Stina's Cellars Mixed Washington Reds (6)

Stina’s Cellars Mixed Washington Reds 6-Pack
Sold by: Winston Winery
$79.99 $140.00 43% off List Price
2011 Baco Noir, Millennium Vineyards, Washington State
2008 Montage Red Wine, Washington State
2008 Sangiovese, Washington State

Interesting offer. Nice job WD.

[grape]

Lab rat reporting in!

I would like to preface my notes with an important fact about my experience with wine: I am not terribly experienced with aged wines; nothing I buy seems to be able to lay down for over a year. I received a bottle of the Montage and the Baco Noir to taste.

I’ll start with pop and pour of each wine… The montage was a dark, purplish red, although a bit brown at the meniscus. The baco noir was about the same color, maybe a few shades lighter. Each wine had decent clarity; I could see through the glass fairly well. On the nose, I picked up dark fruits from the Montage, blackberry and plum came to mind. The Baco Noir, on the other hand, had a bright fruity aroma with earthy undertones, a bit like a good Williamette valley pinot noir.

Now to the important part!
The Montage was medium bodied, very smooth with well integrated / very mild tannins. It still had decent acidity, plum and other dark fruits came to mind. I drank these with a friend, who found the Montage very smooth and easy to drink. I think this is a great example of a well aged wine.

The Baco Noir was a somewhat different story. I picked up strawberries and cherries right away, with a bit of cinnamon / clove on the finish. The tannins are much bigger on this wine. The major takeaway, however, was a very harsh sour / tart finish. My ignorance of the development of wine comes into play here, but I was surprised by the sourness and wondered if it was perhaps a bit over the hill, maybe approaching the end of its life.

I prepared a few dished to accompany the wines, imaging the aged wines would have fairly herbal / woodsy notes. I made a spiced goat cheese appetizer, a beet salad, grilled porkchops and a grilled ribeye with blue cheese butter. The montage was very nice with the goat cheese and the porkchop. The Noir, however, was not enhanced by the food for the most part. However, the blue cheese butter did mellow out the wine, I actually enjoyed it with the ribeye.

Final notes: I think this is a fun pack to experience aged wines. The montage is very smooth and easy to drink, while the Noir is a bit more challenging, but not necessarily bad due to time in bottle. They are very different, and I feel this would be an interesting pack to try.

Thanks WD for letting me contribute!

Hello everyone! Perry here, I am the winemaker for Stinas. I am traveling but I will be checking in to answer all your questions. I’m excited to share my wine with you and hope you enjoy them all.

The Baco Noir made an appearance at last night’s Corison event. It being a grape grown often in my home and native land, I was excited to try it. It didn’t disappoint at all. The Washington terroir seems to have worked well with the grape. Fruity, slightly smoky, and woodsy. Light to medium bodied and easy drinking. If I was buying I’d go in to try the others.

[grape]

Grape Debater reporting for duty. I received the 2008(!) Stina’s Cellars Sangiovese a few days ago. It’s from Washington State and has 13.9% alcohol.

In the glass, it’s a quite cloudy magenta with brown-garnet tones. After swirling it has a lot of long narrow legs. There are aromas of crushed raspberry, toasted oak, and warm cherry pie.

Upon drinking, I found it to have a light to medium body, with lots of bright cherries, some tangy cranberries, pepper, tobacco leaf, and a tangy medium length finish (15-30 seconds) where the tannins finally make an appearance. It’s actually quite fresh tasting, which was a surprise to me after seeing the 9 year old vintage date and cloudy pour.

The next day is was still going strong - no fading of the fruit, and a fair amount of dusty tannins. SWMBO, who is a red wine fan, thought it was a little too tart, but liked the cherry flavors and said “it felt good on the tongue”. I agreed in that it passed through the front and mid-palate rather quickly, but very pleasantly stayed in the back of my palate for a decent length of time. She said it grew on her over time.

Final verdict on the Sangiovese: it was a bit thin, but had nice red fruit and went well with my pizza. It’s freshness belied it age, and it evolved over time into an overall nice bottle.

Along with the Sangiovese, I received Stina’s Cellars 2011 Baco Noir, which is a fairly rare grape varietal to be bottled on its own. Very intriguing.

This was a bit darker magenta than the Sangiovese, although it too had a degree of cloudiness. On the nose there was darker fruit - blueberries - and earth. Medium bodied, with lots of plums and blackberries, mint, some tannins hiding behind the fruit, and something hard to pin down - green olives, tea, maybe soy sauce - on the mid-palate. Finally, it had a tart, medium to long finish.

I brought this to the Corison Vertical tasting for the non-tasters to try. Little did I know that Tim would pour them a 2005 Corison cabernet before I could open my contribution to the dinner table. That was a very unfair competition. Opinions were evenly split between “interesting”, “not bad” and “didn’t like”. I didn’t get a chance to find out the reasons behind the judgments, so I’m just putting them out there for your consideration.

I drank this back to back with the Sangiovese a night later (Sunday night), and it was clearly second place. It lacked depth of flavors and for me seemed over-extracted and unbalanced. I’m glad I had a chance to try this, but I wouldn’t buy it again.

Thanks WCC/WD for the opportunity to contribute!

[grape]

Bottom line (opinion, of course):
Buy the Montage
Skip the Sangiovese

I received my golden ticket along with a bottle each of the 2008 Montage and 2008 Sangiovese. Below are notes on both. To start with, let me say that I’m an avid wine enthusiast, but I’m not an expert by any means. I know a lot about wines, but can’t name flavor or aroma characteristics to save my life. My wife, however, is quick to identify both cat urine and bee attack pheromone!!

Starting with the Montage:

Pours nicely. We did not decant it. Long legs, great ruby color. Smells of jam, blackberries, and currants. My wife said she gets an old straw scent from it. Tannic, but not overpowering by any means. Drinks with a little sweetness on the tongue but ends with some peppery notes in the throat and hints of aromatic cheese wafting through the palate. Again, the wife said it tastes like grape juice for adults. Given the tannic overtones, it doesn’t have that “big red” oakey taste and we drank most of the bottle with a breakfast pizza for dinner. Delicious! Definite buy!

On to the Sangiovese:

First, the color stuck us both as a little tawny. Like it had aged past its prime. We did not decant it, but I wish we had. A couple of hours may have allowed some of the more ethanolish type aromas to have dissipated. Our initial thoughts were not positive. Black pepper, leather, old jam, and currant aromas led to a very bland and insipid taste. For me, all I got was an alcoholic fluid taste. My wife got tannins and metal. Very astringent and bitter. We poured one glass, shared between the two of us to taste, and did not finish it. I suspect that this wine will make an awesome coq a vin, though!

Lastly, after the disappointing Sangiovese, I returned to the Montage (this is a day later) and found that the wine had changed in the re-corked bottle. Decanting would probably be a mistake for this wine, as it had lost a lot of its fruity flavor notes. It was still a good drink with leftover breakfast pizza, but my belief is that this wine should be finished within a couple hours of starting it.

We did not have time to second-day test the Sangivese, but I plan on checking it out tonight with dinner. If I have time, I’ll post an update with any tasting notes.

Thanks for the opportunity to enter the Grape Debate with some great aged wines, and as every wine connoisseur or sommelier will tell you - if we all liked the same stuff, there’d only be one of everything!

Wine from Warshington!

So many possible wisecracks… which one to choose?

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