Lauren Ashton Cellars 2011 chardonnay

Was hoping for better but this was a tough vintage…

Tasted at 53-63 degrees on the IR temp gun. Color: light gold. Nose: lemon, grapefruit, singe of oak, supermarket bread. Mouthfeel: medium-bodied. Tail trail: 7 seconds. Flavors: green apple, nectarine, lemon zest, Mexican pineapple.

Alcohol: 14.0%. Bottle #1683. Washington appellation. Retail: $25. Value: $15. Power: 2/5. Balance: 2/5. Depth: 2/5. Finesse: 2/5. Rated: 88. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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Beringer Vineyards Luminus 2012 Oak Knoll District chardonnay

Pleasant, but overpriced.

Tasted at 57-62 degrees on the IR temp gun. Color: luminescent gold. Nose: lemon, chopped pecans. Mouthfeel: medium-bodied. Tail trail: 10 seconds with a vibrant mid-palate lift. Flavors: lemon zest, nectarines, orange rind, bitter pear.

Alcohol: 14.3%. Napa Valley nested AVA. Winemaker Laurie Hook. Retail: $35. Paid: $25. Value: $20. Power: 3/5. Balance: 2/5. Depth: 3/5. Finesse: 2/5. Rated: 90. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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Vin du Lac 2012 Columbia Valley chardonnay

If you’re in the local wine industry here, you can plan your obit around the month of October. If you make it past Halloween (or, in Shona’s case, Beauty Pageant Day), consider yourself alive for another year. We lost a titanic five years ago when David Lake went to teach the Lord how to vinify grapes. Then, we lost a Washington original in chef de emeritus of Chateau Ste. Michelle in John Sarich earlier this month. Last week, the demons lurking inside Eric Dunham of Dunham Cellars finally persuaded him, reportedly, to eat a bullet in that quaint resort town of Cannon Beach, OR. He left behind a son who will spend the rest of his life asking, regretfully, why?

Wine aficionados know of Mr. Dunham’s artwork through the artwork that graced the Artist Series of wines that headlined his eponymous winery. Those wines were good but everyone knew that the high premium for those wines were more for the artwork than the quality within the bottles. Art and wine go together; just ask any hoidy toidy art gallery hosting an “opening night” party. People don’t spend thousands of dollars (while sober) on something an elephant can splat together. Eric’s works were, suffice to say this, bizarre. However, what modern artist hasn’t endured criticism from those who don’t “understand” what the artist is attempting to convey? Anyone can draw circles with high-contrast paint. Painting a Mona Lisa is a whole ‘nother matter.

Perhaps, the clue that provided a window into Eric’s dark chasm began when he even chose to take up painting as an endeavor. It is well-known that “artists” have a higher propensity toward suicide than other intellectual explorations. The odds are stacked against artists… men are four times more likely to close their books than women, and whites are twice as likely to commit self-harm than blacks. That same 2x factor goes with artists.

Creative people, in general, are more apt to prematurely end their own life for many reasons, but there is a growing understanding that those who “become” artists essentially have found an outlet to express their lack of some sort of conformity within their society.

One can look immediately to a most famous example in Vincent van Gogh. The Dutch-Frenchman hacked off his own ear during another purported psychotic episode before later dying by a bullet to the chest (allegedly self-inflicted although no gun was ever found).

However, the bigger loss might be that of John Sarich. His Saturday cooking shows on KIRO, Taste of the Northwest, pre-dated that of Emeril and all that clunk and clutter hoarding the PBS airwaves, with locally-inspired dishes that anyone in the area could comfortably attempt. The fact he was showcasing his culinary artistry as a representative of Chateau Ste. Michelle during the sunrise years of the modern Washington wine industry attests to his importance to the industry. The local executive chefs of the last twenty years can all tell you they got some motivation from watching Mr. Sarich’s televised cooking demonstrations. He did it when no one was, and for that, he should be honored in Washington Wine’s Hall of Fame.

Speaking of notoriety, the folks at Vin du Lac have gotten on the radar with us. Both flattered but not intimidated, we have Larry and David on the list of followers on our social media account and that is greatly appreciated but will not sway us in how we evaluate the wines from this notable Lake Chelan AVA winery.

