Wine 1: 2003 Pacific Rim Dry Riesling. This didn't taste like any riesling I'd ever had before. Mixed from grapes grown in Germany and Washington, like it's name suggests, this is a dry riesling, which really lets you focus on some of the flavors that you haven't noticed beyond the sweetness. I got a strong grapefruit flavor out of the wine. I think they're heavily marketing this as a good wine for various Asian fare, so it should go well with Thai or Vietnamese or Chinese or whatever. I'm anxious to try it out in that environment. Recommended. $11.
Wine 2. 2003 Kris Pinot Grigio. An Italian wine from the Venezia region, in the upper northeast. Not bad for a pinot grigio, but I'm beginning to dread this grape. I got hints of apple, lemon, and ginger in the taste, which only served to remind me of when Mom would send me to school with apple slices soaked in lemon juice (so it wouldn't brown before lunchtime). I appreciate the trouble she went to, but I really would have been better off with a whole apple. $10.
Wine 3. Can't remember--this was the mystery wine, called Fire something or other. Red wine, made from a blend of a dozen different things. There were some decent plum and blackberry flavors, but overall not an exciting wine. $12.
Wine 4. 2003 Ca'del Solo Big House Red en Screw Cap. I've always had a great admiration for Bonny Doon, ever since I bought that bottle of Le Cigare Volant lo these many years ago. (For those who don't speak French, the name refers to a flying cigar, which refers to the description of France's first UFO sighting. The label featured a pastoral scene with a farmer looking up at a UFO in the clouds.) Anyway, this is a table red made from a lot of different grapes. Personally I thought it tasted a lot like a sangiovese, and would be suitable as a good accompaniment for any Italian food with a tomato-based sauce. $10.
Wine 5. 2003 Fairview Goats Do Roam in Villages. Man, I'd been looking for this wine for a long time--I thought that the pun on "Côtes du Rhône-Villages" was hilarious, and applauded the win of the small South African farmer over the French wine labeling authority. And the name is quite descriptive--the wines are grown on a goat farm, and they also produce goat cheese (and presumably goat meat for local consumption). The wine itself is an odd bird, and for the record, TASTES NOTHING LIKE Côtes du Rhône. There's no grenache, but there's a truckload of pinotage, a weird South African grape with a clay taste that's difficult to pin down. This is a strange and difficult wine--hot, heavily tannic, and with an abundance of hard-to-place flavors. But as God is my witness, I'm bound and determined to serve this one day with a barbecued leg of goat. $13.