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 Milbrandt Vineyards “Traditions” Chardonnay (Columbia Valley, WA)… $11.
Very aromatic on the nose with notes of pears, lemon and baking spices. Nice and creamy on the palate with a steely edge on the back-round. Notes of pears and spices come through in spades with a touch of lemon and steel start to finish. Very balance with a nice integration of fruit, acidity and oak (although the oak treatment is not heavy as the price indicates). (B)
2012 Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir (Dundee Hills, Oregon)… $42.
Just so you are not confused in any way, Dundee Hills is now a sub-appellation in the much larger Willamette Valley appellation. Domaine Drouhin is a huge player in the Willamette Valley and puts out some of the best Pinot Noir I have tasted in my wine career. This is no exception, especially from this outstanding vintage.
Aromas of dark cherries, strawberries, dusty rocks, leather, black tea and root beer, with some interesting herbal components. Full almost plush notes of cherries and currants on the palate, joined by leather, root beer and black tea on the mid-palate and finish. There is a nice bright back-bone front to back with a little “grip” on the long finish. Excellent structure and balance, this wine will only get better over the next 5-8 years. (A-/A)
2011 Foris Pinot Noir (Rogue Valley, Oregon)… $17.
The 2011 vintage in the Willamette Valley had mixed reviews, as mother nature did no favors for the wine makers. There were some really nice pinot noir and some not so good. Down south in the Rogue Valley where it is a little warmer, the 2011 vintage was not as tough. This Foris Pinot Noir is testament to that.
Aromas of black tea, dark cherries, earth, leather, bark, root beer, thyme and a little black raspberry hit on the back-end (now that is an interesting nose my friends). Black raspberries and dark cherries on the front of the palate with an edge of black tea. Solid fruit front to finish with underlying Earl Grey tea and beauty bark notes. A little sarsaparilla joins the party on the medium length finish. Nice balance, not high in acidity, but still lively. For the price, this is a steal. (B+)
2011 Milbrandt Vineyards “Brothers Blend” Red (Columbia Valley, WA)… $15.
This wine got some special treatment. The assistant wine maker (former now) inadvertently put vineyard designate syrah in this blend, so you are not only getting what is normally a very good “kitchen sink” red, you are getting an especially good blend with some juice that was intended to be bottled as a single vineyard wine (I wasn’t sure if this was to be kept secret…Too late!).
Aromas of blackberries, currants, licorice, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and a touch of tobacco. Very perfumed on the nose. Nice bright edge of blackberries, cherries and currants come through on the palate. Tobacco and baking spices join the party on the mid-palate followed by a spicy red cherry driven finish with licorice and baking spice notes lingering. Nice balance of acidity and fruit giving it a freshness on the palate. Not too shabby for fifteen bucks. (B+)
2012 Kevin White Winery La Fraternite Red (Yakima Valley, WA)… $28.
This is the second vintage from Kevin and I have to tell you that I fell head-over-heels for the first one, and I have been so looking forward to this release. I was a little disappointed that the price went up but that did not stop me from giving it a try.
Red cherries, strawberries, white pepper, marinated meat, thyme and red flower notes come through on this complex nose. Polished fruit on the palate, with notes of cherries and strawberries coming through. Thyme, rose petal and white pepper notes join the party backed by fresh, sweet tannins. The fruit darkens as it comes through the finish that has just a little grip on the back-end. This second effort did not let me down and I would not be afraid to lay this down for 5-8 years. 41% Grenache, 40% Mourvedre, 19% Syrah. (B+/A-)
2012 Kevin White Winery En Homage Red (Columbia Valley, WA)… $28.
There are only two wines in Kevin’s portfolio, and this is the second one. The composition on this one is almost reverse of the La Fraternite. 82% Syrah, 15% Grenache and 3% Mourvedre.
Aromas of charred black cherries, smoke and bacon fat with a hint of blueberries. Dark red cherries and blueberries all over the palate, backed by notes of smoke and tobacco. The wine expands on the mid-palate leading into a clean finish with smokey notes lingering. There is excellent balance of acidity and fruit with smooth tannins that show just a touch of attitude on the finish. The Syrah really comes through on this blend. (B+/A-)
2011 Waters Winery Interlude Red (Washington State)… $30.
Aromas of red cherries, blackberries, sage and thyme come through on the nose with a hit of alcohol. This red has a bright core front to back on the palate with notes of cherries, under-ripe blackberries, sage and tobacco with a hit of cranberry sneaking in on the back-end. There is a little blueberry action that lingers on the finish. Dusty, structured tannins give this red a little “old world” feel on the palate. 61% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Malbec, 11% Petit Verdot. (B-)
2011 Domaine Henri Boillot Savigny-Les-Beaune Les Lavieres 1st Cru (Burgundy, France)… $77.
I’m reading my notes, and wracking my brain trying to remember who tasted me on this Burgundy…I simply cannot recall. Such is life in the world of wine, where you taste a zillion wines over the course of a month.
Aromas of red flowers, cherries and earth. This wine is very youthful, exhibiting notes of cranberries, lemon, orange peel and crushed rock. Mouth-watering acidity backs the fruit and earthy notes, yet the wine has good balance, and should age nicely. (B)
2012 Sartarelli Verdicchio (Castelli di Jesi, Italy)… $14.
Sartarelli is an iconic Verdicchio producer, so I was excited to give this a try. Brine aromas of peaches, tangerine and lemon grass. Saline notes come through on the palate with a little oily component. Notes of peaches and tangerines are backed by bright acidity that penetrates and compliments the oily texture in the mouth. There is a slate element that comes through on the finish with hits of peach skin and lemon pith. If you haven’t experienced a Verdicchio from Italy, I would suggest you give this a try. (B+)
2011 Waterbrook Winery Syrah (Columbia Valley, WA)… $14.
Aromas of red flowers, blueberries, red licorice, currants and a touch of toasty oak. Blueberries all day on the palate with a kiss of red currants, licorice and bark. Good acidity front to back with a fresh blueberry, licorice finish. (B+)
2013 Arca Nove Vinho Verde (Portugal)… $10.
Vinho Verde is known as the “green wine” and usually has a little spritz to it. It also has a reputation for being relatively inexpensive and an easy drinking white with low alcohol. That being said, it is sad when one comes in at a mere ten bucks and is considered expensive. One taste of this little gem and you will feel quite comfortable spending a couple of bucks more.
On the nose, notes of cantaloupe, grass, minerals and apples. Cantaloupe notes come through on the palate, joined by notes of lemon, limes, cut grass and a dash of crushed rocks and apples. Citrus notes linger on the dry finish. This white has a lot to offer for the price, and talk about a summer sipper… BANG! (B+)
2013 Le Cole No 41 Chenin Blanc “Old Vines” (Columbia Valley, WA)… $16.
Slightly perfumed on the nose with notes of lanolin, apples and lemon pith. Lemon oil notes come through on the palate joined by notes of apples and lanolin. The wine seems almost oily on the palate, but the citrus and tangerine notes cut it. It finishes with a slight savory edge with a steely edge to it on the finish. This is a creamy white with a bright edge to it, keeping it lively on the palate. I believe that this may be the best Chenin Blanc I have tasted from this winery. (B+/A-)
Non-Vintage Albert Bichot Brut Reserve Cremant De Bourgogne (Burgundy, France)… $22.
Melon, apples and dusty rocks come through on the nose. Bubble-gummy on the palate with notes of yeast, apples, marzipan and a touch of bread dough. Very dry on the finish with good length. Some of the best values in sparkling wine carry the “Cremant” signature. (B+)