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.
2011 Franco Mondu Barbera d’Asti (Piedmont, Italy)… $16.
Aromas of wilted violets, iron, black olives, perfumed currants and hints of tobacco. You might ask why I say “wilted violets”? Well, the aromas did not smell fresh, more on the earthy side…Thus, wilted violets, which is actually a good thing when you’re talking Barbera. Ripe cranberries and blackberries hit the palate up front soaked in violets with a spoonful of minerals. Excellent acidity leads into a mouth-watering finish with a splash of iron. For the money, this is an outstanding example of Barbera from Asti in Piedmont. (B+)
2013 Teutonic Wine Co. Pig & Swords White (Willamette Valley, OR)… $25.
This winery has definitely caught my attention recently. This white is a blend of Pinot Noir, old vine Slivaner and old vine Chasselas. Honeysuckle notes come through on the nose along with slight peach and strawberries. Cutting acidity on the palate with notes of mandarin, kiwi and under-ripe strawberries. There is a steely edge to this wine with lemongrass notes coming through on the finish. Excellent balance and very lively. Perfect white for shellfish or salads. (B+)
2011 Memaloose Yorks Reward Red (Columbia Gorge, WA)… $22.
Aromas of cherry Bubblyum, rose petal, violets and a touch of iron on the back-end. Very bright on the palate (acid freaks will love this one), with notes of cherry and raspberry Bubbleyum, joined by notes of cranberries and violets. There is a little rust action on the mouth-puckering finish. This baby needs food, like a fatty steak or some BBQ ribs. But, if you feel like drying your mouth out with some bright fruit and rust, knock yourselves out. (B-)
2011 Fall Line Winery Tempranillo (Yakima Valley, WA)… $22.
Aromas of raspberries and cherries backed by notes of crushed rose petals and beauty bark. This red is very rustic in style with gritty tannins backing notes of raspberries and violets. Bright, but not over-the-top acidic. Finishes with raspberry and cranberry notes mixed with crushed violets. This is actually quite close to what you might get out of Rioja, but quite a bit brighter. (B-)
2012 Soter Vineyards North Valley Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, OR)… $35.
’12 was a great vintage in both Washington and Oregon, so I am always very curious how these have turned out. This Pinot shows the quality of that vintage. Notes of bark, cherries and tar on the nose, with hints of strawberry and vanilla. Fresh and lively on the palate and very earthy. Notes of cherries and bark up front with a hit of white pepper and violets. There is a backdrop of root beer that hits on the mid-palate and lingers on the finish. Nice balance of acid and fruit, but this is still a baby in need of maturing. I will be really curious how this fleshes out over the next five years. (B+)
2013 Savage Grace Cabernet Franc “Copeland Vineyards” (Rattlesnake Hills, WA)… $22.
Very veggie on the nose with notes of beef soup, rose petals, violets and soft underlying cherry notes. Very elegant and sexy on the palate with round cherry notes and a soft vegetal edge with a dash of white pepper. Interesting floral notes front to back finishing with vanilla mocha and root beer notes. This is a classic example of not judging a wine by the nose. I thought it was going to be a mixed salad in the mouth, and it proved me wrong. (B+)
2013 Gorghi Tondi Coste A Preola Nero D’Avola (Sicily, Italy)… $13.
I think that Nero D’Avola is a nice segue from New World to Old World wines for those wanting to break into that side of the wine world.
Smokey on the nose with notes of red flowers, iron, stewed meat, coffee bean and cranberries. Red raspberry and cranberry notes on the palate backed by a nice backbone of acidity. Red flowers join the party with a good dose of minerals and a little iron thrown in. The finish is bright and mouth-watering. This Nero is a little more rustic than most, so it breaks the mold just a bit, but I like it. (B+)
2012 Hawkins Cellar Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, OR)… $21.
Aromas of cinnamon, cherries, root beer, violets and beauty bark with a pinch of iron (love this nose). Red flowers all day on the palate, backed by earth and cherry notes with a hit of cranberries. Good acidity but integrated nicely with the fruit. Earth notes come through on the finish with touch of root beer and cinnamon. This is ready to drink now, but will develop nicely over the next ten years. (A-)
2013 Hawkins Cellar Pinot Gris (Willamette Valley, OR)… $18.
Very challenged on the nose with slight hits of pears, white flowers and spice. Creamy pear notes on the front of the palate, but then it goes lean right away into citrus. Notes of lemon, orange and tangerine on the mid-palate into the clean finish. (B)
Non-vintage Trust Cellars T.A.T.T. “Tried & True Table Wine” (Columbia Valley, WA)… $18.
Kind of old school on the nose with notes of violets, cherries, black raspberries. An interesting iron element comes through with hits of tobacco. Dominant cherry notes on the palate joined by currants and warm spices. Tobacco and violets come through on the mid-palate with a hint of vanilla leading into a violet driven finish. Smooth with good structure. This wine has an old world attitude. 51% Syrah, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc, 7% Merlot, 7% Mourvedre. (B-)
2013 Domaine La Rocaliere Rose` (Tavel, France)… $16.
Aromas of rose petals and cherries with a backdrop of herbs and a little watermelon rind. This has that nice meaty quality that rose` has from Tavel. Cherries, plums, watermelon and herbs come through on the palate with cherries dominating the finish. Nice balance, and a “10″ in the delicious category. In Tavel, all they do is rose`, so they know how to do it right. (B+/A-)
2013 Lone Birch Pinot Gris (Yakima Valley, WA)… $8.
Nice and fruity on the nose with notes of peaches, cantaloupe, watermelon and a touch of honey. Creamy on the front of the palate with notes of pears and honey coming through. There is a hint of peach pit on the mid-palate and Red Delicious apple on the finish. Good balance, a bit thin, but delicious. (C+)
2012 The Winery Of Good Hope Pinotage (Good Hope, South Africa)… $14.
Pinotage is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, and I have yet to find one that I like until now. Aromas of stewed meats, bark, red & black currants with a touch of cranberry. A little restrained on the front of the palate but then violets hit hard on the mid-palate, joined by cherries and minerals. The finish is mouth-watering. Who would have known? A drinkable, likeable Pinotage. (B-)
2013 Les Hospice Sancerre (Loire Valley, France)… $20.
Aromas of grapefruit pith, lemon and a touch of grass and wet stone. Lemon and grapefruit in spades on the palate with excellent acidity and minerality. Laser sharp lemon and lime notes hit on the mid-palate, leading into a mouth-watering clean finish. This is a very good Sancerre for the price with all the right elements. (A-)
Stan The Wine Man