Not being a very superstitious guy by nature, I thought it would be fun to select thirteen wines from my Moleskine that stood out to me in a very positive or negative way every Friday. I believe it is true that it is harder and harder to run across a badly made wine, although it does happen from time to time. In fact, it still happens more than I would like.

A practice I think is quite atrocious is how many wine periodicals leave out any negative reviews of wine. This is no doubt due by and large to the heavy amount of graft and advertising that goes on in the wine world. I’m not saying that I enjoy bashing a wine. I understand the effort that went into making it, along with the passion. However, the winery is asking the consumer to spend their hard-earned money on one of their bottles, and it is my job to make sure it is money well spent.

I will crush a wine (no pun intended) if I think it is a waste of money, and highly praise a wine that is an overachiever. So here goes my first(but not last) Friday’s thirteen….Enjoy!

1) 2010 Kennedy Shah Merlot (Rattlesnake Hills, WA)… $14.

This is a winery that makes the huge mistake of using several labels on their wines, losing some brand recognition in the process. This is a wine produced by Woodhouse Wine Estates, and you wouldn’t know that unless you looked at the back of the label. Woodhouse Wine Estates is awesome, and they are responsible for this Merlot.
Aromas of tobacco, veggies, mint, under-ripe red cherries, blackberries and worn leather. Plush currant notes hit the front of the palate, with underlying chocolate notes that develop on the mid-palate. Nice flow across the palate finishing with crushed rock, chocolate/vanilla and grape juice with a splash of spice. This is some serious juice for the dough. (A-)

2) 2012 Maryhill Viognier (Columbia Valley, WA)… $12.

Notes of coconut, papaya, and orange come through on the nose in a very fresh manner with underlying hits of apple. Fairly plush on the front of the palate with notes of papaya, mango, apple and hits of coconut on the mid-palate. This wine stays fresh without getting heavy, maintaining its balance. Finishes with notes of peach and mango that linger. There is a beam of apple from front to finish. (A-) B+

3) 2011 For A Song “The Score” Merlot (Columbia Valley, WA)… $12.

Aromas of currants, blackberry pie, dust and worn leather. Nice acidity on the palate (food wine baby), with notes of blackberries and cherries up front. Polished, smooth tannins carry the fruit notes joined by charcoal and spice on the medium to long finish. A really good value at twelve bucks. (B)

4) 2012 Alexandria Nicole Shepherds Mark White Destiny Ridge Vineyards (Horse Heaven Hills, WA)… $19.

Apples, papaya and coconut flakes with underlying pear and glycerine notes all over the nose. A little spritzy and fresh on the palate with notes of grass, apple skins, mango, pear and a hint of lime sorbet coming through. There is an underlying richness, but it stays fresh.Lime sorbet, spice and pear notes linger on the finish. The spritz up front is slightly off-putting, but the rest of the experience makes up for it. 65% roussane, 20% marsanne and 15% viognier (B)

5) Non-Vintage Humble Roots Estate Wines Blend No. 10 (Rattlesnake Hills, WA)… $13.

Aromas of cola, twigs, black tea and black licorice. Perfumed notes of red currants, blackberries, mint and chamomile join the party on the backside. A little tight on the front of the palate with notes of currants, and cherries sneaking through. There is a backbone of black tea and minerals start to finish. Finishes with strong spice notes joined by herbs and root beer with a splash of mint tea. It definitely needs to be decanted, and is one of those wines that fall into my quirky “like” category. (B-)
6) 2012 A To Z Pinot Gris (Oregon)… $14.

I don’t know how many of you have heard that the 2012 vintage in Oregon and Washington was awesome. That being said, I have found some raging Pinot Gris out of Oregon from 2012…. This is no exception.
Aromas of honey, peaches, apples, coconut and a hit of watermelon rind on the back-end. Apple notes come through on the palate with underlying hits of pear and peach. Fresh acidity backs the fruit notes. Nice flow across the palate with apple skin and peach pit notes lingering. (B-)

7) 2009 Canas Feast Two Rivers Red (Columbia Valley, WA)… $18.

On the nose aromas of black olive, black currants, vanilla, smoke, bacon and a hit of alcohol. There is heat in the kitchen on this one with notes of bright cherries, currants and coffee bean on creamy tannins. It switches gears on the mid-palate with notes of chocolate, currants and tobacco through the finish with white pepper notes lingering. (B-)

8) 2007 Beresan Merlot (Columbia Valley, WA)… $25.

