I’m sad the Seahawks couldn’t get past the Packers to make it to the NFC Championship game. However, they lost their top two running backs prior to the playoffs, so to get as far as they did is awesome. It was fun to get Lynch back, and he did have quite an impact in the red zone. You can’t win a championship without your best running backs even as good as Wilson is. It was a great season and I look forward to next year. Metcalf will be fun to watch as he matures. The tandem of Lockett and Metcalf should give Russell Wilson a powerful arsenal in the future. I only hope that Schneider and Pete concentrate on beefing up the offensive line in the off-season.

Susie and I are planning our next trip to Europe and it’s looking like the south of France. I have always wanted to visit the Rhone Valley where some of my favorite wines come from. A stop in Bandol wouldn’t hurt my feelings at all. It’s fun to start reaching out to wineries in those areas and planning visits. I can see a ton of material for my YouTube channel as well as my blogs coming out of this trip. We are just in the planning stages right now and as things develop, I will keep you in the loop.

My number one goal for 2020 is to finish my book. I think I’ve shared this before. I have been working on a memoir about my career in the wine world and how I developed as a wine specialist and writer. Long ago, I thought of a title for the book and I have worked on it sporadically throughout the past few years. Now is the time to focus my energy on finishing what I started a long time ago. I believe the appeal will be my blue-collar approach to the wine business and wine itself. I have long been repulsed by wine snobbery and the shrowd of mystery and elitism some try to make the wine world into. A lot of people are afraid to even talk about wine because they feel unqualified. It’s a beverage for Christ’s sake and it should be treated as such. I think movies like Somm are good because they get people excited about the wine world, but I also think it can intimidate some folks when they try to digest all there is to know about the subject. Hopefully the book I am writing will put things into perspective and make it a fun subject for the average consumer to talk about.

Susie is encouraging me to make a compilation of Bits & Bobs and put that into book form. I think it is a great idea, especially since it is already written. I will be giving that some serious thought in 2020 as well. I also need to work on a look into the future for this coming year. What trends in the wine world do I see coming? I have a lot to share, so look for that article coming out shortly.

I want to thank all of you who are supporting my YouTube channel. It means so much to me and I am very excited to implement some new ideas for this coming year. Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel, I love to watch my audience grow.


Stan The Wine Man

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My first pick of 2020, and I think this is going to be a great year. I will recap 2019 and look into this year in a future article. For now, I go to a place in the world my wife and I are quite fond of, South Africa. It is a beautiful country and they can make some amazing wines. Known for Pinotage, they make many wines quite well including Chardonnay, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. It is their red blends that have caught my attention over the past couple of years, and it is a red blend that has landed the top spot for the beginning of 2020.

2017 Kanonkop “Kadette” Cape Blend (Stellenbosch, South Africa)… $14.

Aromas of coffee bean, bark, currants and a pinch of violets. Dark currant notes penetrate the palate, balanced by nicely integrated acidity. There is an underbelly of coffee bean notes and hits of bark. The tannins are sturdy but approachable. It finishes clean with somewhat of a meaty texture in the mouth with a hit of black raspberry and a little hint of veggie that sneaks in on the long finish. Nice complexity and good balance, this is a solid wine for the money. It also landed at #18 in my top forty wines under twenty bucks list. Check it out. (B+/A-)

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In a week’s time, I taste a boatload of wine (seriously). A lot of my friends think 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 Here for your reading pleasure, are five wines that I have reviewed in my Moleskine (good or bad), this past week.

2015 Kanonkop Estate Pinotage Simonsberg (Stellenbosch, South Africa)… $44.

Aromas of black currants and Root Beer with a little tobacco and bark thrown in. Ripe black currants on the palate mingled with violets and bark front to finish. A little hit of Root Beer sneaks in on the mid-palate into the finish. Smooth tannins that have just a touch of grip on the fresh finish. (B)/A-)

2017 Achaval Ferrer Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina)… $37.

Tobacco, meat and blackberries on the nose joined by a hit of black plums and hard candy with a touch of stink. Smooth and polished in the mouth with notes of blackberry candy and plums on sweet tannins. The acidity is nicely integrated with the tannins and fruit. There is a pinch of white pepper on the back of the finish where the tannins get a little attitude. (B)

2014 Achaval Ferrer “Quimera” Red (Mendoza, Argentina)… $52.

Deep Plum and currant notes on the nose with just a pinch of green and black tea. Solid currant and plum notes on sturdy, approachable tannins. The fruit notes expand on the mid-palate into a fresh finish. Nicely integrated acidity keeps the big fruit notes in check. Black tea notes linger on the back-end with a touch of veggie underneath. Nice balance and complexity. A blend of Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. (A/A+)

207 Quinta Sardonia “Sardon” Red (Castilla Y Leon, Spain)… $21.

Aromas of blackberries and currants with cinnamon lurking in the background. Currant and blackberry notes rest on edgy tannins that get a little grip-action on the back-end. Red flower notes join up on the mid-palate into the finish where crushed rock and black pepper notes join the palate party. Good balance of acidity, fruit and minerals. Old world wine with a new world kiss. Tempranillo, Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon (B/B+)

2016 Salentein “Killka” Red Blend (Mendoza, Argentina)… $11.

Aromas of raspberries and dark cherries mingled with iron and a little green twig action. Green twig notes dominate the palate on edgy tannins. Cherry notes hit on the mid-palate and mingle with green twig and black tea notes on the finish. Very green on the palate, especially on the finish. 50% Malbec, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah, 5% Petit Verdot (C+)


Stan The Wine Man

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We are about to embark on a new decade in the twenty-first century and I am very excited! So much to accomplish in the coming year, including my book I am working on and improving my YouTube Channel. I will include more interviews in the coming year. Patrick, owner of Beso Imports will join me on the show featuring the wines of Mexico. Tim Clark will also make an appearance and we will be talking about his learning curve as a bartender turned wine sales rep. Mike Sharadin is looking forward to making an appearance. Mike owned (owns) Northwest Totem Cellars, a winery that put out some top-notch wines. He now owns a vegan restaurant and wine bar in the heart of Friday Harbor. He is eager to talk about the transition from selling his wine, to having reps try to sell their wines to him. It will be a most interesting interview. There is a lot to look forward to in 2020.

I have selected my winery of the year for 2019, Pomum Cellars-Idilico Wines. Javier Alfonso is both owner and winemaker, and he is putting out some seriously good Washington State juice. I will be featuring his wines throughout the coming year. The Idilico wines are made from only Spanish varietals. The Pomum wines are more traditional Washington wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling and Syrah. All his wines are priced fairly and are pretty awesome. Just saying. I will be having him up in July for an event so my local peeps can see what his wines are all about. I will be featuring him on my YouTube channel as well. Check out the article I wrote about Javier and his wineries here.

I also released my “Top Forty Wines Under Twenty Bucks” list on my Blue Collar Wine Guy site. I can’t believe how stingy I was with my grading of wines in 2019. Usually, I have a ton of wines in the B+ to A range, and I have to cut some out in favor of others. Not this time. I had just enough to fill the list out. I even had to watch a lot of my YouTube episodes and take notes to complete the list. My #1 wine hails from northern Italy where I was earlier in the year. I thought that a bit ironic. We have already sold out of the first batch I brought into the store, and I’m hoping to get my hands on more. All of the wines on the list are solid and available, at least for now. Scott, my assistant in the wine department astutely pointed out that the top five are all old world wines. I think that might be a first. Bring on 2020!


Stan The Wine Man

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