Let’s just say that the wines coming out of the Cascade Valley have not been too inspiring to drinkers west of the Cascades. Most of the sales tend to come out of their tasting rooms, plentifully attended by weekend and summer tourists drawn to the splendor of Lake Chelan itself. And, we continue to attest that people with money on vacation tend to loosen their critique of premium wines. That’s a natural given. I would have no issue paying $15 for a coffee and croissant on the boulevard in Paris, yet I balk at coughing up three lousy bucks for an Americano at the twin-tailed mermaid.

However, that built-in hypnotized audience continues to stifle exceptional winemaking.

There will come a day when no amount of scenery will blissfully continue the illusion that a scenic lake can uplift the quality of food and wine served there. The Alliance can wine-and-dine half-wit wine bloggers into grossly overhyping the wines but those in-the-know see right through the smokescreen and will eschew buying any wines with the Lake Chelan title. Until then, the other AVAs will deepen the fissure of quality separating these AVAs. Sure, there are a few exceptions to the rule, but the vast majority of Lake Chelan AVA wineries continue to underperform while their balance sheets remain somewhat healthy. A false sense of entitlement if there ever was one…

Alcohol: 13.3%. Tasted at 55-61 degrees on the IR temp gun. Color: bright lemon. Nose: hay, lemon crème, peach. Mouthfeel: medium-bodied. Tail trail: 7 seconds. Flavors: lime, nectarine, mint julep, lemon, grapefruit. Columbia Valley AVA. “Barrel Select” whatever that means. Power: 2/5. Balance: 2/5. Depth: 2/5. Finesse: 1/5. Rated: 87. Paid: $15. Value: $8. Music pairing: “Title” by Meghan Trainor. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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Eroica 2013 Columbia Valley riesling

Oh Florida. A Tampa woman manipulated herself to make it look like she now has three, count ‘em, THREE boobs that she supposedly paid $20,000 for to have a third funbag surgically implanted on her chest all in a quest to have her own reality show on MTV. You know, the Music Television channel that doesn’t play any music. Whatever happened to the usual path of, like, joining to college to get a degree in journalism/communications, paying your dues at a network, then earning the right through skilled talent to have your own show? Yeah, that was soooo last generation cause it makes too much sense. Rhode Island makes its dubious debut here on the blog when a 53 year-old sot set the modern-day record of getting DUI’d FOUR times in four DIFFERENT vehicles over a 30-hour period. On a Monday morning when most of us were fueling up on caffeine, this grunt blew a .22 for a cop. And, hey, did you know that Europe beat the U.S. in the Ryder Cup? Yeah, not one f*ck was given that day.

Hey get this, gang,– a blog that proclaims itself to be an “independent” and has “Washington wine” in its name no longer posts reviews of wines from Washington! How much of a moron must one be to not figure out this wank of an author is (1) not independent, but very cozy with industry insiders who ultimately control the content of said wine blog; and (2) think about it… a Washington wine blog that doesn’t review Washington wines. What a twat. We have said this before: the readers there are the fools for thinking they were getting an honest, untainted look into the glorious wines of Washington State. They finally figured out they were really reading a cheap PR stunt of the featured wineries making themselves look good in exchange for cases of free wine. Trick or treat, wine drinkers!

Where did we get all these weirdass blends lately? Perusing the tasting rooms and markets, there are some scratch-your-head combinations that make no sense. I never gave thought to much of these besides their value as a shock-marketing tool. Sure, blends originated long ago from the great chateaus that basically did a field blend, harvesting grapes regardless of their varietal when the clusters were ripe. The most famous example is the “Bordeaux” blends of France, utilizing up to six prime varietals for red wines, as required by their appellation’s restrictions. Other wine laws allow anywhere from 15% to 25% blending while still being allowed to be labeled by the major varietal’s name. This type of allowable blending is intended to develop more pleasing characteristics that a 100% varietal cannot display. Whether it be a deeper color (vision), more complex bouquet (smell), or flavors (taste), these blends were intended to impress the end-consumer and either charge more or prove that any leftovers at the winery could still boast a superior profile. Regardless, a blended wine has many origins; sometimes, it is made out of necessity or created to improve upon a varietal.

