The anticipation is building. Minutes from now we will be tasting 12 red wines, with 5 minutes per wine to learn about, taste and write about each one. The tasting will begin in moments. I hope you’ll check back.

We’re beginning with a blind tasting. Beautiful deep color, interesting nose, I pick up some chocolate. This wine is smoky, big, chewy and finishes well. AOC travel guides, an iPad and iPhone app. We still don’t know what it is, but the app looks interesting. We’ll be told later what the wine is. Hmmmmmm. Aha! An Italian Lagrein, 2005 Nusserhof Sudtirol, priced around $20.

Dana and Manfred have poured us a 2nd wine, 2008 Sunce Mourvedre from the Russian River. Nice balance, bright.

Lisa from Jordan is pouring a 2006 Jordan Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. I’m a Cab fan and this one is hitting the right notes. A lingering finish, fruit forward, blended with Merlot, Petit Verdot and a splash of Malbec. You can probably find it for about $45. I would drink this wine again.

Here’s the first Washington Zinfandel I have seen. It’s Maryhill’s ’07 Columbia Valley Zin. Production is 3600 cases and this is priced at $14.95. Not a big nose, but it’s lovely on the tongue and I think an excellent value. Alcohol is 14.3, relatively low for a Zin.

Co Dinn is here from Hogue Cellars with their ’07 Genesis Meritage. It’s a blend of 49% Merlot, 44% Cab Sauv with a touch of Malbec and Cab Franc. The mouth feel is exceptional and at $16 I would jump all over this. A real winner!

Buty (pronounced “beauty”) Wines from Walla Walla is pouring the ’06 Rediviva Phinny Hill Vineyard blend. It’s 55% Cabernet Sauvignon with the balance Syrah. Case production is 3000. Great fruit on the nose and palate, with the Syrah really showing itself. $48.

Chad is here with Boomtown Cab with a little Syrah and Can Franc. This is Dusted Valley’s entry level wine priced at about $15. Not a lot of nose, but it sure tastes good and for the price you’d be hard priced to find a better value. I love fruit forward wines and this one works for me.

Katy has arrived from Gordon Brothers and is presenting their ’07 Merlot from Washington’s Columbia Valley. They’re the oldest estate fruit winery in Washington State. This state is producing some outstanding Merlots and I would rank this one as very good, especially at $20. They also grow cherries on their property. A family owned operation.

Nicholas Cole Cellars was founded in 2001 and is named for owner/winemaker Michael Neuffer’s children. The 2005 Camille is a Bordeaux blend with Merlot the primary grape. It’s a unique tasting blend, perhaps not my favorite, but I my be experiencing a bit of palate burn out. $35. This is a Walla Walla wine.

James Leigh Cellars’ Lynne Chamberlain has stopped by and is pouring her ’04 Cabernet Sauvignon. Another Walla Walla wine, Lynne is owner/viticulturist/winemaker. At $18.99, it’s a tasty wine. I want to visit her winery.

It’s time to visit Italy now and the ’07 Banfi “Balnero” Sangiovese blend. $35 +, alcohol content at between 13 and 14%. I like the nose, but this wine may be better suited for food. Not wild about it by itself.

New and exciting is what we’re promised for the final wine. Monthaven’s 2007 California Central Coast Cab comes in an octagonal silver 3 liter box and is priced at $24. The fruit comes from Paso Robles and Monterey. It’s not especially complex, but the price is right at about $6 per 750 liters.

Whew! We’re done. This is hard work!!!