BITS & BOBS

I heard a couple of interesting conversations on the wine aisle as I was working product and cleaning up around my department. The first was a couple of ladies looking for a certain kind of wine and one suggested that perhaps they buy a box of wine. The other lady nearly shuddered and said she would never buy wine in a box! She also made it clear that wine in a jug was also out of the question. A couple of hours later there was almost an identical conversation between two younger girls (young to me, but old enough to buy wine). One of the girls was jacked up about the savings you get with a box of wine. Four bottles for only twenty bucks. “That’s five bucks a bottle!” She declared with glee in her voice. Her friend dismissed the idea immediately. Neither group bought a box of wine or a jug for that matter, but it was most interesting to listen to something I haven’t heard in a while.

I have to admit that boxed wine has come a long way since Franzia. I can remember when Black Box came on the market and ramped up the quality level of boxed wine. Bota Box was not far behind soon to be joined by some European wineries that decided to join the fray of wine in a box. I have a rather small boxed wine section in my department, merely because of the amount of space I am able to devote to it. Yes, it certainly is a value. If someone wants to buy a box of wine, I want to be able to give them that option. There is nothing wrong with buying boxed wine and if someone looks down there nose at you because you buy it, I suggest you completely ignore them. Being in a bottle doesn’t necessarily make it better. I could pick on several producers who make wine of lesser quality than wine in a box but choose to bottle and cork it. However, I will not go down that road today, or any day for that matter. I look at boxed wine in a couple of ways. First, it leaves a smaller carbon footprint which is good for the earth. It is convenient and easily recyclable. Second, it is a good way to get folks into wine. Tannins are not an issue, they are smooth and easy to drink. Very little if any oak is used on these wines, or they wouldn’t be as affordable. If it takes a box to get people to try wine, then power to the box.

However, it’s nice to see folks jump from the box and try something new. As the two groups mentioned earlier. They may have started with boxed or jug wine and jumped to something different. I don’t believe we should become snobs about it. One of the ladies in the earlier group actually kidded her friend about being a wine snob. Box and jug wine have a place in the wine world, as does the new phenomenon of canned wine. I have a couple of canned wine episodes on my YouTube channel that you might want to check out.

I will admit that I am a bit picky when it comes to canned wine. A lot of younger wine drinkers are very interested in this category and I hope to make that a pleasant experience when they purchase this product from my department. Canned wine may be their first time drinking wine as they sit around the campfire with their friends. I want that to be a good experience, perhaps spring-boarding them into trying other wines in a bottle. It brings me great joy to watch younger people develop their palates and start enjoying the amazing world of wine. Contrary to what many people think, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy good wine. Whether it be in a box, can or bottle, there are a lot of options out there for wine drinkers who just want to enjoy a glass of wine with friends.

Cheers!

Stan The Wine Man

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FRIDAY’S FIVE

In a weeks 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 Stanthewineman.com. Here for your reading pleasure, are five wines that I have reviewed in my Moleskine (good or bad), this past week.

2017 Domaine le Clos des Lumieres Cotes-Du-Rhone (Rhone Valley, France)… $10.

Aromas of candied cherries and blackberries with a backdrop of spices and red flowers. Blackberries and cherries all day on the palate, underscored by nicely integrated acidity. Tobacco notes hit big on the mid-palate into the finish where spice notes join the party. There is a touch of grip from the tannins on the back-end with a kiss of minerality. 70% Grenache, 30% Syrah (B-/B)

2016 Lyrarakis Red (Crete, Greece)… $15.

A little smokey wood on the nose, along with cooked meat, currants and candied blackberries. Solid acidity supports a meaty texture in the mouth. Notes of currants and citrus with a spine of minerality front to a citrus driven finish. Good balance. 75% Syrah, 25% Kotsifali (C+/B-)

2017 Passi Mento White (Veneto, Italy)… $17.

Lemon, wet stone and green apple notes hit on the nose with a slight nutty element coming through. Lemon and apple notes front to finish, where a flinty minerality lingers with the apple notes. A touch on the simple side and slightly over-priced for what you get. 100% Garganega (C/C+)

2016 Domaine Jerome Gradassi Chateauneuf du Pape (Rhone, France)… $48.

Aromas of bloody meat, french toast (sans the syrup), rust, ripe strawberries, red flowers and crushed brick. Fleshy on the palate with notes of roasted meats, white and black pepper and rust. A boatload of minerality hits on the spice-driven finish, joined by dark cherry, strawberry and wilted red flower notes. This is old school CDP that is fairly priced. (B+/A-)

Roco Gravel Road Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, OR)… $26.

