PICK OF THE MONTH…DECEMBER 2014

Better late that never is my motto…I have been selling the crap out of this wine at the store this month, and it was pointed out to me that I hadn’t put it up on my site…Oops! For your reading pleasure, here is my pick for December.

2011 Buisson-Redon Bordeaux Rouge (Bordeaux, France)… $10.

December '14 Pick Of The Month.

December ’14 Pick Of The Month.

Cherries and currants on the nose with a hit of leather, earth and red flowers. Delicious notes of currants and spice up front on the palate. Worn leather and coffee bean notes are a backdrop front to back with a little white pepper on the mid-palate. Coffee bean, leather and currants finish things off with white pepper notes hanging around.

For ten bucks you get this nice, true to Bordeaux red with interesting complexity and enough fruit to keep those new world palates coming back for more. If you are on a tight budget this Christmas (which most of us are by now), this little gem would match up to Christmas dinner (prime rib or ham) nicely.

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 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 Monte Delle Vigne Lambrusco (Italy)… $15.

A little challenged on the nose with faint hits of black olive, strawberries and currants. Nice intensity on the palate with notes of dark cherries, currants and an edge of bark. A hit of tobacco comes through on the mid-palate leading into a clean, dry finish. Very smooth and structured with a nice balance of acidity and fruit. (B+/A-)

2013 Domaine Tabordet Pouilly-Fume (Loire Valley, France)… $21.

Aromas of wet stone, lemon, a touch of smoke and lanolin. Crushed rock all over the palate backed by notes of lemon-lime, lemon skin and lime pith. Very slate driven front to back with a touch of honey on the mid-palate, finishing long and laser sharp. (A-)

2012 Rigis Minet Pouilly-Fume (Loire Valley, France)… $25.

Aromas of slate, lemon, cut grass and melon. Crushed rock on the palate backed by notes of lemon, lemon pith and a hint of grapefruit. Minerals are the backbone of this white that strikes a nice balance of acid and fruit. Mineral and grapefruit notes linger with a hint of lemon pith. (A-)

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

Aromas of crushed red brick, stinky leather, red cherries, currants and red flowers with a splash of rusty metal. Cherries, currants and cranberries on the palate joined by notes of red earth, crushed rock and rust. Finishes with notes of worn leather, red cherries, cranberries and a backdrop of orange peel. There is nothing like a solid Barbera to bring the old world to your palate. (A-)

2013 Neyers Chardonnay 304 “Unoaked” (Sonoma County, CA)… $25.

Aromas of white flowers, pears, honey and a touch of lemon. On the palate it reminds me of ripe pears dipped in honey, with a dash of white flowers and orange rind. Good balance with a clean finish with honey notes lingering. This chard has a little more acidity then I expected, but it stays in check. (B+/A-)

2013 Neyers Zinfandel Vista Luna (Borden Ranch, CA)… $22.

Yes, Borden Ranch is an AVA in Cali which I didn’t realize until I tried this wine. They’re popping up all over the place.
Ripe black cherries on the nose, joined by notes of currants and an edge of black raspberries. Excellent acidity backs notes of ripe cherries and currants. Raspberries join on the mid-palate, leading into a finish with a cocoa powder edge. Nice, jammy zin that is held in check by fresh acidity. (A-)

Non-vintage De Chanceny Cremant de Loire (Loire, France)… $15.

Aromas of wool and slate with slight lemon and melon. Cutting acidity on the palate with notes of lemon, minerals, lime and slate. Very bright, citrus driven finish. Clean and delicious. (B+)

2013 Westerly Sauvignon Blanc (Santa Ynez Valley, CA)…$32.

Grapefruit, grapefruit rind and gooseberry on the nose with hits of wet stone and cut grass. Cutting acidity on the palate drives notes of what tastes like a ripe chunk of grapefruit dipped in honey. There is a backdrop of cut grass and lemon leading into a long finish. This is a lot of money for a Sauvignon Blanc and I had my doubts when I tried it. It came through with flying colors. (A-)

2012 J. Scott Cellars Grace Hill Vineyards Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, Oregon)… $20.

Aromas of roasted cherries, currants, black tea and root beer. Red flowers all day on the palate, joined by notes of beauty bark, red cherries and violets. Very high in acidity with cranberry notes as the backbone of this pinot with hints of root beer and minerals coming through. This puppy is youthful and needs time to flesh out…Probably five to ten years. (B-)

H. Henriques Cotes du Roussillon ( Rhone Valley,France)… $8.

Very old world on the nose with notes of leather, iron and stewed meat, with hits of licorice, cherries, currants and a little cranberry and earth. Very dirty forest floor notes on the palate with hits of currants and minerals thrown in the mix. A rust element (kind of like licking a wrecking bar) comes through on the mid-palate. leading into an earthy, currant and tobacco driven finish. It’s about as old world as you can get…I liked it, but you need to like this style if you want to fork out the cash. 50% Carignan, 35% Grenache, 15% Syrah (B)

2012 Bodega Calle Alberta Reserva La Mano Derecha Cabernet Sauvignon (Mendoza, Argentina)… $17.

Aromas of smoked ham, currants, violets and hits of vanilla. Nice plush cherries and currants on soft tannins with a little smoke sneaking in the picture, but stays at bay. Intense fruit front to back with a with a leathery grip on the palate and good acidity that “pops” the fruit notes into a long finish. (A-)

2000 Bodegas Riojanas Monte Real Gran Reserva (Rioja, Spain)… $50.

A touch stinky on the nose (which you might expect with Rioja) with notes of leather, tobacco, earth and herbs with a little currants and wet stone thrown in. Firm tannins support notes of leather, tobacco, earth and minerals. Orange peel and red flowers join the party with a finish featuring leather, tobacco and minerals. Tight but approachable, I would give it another fifteen years, and it will be a beauty. (A)

2013 Domaine De Coujan Cepage Rolle VDP (Coteaux De Murviel, France)… $12.

Apples, honey, peaches, melon and wet stone on the nose. Notes of crushed rock hit the palate up front, joined by notes of apple and peach skin supported by a lemon backbone. Good acidity with nice balance across the palate and a fresh, clean, citrus driven finish. 100% Vermentino (B-)

Cheers!
Stan The Wine Man

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TURKEY, FAMILY, BUDGETS AND BOOZE.

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.

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 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-)

Cheers!
Stan The Wine Man

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