Then, there’s the consumer’s version of blending. Picture this, you’re at the dinner with friends and the last drops in the bottle are insufficient to completely fill your glass. The next bottle the host brings out is another type of wine. What do you do? Well, if you’re a true explorer of wine, you do what I do– fill ‘er up, Gaston! That’s how you discover that a pinot gris and sauvignon blanc synergistically do better than the individual components when paired with sushi. Or, add a dash of a earthy, peppery mourvedre into a glass of tempranillo and it stokes a pleasing fire with a fresh platter of paella. Or, cross it up and make your own satisfying blend of viognier and syrah. Pinot grigio with merlot. Sangiovese with a splash of dry riesling. They don’t always work, but at least you will know.

This 2013 edition is the 15th vintage of Washington’s most celebrated riesling and continues the trademark expectations of what a German perspective can do to a Washington grape. Crisp acids and aromatic fruits define Eroica riesling and this bottle bests its predecessors of the last four harvests. With just enough dissolved carbon dioxide to tingle but not corrode, this riesling will light up a platter of artisan cheeses. The balanced fruit profile along with a touch of sweetness is complex and complements spicy Indian curries and Sri Lankan sambal to perfection. Got invited to an Indian family’s dinner and want to impress? This is the wine to present… and you may want to tote an extra bottle!

Tasted at 53-62 degrees on the IR temp gun. Thin straw in color with a summer shower of lemon blossom, guava, and pomelo. Also light bodied on the palate with a collage of grapefruit, lime, slate, and crushed white rock.

Alcohol: 12.0%. Guessing the TA is 0.7-0.85% and pH 3.0-3.15. RS between 1.6% and 2%. Thousands of cases. Retail: $22-25. Save some moolah and buy it at Costco for $14.89. Ready to enjoy now but also worth keeping for the 25th anniversary. Power: 2/5. Balance: 3/5. Depth: 3/5. Finesse: 3/5. Rated: 91. Music pairing: “Shower” by Becky G. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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Chateau Ste. Michelle 2013 Cold Fiddle white wine

Seattle’s had a summer for the ages, easily the warmest summer since I lost my virginity. And with the baking temperatures cometh the wild, the wacky news that no one wants to claim. Last Saturday in the heat, a Krappy Fried Chicken outlet in north Seattle was the scene of a wacked out customer flinging a $5.19 lemon cake at employees for no reason other than, I would assume, the crappy fried kitten they serve up there. When the po-po arrived, the victims couldn’t give a clear description of the assailant but they were able to describe the object of projectile, “yellow in color, circular, and costs exactly $5.19.” *facepalm* Police searched the area but were distracted by the “Hot Now” lighted neon lamp nearby. How’s this for a knucklehead– the po-po were checking on a home in the Mt. Baker neighborhood when they discovered stolen property inside. On cue, a male drove up to the home in a stolen Infiniti and was immediately ‘cuffed. Among the stolen property was Sean’s drawer of panties and pasties, so you spies can tell Sean his gear has been recovered. And speaking of Sean, customers at the tasting room of Airplane Landing Estates recently complained to employees that some “obese, scruffy white dude in a cheap suit” was trying to sell the remaining cases of donated wine from his recent “My Top 100 Wines That Were Donated by Suckers in 2014.” Employees of Airplane Landing Estates confronted the bum who lies about wine on some tertiary wine rag but he scrambled back into his 1991 Yugo after threatening to “stomp out” the employees with his size 4 Chuck Taylors. As he drove away, the employees yelled a question as to why he claims to judge wines impartially despite a photo showing him looking puzzled as he snorted a white wine while looking at a Lauren Ashton bottle.

We recently did a survey of the local landscape and uncovered what a fraud the Washington Wine Liar’s Report is. First off, there was nary a wine smellier’s celebration anywhere after the asexual dipsquat from (somewhere near) Boston declared he would be drinking all the free wine from this region. Did anyone outside the wine community care about the news? I posed this question to the first fifty customers who crossed the red line of my tasting room and not even one wine simp could identify the buzzard. Secondly, what kind of asshole would dare shuffle through a diminishing annual supply of free wine in order to meet a summer deadline (before a large fraction of red wines get released) for some second-rate local compost-immediately rag? Why, when it comes to free wine, only the quickest of queers like Sean would run to be first in line just so he could overhype the fecal wines from his buddies in the Walla Walla section. Who reads that shit? Dentists and their hostages. That’s who. As for the rest of us, we just swing on by the local ubermarket and grab the label that looks coolest in the cold case section.

