2015 Bodegas Atalaya Laya Red (Almansa, Spain)… $10.
Aromas of blackberries and cherries all day with a little perfume and char action underneath. Dark cherries on the palate with a little blackberry action on soft, chalky tannins. Red flower notes and licorice lie underneath into a clean mineral finish. A blend of Garnacha Tintorera and Monastrell. (B+)
2010 The Bolney Blanc de Blanc Brut (Sussex, England)… $50.
Roasted almonds and crispy bread dough on the nose with a saline element coming through. Hints of minerals come through on the palate along with notes of yeast, bread dough, lime and kiwi. This baby sparkles in the mouth, with lime and kiwi notes lingering. Proof as to why the French are seeking land to plant vineyards in this part of England. Watch out Champagne here they come. (B+/A-)
Non-Vintage Digby English Brut (England)… $50.
Apples and almonds on the nose with a solid background of bread dough. Excellent, cutting acidity on the palate with notes of almonds and bread dough resting on a bed of tart lemon. Apple notes join up on the bracing finish as the lemon notes linger. Excellent balance of acidity and fruit. (A-)
2014 Gerard Fiou Terroir Silex Sancerre (Loire, France)… $20.
There is just a touch of stink action on the nose, joined by notes of cut grass, kiwi, grape seed and melon. Notes of lemon, lime and kiwi with just a touch of a bitter element, rests on backbone of slate and crushed rock in the mouth. There is a little steel element on the finish with notes of kiwi hanging out with its crushed rock buddies. A bargain for such a true to the varietal and terroir Sancerre. (A-)
2013 La Chablisienny La Pierrelee Chablis (Burgundy, France)… $20.
Very interesting on the nose with notes of stinky seashells, banana nut bread, minerals and hints of lemon. Dry and bright on the palate. Nicely integrated acidity backs notes of lemon, lime and kiwi on a bed of crushed seashells, chalk and slate. This juice smacks the palate, wakes it up and leaves with minerals, kiwi and lemon waving a long goodbye. Chardonnay at its best. (A/A-)
2012 Valle Las Nencias Reserve Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina)… $12.
This baby gets a touch stinky on the nose with notes of black olive, boysenberry, old wood, violets and rose petals with hits of tobacco. Very interesting aromas for a $12 wine. Sweet tannins support notes of blackberries and plums, with a lace of white pepper and tobacco. Seamless front to finish with brooding fruit notes lingering, joined by wilted violets and worn leather with a splash of BBQ spices. (B+)
2013 Tuga Rosso (Douro, Portugal)… $8.
Aromas of meat marinade, dirt, spice, tobacco, smokey blueberries and dark cherries with a hint of vanilla. Deep cherry notes front to back on the palate with an undertow of tobacco and blueberries. Chocolate notes sneak in on the back of the mid-palate into the finish. Meat marinade notes lie underneath front to finish with powdered chocolate and leather notes lingering. Not true-to-Douro style but a lot of wine for the money. A blend of Tina Roriz, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional (B/B+)
2010 Tor Del Colle Riserva Rosso (Molise, Italy)… $12.
Slight bark notes come through on the nose, joined by currants, blackberries, a kiss of tobacco, black raspberry and smokey vanilla. Leather all day on the palate with a little bark action joining the party, along with notes of currants, black raspberry and a hint of black pepper on sturdy tannins. Black raspberry and tobacco notes on a decently long finish. This juice has rusticity and deliciousness at the same time. 100% Montepulciano (B/B+)
2014 Fefriani Laffite Syrah (Valencia, Spain)… $10.
A little smoke action on the nose joined by solid blackberry and plum notes. Hits of cherries, vanilla and tobacco come through. Solid yet smooth tannins with a meaty texture, support plum and tobacco notes with a backdrop of black and white pepper. A touch of leather and cherries sneak in on a finish that has a little tannic attitude. (B-)
2015 Illahe Estate Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, OR)… $23.
Aromas of Asian spice, black tea, red flowers, cherries, strawberries with a touch of bark and caramel. Nice balance on the palate, showing notes of cherry skins, bark and hits of cola. Acidity lies beneath, but stays in balance and doesn’t take over. Cherry skins linger on the finish joined by notes of cola and dried bark. light on its feet and delicious. (A-)
2012 Luke Cabernet Sauvignon (Wahluke Slope, WA)… $18.
Aromas of bark, tobacco, dried cardboard, currants and perfumed rose petals. Nice and spicy on the palate with notes of chocolate and currants on polished tannins. Tobacco notes on the finish joined by bark and spice. Fairly complex cab for the money starting off fruit driven and finishing on a savory note with spice action front to finish. (B+/A-)
2013 The Inconceivable Wine Co. “After The Floods” Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley, WA)… $20.
Intense currant and baking spice notes on the nose, with hits of coffee bean and bark. Currant and chocolate notes on the palate with a bright edge. Seamless, with a little “grit” action on the back-end. Coffee bean and bark notes join up on the finish. This is smooth cab with the tannins showing a little attitude on the tail end. (B/B+)
2015 Cline Cashmere Black Magic (California)… $16.
Aromas of violets, currants and chocolate with hits of tobacco. Deep currant notes on the palate that is balanced by interesting citrus notes. The tannins have a little attitude, but stay in balance with the citrus and currant. A lot of wineries are coming out with these “black” wines, and this is one of the better ones. A blend of Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, Syrah and Grenache. (B)
Stan The Wine Man