BITS & BOBS

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last Bits & Bobs and I miss doing it. A lot happens in a week let alone three weeks. I have a lot to write but won’t burden you with all of it in this segment. More to come of course. December is a big month for me. I have decided on my winery of the year and need to make a phone call to the winemaker for an interview to round out my article. I am very excited about this winery and what they are doing. I will post it on my Blue Collar Wine Guy site on the Seattle P.I. as well as here on stanthewineman.com. I am also working on my top 40 wines under $20, something I have been doing for a number of years. This is the most time-consuming assignment I have given myself and sometimes I wonder why I put myself through this. A lot of wine writers put out lists, this is to be expected. However, very few go through the trouble of adding the tasting notes with their choices. I put it all out there for you to read. The reason, of course, is so that you can see why the wine made it on the list. The tasting notes help.

I’ve been busy on You Tube, putting out episodes on Tuesday and Friday. This month I am focusing on wines for the upcoming holiday. Recently I reviewed wines from Hess Select, a blend and a Malbec from Argentina. Hit the link and watch as I review the Malbec. In it, I mention several times that I feel like it would open up with some time. Guess what? The next day, after being open for over twenty-four hours, I tried it again and it was a beauty! It showed depth and intensity and was probably one of the best $16. Malbecs I have tasted. I should have gone with my gut and gave it a higher grade on that episode. That being said, my whole point of doing my You Tube channel is to taste the wines the way I believe most consumers will approach them. Even though I advocate decanting, I know that most don’t. It is said that the average wine buyer consumes a bottle within an hour after opening. That would hardly be decanting. So, I open the bottles I am going to review about an hour before I shoot the episode. I think this is fair since you as the consumers are going to experience exactly what I am finding in the wine at the time. Make sense? With white wines, I review them cold, since I know that most consumers drink their whites on the cold side. there are wine critics out there that swear we should all drink our whites closer to room temperature. It is true that whites will reveal more of themselves when drunk at room temp. Once again, it would not be fair for me to review them this way since that is not how they are going to taste to most of you. I don’t try them ice cold of course, but they are only brought out of the fridge about twenty minutes before I shoot. This way, you as the audience get what you will experience when you try them. That’s how I roll, but I will soon put up an episode on decanting, using the Hess Select Malbec as an example of the value of making it a practice.

On a final note, Susie and I are getting very excited for our trip to England, Paris and Italy. I have set up some wine tours and hopefully a couple of interviews with winemakers. I will have a ton of things to write about and excellent content for my You Tube channel. I am pumped to visit the Barolo and Barbaresco regions of Italy as well as Verona. I love the wines from this part of the world. Aside from the wine part of the trip, it will be our honeymoon which is, of course, the most important part of the trip.

Cheers!
Stan The Wine Man

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STAN’S PICK FOR DECEMBER…

Most of us will be buying buying some special wines this month. Tis the season for celebration, good food, and friends. I’ve been in the wine business for a long time and have seen it happen every year around Christmas. Folks are in a festive mood and will spend a lot more money on a bottle of wine than they normally would. Of course, we still need to have a wine around that is affordable and good, because hey, we love our wine and we’re not going to share all of it with friends. I found a real gem this month that fits the bill for an everyday drinking red that leaves us with enough extra cash to buy those special bottles for the holidays.

2017 Carmim Reguengos Red (Alentjo, Portugal)… $7.

Aromas of cherries, plums and boysenberries with a pinch of raspberry and licorice. Notes of dark cherries, plums and boysenberry “POP” on the palate, supported by smooth tannins. A kiss of tobacco adds to the complexity with fresh acidity lying underneath. Seamless across the palate finishing with notes of tobacco and boysenberry lingering, with a touch of licorice and white pepper on a bright edge. An amazing value. 40% Trincadeira, 40% Aragonez, 20% Castelao (B)

Cheers!
Stan The Wine Man

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FRIDAY’S THIRTEEN…

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

2015 Casa Fortunata Red (Calatayud, Spain)… $10.

Aromas of BBQ spices blended with tar and blackberries with hits of raspberry and dirt. Plump blackberry and currant notes on the front of the palate that morph into earth and tobacco notes. Dirt notes lie underneath front to finish. Crushed rock notes sneak in on the back-end, joined by tobacco, BBQ spices and a kiss of tar. 75% Garnacha, 25% Tempranillo (B-)

2016 Toi Toi Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand)… $15.

As close to cat pee as you can get on the nose with notes of grapefruit, gooseberries and white flowers. Fresh and bright on the palate with notes of white grapefruit and grapefruit pith. Solid fresh fruit front to finish with a beam of lime underneath and a hit of white pepper on the back-end. (C+/B-)

