Wine 1: 2004 Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc. Another fun sauvignon blanc from New Zealand. You know, I'm really beginning to enjoy this grape and particularly the Kiwi interpretation of it. From the Marlborough region, this a a crisp, citrus-focused wine with excellent flavors and aromas of grapefruit and pineapple. I also picked up a bit of fresh grass clippings. A fun spring/summer wine, and a bargain at $8.
Wine 2: 2004 Kendall Jackson Vintner's Reserve Riesling. Not a bad little California riesling, but nothing to get excited about. I picked up aromas of dried fruit, just a pinch of honeysuckle, and maybe a hint of nutmeg in the flavor. And it's a sweet grape. Supposedly this would be good for various Asian fare; I'd be willing to give it a try. Not spectacular, but not bad for the price. $10.
Wine 3: 2003 Napa Valley Vineyards Chardonnay. A standard California chardonnay, lightly oaked, fall fruit flavors, yada yada yada. I've had better, I've had worse. $12.
Wine 4: 2003 Echelon Vineyards Pinot Noir. Not bad on the beginning, but this wine had a bitter aftertaste that was difficult to ignore. I think I've had this before, during my big flirtaiton with pinot noir over last summer. (Note to all who are reading: that was before the release of Sideways) I'm begining to learn that pinot noir, like the moon, is a harsh mistress. Though I'm by no means an expert, I've discovered that at lower qualities, it's fairly easy to distinguish pinot noir from other grapes. But at higher qualities, it often presents more complex flavors. $12.
Wine 5: 2000 Fife Vineyards Petite Syrah. This was the mystery wine, and I was way off. I won't embarass myself with the guesses here, but this is a petite syrah from California. Overall the flavor was pleasant, but I'm not sure if it was worth the price, particualry after the glory of the bargain Bogle version of this grape. $17.
By the way, I felt that these wines were much more balanced than those sampled last week. And while I completely bombed on the mystery wine, I did recognize that it had a higher alcohol content than the other wines sampled. There's this... heat that comes with higher alcohol wines.