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Dan AtwoodI’ve been looking forward to Wednesday afternoons lately. That’s when regularly scheduled meeting of “The Counter Club” convenes at The Wine Company. Owner Dan Atwood thought it would be a good idea for some of his regular customers to come in and taste a few wines from a different rep each week. It’s a nice opportunity for wine lovers to sample some different wines and gives Dan some valuable feedback on which wines to order and which ones to avoid.

Kim Baily from Southern Wine and Spirits brought eight wines for us to sample this week. We started off with a 2007 Chardonnay from Beaulieu Vineyards. Rated 91 points by Wine Spectator, this 100% Carneros wine was pleasing to the nose and enjoyable, but I doubt I’d spend $20 for it. I made an important discovery this week. I’m not a fan of French Bordeaux. Kim brought two for us to taste. The first was an ’06 Chateau Siaurac, a Merlot/Cab Franc blend. It’s not overpriced at $18 and would pair well with foods, but it wasn’t one of my favorites. Keep in mind I’m not a French Bordeaux fan. We jumped up to a $50 wine next, the ’05 Chateau La Vieille Cure, a blend of 75% Merlot, 22% Cab Franc and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine had a magnificent nose, but was still tight. It opened up as it sat in the glass, but I wasn’t a big fan. In all fairness, Ed Mahieu, who loves French Bordeaux found this wine very much to his liking.

My favorite of the afternoon was a California wine, the ’06 Domaine Chandon Pinot Meunier. This is one of the three grapes primarily used to make Champagne, but I had never tasted it on its own. It was reminiscent of Pinot Noir in color, nose and palate. I found it very reasonable at $17 and wound up ordering some. Kim poured us a $10 wine, the ’07 Sterling Meritage. This was very approachable and can’t be beat for the price. The ’05 Newton Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa was next in line. The nose is unlike any other Cab I have ever smelled and it was hard to pin down. We finally came to the conclusion that there was a prominent blackberry with a hint of cherry. Priced at $37, this is a wine I would like to try again. The final two wines were the ’03 Canoe Ridge Merlot from Washington and the ’06 Terrazas Malbec from Argentina. I found the Merlot to be pleasant enough, but for me overpriced at $54. Way overpriced. The Malbec was a delight, with a deep color and a great fruity nose. $16? Sold!

I’m looking forward to see what Dan has up his sleeve for the next meeting of the Counter Club.

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