So the French have trouble pronouncing “TH”. As a result when they pronounce a Label such as Chateau La Nerthe, they use a hard “T” instead of “TH”. This begs the question…Just because phonetically they cannot do it and we Americans in most cases can, do we have to say it like the French? I am of the opinion that when in Rome do as the Romans do. In the U.S. I think it is perfectly acceptable to pronounce the “TH” as we do. However, if I were in France I would give it the proper hard “T” pronunciation. A wine snob might object, but I am not a wine snob by any stretch. I do have a close friend who is constantly working on me to pronounce french wine names as the French would. I understand his angst since I have a You Tube channel where I review wines, many of them french. I do my best, and I think that is the appeal of my show. I rarely correct how someone pronounces a wine, unless they ask me to. It’s not my place, and as long as I know what they are talking about, that’s fine with me.

Imagine how many customers I would alienate if I corrected them every time they referred to Cava as Champagne. They are both sparklers, one from Spain and one from France. In fact, they have many similarities, especially in how they are made. I agree that Champagne is a special place and it is nearly impossible to emulate the sparklers they put out. The soil and climate of that area of France is unique and as a result, their sparkling wine is unique. I for my part understand that distinction and I would be appalled if a wine expert did not acknowledge it. However, most consumers are not wine experts, nor do they want to be. They just want to enjoy a good bottle of bubbles and I think they can call it whatever tickles their fancy.

I may have touched on this subject in the past, but it bears repeating. There seems to be some sort of obsession with classifying wines as over-oaked, like that is a flaw in the wine. It’s only a problem (not a flaw) if a an individual has a disdain for oak. Personally, I find oak to be a friend to many wines (why do you think wine makers use it). Cabernet Franc takes on many layers of enjoyment when aged in oak and remember, we are talking my palate here. However, I do not think I am in the minority on this one. Many Cab Franc out there aged in oak are very popular. That being said, I think it would be most appropriate if someone referred to a wine as being under-oaked. Why not? I have tasted many a Cab Franc that could have benefited from a little oak treatment.

One factor that can hurt a wine is if the oak is not properly integrated with the fruit. Poorly made, a wine with a lot of oak can come off as awkward and disjointed. I have tasted Chardonnay that tasted like you were chewing on a board. It’s not the oak’s fault, it’s the wine maker’s fault. Take Rombauer as an example. This Chardonnay is all about oak. However, it is so nicely integrated with the fruit that it comes off as buttery and delicious. Some don’t like that style, but they are few and far between. Rombauer would make the Hall of Fame if there were such a thing for wine and maybe there should be…Now that would be interesting.

I was with a busload of wine folks on a trip to Washington wine country and we were drinking wines chosen by the host as we made our way from Seattle to the eastern side of the state. They served up a Sancerre that was aged in oak barrels. This is not a common thing to do in this area of the Loire Valley and I have to say it caught my palate off guard. It was well made and you should have heard the folks in the bus singing its praises. I had trouble wrapping my brain around the wine, but I had to admit that it had some endearing qualities. However, I would have to say that I prefer under-oaked Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre…Just saying.

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 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.

2014 Rafael et Fils Pour Rosie Chardonnay (Oak Knoll Napa, CA)… $32.

Very Burgundy like on the nose with notes of burnt match, wet stone and subtle apple and pear notes underneath. Citrus notes on the front of the palate backed by fresh acidity. Pear notes sneak in on the mid-palate with wet stone joining the party. Wet stone notes lead into the Lemon driven, bright finish. Excellent balance of minerals, acidity and fruit. Just think of this as a good white Burgundy for a prayer. (A-/A)

2013 Ambassador “Envoy” Red (Red Mountain, WA)… $32.

Aromas of licorice and baked earth joined by dark cherries a touch of cinnamon candy and hints of chocolate. Tobacco and cherry notes hook-up front to finish with underlying bark and earth notes that integrate nicely with the fruit. A hint of cranberry and citrus sneaks in on the long finish. This is classic Red Mountain juice. (B+/A-)

2014 J Scott Cellars Syrah (Rogue Valley, OR)… $27.

A little stink action on the nose with notes of meat, licorice, ripe plums and hits of bacon fat and blueberries. Notes of plums and boysenberries lie on a bed of licorice, roasted meats, violets and under ripe blueberries on the palate. Almost lush, but kept in check by a serious dose of tobacco joining the palate party. Tobacco notes strengthen on the finish which lingers. A classic northern Rhone style Syrah. (B+/A-)

2014 De Vescovi Ulzbach Empeiria Bianco (Vigneti Delle Dolomiti, Italy)… $22.

Aromas of peaches, wet stone and white flowers with hits of melon. Peaches and citrus front to finish in the mouth joined by notes of underlying wet stone. Citrus notes take over on the finish. Fresh and lively on the palate with minerals thrown into the mix. Clean and bright on the finish without feeling acidic. A blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Incrocio Manzoni (B+)

2015 La Ritournelle Rose` (Bourgueil Loire Valley, France)… $22.

Pink rose petals, cherries and hints of bubblegum on the nose. Rainier Cherry notes come through big time on the palate with a little celery and pea pod action thrown in on the back-end. Finishes bright and clean with hints of Bazooka and citrus lingering. It has veggie on it but the fruit balances it out. 100% Cabernet Franc (B+/A-)

2013 De Vescovi Ulzbach Teroldego (Teroldego Rotaliano, Italy)… $18.

Aromas of perfumed blackberries, rose petal, forest floor, beef broth and black cherries. Intense blackberry and cherry notes hit hard on the front of the palate and then joined by notes of crushed rock leather and earth. Solid acidity that is integrated nicely. Very savory on the finish with tiny hits of citrus coming through on the back-end. (B/B+)