Anywho, that’s what this wine slugger did. Rather than pay for the obscene ticket prices to watch a past-peak Lyle Hateit and his Viagra-Enlarged Band or the Maurice White-less Dirt, Fart and Ember band, we just bought the wine for this year’s summer concert set and watched concert videos on You Tube. Actually, it was hella more fun than scraping for parking at a nearby industrial park, like in past years. Saved enough money to buy a case of this wine but, after tasting this, we decided to bank the savings toward a couple lapdances at Deja Vu instead.

To neophytes, this wine will appear fine. A nice right hook to the mandible of peach and hot summer apple with enamel-dissolving acid. This proves the hypothesis that hipster wine drinkers are idiots. Where else would a human voluntarily choose to flaunt his idiocy by mouthwashing a pH 3.10 solution? My dental hygienist pulled out my nose hair when I asked her consent in doing such a foolish maneuver.

Such is the folly of wine wannabes who follow false idols. Wine is such a total complete subjective evaluation that no one is truly correct in evaluating a wine’s profile. The public thinks wine experts who write for the rags have some college degree in wine studies when the reality is they got their position by default. Basically, most of them were drowning in obscurity in the arts section trying to hype up a “display of the clay arts” or taking subscription collections when they were asked, “What do you know about wine?” Most answered, “Well, a white wine like cabernet tastes great with seared crab.” Um, yeah…

Here are the basics for wine newbies who are looking for an appropriate wine to impress people they don’t like (the definition of “status”). For the dudes trying to impress the second date, just go to the cold section and find the most recent vintage date– currently year 2013 — and pull that white wine, like this one. Don’t get a red. Women who love red wines are too old for you and will dump your ass once they view your scant bank account. Just ask Sean why he’s still single and almost 50. Don’t worry about single varietals or vineyards. They don’t know the difference either so save some money and focus on tagging her ass later in the evening after smothering her with lies of how good she looks.

Some tips for the “I think I know my wine even though I just started drinking the rotten grape.” You think you know reds but really, you don’t. You want to pull that eight year-old vintage languishing deep in the eye-level shelf and it’s “on sale” so you think you’re getting a deal. Here’s the scoop: there’s a reason why that wine is still there. It’s either: (a) cooked, meaning it was stored in a too-warm box on the dock all day in July; (b) from a producer who dumped it for a song; or (c) from the all-time worst vintage year for that area. So, don’t be stoopid and think you’re getting a deal. You ain’t. You probably did some research and know that a recent vintage like 2012 in Washington is a good one. Stick with it. Don’t be fooled by the 2011 or even the 2010 vintages. Only the top producers whose sticker price is normally above 40 bucks survived with their reputations intact.

Which brings us to the topic of “Why are the ratings so high on the 2011 and 2010 vintages?”

Simple. In a nutshell, the major wine rags (Wine Expectorator, Wine Antagonist, Free Food & Donated Wine) were clear conspirators in overrating the wines from this two-year aberration in Washington. They justified the higher ratings by stating how cooler vintages bring out varietal character (bullshit, unless you enjoy broccoli, mint, tomato leaf, and cabbage in your wines) or should be cellared longer when it has been nearly unanimous that these wines from year 2010 and 2011 are gross underperformers. Ladies and gents, these wines will not get better with time. They will not rise up to the 2009 or even the 2008 vintages and, for sure, place nowhere near the bonzo 2007-2006-2005 vintages. Is anyone still standing by their yippee words from the 2004 vintage? Of course not. Most of the wines are dead from that cold year. Just ask the peeps who recently popped a 2004 Mark Ryan wine… All these wine critics did was spread wide the unwiped lower cheeks of the Washington Wino Institute, slapped some gritty Carmex on their herpes-bumpy lips and got a deep tongue full of ass in return for future cases of 110-point wines from the all-time best 2014 vintage. If you can’t figure that shit out, then you’re a believer in Area 51. Break free from your misguided intuition.

