BITS & BOBS

I have to say that this has been quite the February. Snow, snow, snow. This is the first time in our relationship that I have been Susie’s chauffeur for over a week because we can’t get her car out of the driveway due to the amount of snow. I believe we had over ten inches out at our place. It’s much better now, and we should spring her car loose soon. The snow definitely effected my YouTube action. I missed an entire week because my schedule was messed with. However, I have some good ones in the queue and can’t wait to get them recorded and aired. A blind Cabernet Franc episode and an episode featuring Washington state Rose` from the soon to be famed 2018 vintage.

2018 is being heralded as perhaps one of the best vintages Washington state has experienced in qute a few years. It is true that Washington rarely has a bad vintage. Even the wines from the tough 2011 vintage are really coming out of their shell (that is if you still have any around). In 2018, the stars aligned for Washington state and the grape growing conditions were close to perfect. Especially in September and October, the critical months when harvest decisions are being made. I plan on making a few calls to my winemaking friends and give a full report on what is anticipated to be one of the greatest vintages for our state. Rose` and the whites from this vintage will give us a peek into what we are to expect from the reds. I am very excited to give them a try.

I will have a ton to write about when we get back from our trip to Northern Italy. I regret that I didn’t write more about our recent trip to the Winelands in South Africa. If I don’t write prolifically about my adventures visiting the wineries of Piedmont and Verona, I want you to stop by the store and remind me of my commitment to reporting on my adventures in Italy. I am so excited to see the areas of Barbaresco and Barolo, I can hardly stand it. We will be finishing up our trip to Italy by staying in the famous town of Venice. Before Venice, we will be staying in Verona at the Allegrini Hotel. We are setting up a tour of the Allegrini winery where they make some of the best Amarone in Italy. We will also be stopping by Suavia on our way to Venice to visit them and tour their winery. Soave is one of Susie’s favorite whites (I happen to adore them myself), so it will be very interesting to visit one of our favorite producers. Made primarily from the Garganega grape, the wines are crisp and mineral-driven with nice complexity. The wines really express a sense of place.

Hats off to KC, my sales rep (and friend) from Youngs Market who made a solid effort to present a wine that I would find worthy to be the Pick of the Month. Even though I put it out on this blog a little late, it is doing quite nicely at the store. It is a Tuscan red that really shows what a Tuscan red should be. Many of my customers have come back for more as sales are brisk. You will see it on the front page of my blog underneath this post. The point of bringing this up, is the lack of interest many of my sales reps show in attaining this spot for the month! I put a lot into choosing the wine that will be featured for an entire month. It means a lot to me to find one that at least eighty percent of my customers will enjoy. I will not find a wine unless someone brings one by (hopefully not so cold it can’t be tasted, wink, wink) for me to try. It really makes me happy when they come by with wine specifically as a possible pick for the month. Are you hearing me out there guys and gals? If it were me, and I was selling to Stan, I would be all over it every month. Just saying.

Cheers!

Stan The Wine Man

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STAN’S PICK FOR FEBRUARY

The month is half over and here I am, realizing I have not shared my pick of the month. Yes, it is stacked in it’s regular spot at the store, but I always wonder why I wait sometimes to share it here on my blog. Enough of that. For the month of February I find myself going to a spot in the world that has a special spot in my heart…Italy. I’ve been there once, about twelve years ago, and fell in love. Susie and I are going next month and I am very excited to visit that country once again. Most Italian wines are all about food, and this month’s pick is no exception.

2016 Barone Ricasoli Toscana Red (Tuscany, Italy)… $14.

Aromas of leather, candied cherries and red flowers with a pinch of tobacco. Leather and cherry notes on the palate with a touch of rust thrown in. Solid tannins give this red nice structure across the palate. There is a nice lift on the mid-palate from the balanced, well-integrated acidity. A solid splash of citrus joins up on the leather driven finish where cherry and rust notes linger with the leather. A true Tuscan gem that screams for lamb, steak or a hearty stew. Because I bought a little extra for the store, we are offering it at the stupid price of $11. Crazy! Primarily Sangiovese (A-)

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FRIDAY’S FIVE

In a weeks time, I taste a boatload of wine (seriously). I 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 Juggernaut Hillside Cabernet Sauvignon (California)… $22.

