The Seahawks started off with an impressive win and perhaps they should have, since the Colts may struggle this season. I was offered tickets to see them at their first home game this coming Sunday. The idea of wearing a mask outside in the stadium does not appeal to my wife and me. I’m sure I echo many of you when I say that the mask mandate has to go. If someone wants to wear one wherever they go, fine. I have no problem with that. However, don’t make me wear one if I don’t want to. Washington State is one of only five states to mandate mask-wearing. No wonder folks are migrating to places like Idaho or Montana where wearing a mask is unheard of.

On a brighter note, I’m working on an article about my personal wine cellar. It was suggested to me that many would be interested to know what I put away for future drinking. I cellar a lot of budget wines and have been quite successful with the results. One of my most watched YouTube episodes is titled “Can you age inexpensive wines.” You may want to check it out. There are three key elements to consider when deciding whether a wine will improve over time. I talk about those key factors in the episode I threw up a link for above. My YouTube channel is nearing five hundred followers. I will be very excited when I hit that milestone!

Fall is just around the corner, bringing a whole new wine buying pattern for consumers. Rose’ purchases have already slowed down quite a bit. There are still diehard Rose’ drinkers like myself who will never give up the pink. However, most wine drinkers start gravitating towards heartier reds and believe it or not, Chardonnay. Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and other crisp whites dominate sales in the summer. Chardonnay does well of course, but as the air cools down, folks look to richer whites. I actually got caught off guard this past week and ran out of a lot of the popular Chardonnays in my department. As red wine and richer white wine sales pick up, I will be changing my buying patterns as well.

Interestingly, for my “Pick Of The Month”, I only chose one white during this summer. I focused on lighter style reds that could be enjoyed in warmer weather as well as reds that would be great with grilled foods. For some reason, I did not run across a white wine that I felt would blow out of the store. I stick to my eighty percent formula, meaning that I believe eighty percent of the customers who buy my pick for the month will like it. I have been fairly successful with this approach. My assistant Scott and I will try wines together and when one rolls along that falls into this category, Scott will look at me and say “This is an eighty percenter.” It is quite gratifying to see his progression over the years. I believe he has been my assistant for six years now and his wine knowledge and understanding of what most customers will like has improved dramatically. We both enjoy what we do and I think we make a good team.


Stan The Wine Man

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Once again it’s time to share some of my latest tasting notes.
Every week I have salespeople stop by my office to share samples, hoping that one of them appeals to me and I make a purchase for the store. I have to tell you that on average, only about ten percent of the wines I try end up somewhere in my department, whether it’s a shelf placement or a stack on the floor. This is my favorite time of the year because now I have time to take notes on all the wines presented to me (at least I hope so). Here are notes from five of the wines I have tasted recently.

2016 Hence Cellars Cabernet Franc (Red Mountain, WA)… $35.

Aromas of tobacco and currants with a tiny hit of cranberry, dried branches and chocolate. Currant and chocolate notes on the palate with a hit of veggie in the background, front to finish where BBQ spice notes join the palate party along with a big hit of tobacco. Excellent structure and balance with a lingering finish. B+/A-

2016 Chateau Mayne-Vieil Bordeaux Rouge (Fronsac, France)… $15.

Ripe currants on the nose along with notes of tobacco, wet stone and leather. Black currants, spice, wet stone, tobacco and leather all mingle nicely together on the palate. A touch of veggie comes through on the mid=palate and disappears on the finish that is fresh with mineral notes lingering. Nicely integrated acidity with good balance and complexity, especially at this price. Let it breathe and you will be rewarded. (B+)

2018 Mas Theo Petit Gaby Red (Vin de France)… $18.

Aromas of cranberries, cherries, tobacco and red flowers. Ripe cranberries and cherries on the palate with a kiss of blueberries front to finish where the cranberry and blueberry notes linger. The solid, nicely integrated acidity, gives the wine a crunchy mouthfeel that is tense but not tart. Excellent pizza and burger wine. Made using biodynamic practices. 40% Grenache, 40% Syrah, 20% Carignan (B-)