We here at the blog admire Wendy Stuckey. We love that Aussie accent because it reminds us of the world’s best hoopster, Lauren Jackson. Because she reminds us of Muriel’s Wedding more than vegemite sandwiches. Because we hear Men At Work more than 1927 or Boom Crash Opera. Because McLaren Vale rocks over a McLaren MP4-12C. Well, maybe not that last one…

This is a wine for the fu-fu crowd that inhabits the ’80s roundup of past glory bands like the Go-Go’s, ZZ Top, Steve Winwood, etc. They’re done climbing the ladder and now just want to look good because they’re flush with cash and non-physical assets. They’ve married into wealth or settled down after a mid-life crisis. Their kids are in college or they just sold off a fixer-upper for a profit. They’re breaking free of the chains they put themselves in. But, just like the ’80s, this wine is full of flash but no substance. The wine is just complex enough to confuse the truly blind taster (black Riedel glass– everything else is faux blind tasting), yet lacking in depth and vision. Perfect for its intended audience.

Alcohol: 13.0%. Columbia Valley AVA, including Horse Heaven Vineyard planted in the 1970’s. 39% riesling for the acid, 30% semillon and 10% viognier for heft, 19% gewürztraminer for spice, and 2% chenin for the leftovers. TA 0.61. pH 3.10, RS 0.64%.

Tasted at 51-57 degrees. Color: light straw. Nose: peach, honeysuckle, yellow wildflowers. Mouthfeel: medium with acid bite. Tail trail: 6 seconds. Flavors: spiced apple pie, pear, dried peach. Power: 2/5. Balance: 1/5. Depth: 2/5. Finesse: 2/5. Rated: 87. Value: $8. Paid: $10. Music pairing: “Break Free” by Ariana Grande. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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Efeste 2011 Lola chardonnay

This is why all teenagers should be jailed when they enter high school… so they learn the payment when they do commit a retarded deed in society. A 17 year-old from (where else?) Skyway was arrested from mall camera evidence after swiping a tablet from a woman in a wheelchair at Northgate Mall. Dood, you’re in a mall. Security can pinpoint how often you’re scoping out the cleavage of passing women with their ubiquitous cameras. And, the fact you’re a resident of Skyway automatically makes ya a suspect in crimes against the community. Adding to this disgrace, a 16 year-old from neighboring Renton decided to turn his ‘boss’ on and disregarded a warning to slow down from a skateboarder in front of his vehicle and chose to clip the poor bastard then denied fault to the victim’s posse before driving off. Too bad because all teenagers know their peers and he was later busted at his home. The victim later died at Harborview, which further reinstates this simple lesson: regardless of the reason you are in the street in the Seattle area and whether or not you have the right of way, time and again will tell you this, you risk your own life being in the path of a vehicle. If you are crossing in a crosswalk, be swift and know the cars that want to cross your path. Too often I see numbnuts looking down as they slowly stroll into waiting traffic while busily gettin’ their jams on their iTunes. And, there are others who take their leisurely time crossing like they own the fuckin’ road. Be considerate of others and move yo’ ass on down! No sense being right when you’re disabled or dead. But, I digress. Thankfully, there’s Florida… neighbors in Ormond Beach called police after noticing a 45 year-old woman on a motorcycle “half-naked from the waist down and was masturbating.” Ya know, there’s a couple motorcycle parking spots across my micro-apartment window… Just sayin’

Ahh, September. The new school year means a fresh start to get it going again after a furious summer that left me on the threshold. Time to get back to the fundamentals, so this is a primer on wine blogging and how to do it right versus doing what your peer-pressure “buddies” expect.

First off– if you’re gunna blog about wine, make sure you know the basics of English composition. Examples: forming competent sentences, proper syntax, and spelling. For God’s sake, every blog program these days has spell-check. Use it.

