The theme for this tasting was "Sippable Summer Wines", and I think the slate fit that bill fairly well.
Wine 1: Candoni Prosecco NV. Very interesting bottle design. I love this grape, though this sparkler was a little too brut for sipping on its own. Needs food. $14.
Wine 2: 2003 Cavalchina Bianco di Custoza. Fairly boring Italian white, lots of different grapes, but the fruit and acids fell completely flat. Could have been an off bottle. $15.
Wine 3: 2003 Domaine Félines Jourdan Picpoul de Pinet. Great basic white wine from the south of France. Good acid levels and light citrus flavors. $13.
Wine 4: 2003 Castle Rock Sauvignon Blanc. I got a lot of pine aromas on top, though it's a reasonably rounded wine. That pine scent really lingered--I had to rinse my glass twice before the next pour. $10.
Wine 5: 2004 Paringa Chardonnay-Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc. Too much going on in this wine. Firm acids, but too many competing flavors. $12.
Wine 6: 2003 Pepi Pinot Grigio. A flat pinot grigio, nothing spectacular. Surprise, surprise. $12.
Wine 7: 2004 Don Rudolpho Torrentes. (No web info found.) The first time I'd ever had the Torrentes grape, which is the big white of Argentina. Very enjoyable--great fruit and balance, with just a bit of dusky flavor that reminded me of muscadines. $12.
Wine 8: 2004 Saint M Riesling. Made by Ste. Michelle in Washington, this isn't a bad riesling. Nothing special, but a good basic wine for introductory wine drinkers. $13.
Wine 9: 2004 Bonny Doon Big House Pink. A bood basic Italian-style rosé, ought to be perfect with fish or chicken, though it drinks smoothly enough for casual sipping. Also comes with a screwcap, making it perfect for impromptu occasions. $13.
Wine 10: 2003 Georges Dubuf Beaujolais-Villages. From the famous "Vintage of the Sun" in 2003, this is holding up quite well. More tannins than you'd expect, but there's still that lovely aroma of bananas on top. Another great one for the introductory wine drinker, as well as something to show more experienced drinkers that there's life beyond Beaujolais Nouveau. $10.
Wine 11: 2003 Jumilla "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon-Monastrell. From the Jumilla region in Spain, this is a hearty red that takes its name from the famous quote from Noel Coward, that "Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the mid-day sun." Herbal and grassy, but I think it needs a little time to soften. $10.
Wine 12: 2002 Ravenswood California Zinfandel. Firm tannins, not much in the way of good Zinfandel flavor. Take it or leave it. $13.