Aromas of dark cherries and currants, with sweet cedar notes and a touch of chocolate. Cinnamon, currants and spice on the palate framed by structured tannins. A kiss of vanilla and chocolate join up on the finish with cinnamon lingering on the back-end. Good balance of fruit, acidity and tannins. (B/B+)

Non-Vintage Bonanza Lot 1 Cabernet Sauvignon (California)… $26.

A little challenged on the nose with slight notes of red licorice and currants. Currant and brown sugar notes on the palate supported by structured tannins and fresh acidity. Currant notes expand on the mid-palate and disappear on the finish. A simple, boring effort. (D+/C-)

2015 Feudo Zirtari Nero d’Avola-Syrah (Sicily, Italy)… $13.

Tobacco and dark cherries on the nose, with a touch of smoke, raspberries and beets. Quite thin on the palate with notes of bark, earth and tobacco, with cherry notes coming through underneath. There is a hit of red flower on the mid-palate. Fresh and thin. Not much going on with this wine, almost watery. 55% Nero d’Avola, 45% Syrah (D-)

2016 Feudo Maccari Nero d’Avola (Sicily, Italy)… $18.

Aromas of currants, bark, plums and a pinch of raspberries and chocolate. Solid currant and boysenberry notes on the palate, complimented by a solid core of acidity. There is a touch of chocolate on the back-end with a little tannic grip and a kiss of tobacco and dirt. Long dark fruit finish with an underbelly of tobacco. Nice complexity and freshness from the acidity. (B/B+)

2013 Coppo La Rocca Gavi (Italy)… $17.

Wet stone and petrol on the nose with a kiss of grass and nuts. There is a ton of rubber boot on the palate with a little lemon and crushed rock thrown in. Crushed rock and rubber boot notes linger on the lemony finish. (C+)

Cheers!

Stan The Wine Man

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FRIDAY’S FIVE

In a weeks time, I taste a boatload of wine (seriously). I 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 Torbreck Woodcutter’s Shiraz (Barossa Valley, Australia)… $25.

Aromas of earth, bark, Marionberry and currants with a hit of licorice. Almost hedonistic on the palate. The marionberry and currant notes are quite concentrated with underlying earth and bark notes. There is a nice core of acidity that keeps it fresh and gives it structure. Tar and tobacco notes join up on the finish. The alcohol is somewhat high, but is not obvious. Nice balance. (A-/A)

2016 Meadowcraft Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley, CA)… #25.

Light currant, bark and tobacco notes on the nose with a touch of perfume action. Smooth tannins that have a little attitude, back currant and spice notes front to finish, where tobacco and bark notes show up. The tannins have a little grit to them on the back-end with spice, tobacco and currant notes lingering. (A-)

2016 Alaber Branco (Alentejano, Portugal)… $7.

Aromas of melon, grass and fig with a little funk action and hits of dusty rocks. Fig and melon notes on the palate front to a fresh finish. Fig notes linger with wet stone. Light acidity, decent structure and a lengthy finish. 50% Antao Vaz, 40% Roupeiro, 10% Arinto (B-/B)

2014 Pinhel Tinto (Terras Da Beira, Portugal)… $6.

Aromas of crushed red brick, red flowers and hits of caramel and pomegranate. Pomegranate notes on the palate, behind notes of crushed red brick, rust and red flowers. Very rustic with hits of veggies on the back-end. A simple country red table wine. (C)

2015 Brady Vineyards Cabernet Franc (Paso Robles, CA)… $23.

Currants, mocha and vanilla on the nose with hits of licorice and chocolate. Currant and chocolate notes on sturdy, smooth tannins. Spice and tobacco notes sneak in on the back-end with a touch of sweetness. Good balance and a long finish. This wine doesn’t represent what you might expect out of a Cab Franc, but it is a “10” in the delicious category. (B/B)

Cheers!

Stan The Wine Man

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