Terra Valentine – 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon (Spring Mountain District)

This tasting got off to a rocky start when the cork broke when I was opening the bottle.  I had half a notion to move on to another wine (as I’ll admit to not having an ah-so handy), but I decided that I really did want to give this a try.  I committed the sin of pushing the cork into the bottle, whipping out a fine tea strainer, and pouring away, figuring I’d catch any stray cork bits.  The rocky start turned into a wonderful wine experience.  The color was deeply rich, with long legs.  The aromas were amazing – full and lush, with deep, dark cherries and plums with a touch of currant, and lovely, mellow tobacco and leathery notes.  I couldn’t wait for that first sip, which was just amazing.  This 12 year old beauty was round and very well balanced.  The dark fruits were true to their aromas, and there was a hint of herb and licorice.    The tannins were perfectly melded in this amazing wine.  I am so glad that I didn’t give up on this one.  We enjoyed it with a rich and spicy Italian meal, and this cab sauv was the star of the show.

Michael David Winery – 2009 Seven Deadly Zins

I had mixed expectations with this old vine zinfandel.  A low price and high score from Robert Parker pulled me in to giving this red a try.  I opened the bottle to aromas of pepper, plum, dark berries and a little dark cherry.  My nose did get the slightest bite from the alcohol, which is a little on the high side at 15%.  The alcohol was noticeable at first sip, but resolved quickly.  The mouth feel was generally soft, full-bodied, but the fruits were evident.  I will admit that I think my palate is a little sensitive to sugars, but the taste was sweet to me, which perplexed me, particularly in light of the higher alcohol.  For what it’s worth, my husband loved the wine.  We had it with a seared petit filet, and it held up very nicely.

Brancott Estate – 2011 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

On a hot, humid summer evening, what sounds more pleasant than a cold, crisp, easy-drinking white wine?  I opened this wine to discover a wave of refreshing citrus aroma.  Grapefruit was very predominant, with a hint of gooseberry.  I think I fell in love with this wine before I even took a sip.  My first sip was, in short, delightful.  The balance was magnificent, with acids in check, but still very bright.  The medium body of this wine gives a nice mouth-feel as well.  I enjoyed this wine with some garlic hummus, grilled vegetables and grilled shrimp with a Mediterranean aioli.

Mirassou – 2008 Pinot Noir

I am very torn about how to describe this wine.  It isn’t bad at all, but in the same breath I’ll tell you that it lends to being unremarkable.  The aromas are light with notes of cherry and currant.  I found it to be of particularly light body – more so than most pinot noirs.  The color – a jewel ruby.  The finish is modest.  I think that this would be a nice transitional wine for the person who is just starting to venture into red territory.  It’s light, and doesn’t have a notable sharpness, either from acids or tannins.  It could easily go with salmon or other similar seafood.  It would tend to get lost if paired with a steak.