As expected, it has been hectic at the store. The weather didn’t cooperate for the 4th of July, but that didn’t stop people from coming to visit our beautiful island. Every year, I get caught off-guard with specific categories of wine that take-off during the summer months. You’d think after all the years I’ve been doing this, I would have things dialed in. Who knew that everyone and their uncle would be buying sparkling wine for the 4th this year. That section got wiped out almost immediately. I prepared for red wine to sell since the weather, which was forecast to be cooler and rainy, would favor Cabs and red blends. But no; everyone seemed to be in a festive mood and wanted to pop the bubbles or have an Aperol spritzer. One thing is sure; people can be unpredictable!

Another thing I didn’t take into consideration is the price of gasoline. Boaters were not in abundance as they usually would be this time of year. At six or more bucks a gallon, I don’t even want to think about how much it would cost to fill up a good-sized yacht. Therefore, the boxed wine sales waned (yes, even people with yachts buy boxed wine), which I did not anticipate. Needles to say, I have enough boxed wine left over after the 4th to get me through the next couple of weeks. Even a seasoned vet like myself can’t think of everything.

My wife Susie and I are getting very excited about our upcoming trip to France, which includes a stop in Paris and then on to the Rhone Valley. We will head to Lyon first, then on to Avignon and ending in Nice. Neither of us has been to the heart of the Rhone Valley, although Susie has been to Nice in the past. Of course, there will be some winery visits involved. It will be very close to harvest, so I don’t expect to chat with any winemakers. Most likely and hopefully I will have a tour guide who will show me around the winery. Good enough for me! Susie is fervently planning our itinerary, she is the best.

I have been quiet on my YouTube channel lately. I appreciate how important it is to put up fresh content on a regular basis. However, it is always difficult during the summer months due to the increase in demands on my schedule. I did shoot an interesting episode on vegan wines with Mike Sharadin who owns a vegan restaurant in the heart of Friday Harbor. I also put out an episode featuring Greek whites. Greek whites (sans Retsina) are starting to gain in popularity, and the two I reviewed are quite interesting.

In the next few episodes, I will focus on wines from Portugal, one of the most misunderstood wine regions in the world, yet they produce some of the best values you can find. Of course, Port and Vinho Verde are well known, but that is just scratching the service of wines Portugal produces. I have a feeling it’s the grape varietals that throw people off. What the hell is Fernao Pires, Roupeiro, Arinto or Loureiro? Those are a few white varietals that come out of this country. For red varietals you may see on the label Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Castelao or Trincadeira. Consumers sometimes avoid buying something they are uncomfortable with, mainly because they don’t know what it is. I’ve put out a few stacks of Portuguese wines at the store with measured success. I love it when people experiment with new things, especially when it comes to wine. The cool thing about Portugal is the wines are, in most cases, priced right. It will be fun to feature them on my YouTube channel and hopefully pique people’s interest to go out and purchase a few bottles and expand their palate horizons.


Stan The Wine Man

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One has to wonder why things happen the way they do in our lives. For instance, a group of us were up in the warehouse recently, talking about someone we knew, but haven’t seen in a while. Low and behold, when I went downstairs to the store guess who was shopping? If one pays attention, this kind of thing happens more than we dare to think. Another example of this strange phenomenon. In the past month or so, many samples of wine have been put in front of me to try. In most cases, there is quite a variety of wines to muse over. Strangely enough, two varietals have been presented repeatedly by different vendors… Chenin Blanc and Mencia. Neither of these varietals is what I would call mainstream. What are the chances that four different reps in the span of a month would place a bottle of Mencia in front of me to try? Granted, one of them landed as my “Pick Of The Month” for June and it has been doing quite well. However, I don’t foresee Mencia being the new hot item in the wine world. The same could be said about Chenin Blanc. Yet, both varietals have been presented to me consistently over the past couple of months. Coincidence? Maybe, but it does make you wonder.