2020 Gard Grand Klasse Rose’ (Royal Slope, WA)… $25.

Strawberries and raspberries on the nose with a kiss of cooked popcorn kernels. Strawberry and spice notes all day on the palate, this baby is dry with solid fruit notes front to a clean finish. It’s like biting into a ripe strawberry with a splash of acidity and a sprinkle of white pepper with good balance. (B+/A-)

2019 Domaine Ansen Edelzwicker (Alsace, France)… $23.

Lemon, orange and melon on the nose with a kiss of wet stone. Sweet orange and lemon notes on the palate with melon notes thrown in the mix. Apple notes sneak in on the mid-palate into the finish. Fresh, balanced acidity. This baby is a “10” in the delicious category! If you have a spicy noodle dish, this would be a perfect compliment. Edelzwicker means “Noble Blend”. 80% Sylvaner, 20% Muscat (B-)


Stan The Wine Man

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Every month I stack a wine at the front of my department and declare it my pick for the month. I normally post it on this blog, but lately, I have been remiss in my duties. Let’s call this a fresh start. I tried this little gem recently and was quite impressed with what I found for twelve bucks.

2019 Renegade Wine Co. Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley, WA)… $12.

Aromas of currants and tobacco with a hit of dark red flowers and licorice. Currant notes big-time on the palate, lifted by nicely integrated acidity and supported by structured, approachable tannins. Red flower notes sneak in on the mid-palate and linger with the currant notes on the finish where there is a kiss of cranberry. A solid food Cab that could easily be enjoyed all by itself. I would pair this with burgers, steak, roast, or spaghetti with a red sauce and some meatballs. A solid Cab at a stupid price. (B-/B)


Stan The Wine Man

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August is the second Washington State wine month of the year, with March being the first. Washington wine makes up about a third of the wines I taste over the course of a month. I thought it appropriate to share my tasting notes on some I have recently reviewed.

2017 Three Of Cups L’Astre Syrah (Walla Walla Valley, WA)…$32.

Aromas of blueberries, raspberries, tar and tobacco. Blueberries, earth and tobacco on the palate with a solid underbelly of raspberries and spices that come on strong on the back-end. Tobacco notes linger with the spices. This baby is fresh with good acidity that is nicely integrated. The fruit notes expand on the mid-palate as the wine freshens on the finish. This wine screams for food. Don’t be afraid to age it for up to eight-plus years. (B-/B)

2017 Pamplin Family Winery Red I.Q. (Columbia Valley, WA)… $15.

Vanilla, blackberries and currants on the nose which is quite perfumed and expressive with hints of chocolate and tomato leaf coming through. Smooth tannins support notes of currants and blackberries with chocolate lying underneath. There is a tiny hit of veggie that sneaks in here and there. Seamless across the palate into the finish where a hit of tobacco and earth joins in. A lot of wine for the money. 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 13% Petit Verfot (A-)

2019 Jaine Sauvignon Blanc (Columbia Valley, WA)… $20.

Green grape seeds, melon and apple on the nose. Melon and citrus notes hit on the front of the palate, joined by green grape seed and green apple on the mid-palate into the finish. Balanced, linear acidity drives the fruit notes front to finish. (B)

2016 W.T. Vintners Mourvedre Boushey Vineyards (Yakima Valley, WA)… $44.

Aromas of coffee bean, plums, boysenberries and hints of raspberry. Coffee bean, plum and raspberry notes mingle together on silky tannins. A spine of acidity lifts the fruit notes and keeps it fresh in the mouth. Coffee bean, raspberry and plum notes linger on the finish. This is an elegant wine that would benefit greatly from food. (B)

2017 Cana’s Feast Bricco Red (Columbia Valley, WA)… $18.

Tons of dried bark on the nose, joined by notes of cherries, strawberries and tarragon. Rust, cherry and red flower notes mingle on the palate, front to finish. This baby is light-bodied yet intense at the same time. Tobacco notes hit on the mid-palate into the finish and lingers with the rust and fruit. A nice balance of rusticity and fruit. 53% Sangiovese, 15% Barbera, 14% Syrah, 10% Primitivo, 8% Nebbiolo (B/B+)


Stan The Wine Man

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