Next, and this is important if you want to be credible and truly non-partisan, BUY the wines you review. Nowhere else is such underhanded graft and freebies considered to be “status quo.” Just because it’s wine does not mean authors and readers lower the standard of judgement of the product in review. This is not acceptable in any other regulated industry and the wine blogging industry feigns interest in becoming “regulated” through paper-stamped certification from wanna-be standardized entities. It’s pretty simple: a wine owner gives you a wine for free, after you greedily blackmail the poor dude, to “review” so, like, what the hell you gonna do? You gonna give your real thoughts if the wine sucks? Of course not. You’d then be blacklisted from the winery and her/his friends forever. Stupid move. Of course, you’d join the rank-and-file on an average wine and basically “polish a turd” by hyping it up. Really good wines of a stud lineage already have the word out, so really, there’s no news there. This is where the good bloggers separate themselves from the pack… go find that hidden gem that no one has covered. Go to the store. Go to that obscure new winery tasting room. Pay the price and take a chance. Every now and then, a gem appears. This is what I call the “discovery phase” and this is what makes wine blogging a joy here. In a different light, mix it up and go buy the mass-produced, what-everyone’s-buying wine and try to understand why it is so. This is how to connect with your readers and fellow bloggers. Stay on top of trends as well as blend in new discoveries. And do it independently of what your peers are doing. Create some personality because that’s what people are attracted to. Your own stamp of quality.

From there, go out and find your specialty. For here, it’s Washington wines. We have been supporting the local industry like no other wine blogger since 2008. Thousands of dollars. Many wine clubs. We know all the players in the local area. We know the tasting room managers, the winemakers, the wine rats, the limo drivers, the restaurants, etc. We support them all. They are not here for your self-listed “A-List” penis. Money talks. Being courteous is the supplemental currency. It opens doors. Money is the preferred transaction, but if you want to be Sean, then go suck enough sommelier dick and you might still make it, albeit you’ll be gettin’ penicillin shots up the ass periodically.

Once the wine is procured, be consistent in its treatment. Develop a habit… your drinking environment should be void of distractions. Focus on the wine, not the slags in revealing dresses growing your third leg. Monitor the temperature at tasting. Yes, it is that important. Drinking a red at 55 degrees is vastly different than at 62 degrees. Same with whites. Know the perimeter of food pairings that complement the experience. Take detailed notes. If you don’t know your descriptors then stop what you’re doing and make your next destination the farmer’s market. If you’re into white wines, go buy some fresh (not canned) peaches, limes, lemons, pears, apples, nectarines, bread rolls, and mixed nuts. For the red wines, go with blackberries, black currants, plums, blueberries, and cherries. Then, find a barista that serves burnt espresso. Go smoke a cigar from no less than the DR. Go burn some toast and take a bite. Understanding the language of wine means sampling what’s at the market. Eventually, while you may be thinking you are educating the supposed masses on wine, the wine itself will be educating you on the senses in your life’s experiences. Smelling a Belgian girl’s hair when you were in elementary school. Walking by a bakery shop or coffee stand. Running through a row of strawberries at your uncle’s farm. Smoking a #6 Cohiba with a single-malt Scotch in the aft of your buddie’s yacht. Smelling the funk wafting between your legs after dropping a sphincter-splitting a.m. deuce. The sense of smell triggers memories quicker than no other stimulus, yet enjoying wine is about engaging all the senses so be aware.

Sight– look at the wine in the glass. What is the color consistent with, in terms of age and varietal? Look at the bottle. Ask yourself, “What is the label attracting?” Listen– pop the cork! Unscrew the Stelvin and imitate that popping sound. Listen to the sound of the wine pouring into the glass. That’s the sound of anticipation. Smell– what is the first impression? Touch– feel the wine bottle label. Why is it bumpy? Feel the glass. Is it the right temperature? Touch the wine. Just because you can. Taste– what are you imagining? Does it take you somewhere wonderful or woeful? Many wines take people back to the place they first had it… in some distant locale where they were carefree. These are the senses that make the experience of wine tasting so dreamy.

After that, you are on your own. And, if you’ve been doing it for awhile, it’s okay to repeat the basic information like the area the grapes came from, the winemaker, the history of the winery, any significant time period involving the wine or winery, or any one- or two-degrees of separation between the wine and some personal connection you may have to it. Regurgitating information from the winery website is strongly discouraged, except for bits and pieces that enhance the overall content.

Post consistently if you’re starting out. You have no real fans so be predictable at first. Speed the process up and blog often if you’re a newbie. Don’t be a one-hit wonder.