I took up running again. I was an avid runner about ten years ago, but something happened in my life that took the wind out of my running sails. About a month ago, I decided it was time to get back to doing something that I really enjoyed in the past. Because of my personality, I have to be careful not to get out of balance. Running is a great way to stay fit and healthy, but I can’t let it take away from other aspects of my life. I actually planned on running this morning, but I have been neglecting my blog and I needed to write this piece. I had to make a decision… Run or write? I think for me, the problem lies in this fact. I’m fearful that if I skip a day, I will then skip two days, which will turn into a week and then a month. Before I know it, I have stopped my running routine. Silly you say? I bet a lot of you have gone through the same type of thought process at some point in your life. Both running and writing are hard, obviously in a different way. Running is a physical and mental challenge, whereas writing is simply a mental challenge. There have been times when I feel that mentally writing is in fact harder than running.

Summer has finally arrived! After a cold and wet spring, the warmth of the sun is a nice change. The grass likes it too. With all the water in the ground, once the sun starts shining, you can almost see the grass grow. I love to mow grass, it’s kind of therapeutic for me. However, I have had enough mowing therapy for now. Fortunately, in a couple of weeks, the growth will slow down as the grass and ground dry up. Then, I will have more time to write. I have to say that between running, mowing, or writing, mowing is the easiest.


Stan The Wine Man

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My YouTube channel is more than a hobby for me. I really enjoy reviewing wines and educating my audience. It’s very interesting to see which subjects garner the most views. I did an episode entitled “Can you age inexpensive wines and it has over five-thousand views.

One of my most popular episodes.

I do my best to make each episode informative and entertaining. My most recent episode features a review of Viognier, a white that not everyone is familiar with and it’s hard to pronounce.

Viognier is a personal favorite of mine, so it was fun to do this episode. I hope you become a fan as well.

The one that surprised me somewhat was the interest in the episode on Carmenere, which to date has almost twenty-four hundred views.

I had no idea this episode would be this popular. Who knew?

If you haven’t done so yet, check out my channel. I believe you will find it entertaining and educational. Subscribe to my channel and you will be alerted when I put up a new episode. That way, you don’t miss out.

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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 recently tasted.

2018 Francois Lurton Domaine De Nizas Red (Languedoc, France)… $15.

Aromas of raw meat, Iron, plums, oranges and blackberries. Boysenberries, crushed rock and orange peel on the palate, supported by meaty tannins. This has a leathery mouthfeel with plum notes sneaking in on the mid-palate with a hit of white pepper. Long finish where tobacco and earth notes sneak in. Nice balance of acidity, fruit and minerality. A lot of wine for the money. 60% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre, 5% Carignan (B/B+)

2016 Ego Bodega El Goru Red (Jumilla, Spain)… $11.

Aromas of boysenberry, smoke, char, plums and an interesting hit of grass. Big boysenberry and plum notes on the palate front to finish that rest on silky, structured tannins. Tobacco notes come out on the mid-palate into the finish where black olive notes sneak in with a hit of red fruit notes on the back-end. Good integration and balance. 61% Monastrell, 34% Syrah, 5% Petit Verdot (B/B+)

2020 Aubon Climat Chardonnay (Santa Barbara County, CA)… $23.

Pineapple, banana and butterscotch on the nose. This has a buttery mouthfeel that surrounds notes of pineapple, butterscotch and pear notes that are not dominated by oak. Good balance and integration with a fresh finish. (B)

2020 Tread Lightly Chenin Blanc (South Africa)… $12.

Nutty on the nose with notes of soap, fig, wet wool and a kiss of melon. Big fig notes on the front of the palate, balanced by notes of mixed nuts and wet wool front to finish where the wool notes linger, joined by a kiss of white pepper. Solid Chenin from a country that is well-known for this varietal. The name “Tread Lightly” refers to the winery’s goal to leave a very small carbon footprint. (B+)

2019 Domaine William Fevre Chablis (Burgundy, France)… $45.

A touch of stink action on the noes (hair perm comes to mind) with notes of popcorn kernel, pear, apple and quince. Pear and apple notes on the front of the finish with a hint of lemon sneaking in on the mid-palate into the finish. Chalk and crushed seashell notes lie underneath. The fruit notes are ripe but balanced by crisp, fresh acidity and minerality. This baby has a long finish. Unoaked Chardonnay at its best. (B+/A-)


Stan The Wine Man

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