2016 Ironside Pinot Noir (Monterey, CA)… $22.

Aromas of Asian spices and cherries with hits of cranberries, leather and tobacco. Ripe dark cherries on the palate blended with black tea and a kiss of Asian spice and Root Beer. Tobacco notes join the party on a long-ass finish. Sweet fruit on the palate that is balanced by solid acidity. Good balance and structure. (B+/A-)

2016 Parusso “Piani Noce” Dolcetto D’Alba (Piedmont, Italy)… $23.

Strawberries and red flowers on the nose with a hit of pomegranate in the background along with a little licorice. Solid acidity and structure with notes of pomegranate and strawberries that have a slight tart edge. Red flower notes underneath front to back with an interesting tangerine twist on the finish, joined by hits of licorice. (B/B+)

2016 Conundrum Blanc de Blanc Sparkling Wine (California)… $23.

Apples and a touch of funk on the nose. Linear and crisp on the palate with vibrant apple notes. Good depth on the mid-palate into the dry, long finish. (B+)

2017 Harken Chardonnay (California)… $14.

Dusty pears on the nose with hits of baking spices. Creamy pears on the palate front to finish with an underbelly of baking spices and a kiss of butter on the finish. Wants to go fruit forward, but is held in check by a decent amount of acidity that keeps it from going flabby. A “10” in the delicious category. (C+/B-)

2017 Antoine Simoneau Sauvignon Blanc Touraine (Loire Valley, France)… $9.

Aromas of grapefruit, grape seeds, white flowers and slate. High acidity drives notes of lemon and grapefruit pith. It expands on the mid-palate into a laser sharp, vibrant finish. Nice backbone of slate and wet stone. Very clean on the palate with a long, mouth-watering finish. (B+)

Non-Vintage Domaine Saint de Just Cremant De Loire Brut Rose` (Loire Valley, France)… $20.

Raspberries, strawberries and cherries on the nose with a kiss of yeast. Loads of veggies on the palate backed by solid acidity and a background of strawberries and raspberries. It expands a bit on the mid-palate into a dry finish. Very linear on the palate. 50% Cabernet Franc, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon (B-)

2017 Hamilton Russell Vineyards Pinot Noir (South Africa)… $50.

Baked earth on the nose, joined by notes of crushed brick, Root Beer and cherries. Solid acidity front to finish, supports notes of under-ripe cherries, cranberries, bark and earth. Good balance and a little on the tart side. A slight veggie and citrus component sneaks in on the back-end. This is a baby and needs time in the cellar. I think you will be rewarded if you give it 8 more years of age. (B)

2016 faganan Vinos Atlanticos Tinto (Canary Islands, Spain)… $30.

Aromas of red plums and blackberries with a load of minerals and hints of licorice and red flowers. High acidity supports notes of red flowers, crushed rock, tangerine and cranberries with a solid hit of rust and red flowers on the finish. (C+/B-)

2016 Caprice Crozes-Hermitage (Rhone, France)… $35.

Blueberries and blackberries on the nose with a touch of charred wood and tobacco. Nice intensity on the palate with good acidity. Raspberry and blueberry notes backed by a good shot of tobacco. Super high-toned on the mid-palate into the finish. Once again, this is a baby and needs to age for at least 8-10 years. (B/B+)

2016 Numbskull Red (Columbia Valley, WA)… $35.

Currants, black plums and a touch of oak on the nose. Sweet tannins support currant and plum notes with a solid hit of black pepper. Smooth, with good structure and balanced acidity. Fresh on the finish with hits of tobacco and raspberry on the back-end 78% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot (B/B+)

2015 L’Ecole Perigee Seven Hills Vineyard (Walla Walla Valley, WA)… $55.

Aromas of licorice and currants with a little spice action underneath. A touch candied on the nose. Currant and blackberry notes on the palate supported by edgy, slightly gritty tannins. Tobacco and veggie notes sneak in on the fresh finish. (B+/A-)

Cheers!
Stan The Wine Man

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STAN’S PICK FOR NOVEMBER

November 2018 Pick

November is a very cool month for wine. The Thanksgiving holiday is a time when a lot of you give quite a bit of thought to what wine you will imbibe for the festivities. Although I wouldn’t suggest this wine for the actual meal itself (I have lots of choices at the store for that purpose), I would suggest this wine for any other day of the month. As soon as this wine hit my mouth, I knew it was a great wine for the money.

2014 Zeni Costalago Rosso Veronese (Veneto, Italy)… $15.

Aromas of bark, earth, perfumed currants and milk chocolate. Sweet tannins support notes of bright currants and red berries. Good depth and structure on the palate. Iron notes sneak in on the mid-palate into the finish. This baby sings on the palate with mouth-watering tangerine notes on the underbelly with tobacco joining up on the back-end. This reminds me somewhat of baby Amarone with attitude. A blend of 70% Corvina, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot. (B+/A-)

Cheers!
Stan The Wine Man

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