The tasting that I used to go to every Saturday has returned in a slightly amended form; it's held on a Thursday evening and is presented as more of a class, with each wine tasted blind and then identified before moving to the next one. Not sure how I like it, but we had some interesting wines, most of which hailed from the Pacific Northwest.
Wine 1: 2004 Kiona Late Harvest White Riesling. Sweet dessert wine from the Yakima Valley in Washington state. Good fruit flavors, excellent introductory wine for those just getting started. $10.
Wine 2: 2001 Meridian Chardonnay. I knew right away that it was a California chard. This one was used as an example of a wine served past its prime; the fruit had disappeared, leaving only acidic and alcohol flavors, plus some off-putting oak. It probably wasn't bad last year or the year before that. $10.
Wine 3: 2003 R. Stuart Big Fire Pinot Gris. Basically the same thing as Pinot Grigio, but finished in a French style rather than an Italian one. Good grapefruit flavors, but a little bitter on the finish. Probably a good match for seafood with mild cream sauces. $15.
Wine 4: 2003 Erath Pinot Noir. Nailed it right away as an Oregon Pinot Noir. Fairly mild, but I've had better. Nothing to get too excited about. $15.
Wine 5: 2002 Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Merlot. (This one isn't listed on the website yet, but it's one of their single vineyard offerings.) Nobody guessed this was a merlot, because it was an intense dark purple, and had a fairly powerful flavor. Quite good, not sure if I would buy it. $17.