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.
2012 Maison Bleue Chardonnay “French Creek Vineyards” (Yakima Valley)… $20.
Aromas of pineapple, hay with a hint of lemon and melon. Pineapple and hay notes come through on the palate with hits of lemon peel and oak on the back-end. This has a very dry finish with a touch of bitterness, I am a huge fan of Maison Bleue, but I wasn’t enamored by this Chardonnay. (C-)
2010 Chateau des Laurets “Puisseguin” (Saint-Emilion, France)… $28.
Aromas of red flowers, bright red cherries, licorice and leather. Intense on the front of the palate with notes of red cherries, iron, crushed rocks and leather coming through. Chocolate and licorice notes come through on the mid-palate and into the leather driven finish. Forest floor notes are the back-bone of this wine with notes of iron and wilted red flowers underneath. This will evolve nicely over the next twenty years. I have to say that this is an incredible wine for under thirty bucks. (A)
2012 Villa Tonino Nero D’Avola (Terre Siciliane, Italy)… $8.
Plums and cherries with notes of wet stone, red flowers, earth and a touch of licorice come through on the nose. Very earthy on the palate with notes of tobacco, wet stone and plums coming through, joined by dark cherries and black olives. Good balance of firm tannins, minerals and acidity with a hit of rust on the finish. Old world red with a little new world fruit action. (B-)
2013 Mas De Mas PicPoul De Pinet (Languedoc, France)… $10.
Notes of apples, lemons, wet stone and a touch of honey comes through on the nose. Bright acidity drives this wine with notes of minerals, honey, slate and wet rock with a splash of lemon. Grass notes come through on the mid-palate followed by a zesty, bracing finish. This gem has a lot of attitude for the price. (B+)
2013 I Campi Soave (Italy)… $13.
Aromas of wet stone, lemon rind, ripe lemon and melon. Very steely on the palate with notes of melon, lemon and slate coming through. There is an interesting oily element that comes through on the finish. However, it is very clean on the back-end with notes of wet stone, lemon and steel. If you want to try a Soave for the first time, I would suggest going here instead of Bolla. (A-)
2012 Massaya Red (Baqaa Valley, Lebanon)… $13.
Notes of black cherries, violets and a hint of grape jam come though on the nose. Grape jam all day on the palate with a splash of black olive and white pepper, with a hint of minerals. Soft tannins, a touch of oak and a medium finish with pepper notes lingering. 60% Cinsault, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon & 20% Syrah. I think this is the first ever wine I have tasted from this country, and I am impressed. (B)
2013 Des Collines Rhodaniennes “La Syrah” By Charles Helfenbein (Vin de Pays, France)… $15.
This is 100% Syrah and reminds me a lot of something from the Northern Rhone…This is old world juice baby! Aromas of smoke, red flowers, crushed rock, red currants and red plums. Crushed rock and red flowers all day on the palate. Red currants are the backbone of this wine with a little meaty element coming through and a splash of iron on the backside of the finish. If you are into Cornas or Saint Joseph reds from the Rhone Valley, get this gem and save yourself some dough. (B)
2012 L’Ecuyer De Couronneau Bordeaux Superieur (France)… $17.
I love finding wines with the Bordeaux Superieur designation, because many times you get a lot of Bordeaux for next to nothing. Aromas of violets, wet stone, tobacco, currants and licorice. Black olive comes through on the palate backed by notes of currants, violets, and a touch of wood. Soft tannins and good structure, although it is a little closed on the finish with a touch of leather and tannic grip. It’s a little young, but it is a pretty good example of Bordeaux (Right Bank that is, being predominantly Merlot). (B-)
2010 Triennes St. Auguste Vin de Pays (Provence, France),,,$18.
This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, is pretty amazing for the dough. On the nose, I got a hit of liquid iron vitamins (I think you can remember that smell), stewed meats, tobacco and red flowers. Liquid iron notes come through on the palate joined by boysenberries and stewed meats. Firm smooth tannins, with a heavy dose of minerals leading into a finish of boysenberries, stewed meats and iron. This red has nice balance of tannins, minerals and fruit. A pretty serious red for under twenty bucks. (B+)
2012 Bodegas Riojanas Puerta Vieja Blanco (Rioja, Spain)… $10.
Made from the white grape of Rioja, this is 100% Viura. Aromas of lemon, kiwi, chalk, menthol and slate (wild nose!). Nice richness on the palate with notes of lemon pith, chalk and melon. Medium plus acidity (not high not low), with a little apples skin coming through on the back of the mid-palate. Nice balance in this wine with a clean, slate/chalk finish. If you want to go off the beaten path in your white wine selection, this is a great price point and a really good wine. (B-)
2012 Veiga Naum Albarino (Rias Baixas, Spain)… $16.
Speaking of going different on your white wine choice for the day, I highly recommend an Albarino. They are crisp, delicious wines that show good fruit and minerality. This one goes a slightly different direction, but is still awesome.
Tangerine, lime, orange peel and wet stone notes come through on the nose. This Albarino is a little creamier on the palate than most, and I think a lot of you out there will like that. Notes of lemon and lime with a dash of tangerine flow across the palate with attitude and a generous share of minerality. Nice fresh, dry, creamy lingering finish. If you are a first-timer to this varietal, you might want to start here. (B+)
2011 Domaine Sorin Bandol Rouge (Bandol, France)… $25.
Now I have to tell you that finding a Bandol Rouge at this price could be very exciting if the wine shows well, so you can imagine my excitement when this was presented to me. This blend is predominately Mourvedre with a splash of syrah.
Very poopy on the nose (yes I mean stink baby), with notes of tobacco, cedar, currants and wet leather. This baby is rich on the palate, and I mean right from the start. Deep ripe currant and dark cherry notes with a healthy dose of wet leather and wilted violets. Rustic, tight tannins with a good mixture of forest floor notes that flow into a dense wet leather and currant finish with a touch of spices. This is everything you would expect from a Bandol rouge at half the price… (A-/A)
2012 Louis Bernard Cotes-du-Rhone (Rhone Valley, France)… $10.
Cherries and currants on the nose backed by notes of earth and tar with a little tobacco and red flowers thrown in. Smoked meat hits the front of the palate joined by notes of currants, black and white pepper. Forest floor notes are the backbone of this wine giving it good structure and balance, leading into a tobacco and red flower driven finish. This is true old world style Cotes-du-Rhone that is not worried about catering to the new world palate. I love authenticity, and this wine shows it in spades. (B+)
Stan The Wine Man