Wine 1: Mionetto il Prosecco. This is a light sparkling wine from Italy. It's an interesting bottle--shaped like a bowling pin and topped with a metal bottlecap (like you'd see on glass beer bottles). It's only a frizzante, not a full spumante, so it's not a bear to open. It's got a light citrus flavor and no aftertaste--all agreed that it would be an excellent palate cleanser between courses or after a particularly strong wine. $13.
Wine 2: 2004 Spy Valley Riesling. From New Zealand, this is one of the stranger rieslings I've had. Slightly sweet, but it tended towards more of a sauvignon blanc flavor rather than a German riesling. Not bad, but confusing. $12.
Wine 3: 2002 Sterling Vintner's Collection Pinot Noir. This is a classic pinot noir, and while it tastes much younger than it is (lots of fun black cherry and a bit of jam flavors), I don't think it's going to hold up with age. Drink now. $14.
Wine 4: 2002 Leaping Lizard Cabernet Sauvignon. I couldn't find a website for this company, but it's a Napa Valley cab sav that supposedly won 90 points in Wine Spectator. I had mixed reactions to this; after the pinot noir it was pretty harsh--I actually coughed on it. High tannins, strong finish. Not bad, but requires a bit of forewarning and the proper food. $10.
WIne 5. 2001 Zenato Valpolicella. A solid Italian valpolicella, made mostly out of corvina grapes (85%). A little smoky with hints of black cherry and licorice. Smooth and classy, especially for the price. $11.