STAN’S PICK FOR NOVEMBER 2020

Well, 2020 has gotten off to a terrible start, unless you like wearing masks and social distancing. However, that doesn’t mean there is a lack of great value wines out there! As you all know, I love finding little wine gems and featuring them at the store where I work. This month is a Pinot Noir from a solid producer that I often go to for quality-to-price ratio wines. Oak Grove Winery runs the gamut of wines including Chardonnay, Viognier, Cab, Merlot, Petit Sirah a red blend and this new addition to their family that is my pick for July.

2018 Oak Grove Pinot Noir (California)… $10.

It is tough to find a good Pinot Noir in the ten dollar price range. Especially one that drinks as good as this one. Bright cherries and strawberries on the nose, joined by hits of black tea, red flowers and Root Beer. Round cherry notes on the palate, balanced by nicely integrated acidity. Root Beer and red flower notes ride underneath front to finish where a slight hit of spice shows up. A solid Pinot Noir for ten bucks, that would compliment salmon, ham, salads or the back deck quite nicely. (B)

Cheers!@

Stan The Wine Man

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BITS & BOBS

I recently had an interesting experience with vintage variation. I had in my possession, two bottles of K Vintners Northridge Merlot (Wahluke Slope, WA). One, a 2012 and the other 2011. I decided to open 2012 first and what I got was a powerful, nearly over-the-top-fruit Merlot. It had balance and was well made, but it smacked of a Robert Parker (retired now) high-scoring wine. It was loaded with ripe currant and dark cherry notes with a touch of chocolate underneath. It was good, but it was starting to go south as far as aging is concerned. It was ready to drink and I’m glad I popped the cork when I did. If you happen to have one, I suggest you drink it soon. The bottle I enjoyed was properly collared, so that was not an issue. To my point, the other K Vintners Northridge Merlot was 2011. I was a little worried this one was on its last legs so I needed to consume it soon.

I popped the cork on the ’11 and was totally shocked at the difference between the two vintages. I would say they were polar opposites. The ’11 had vibrant acidity that carried the wine front to finish on the palate. Notes of violets, tobacco, plums and cherries. It was mouthwatering, structured and balanced. It could easily age another five years. How can a wine from the same producer and the same vineyard site be so different? Vintage!

2012 was considered a great vintage in Washington State and 2011 was a tough vintage. Many of the ’12s received top scores from wine critics. Most were open-knit and ready to be consumed. 2011 was a cool and wet year, challenging the winemaker’s ability to deal with fruit that was phenolically challenged. Granted, many winemakers are up to the challenge of a tough vintage. A lot of the wines from 2011 did not receive high acclaim from critics. However, it was obvious that they needed some age on them if they were going to show their stuff. I have had quite a few reds from the 2011 vintage in Washington State and they are really starting to come out of their shell. It is exciting to me when a winemaker lets the vintage speak in the wine. Charles Smith did a fantastic job with the 2011 K Vintners Northridge Merlot. the ’12 was exactly what one might expect from that vintage and Charles is never shy about making unctuous reds. However, he didn’t attempt such an approach with the ’11 vintage and the result was a wine that I hope to get my hands on again and give it some more cellar time.

I am very excited today, because I am going to open some older Rieslings with some friends of mine that are even more geeky about Riesling than I am. We are talking a ’93 and ’96 Riesling from Alsace. Riesling from this region of the world is notorious for being able to age for many years. We will find out today, how they have held up and I am certain that you will hear the results either in this segment or a separate article. We are also going to open a ’94 Pinot Gris from Alsace. I am very curious about this one because I have never even considered aging a Pinot Gris. However, it is from Alsace and it is from a top producer. I am super stoked.

Cheers!

Stan The Wine Man

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FRIDAY’S FIVE

In a week’s time, I taste a boatload of wine (seriously). A 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 on Stanthewineman.com. Here for your reading pleasure, are five wines that I have reviewed in my Moleskine (good or bad), this past week.

