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.

2013 Chateau Recougne Bordeaux Blanc (Bordeaux, France)…$13.

Aromas of Meyers Lemon and apple, with hints of golden raisin and pears. Notes of cut grass and lemon hit up front on a bed of stainless steel. Hints of green pears come through on the mid-palate with a hit of mint underneath. Finishes clean and crisp with lemon notes hanging around. 75% Sauvignon Blanc, 25% Semillon (B/B+)

2013 Chateau Saint-Florin Bordeaux Blanc (Bordeaux, France)… $10.

Grape seed, honeydew rind and watermelon on the nose. Lemon on the palate with slight cut-grass notes. Grape seed notes hit front to finish joined by slight hints of wet stone and white flowers. 60% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Semillon (C/C+)

2015 Portillo Sauvignon Blanc (Mendoza, Argentina)… $14.

Grape skin notes come through on the nose, joined by notes of honeydew melon, hints of cut grass and grape seeds. White pepper notes front to back on the palate with notes of honeydew melon and white flowers. There is an undertow of grapefruit pith and grape seeds that flows into the delicious finish. Very clean and fresh on the palate. I believe you can find this for closer to $10. in most wine shops. (B/B+)

2014 King Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina)…$12.

Aromas of boysenberries and raspberries with underlying licorice and bittersweet chocolate with a kiss of mint. Plush on the palate, but in control, staying away from goopy. Boysenberry and currant notes in spades with an edge of raspberry. Licorice and chocolate notes join up on the mid-palate with a little tar and tobacco. Dark cherry notes hit on the finish that is clean not syrupy at all. This is a good bang for the buck and stands out in the sea of Malbecs that are in the market. (B+)

2014 La Chablisiene Saint Bris Sauvignon Blanc (Chablis-Burgundy, France)… $12.

Filberts all over the nose, joined by notes of wet slate, cut grass and melon. Herbs, chalk and crushed seashells on a mouth-watering bed of acidity that pulses throughout the palate. It gets a little steely on the mid-palate leading into a chalky lemon and grapefruit finish that leaves your mouth-watering and yearning for more. (B+/A-)

2012 Franco Mondo Di Vino Monferrato Rosso (Italy)… $14.

A little funk action on the nose with notes of leather, cherries, oatmeal cookies and violets. Solid currant notes on the palate blending with notes of leather, stone and a kiss of tobacco. Violet notes come through underneath with a backbone of acidity that cuts through on the palate in a good way, joined by a touch of funk on the finish. This is old world juice with a good dose of fruit. 70% Barbera, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon (B+)

2011 Dante Red Blend (California)… $9.

Slightly reductive on the nose with notes of roasted meats, cherries and rose petal with a little candied cherry element coming through on the back-end. Intense ripe currant notes front to finish on the palate with a touch of black raspberry. It brightens up a bit on the finish with notes of leather and a hint of make-up joining in. This is a crowd pleaser for sure and most won’t notice the make-up element. 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Zinfandel, 5% Syrah (B-)

2012 Trefethen Family Vineyards Merlot Oak Knoll District (Napa, California)…$42.

Intense notes of violets and currants on the nose with a sweet edge to it, joined by hits of cinnamon. Fairly big on the palate with good structure. Grippy, sweet tannins support notes of currants, violets and cinnamon. Pretty intense oak notes finishing with hits of licorice joining the party and lingering cinnamon notes. The oak is just a bit too much for me. (B-)

2013 Corvidae Wine Co. Ravenna Riesling (Columbia Valley, WA)… $12.

Classic Riesling nose with aromas of rubber boot, pineapple and apple. Light sweetness on the palate with a good core of diesel supporting notes of pears and apples. Good balance start to finish with a fresh acid kick on the back-end. (B+)

2014 Canoe Ridge “The Expedition” Sauvignon Blanc (Columbia Valley, WA)… $16.

A little restrained on the nose with hints of melon, apples and white flowers coming through. Creamy in the mouth with notes of apples and melons. A little wet stone action front to back and a hint of cut grass joining on the finish. (B-)

