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 Beaumont Cellars Cabernet Franc (Ancient Lakes, WA)… $32.
Aromas of bark, tobacco, currants, stewed meats, dark cherries and a hint of coffee bean. There is way to much lumber on this baby and it buries the fruit. Pull the wood away and you get notes of black pepper, spice, tobacco and currants with a healthy dose of bark. This is a classic example of a wine that could shine without all the oak. (C-)
2012 Beaumont Cellars Petit Verdot (Wahluke Slope, WA)… $35.
This is old school juice, with notes of red flowers, violets, red cherries, cranberries and a touch of bark on the nose. The is a slight hit of blackberries and tar on the back-end. Black olives on the palate with a dose of cherries and currants. Like its sibling, this red has a healthy dose of oak and bark notes with a touch of green tobacco and violets. This baby finishes clean and lean. It reminds me a lot of a Bordeaux in style, but the oak puts it out of balance. (C)
2011 Louis Jadot Chablis (Chablis, France)… $26.
Slate, lemon, chalk, tarragon and melon on the nose. Classic Chardonnay from the northern end of Burgundy…Chalk, slate and lemon notes come through on the palate with herbal notes on the clean, chalky finish. Good fruit, medium acidity, good balance. This is a great bang-for-the-buck. (A-)
2011 Laroche Petit Chablis (Chablis, France)… $29.
There are four distinct quality levels in Chablis, but I find that although Petit Chablis is considered the bottom tier, it can shine through even ahead of some its snotty peers. As noted, this demands a higher price than the Louis Jadot version which is from the next level of quality “Chablis” (the other levels are Chablis Premier Cru & Chablis Grand Cru).
Aromas of wet stone, chalk, fresh-cut grass and lemon. This wine has a little Old English lemon polish mixed with rocks and herbs on the palate (use your imagination on that one). There is a nice fullness on the mid-palate, but then it goes dry and herbal on the mineral driven finish. Good acidity and balance, this gem proves that pedigree doesn’t always mean it’s going to be better. (A)
2012 Louis Bernard Cotes-du-Rhone (Rhone Valley, France)… $10.
Notes of cherries and currants come through on the nose with a backdrop of earth and tar with hints of tobacco and red flowers. Smoked meat notes on the palate backed by notes of currants and pepper. Sturdy structure with a backbone of earth and forest floor notes, finishing with tobacco and red flowers blended with the fruit notes. This is true Rhone wine with a lot of “old world” character, yet with enough fruit to keep the mainline wine drinker interested. This is a stupid price for such a well-made wine. (B+)
2012 Carmenet Cabernet Sauvignon “Vintners Collection” (California)… $10.
Aromas of currants, oak, spice, vanilla and a backdrop of blackberries. Smokey currants on the palate backed by notes of vanilla and mocha front to back. Oak notes seem a little fake, but not enough to take away too much from the wine. Smooth, structured tannins with a nice core of red flowers and just a touch of grip on the finish. Not bad for the price (C+)
2013 Poggio Morino Vermentino (Tuscany, Italy)… $12.
Lemon oil and saline on the nose joined by notes of wet stone and a back-end of herbs. Very steely on the palate with notes of honey and lemon all day. This wine is borderline grassy with a good hit of minerals and dried herbs on the pleasing finish. Tuscany is not my normal place to seek out Vermentino, but this one is not bad. (B-)
Non-Vintage Francois Diligent Champagne Brut Rose` La Cote des Bar (Champagne, France)… $40.
Strawberry jam and pie crust all over the nose. Bone dry on the palate with notes of strawberries a hit of peach and yeast notes. Excellent acidity and balance. This is not a bad price for the quality, and if you are a big rose` Champagne fan like I am, this is worth the dough. (B+/A-)
2012 Castillo De Daroca (Calatayud, Spain)… $8.
Loads of plums and blackberries on the nose with a hit of red flowers and licorice. Dark plums and blackberries up front with a trace of white pepper and minerals. Red flower notes join the party on the mid-palate with a little tobacco sneaking in. A little bright on the finish with notes of red flowers, tobacco and cherries with trace white pepper notes. A blend of Grenache and Syrah. )(C+/B-)
2011 Obelisco Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Red Mountain, WA)… $50.
Currant, cherries, oak and tobacco comes through on the nose with a touch of Red Mt. dirt, green bell pepper and red flowers. Fairly intense of the palate with firm smooth tannins backing notes of red and black currants with hits of spice. There is a layer of oak underneath with a little tobacco and forest floor. A heavy dose of currants on the finish backed by spice and tobacco notes, which have a little lift from the acidity. This is my first taste of wine from this producer, and I was more than pleasantly surprised. (A-)
2011 Obelisco Estate Syrah “Les Gosses Vineyards” (Red Mountain, WA)… $40.
Aromas of smokey currants and boysenberries with an edge of bacon-fat, blue fruits and a touch of oak. Round and smooth notes of currants and blueberries with hits of vanilla and bacon-fat. A beam of acidity supports the dense fruit notes with an underbelly of tar and earth notes. Excellent structure and complexity with notes of tobacco and fruit on the long finish and a touch of licorice that lingers. (A+)
2012 Fidelitas 4040 Red (Red Mountain, WA)… $32.
Aromas of currants and dark cherries, with a backdrop of oak, tobacco, red flowers, chocolate and vanilla (I really don’t expect you to get all that, I get carried away). Bold and spicy on the palate with notes of currants and cherries front to finish. Firm, smooth tannins carry the fruit notes into a finish of currants, cherries, tobacco and chocolate with a trace of veggie coming through on the back-end. A touch tight, and will benefit from a couple more years in bottle. (A)
2012 La Merika Chardonnay (Central Coast, CA)… $17.
Very buttery on the nose with hits of butterscotch, pineapple and pear notes. Fresh on the palate with a nice buttery edge (nice combo). It gets a little creamy on the mid-palate with notes of pear and butterscotch coming through. Good balance and a pleasing finish adds up to a very nice Chardonnay for the price. (B+)
Stan The Wine Man