Aromas of strawberries, cherries and red flowers with a kiss of black tea and Root Beer. Medium to light in body with notes of Root Beer and cherries front to finish where a kiss of minerality and Asian spices join up. Nice balance of acidity, fruit and minerals. A touch Burgundian with the new world holding its own. (B-/B)

Cheers!

Stan The Wine Man

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STAN’S PICK FOR SEPTEMBER 2019

It’s not often that I get as excited about a wine as I did this one. Not surprisingly, it’s another great value from Spain. I know it’s nearly the middle of the month, and I meant to finish this earlier. Time has a way of slipping away on us. That being said, I need to make you aware of this great value and interesting red wine from Spain.

2017 Can’ Leandro La Lloma Bonicaire-Monastrell (Valencia, Spain)… $13.

The first time I put my lips to this baby, I was hooked. Powerful and structured. Aromas of blackberries, cherries, tobacco and black plums. Blackberry and dark cherry notes smack your palate up front, kept in balance by an undertow of rusty minerals. Nicely integrated acidity with tobacco notes sneaking in on the long finish. This little jewel needs to be decanted and will go nicely with red meats or stews. I would also pair it with lamb. I believe this will age nicely for up to five years. Made from 60% of a very unusual grape called Bonicaire along with 40% Monastrell. (B/B+)

Cheers!

Stan The Wine Man

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FRIDAY’S FIVE

In a weeks 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 Stanthewineman.com. Here for your reading pleasure, are five wines that I have reviewed in my Moleskine (good or bad), this past week.

2016 Prodigo Nero D’Avola (Terre Siciliane, Italy)… $10.

Ripe currants with a touch of raisin on the nose and a kiss of ripe plums. Plush ripe currants on the palate with an undertow of acidity. There is a touch of citrus on the back of the mid-palate, leading into a ripe currant driven finish on soft, structured tannins and a kiss of white pepper. (C+/B-)

2016 Ancarani Sangiovese “Oriolo” (Romagna, Italy)… $19.

Aromas of red flowers, cherries and raspberries with a touch of hard candy coming through. Solid cherry and raspberry notes on the palate resting on a bed of minerals front to finish. Tobacco notes join up on the mid-palate with a little funky leather sneaking in underneath. Good balance of acidity, minerals and fruit. (B/B+)

2018 Badenhorst Family Secateurs Rose’ (Swartland, South Africa)… $17.

Earthy on the nose with notes of Strawberries and rose petal with a touch of mushroom. Sweet strawberry notes on the front of the palate that morph into citrus notes of lime and lemon with a hit of tangerine. Good balance of acidity and fruit with a dry, tangy finish. (B)

2017 Solar Fortun Red (Valle De Guadalupe, Mexico)… $30.

Aromas of bacon fat, ham hocks and tobacco, with a little dirt thrown in. Notes of boysenberries, dark cherries and bacon fat on a spine of fresh acidity with a splash of white and black pepper thrown in. Char, earth and tobacco notes join up on the finish and linger. Fresh and balanced. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Syrah (B+/A-)

2017 Finca La Carrodilla “Canto De Luna” Red (Valle De Guadalupe, Mexico)… $21.

Smokey cherries and bark on the nose with a pinch of plums and tobacco. Dark cherry and plum notes on the palate with underlying boysenberry and white pepper. Tobacco notes hit on the mid-palate into the finish where they hang with boysenberries, white and black pepper on structured, smooth tannins. There is just a hint of blueberry that comes through on the back of the finish. Excellent balance and complexity. 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah, 10% Tempranillo (B+/A-)

Cheers!

Stan The Wine Man

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