2015 Elk Cove Vineyards Rose` (Willamette Valley, Oregon)… $16.

Cherry Bubbleyum on the nose with a touch of pie crust and dried herbs. Strawberries and cherries on the front of the palate, evolving into sweet rhubarb and rose petal on the finish. Good acidity develops on the mid-palate making this rose` dry and delicious. (A-)

2014 Sawtooth Pinot Gris (Snake River Valley, Idaho)… $13.

Aromas of pears and apples with a slight peach element coming through. Creamy mouth-feel up front with pear notes dominating front to back underscored by notes of apples and peach. There is just a hint of white pepper and pear skins on the dry finish. This Pinot Gris has good balance and integration of fruit and acidity. (B/B+)

2014 Sagelands Chardonnay (Columbia Valley, WA)… $10.

Almost nutty on the nose, like a can of mixed nuts, along with slight pineapple and pear notes. Creamy in the mouth with hints of butter joining pineapple, apple and pear notes. Solid and seamless front to back with a fresh somewhat thin finish. Pretty decent Chardonnay for ten bucks. (B-/B)

Stan The Wine Man

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If it wasn’t for Italian Pinot Grigio, I would lose about 5% of sales in my wine department, but that doesn’t mean I have to drink it. I think I’ve made it clear on Stan The Wine Man TV and this blog, that it is not one of my favorites. Recently one of my sales reps who was shooting for Pick Of The Month, brought for me to taste, six different Pinot Grigio. I must have done something terrible in my past life to have to experience such torture. However, I tasted them and they did not let me down. It reaffirmed my feelings for this white. I have nothing against folks who like Pinot Grigio, this is just personal. My lovely girlfriend drinks it, and I buy her a bottle every once in a while. However, I will never buy her a bottle of Santa Margherita, and I still find it hard to believe folks spend over twenty-two bucks for it. There are a couple that I actually like and one that stands out to me is Alois Lageder. Still, I will rarely buy a bottle to enjoy on a warm summer evening.

Speaking of Pick Of The Month, my choice is not based on popularity of varietal, but on qpr or quality to price ratio. Simply put, it has to “rock” for the money. You’ll have to check out my pick for August which is a white “kitchen sink” blend from the Willamette Valley. It’s probably not a wine that most would seek out, but I believe once you taste it you will be back for more. So, to all my sales reps out there… Bring me something interesting, delicious, complex and under fifteen bucks retail. If you do that, you may find your wine occupying the spot for Pick Of The Month.

A friend of mine was recently asked to resign as head wine maker for a large winery. I have to admit I was stunned, and when I spoke with him he was just as baffled by the decision. A respected wine blogger (someone who I read regularly) stated that this wine maker left to pursue his own wine project that he is working on. Either he didn’t do his research, or he was trying to be politically correct, or, he talked with said wine maker to see how he should write it and my friend took the high-road and told him to phrase it that way. I could see my friend doing this because he is genuinely a very nice guy and probably wants to make sure he doesn’t burn bridges. Either way, truth be told, he was not given a valid reason as to the decision and now there is a great wine maker out there for some winery to get their hands on. I guess my point is, if you are going to write an article about something don’t veil the truth. You don’t have to expose the facts, just don’t write something that isn’t true. My friend did not decide to go his own direction, the winery he worked for and did well at decided to go a different direction…Simply put. You may be asking yourself why I haven’t written an article about it. I’m stuck because I am also friends with one of the owners of said winery. I’ll stay silent on the issue out of respect for him, although it is a very tempting tale to tell.

Stan The Wine Man

to deal with.

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Furmint…I am willing to bet that a lot of you who read my blog, have not heard of this grape varietal. I’m not surprised by this, since I only recently have had a chance to taste a wine made from this grape. It is most famous for being the grape of the dessert wine from Tokaji, Hungary. It is also used to make dry white wines and my pick for July is exactly that.

2015 Pajzos Furmint

2015 Pajzos Furmint

2015 Pajzos Furmint (Tokaji, Hungary)… $12.99

Aromas of mint leaf, vanilla, wet stone and orange peel. There is a background of white flowers, nuts and banana which is quite interesting. Creamy and fresh at the same time on the palate with notes of fig and banana coming through with a touch of white pepper. Seamless flow across the palate with a slight stainless steel edge. Finishes fresh with notes of orange peel and white flowers joining the party. This wine is quite versatile lending itself well to shellfish, white fish and fowl. I find it to be a great summer sipper and I have already consumed several bottles myself. For thirteen bucks, it is a steal. Don’t be afraid to stretch your palate horizons with this delicious Hungarian white. (B+/A-)

Stan The Wine Man

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OPC 2016. A Once in a Lifetime Opportunity!

