DCV Fumé BlancKen and Taryn were our hosts on a very warm late summer evening. Food was plentiful, and platters were piled high with fried chicken, double and triple creme cheeses, dolma, and so much more. I brought six wines, and we set out to the task.

Our group perks up when they see a wine from Dry Creek Vineyard, so they were more than happy when I opened the 2020 Fumé Blanc. Fermented in stainless steel for 20 – 31 days, Kim loved the peach and ripe white fruit on the nose as well as its dry finish. Jan called it crisp, dry, refreshing, and a great bargain. The white grapefruit on the nose put a smile on my face, and I enjoyed the balance and finish. At $16, our tasters rated it better than four out of a possible five stars.

Next up was the 2020 La Petite Perrière rosé from the Loire region of France. Chris picked up citrus on the nose, and tart fruit and spice on the palate with raspberry sherbert notes on the finish. Ken loved its color and the delightful fruit on the nose. I loved the color, too, and found it fruit-forward and food-friendly. It scored just under four stars at a price of  $12.

Moving to reds, we tasted the non-vintage Vento di Mare Nerello Mascalese. From Sicily, David called it unique, subtle, and at the same light fruitiness on the nose. He said it was smooth and enjoyable. Brian said it “has some guts to it. Would be great with tomato sauce.” I liked the ruby/garnet color and found the cherry nose quite expressive. A few tasters didn’t care for it at all. It scored just above three stars, and it sells for $12.

I never know what I’m going to find when I open a bottle. The overwhelming majority are quite good. I remember mom telling me if I couldn’t say something nice to not say anything at all. Our group had nothing nice to say about wine number four.

Wine number five, Merry Edwards 2019 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir more than made up for it. The grapes were hand-picked at night, then hand-sorted at the winery. “Now we’re talking” said Ken. Deep, dark cherry nose, smooth and well-balanced from start to finish. Chris got cherries and raspberries, and enjoyed the long smooth finish. Jan called it a classic Pinot. “Just right!” At $60, it received several perfect five-star scores and overall scored better than four-and-a-half stars.

I like to begin or end a tasting with sparkling wine, and we concluded this tasting with Martini & Rossi’s sparkling rosé. Jan called it nice and not too sweet. I found it crips and refreshing and loved the pretty pink color. Brian called it an easy drinker. David said it was refreshing and enjoyable. It scored four stars, and it sells for around $15. I also tasted Martini & Rossi’s Prosecco and Asti and enjoyed them both. The Asti is quite nice on the rocks.