2017 The Ned Pinot Noir (Marlburough, New Zealand)… $18.

A little smoke and char on the nose with a backdrop of dark cherries and red flowers with a kiss of cranberries. Cranberries and cherries on the palate with a splash of orange citrus front to finish. The citrus notes peak on the mid-palate into the cranberry-citrus driven finish with a touch of smoke underneath. (B-)

2015 Villalta Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore (Veneto, Italy)…$20.

Aromas of ripe currants, rose petal and rust. Currant and rust notes blend seamlessly on the palate with red flower and spice notes underneath. There is a slight tobacco hit on the mid-palate leading into a savory, long finish. Good acidity that is nicely integrated and will give it some aging potential. Maybe 5-8 years. (A-)

2017 Ca’ Dei Zago Prosecco (Valdobbiadene, Italy)… $21.

Aromas of yeast, bread dough, nuts and apples with a touch of pear. Sweet fruit on the palate up front and dries out on the crisp finish. Citrus and apple notes front to finish, backed by solid, balanced acidity. Nut and yeast note lurk in the background and come out on the finish where they linger. (B-/B)

2019 Villa Sparina Gavi Cortese (Gavi, Italy)… $16.

Applesauce, wet stone and apricot on the nose. Fresh on the palate, with notes of apple and apricot that expand on the mid-palate into the minerally finish where the apple notes take over with apricot in the background. Excellent balance of acidity, fruit and minerality with a long finish. (A+)

2018 The Ned Pinot Noir Rose’ (Marlburough, New Zeland)… $15.

Sweaty arm pits on the nose, joined by cherry and pink rose petal notes. Almost too powerful in the stink department. Strawberries and cherries on the palate, balanced by nicely integrated acidity. The fruit is ripe with a hit of watermelon joining up on the finish. This does not pretend to be a dry rose’ by any means, but it is well made. (C+/B-)

Cheers!

Stan The Wine Man

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FRIDAY’S FIVE

In a week’s time, I taste a boatload of wine (seriously). A 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 on Stanthewineman.com. Here for your reading pleasure, are five wines that I have reviewed in my Moleskine (good or bad), this past week.

2019 Fat Bastard Les Freres Bastards Rose’ (France)… $11.

Aromas of dried herbs, strawberries, watermelon and a kiss of cherries. Very light strawberry and watermelon notes on a bed of crisp, acidity. Quite watered down on the palate, especially on the finish where it is almost like flavored water. Very simple and lacks flavor. Grenache, Syrah Merlot (D+)

2017 Leyda Pinot Noir (Valle De Leyda, Chile)… $14.

Smoked strawberries and cherries on the nose with a little bit of diesel underneath. Smoked cherries come through on the palate, backed by solid acidity and a hit of rubber boot. Spice notes come through on the back-end with a good shot of black pepper and rubber boot. Quite thin in the mouth front to finish. (D+/C-)

2016 Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Carmenere Apalta Vineyard (Valle De Colchcagua Apalta, Chile)… $20.

Aromas of tomato stem, twigs, perfumed cherries and rhubarb with a little hit of red flowers. Tobacco and earth surround notes of dark cherries and bittersweet chocolate on the palate supported by chalky tannins. A little veggie action joins up on the mid-palate into the finish where white pepper joins the party, lingering with the tobacco and earth notes. There is just a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon. (B+)

2014 Duorum Colheita Tinto (Douro, Portugal)… $19.

Sweet beets on the nose joined by dirt and candied cherries with a small hit of rose petal. Solid currant notes on the palate that rest on a bed of earth and dried bark. The tannins are tight and soft. Rose petal notes sneak in on the back of the mid-palate into a dirty, currant driven finish where black and white pepper notes sneak in and linger. Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (B+)

2019 Aveleda Vinho Verde (Portugal)

Melon and minerality on the nose with a kiss of white flowers and apples. Granny Smith apples on the palate with a kiss of lime and lemon. Good balance and very clean. Vibrant on the finish where notes of Jolly Rancher green apple and melon sneak in with a touch of fizz. Fresh, clean and delicious. (C+/B-)

Cheers!

Stan The Wine Man

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