but have an attitude. It shines a bit underneath with white pepper notes on an earthy, savory finish. Excellent structure and complexity. (B+/A-)

2015 Twelve Pinot Noir (Yamhill-Carlton, Oregon)… $20.

Aromas of cola, dirt, bark and cherries. Solid acidity backs cola, cranberry and cherry notes on the palate with underlying orange peel. Good balance and structure finishing on the crunchy side. Needs food! (C+/B-)

2015 Michel Lynch Bordeaux (Bordeaux, France)…$12.

Pomegranate, blackberries and tobacco on the nose with a kiss of vanilla, caramel and chocolate. Crunchy acidity on the palate that supports notes of earth, bright blackberry and crushed rock. There is a sweet fruit note hit on the mid-palate but goes tight on the finish with notes of mushroom joining up and lingering. This baby is true old world Bordeaux. 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon (B/B+)

2015 Cloudline Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, OR)… $18.

Fresh red raspberry on the nose with notes of Root Beer, cherries and a hint of earth. Deep cherry notes on the palate balanced by solid, well-integrated acidity and bark notes. Root Beer notes hit on the mid-palate into the finish with a kiss chocolate that takes over on the back-end. (B/B+)

2014 Drouhin “Rose Rock” Pinot Noir (Eola-Amity Hills, OR)… $32.

Strawberry and cherry notes “Pop” on the nose with underlying tea, bark, red flower and Asian spice. Deep, almost lush cherry notes on the palate, wrapped up by balanced acidity and good structure. There is a cranberry component that comes through with hits of earth and black tea. Asian spice notes linger in the background, then comes out in full force on the savory, red flower driven finish that lingers (A-)

2014 Drouhin “Rose Rock” Pinot Noir Zephirin (Eola-Amity Hills, OR)… $58.

Aromas of ripe cherries, Asian spices, eucalyptus and a solid core of Root Beer. Earth, dark cherries and Asian spices flow seamlessly across the palate with root beer notes hiding underneath. The acidity is well-integrated with the fruit. Nice balance and structure. There is a hit of cranberry on the mid-palate into the lingering earthy finish. (A)

2015 Avancia Cuvee De O Godello (Valdeorras, Spain)… $15.

Wet stone and banana skin on the nose with a kiss of melon. Apples, melon and peach on the palate with underlying crushed rock notes front to finish. Pitted fruit notes expand on the mid-palate and then fade on the crushed rock and lemon finish that lingers. (B/B+)

2012 Idilico Tempranillo (Washington)… $20.

Perfumed smokey currants on the nose with a touch of rose petal. Currants, plum and blackberry on the palate with a smokey edge. Tobacco notes sneak into the palate party on the mid-palate into the finish. Good structure and balanced acidity. (B-)

Cheers!
Stan The Wine Man

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