A boatload of wine

A boatload of wine

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 Here for your reading pleasure, are thirteen wines that I have reviewed in my Moleskine (good or bad), this past week.

Non-Vintage J. Laurens Cremant de Limoux Brut Rose`… $17.

Bread dough, strawberries and oranges on the nose. Good acidity on the palate keeps it fresh with notes of strawberries and oranges. Solid bubbles and a clean citrus driven finish that lingers. (B)

2016 Antonio Arreaz Tinto (Spain)… $8.

Aromas of burnt wood, burnt marshmallows and underlying cherries and rose petal. Polished cherries on the palate with underlying burnt wood notes. Light tannins with a kiss of chocolate underneath. Fresh and light but finishes strong with notes of cherry skins and veggies that linger. Simple but good. 50% Tempranillo, 50% Monastrell (C/C+)

2016 Antonio Arraez Barraca (Valencia, Spain)… $8.

Fig and banana on the nose joined by notes of white flowers and wet stone with a touch of herbs and honey. Creamy notes of beeswax, melon and wet stone on the palate, joined by hits of herbs and tomato stem. Light acidity keeps it fresh. Beeswax and wet stone notes linger with a kiss of white pepper on the back-end. 100% Macabeo (C+/B-)

Non-Vintage Cava Bonaval Brut Rosado (Spain)… $11.

Very challenged on the nose with slight strawberry coming through. Cherries, grapefruit and a slight strawberry edge on the palate with a big fat kiss of bread dough and underlying minerality. Clean, yeasty finish with citrus notes hanging around. (B+)

Non-Vintage Cava Bonaval Brut (Spain)… $11.

Aromas of apples, pears and lemon. A little yeast action joins the apple and pear notes on the palate with hits of bread dough. Good acidity gives it a clean mouthfeel with lemon notes sneaking in on the back-end. Medium sized bubbles. (B-/B)

2016 La Cappuccina Soave (Italy)… $10.

Dusty stones, beeswax and lemon on the nose, with a touch of herbs and stainless steel in the background. Notes of beeswax, lemon and melon combine nicely on the palate backed by well-integrated acidity and dusty stone notes. Nice polished mouthfeel on the mid-palate with a kiss of beeswax. Finishes with white pepper notes joining the melon and lemon that lingers. (B+)

2016 Ensedune Marselan (Coteaux D’Enserune, France)… $9.

A touch of funk on the nose, joined by notes of dark cherries, tobacco and earth. Quite savory. Dark cherries, currants, tobacco and hints of bark front to finish on the palate with a kiss of white pepper on the backside. Meaty tannins with good acidity and a touch of grip action on the leathery finish. Nice old world wine for new world palates. Marselan is a hybrid cross of Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. (B/B+)

2016 Foncalieu La Tannerie (Languedoc-Roussillon, France)… $10.

Aromas of smoke, bark, tobacco and black currants with a roasted meat edge and hints of soap. Plush fruit on the grippy tannins with a healthy dose of minerality. Tobacco and bark notes take over on the mid-palate into the finish where red flowers, currants and a splash of blackberry stems join the party with a little violet and rose action. Good structure and balance. 50% Cabernet Franc, 50% Merlot (B-/B)

2017 Rodney Strong Rose` of Pinot Noir (Russian River, CA)… $21.

Watermelon, strawberries and cherries on the nose with a little bubblegum action underneath. Dry on the palate with a tiny hit of spritz. Watermelon notes with a little rind action joining in, blended nicely with Rainier cherries and strawberries. Good acidity and balance with a decently long finish. (B/B+)

2016 Goncalieu Griset Sauvignon Gris (Pays D’OC, France)… $10.

Aromas of nuts and banana with hits of wet stone and apple. Fresh on the palate with good acidity. Notes of apple and melon come through on the palate, joined by wet stone front to finish. There is a white pepper hit on the back-end joined by notes of lemon. (B-/B)

2015 Antonio Sanguineti Cannonau Di Sardegna (Sardinia, Italy)… $11.

Aromas of wet pennies, red flowers and a hit of cherries and red raspberries. Plush fruit on the front of the palate with notes of dark cherries, currants and a touch of pomegranate. Minerality and spices lie underneath. There is a black raspberry hit on the mid-palate leading into a tobacco Pomegranate finish joined by a kiss of chocolate, white pepper, minerals and blueberry. Nice complexity, balance and structure for the money. (B/B+)

2015 Perazzeta Mercurio Rosso (Toscano, Italy)… $12.

Aromas of red flowers, earth, tobacco and a hit of blackberries. Tart cherry and blackberry notes on the palate, backed by notes of red flowers and tobacco with a spine of crushed rock. Underlying chocolate and white pepper notes sneak in on the back-end. A touch thin, but true to old world style with a little rust and blackberry stem sneaking in. A lot of stem action on the finish. (C+)

2017 Bodegas Illana “El Pico” Airen Sauvignon Blanc (Ribera del Jucar, Spain)… $10.

Aromas of quince, pears, melon and wet stone. Creamy mouthfeel with notes of quince and wet stone, backed by hits of white pepper and freshly cut grass. Good balance of acidity, minerals and fruit. (B-/B)