2014 Breton Bourgueil “Trinch” (Loire Valley, France)… $22.

A little poopy on the nose with notes of earth and currants coming through, joined by notes of wilted rose petal, licorice and leather. High tone on the palate with notes of red currants and an undertow of tomato stem and twigs with a little green tobacco and green tea coming through. Veggie notes come through front to finish. Mineral notes join the party on the long acidic finish. Wound up tight but true to the region. (B+)

2013 Breton Nuits D’Ivresse Bourgueil (Loire Valley, France)… $30.

From 50-year-old vines, this Cab franc exhibits aromas of leather, red cherries and minerals with hits of violets and dried herbs. Violets and lavender dominate on the palate with a backbone of bark and leather. Bright acidity drives floral notes on the palate with underlying mineral notes. A hit of citrus comes through on the finish. Balanced and tight, this baby will age nicely over the next 8-10 years. (B+/A-)

2014 Force of Nature Red Blend (Paso Robles, CA)… $16.

A touch smokey on the nose with notes of bark, cherries and a pinch of tobacco. Surprisingly earthy. Ripe cherries all day on the palate, joined by ripe currant, white pepper and spice notes. Savory spine of bark, tobacco and earth. Sturdy tannins with just a touch of grip on the tobacco driven finish. A blend of Merlot, Cab, Syrah and Cinsault (B-/B)

2012 Rare Wines Black Blend (Lodi, CA)… $9.

Licorice and cherries on the nose with a backdrop of raspberries. Ripe fruit notes on the palate that stay away from flabby. Licorice and cherry notes come through with an undertow of black currants. Slight tobacco notes hit on the mid-palate with interesting veggie notes sneaking in on the slightly thin finish. Petite Sirah, Syrah and Zinfandel (C/C+)

Non-Vintage Cantina Coviolo Lambrusco (Reggiano, Italy)… $12.

Deep currant and cherry notes on the nose with hits of vanilla, maple and bark. Spritzy, earthy dark cherry and currant notes with a little cherry skin action. Dried twig notes join up on the mid-palate into the fresh, clean finish with a little raspberry action on the back-end. (B-/B)

2014 Twelve Pinot Noir (Yamhill-Carlton, OR)… $20.

Earthy on the nose with notes of black tea, cherries and Root Beer. Near perfect weight in the mouth for a Pinot Noir. Notes of ripe cherries, bark, black tea and sarsaparilla come through with a touch of Asian spice on the mid-palate into the finish. Fruit notes and acidity are nicely balanced. sarsaparilla and Asian spices linger on the finish. Light on its feet but packs a punch. (A-)

2015 Donkey & Goat “The Gadabout” White (California)… $22.

Smells a lot like a hard apple cider with just a hint of sulfur. Funky on the palate with notes of apples, lemon, grass and yeast. Leans toward bitter, but avoids it. Balanced acidity leaves notes of fresh apples and hints of baking spice on the finish. Starts funky then finishes clean. Very interesting wine. Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Marsanne and Vermentino (C+)

Stan The Wine Man

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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, … Continue reading

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First and foremost, I have started seriously on my You Tube channel once again. I finished up episode 305 if you would like to check it out…Please do, it means a lot to me. Also, if you wouldn’t mind subscribing to my You Tube channel I would be deeply grateful. I’ve settled into my new place and I’m done with my vacation. No excuses now. I plan on three episodes a week, hopefully Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I will try to make them informative and entertaining.

For some bizarre reason, I have been asked if we sell brandied cherries for Manhattans so many times, I can’t count them. I was even sent an email with said request. I have worked at Kings Market for over thirty years, and have never been asked about brandied cherries until now. What’s up with that? Can anyone clue me in? Was there a book written or a celebrity show where brandied cherries for Manhattans was promoted? For those of you thinking to come in and ask me, the answer is NO. We do not sell them, and I am not sure where one can find them. Amazon perhaps?…Just Google it.

Pick of the month. Every month I select a wine to feature for the month that I stack in the front of my department. I taste a ton of wine before I pull the trigger on this pick. It has to meet certain criteria. One, it has to be good…Duh! Two, it has to fall into the 80% category. Another words, I feel that at least 80% of the people who purchase it will more than likely enjoy it. Three, it has to be a good value. I shoot for under fifteen bucks, but it has to deliver like it’s twenty. There’s a lot of work that goes into this pick, and it never ceases to amaze me how many ask me if it’s any good. Seriously? Folks, it wouldn’t be my pick of the month if it was crap.

Valentines Day. This is a celebration that is almost impossible to pick wine for. First off, wine is so subjective. Second, most people go out for dinner that night, so wine is not purchased (in a lot of cases) for consumption that night. I suppose there is the romantic out there that brings home flowers and a bottle of bubbles for their sweetheart. That’s my target audience. I feature a bottle of sparkling wine for that very person. This year it is the ever popular Antech Brut Sparkling wine from Limoux, France. it’s a good sparkler at a great price. Another one that I recently discovered is both clever and delicious. It is Je T’Aime (I love you in french), Brut Rose` also from Limoux, France. It’s eighteen bucks, it has a cool name for your Valentine and it is well made juice. Could you ask for more? If your Valentine is a red wine drinker, I chose a Tempranillo from Spain called Tridente. It has a guy with a bow and arrow on the label which smacks of Cupid (at least I hope most get the reference). Great juice at a great price. Who knows, with picks like these, you might get lucky.

Stan The Wine Man

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