I was pleasantly surprised by this wine, since I had some bad mojo in my mind about this winery (I’m not sure why). This experience dispelled any of those feelings.
A little poopy on the nose (that’s o.k.) with notes of violets, rose petal, currants and cherries with underlying crushed rock notes. Balanced on the palate with notes of black currants, chocolate, cherries and underlying minerality on plush tannins. The chocolate notes are prominent on the mid-palate leading into a finish of worn leather, chocolate, currants and spices that linger for some time. This wine never goes to the fruit-bomb world. It has structure and acidity that give it life and keeps it in check. Great Merlot! (A)

9) 2010 Chatter Creek Merlot (Yakima Valley, WA)… $22.

If you want to understand the descriptor “BBQ spices”, look no further then Gordy Rawson’s Chatter Creek wines. It’s his style of wine making and it works.
Very perfumed on the nose with notes of BBQ spices, currants, vanilla and mocha. There is a tiny hit of veggies that come through. BBQ spices and currants all over the front of the palate on soft tannins and a nice backbone of acidity. The wine expands on the mid-palate flowing into a finish of worn leather, mocha, chocolate, currants and spices with a tiny hit of Root beer coming through. The tannins get a little edgy on the long finish. (B+)

10) 2012 Butterfield Station Chardonnay (California)… $8.

Do you want a chardonnay, but you’re not in the mood for something oaky? This light, refreshing chardonnay will most likely do the trick for only eight bucks. Don’t expect too much on the nose however, this one is very challenged aromatically with just a tiny hit of apples coming through. Fresh on the palate with light notes of tangerine and lemon. Apple and pear notes come through on the mid-palate, leading into a finish of orange pith and light lemon notes. The finish is not too short, and I think for the money, this is a good value play if you are looking for something light and refreshing in the chardonnay category. (C+)

11) 2006 Villa Da Fillicaja Regina Christina Merlot (Tuscany, Italy)… $17.

I am always intrigued by merlot from Italy. I find some really good ones from this country where I know most people do not look for this varietal. This baby is old world with a poopy diaper nose along with cedar shavings and underlying currant notes. Decant it for an hour or so if you do not want to experience the poop on the nose. It continues the old world action on the palate with subtle currant notes nuanced by notes of forest floor, cedar, mushroom and leather. It gets a little spicy on the earthy, leather driven finish. It could use just a little more acidity, then this baby would rock. (B)

12) 2011 Domaine Du Prieure Pinot Noir (Burgundy, France)… $17.

I am the first to admit that I like quirky wines. I don’t mind a little acidity and poop and earthiness. But, I stop at downright disjointed, unbalanced, bad wines. I found nothing good about this wine, so my advice to you is don’t burn a twenty-dollar bill on this one.
The nose isn’t too bad with aromatic notes of rose petal and raspberries. This baby is so tight and tart on the palate, it made me pucker up and my lips crack. Way out of balance on the acidic scale, burying any fruit notes that try to come through. All I could get out of it was raspberry Sweet Tarts. This is a wine snobs pinot, because they would pride themselves in liking this tart juice and tell you that you don’t understand Burgundian pinot. They are full of s*^t. Don’t waste your time or money. (D-)

13) 2009 Nelms Road Merlot (Washington State)… $22.

Like the Beresan, this is what Washington Merlot is all about. A little challenged on the nose with trace notes of earth, beauty bark, dusty rocks, currants and mocha. Plush and structured on the palate with notes of black currants and chocolate up front. It expands on the mid-palate with a dose of spices joining the action. Delicious chocolate and currant notes on the finish with a hit of tobacco and bark with spices lingering. This is a drink now red and I believe they are almost out of this vintage, moving on to the 2012 vintage. Get some if you can, it is worth the experience. (A)

My first “Friday’s Thirteen” is in the books. Stay tuned for next week.

Cheers! Stan The Wine Man

About Stan The Wine Man

I am a blue collar wine guy who has been in the biz for over twenty years. I work at a store in a tourist destination stop. I work hard at finding the best wine for the money. I love the challenge of learning my customer's palate so I can find the best wine for them, whether it is Petrus or white zinfandel. Cheers!
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