Don’t get too fancy with your snootiness in rating a wine. Stick to the standard 100-point scale. If you don’t know what that is, then go buy a wine mag like Wine Spectator (this is the ONLY time I recommend paying good money on a waste of a rag) and buy a few wines with the number-rating and see why it was rated at that number.

And, get this… if you want to develop your own voice, avoid at all costs grouping with other wine bloggers. They don’t know any more than you. Following these losers in life will only trap you into blogging about the same wines or topics. Boring.

There.

Wine bloggers pay hundreds of dollars for these secrets, wasting precious time in the tasting room and flying to places that think they make great wine. Skip that shit. Be passionate and invest your own time in researching the facts. Don’t waste it on sucking up to Dickless Wine Report or his hoochy bisexual gf that once ran a mini-mall faux-Chinese joint that served food that tasted like ass.

Chardonnay has become the litmus test here for true enthusiasts of wine. The Anything-But-Chardonnay haters have run their weakass course and are now seen as dysfunctional creeps that secretly couldn’t tell the difference between a Franzia and M. Etain. Sure, Washington has weak chardonnays. Look at the many small-time wineries that use it as a cashflow item. Even Chateau Ste. Michelle has its share of pencil-necked chards, but you knew that.

Chardonnay is another malleable white wine. Many styles involve its winemaking; from traditional 300% new French oak to stainless steel or the hipster concrete egg, and all combinations in between. It’s a great wine with any course when paired correctly. While not quite the wild-card status that Washington riesling is, chardonnay is making a comeback here and in the near future, there will be a $100 Washington chardonnay available. Why? Because we can. That’s why.

It’s a white wine so think about it… it’s best paired with cheeses and white meats that may include your girlfriend’s crotch. Had this with my bud’s fried chicken, experimental fried gizzards, and 505 Green Chile sauce. Holy blow hole!

Tasted at 50-59 degrees on the IR temp gun. Buttery gold in the Riedel with blooms of white peach, nectarine, graham crackers, 3am-baked bread, and wildflower honey. Full and dense on the palate with a long, even residence of warm summer peach, orange oil, lemon mash, and gravelly minerals.

Alcohol: 13.41%. Evergreen Vineyard. Ancient Lakes AVA. Native fermentation. Power: 3/5. Balance: 2/5. Depth: 3/5. Finesse: 2/5. Rated: 90. Value: $25. Paid: $30. Music pairing: “Secrets” by Mary Lambert. This is WAwineman, back for you bitches.

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Andrew Januik 2011 Stone Cairn cabernet sauvignon

With the upcoming wine liar’s convention on the radar, we salute wine bloggers with the stupidity they shamelessly display on their sites. First, there’s the fugly old goat of a failure who leeched his way onto Seattle’s former “other newspaper” by ripping the customers who frequent the big-box wine stores and accusing those patrons of not buying “local” when they should be paying more for the same wine at some small-time local hoodrat’s store. Listen, you shriveled, Viagra-popping face-got-run-over-by-a-BevMo-semi raisin’d palate, those places employ “local” people who live here and contribute to their communities. Those stores attract a demographic that ma-and-pa Peter’s Wine Esquins cannot entice. I may not buy wines from them but I get some damn good beers there and the people are courteous, unlike the corrosive rant spewed on that poorly edited post. There should be a law that anyone over 43 be disallowed to blog about wines because they are so out of touch with the world. Especially if they failed in selling wine in a previous life. That goes for you, too, Stanley. Next is that brainless cleft-lipped monstrosity that continues to boast that retarded cliche “it’s wine o’clock somewhere.” Her latest posts, despite being a self-proclaimed Washington wine advocate, focuses on Mollydooker and Franciscan Estate wines. Hmm, last I checked those wineries could not be found within Washington’s borders. It’s one thing to occasionally dip into “outside” wines, if anything, to reaffirm that Washington’s wines are clearly superior. It’s quite another to stay focused on second-tier world wines that only rank competitively with the lower-end Precept wines. Then, there’s that Bullshit Wine Reporter’s posts… look at the last month of his posts– not one single investigative topic about a Washington winery or winemaker. The only “focus report” in that time is a self-promoting Glee-type post begging readers to vote for him in some kiddie-school “best wine blog” category. Let’s all thank Amazon.com for shutting this dude’s trap. Hey Bezos, keep driving your slaves, ya buddy! Finally, there’s the grand old mule who thinks he owns the rights to making Washington wine so popular today that no one in southern California has heard of any world-class wines being made here. This guy failed twice at his own blog site then moved his reviews to Facebook only to publicize his ghostly effort at making wine for Tumbleweed Cellars with (a lot of) help from a conglomerate’s winemaking team and cherry-picking vineyards like ANY newly-minted winemaker here. Imagine the creepiness of having an 80 year-old senior wine writer on Facebook… can you say “pedophile”? And after all that heavy failure, the guy ends up promoting his asshat band because he couldn’t make any money with his reviews or heavily-biased-toward-his-Walla-Walla-hoodrats wine book? Hey Sean, here’s a look into your future in twenty years… failed blog, failed marriage with no kids, have to move out of Seattle due to cost of living, writing a book for the equivalent of 8 cents an hour effort, leading some hick banjo-slinging folk band, and forced out of the region’s preeminent newspaper writing about wine due to no one giving a f*ck. Yeah, better enjoy it now before you get reassigned to some remote un-air conditioned fulfillment center way out in the tulies. And you still wonder what’s my beef with Washington wine bloggers and their self-serving motives? Dummfux.