Stan The Wine Man

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Rose`, Rose`, Rose`… Rose` is the hottest trend in wine today, at least from the perspective of my wine department. I’ve mentioned it in the past, but this summer it has been on fire. Of course, everyone is fixated on the pale pink dry versions. However, I’ve noticed some are venturing out and trying darker versions. This is good, because color does not always dictate the quality of the juice. There are many pale versions of Rose` particularly out of Spain that I find quite funky and would not put out on the sales floor. I know there are a few of you out there that like the funk, but I’m not willing to risk valuable floor space as an experimental stage to see if I can move funky Rose`. Some of the best Rose` I have ever tried have been from Tavel. Primarily made with the Grenache grape with Mourvedre thrown in the mix, they are much darker than most, they are meaty and dry. I’ve read that some estates in this region of the Rhone Valley (on the south-western side of the Rhone near Lirac) are starting to produce lighter versions. That’s OK by me, but I still love the dark, meaty, food friendly Rose` that Tavel is known for. If you can get your hands on some, give it a try and I have a feeling you will be hooked.

My pick of the month for August, proudly displayed at the end of the aisle at the store is a complete surprise pick for me. It is a Cotes-du-Rhone blanc of which I am normally not a big fan. Most tend to be quite boring with little acidity and a lot of Grenache Blanc. The Brunel De La Gardine breaks the mold in my opinion. It has a lot of Roussanne and Viognier, which I think makes a huge difference. It also has a very cool bottle, and someone who is in the wine biz and liked it quite a bit, wondered how they made any money on this wine. Shipped from France, an odd-shaped bottle and only twelve bucks. I wonder myself, but I am more than happy to sell it at that price and buy a few for myself. Cool thing is, I had a bottle open for just over 6 hours and it just got better. I suggest you find a bottle of this for yourself and I believe you will understand my excitement.

As far as my You Tube channel goes, I have struggled getting episodes out there sheerly because of the busy summer months. I know excuses are like belly buttons, everyone has one. The reality is, for me to produce two episodes a week of good quality, I need time and a free stage to do it. Time is scarce this time of yea, therefore I am looking for some creative ways to make more. Please don’t give up on me. I am committed to my channel and I will get content out there soon. In fact, I am getting ready to shoot a couple of episodes on the Location wines by Dave Phinny of Orin Swift fame and a couple more on canned wines. You should see those out there in a couple of weeks.

The big news for Susie and I, is she has excepted my marriage proposal. We are getting married in October and are very excited. We have traveled the world together, we get along famously, and I have never met a person of the opposite sex that I gel with as well as Susie. We both love each other deeply and are more than ready to spend the rest of our days together. Some of her close friends from England have said they are planning to attend. Susie and I are so happy to have her friends make this huge effort to attend this special day. As all of you know, Susie loves her sparkling wine, and we have decided to go with Graham Beck (South Africa) as our featured bubbly for the event. We discovered it on our trip to South Africa and both loved it. We often talk about our trip there and are thinking that we may have to go back sometime soon. Time will tell.

Stan The Wine Man

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2016 Brunel De La Gardine
Cotes Du Rhone Blanc

2016 Brunel De La Gardine Cotes-Du-Rhone Blanc (Rhone Valley, France)… $12.

This is an interesting pick for me, since I rarely find a CDR blanc that I like. Not only do I like this, I think you will as well.
Aromas of wet stone, pears, apples and a hit of white flowers. Apple and pear notes penetrate on the palate along with notes of melon and a kiss of lemon and minerals. There is good acidity which gives it a racy edge and is well-integrated. There is a slight white pepper hit on the mid-palate leading into an apple driven finish where it is joined by notes of pear, lemon and wet stone that lingers with the fresh acidity. This one stopped me in my tracks as I wasn’t expecting this much complexity and quality for a prayer. Think shellfish, salads, chicken or a noodle dish. A warm summer evening in the backyard works just fine. 30% Roussanne, 20% Clarett, 20% Viognier, 20% Grenache Blanc, 10% Bourboulene (B+/A-)

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It dawned on me this morning as I was getting prepared to put together my “Friday’s Thirteen” that my pick for July has not been posted. Shame on me, but better late than never. This gem from Italy is something you just have to know about, especially if you plan on a BBQ that involves hamburgers, chicken or hot dogs. Whipping up something with a little spice to it? This is your wine. A charcuterie platter would be nice as well. You probably want to know what the wine is….Here you go.

July Pick of Month

2017 Blossom Rosso (Veneto, Italy)… $13.

A blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Cabernet Franc and 10% Carmenere, this red is light on its feet but packs a punch. Cherries, plums and blackberries all day on the nose, joined by hits of tobacco and red flowers. Dark cherries and blackberries on the palate with hits of tobacco and spice. There is a backbone of rusticity and acidity that gives the wine a savory element on the palate. Good balance with red flower notes lingering on a delicious medium to long finish. If you want to boost up the tannins, throw an ice-cube in there on a warm summer evening while your cooking up some steaks. Just sayin’. (B)

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