Once again I sit in front of my computer screen stumped as to what to write about. If I were to dive into politics I could write a novel. In fact I think I could keep striking keys until midnight itself strikes and I’m sure by that time I would have another novel worth of material. I have my opinions for sure, but I want to spare my readers from political pontificating. One thing I will say…Would someone tell the current President of the United States that he is not on a reality show, this is the real deal and loose lips only get you in trouble, not better ratings.

I will write up a little report on my recent trip to Charles Smiths winery in south Seattle. He certainly doesn’t need the publicity. He has built a successful empire in a very short period of time by most standards. He recently sold the Smith line of wines that many of you are quite familiar with. Boom Boom Syrah, Velvet Devil Merlot, Kung Fu Girl Riesling, Eve Chardonnay and Chateau Smith Cab for a mere $120 million dollars to Constellation Brands. He has a winery in both Walla Walla and Jet City (the one I visited). His wines have become iconic in some circles, and I will give my personal report on many of the wines I tried when I went down there. Soon.

If I were to ask you what you thought was the most difficult part of my job, I’m not sure you would nail it. The toughest part of my job is this. A customer approaches me to report that they had the best chardonnay at a restaurant the night before. It’s a restaurant I am familiar with but of course, I am not familiar with their wine list. The said customer is aghast that I don’t know what said restaurant serves and then proceeds to try and describe the wine to me. “It starts with an H I believe. It has a chair or something like that on the label.” I of course put on my Sherlock cap and furrow my brow in an attempt to try and decipher what they are talking about. It really is an impossible task, but I give it my best effort non the less. A few customers will offer to go back to the restaurant, take a picture of the label and share it with me. They know that I can’t be aware of every wine served in every restaurant on the island. However, many of the customers who ask me this sort of question tend not to give up. They continue to give me clues that most certainly will trigger a memory I never had in the first place. Their tenacity is impressive but exhausting at the same time. Hands down one of the toughest things I have to deal with at my job.

On that same note, one most be careful to judge a wine they had while among good company and good food. Wine is a funny thing. It can be amazing in some situations and not quite so impressive other times. I have had some folks walk in and order a case of Cabernet that they enjoyed at a fine restaurant with friends. My first question is if this was the first time they had tried this wine? If they say yes, I simply warn them that it may not be as good the next time. Perhaps they should order just one bottle and try it under different circumstances before they spring for a case. Wine has a way of reflecting the mood we are in. That is why I taste all wines that I am taking tasting notes on in the most austere climate I can. My office, my desk, the dining room table in front of my camera shooting a You Tube episode. All of these climates allow the wine to speak without influence from outside sources. So I suggest to the customer, to buy one bottle, take it home after work, uncork it, and have a glass while watching the news or a rerun of some sitcom. If it still strikes you as an excellent bottle of wine, then by all means, buy a case. I can’t tell you how many people have come back and thanked me for this advice. Sometimes it is just as good the second time, but in a lot of cases it just did not deliver like it did at that great restaurant with good friends.

The Seahawks lost to the Titans yesterday, but there were a lot of positive things to take away from that game. The offense came to life and we saw the Hawks that we love so much. The offensive line is starting to gel, giving Wilson more time to pass. Pete Carroll made a couple bone headed decisions that might have cost them the game, but we will never know for sure. I think we are going to see more wins in the future as the Seahawks come together once again for a great season. Also, someone needs to tell Sherman to quit the energy drinks before kick-off. That guy was on a tangent right from the start. 98 yards in penalties does not help you win the game. We love him of course, but we would like to see less anger and more control.

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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