I present to you more evidence of a successful passing of the baton to the next generation of winemakers in the state of Washington with Andrew Januik’s highly anticipated and smashing debut of his eponymous winery. Andrew is the younger son of world-renowned master winemaker, Mike Januik, and a longtime cellar rat, unlike the fly-by-nights that plague the Lake Chelan wineries. Andrew, when not getting his ass beat by older brother, Donald, would sneak into the lab on weekends and work on pH and total acids when most of his kind would be sneaking into some girl’s bedrooms. It also helped that he had two fundamentally sound mentors in duck-father Mike and fellow Novelty Hill winemaker, bulldog Scott Moeller. And, unlike most scraping-by, aspiring winemakers, his “college of hard knocks” was (and still is) the beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright-esque monument that is Januik/Novelty Hill wineries.

With this background, one can expect his wines to be textbook fundamentally sound and clean and this first offering does not disappoint in such high expectations. Despite being a hefty 27 years of age, Andrew has made a wine from a most difficult vintage that is pure and representative of Washington’s jewel of an AVA, Red Mountain. Mark my words, this is not an easy or simple wine to make from year 2011 grapes. Many have fallen or taken a backseat compared to their typical production quality standard, marking 2011 as their “worst” wine in a lineage. Yes, some may say that the 2011 vintage will shine years down the road, but that is just a weakass guess to sell 2011 wines. The fact is, 2011 will be the forgotten vintage for wine connoisseurs who are nursing their own verticals of their favorite fanciful-named wines. However, for a winemaker to begin his journey with the 2011 vintage with such a polished effort as this, the future is boundless with possibilities! 2011 love never felt so good…

Tasted at 58-65 degrees on the IR temp gun. Pleasing deep garnet-black magenta in the Riedel with layered aromas of smoky blackberry, dark cherry, plum, and rich polished wood. Smooth and seamless on the palate with an eternal presence (10+ seconds) displaying raspberry, black pepper, blackberry, sweet rolled tannins, fine dust, nutty espresso, dried bark, stinging nettle, and carpenter’s workbench. This tasted like a French businesswoman… never standing up to overpower its Texas-bbq beef or chicken cutlet with plum sauce peers but never running away from its stage call either.

Alcohol: 14.2%. Vineyards: Shaw and Obelisco. Red Mountain AVA. 4% merlot, 2% cab franc. Aged 21 months in 50% new French, 36% 1-year French, and 14% new American oak. TA 0.53. pH 3.70. 199 cases. Released March, 2014. Sold out but can be found at Januik Winery… if you beg or you’re an Oregon alum. Power: 2/5. Balance: 3/5. Depth: 3/5. Finesse: 3/5. Rated: 91. Value: $35. Paid: $40. Music pairing: “Love Never Felt So Good” by Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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