When I would say to my friends that I am going to Pinot Camp they looked at me funny and said…”What is Pinot Camp?”. It certainly is a fair question since it sounds kind of odd just put like that. Oregon Pinot Camp, held in the heart of the Willamette Valley is an organization dedicated to helping educate those in the wine industry about this region of the United States that is rich in wine history and of course, Pinot Noir.

As we all know, Oregon does more than just Pinot Noir, but it is this red that has put them on the map as a region of the world to take notice of. OPC is a place for those of us in the wine world to go to gain more appreciation of what this area is all about.

I will attempt to give you a rundown of each day’s events. It is a short camp, but packed with activities. I want to relay to you what I have experienced. I have waited a long time to be here, and am very excited to be a part of this adventure in 2016. I would like to take a moment to thank my boss for letting me go, since it is dangerously close to our busiest time of the year. I have confidence that my assistant will keep things going while I am gone.

Day 1…Checking in.

I drove down to McMinville on Saturday and was greeted at the hotel by the assistant wine maker for Firesteed, Peter (sorry,I forgot his last name). It was a nice touch to have someone from a winery at the hotel to watch over all of us. After checking in, we all caught a bus to Sokol Blosser for registration, wine tasting and food. Sokol Blosser is a beautiful property with vineyards at the base of Dundee Hills.

Check in was seamless and the crew was friendly and accommodating. There were 50 wineries represented at the tasting under covered booths on the lawn. The weather was perfect and the wines were amazing. Food was provided by Crown Paella and it was an amazing spread. I didn’t have time to taste through all the wines there, but I did find a couple that I had never tried and I would like to share those with you. Before I do that however, I would like to say that although the majority of wines were Pinot Noir, there were quite a few whites as well. Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and white blends were all there along with of course… Rose’.

There were a couple of wines that really stood out to me. Alexana Winery 2014 Pinot Noir was absolutely stunning. A nose of cinnamon and Asian spices lured me in immediately. Very delicate on the palate with loads of cherries and Asian spices coming through seamlessly front to back. Red flower notes underneath with a hit (slight) of white pepper sneaking into the party on the finish. This baby has everything I look for in a good Pinot and although I have no idea of the price, I will seek it out.

At the Anne Amie table I had the chance to taste a “kitchen sink” white blend that really showed well. 2015 CuvĂ©e A Amrita was light on the palate and a “10” in the delicious category. It wanted to be sweet, but never went there. Good balance of acidity and fruit made it both a good food white and a good summer sipper. I could see this with shellfish, white fish or Asian fare. It was perfect with the paella.

The 2014 Brooks Pinot Noir was an excellent example of why folks that love Burgundy, tend to favor Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. Very earthy with notes of rusty cherries and tobacco and an underscore of red flowers. Balanced acidity with a little “dirt” thrown in the picture makes this a Burgundy lovers dream without the outrageous price tag. This baby will age nicely over the next 5-8 years.

The 2014 Hyland Estates Riesling made the Riesling geek in me come out in spades. As soon as I put my nose to it and smelled rubber boot, I had to give it a whirl. Diesel and apples on the palate backed by balanced, not cutting acidity. It had a little mushroom element to it that rounded it out. I could have used a little more acid, but overall, I thought this was an excellent Riesling that would make any fan of old world Riesling happy.

The 2014 St. Innocent Vitae Springs Vineyard Pinot Blanc really caught my attention. This is new world all the way, but certainly has enough going on to please most palates, I was particularly impressed with the balance of acid and fruit. The mid-palate showed a ton of muscle, but then it drifted into a drier finish. I am quite sure this bottle is going to be expensive, but for those of you that would like to experience a Pinot Blanc for the first time, this would be a good place to start.

If the rest of the camp is anything like the reception, I am in for an experience of a lifetime. I will keep you posted.

Stan The Wine Man

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