Chardonnay, estate bottled Iron Horse, Green Valley (Russian River Valley), Sonoma, 2007.
We tried this oaked Chardonnay right after Iron Horse's unoaked version. The unoaked was a pale greenish-silver-straw color, versus the ever slightly more lemony yellow color of the oaked. The fragrances were worlds apart. While the unoaked was herbal and green-appley and briny, the oaked version immediately struck my nose with intense vanilla and coconut fragrances and just a touch of funky washed-rind cheese (in a good way).
Whereas the unoaked was highly acidic to the point of being unbalanced, this wine was a perfect marriage of acid and tannins, with the barest hint of sweetness and delicious vanilla and tropical fruit flavors. I definitely recommend this one - as does the rest of my class!
Gewurtztraminer, estate bottled Navarro Vineyards, Anderson Valley, Mendocino, 2006.
Looking for an exciting wine? I have found - in my extremely limited experience - that Gewurtztraminers smell totally different from other wines, and in a very delicious way - brown sugar and warm spice (nutmeg, clove), fruity and floral (orange blossom, rose, and lychee). It was a bit sweet, fairly acidic, and the taste matched the wonderful fragrance.
Zinfandel, Dry Creek Old Vines, Dry Creek Valley, 2005.
Wow. A red wine that I almost liked! The aroma was super sweet and spicy - like dried fruit and black peppercorns, and it tasted of fresh pomegranate and Black Mission figs and dried blueberries and prunes. Even though it's a dry wine, the intense fruitiness lent a touch of sweetness that stayed perfectly in balance with the tannins and acid, and the flavors lingered for quite some time.
Elysium, Quady Winery, Black Muscat, 2007.
A dessert wine made from rare black Muscat grapes. It smelled and tasted strongly of black cherry juice, and was super-sweet and caramely, and very lovable. Mmm ... to drink this with cheese ... would make me very happy ...