The stress of my first official review! Having studied statistics throughout college, the first thing I realized when I was going to write a review was that I would need some criteria or a baseline on which to review all of the wines.
So here's what I like in wine:
* A wine that smells nice
* A wine that is smooth - I don't want a bitter or harsh taste
* A wine that tastes as good at the start as at the end
* A wine that does not over power me with an aftertaste
* Most importantly, a wine that makes me want to open another bottle right away
The wine: 2005 Beringer, Founders Estate, Merlot - available at Safeway for approximately $15.
The situation: I had a long day at work (it was a Wednesday). My wife, the kids and I were having spaghetti for dinner - and I had the urge. So I grabbed the wine, a pen and paper and started the review.
The wine had a decent smell to it - I could actually pick out the smell of some fruit. I thought it was cherry, my wife thought it was blackberry - but it was a bit fruity. The sweet smell got the wine off to a good start.
Initially I found the wine strong so I let it breathe for a while - and sure enough it smoothed right out. This wine needs at least 20 minutes to open up. (There is a trick for those who can't wait that long - it is called a "Venturi Wine Aerator" - I bought mine at BevMo for about $40.) Once that was done, the wine seemed to have a much more consistent taste.
The wine had a nice strong start and finish. The one problem I felt was it did not leave much of a taste in my mouth at all. I found I kept taking sips to refresh my memory of the flavor. You don't want a wine with a potent aftertaste, but some lingering flavor is always nice.
The most important criteria: Would I grab a second bottle right away? For two reasons the answer was no. First and most importantly, the wine was good - but not great. Second, it was a week night. Work the next day would have been a lot longer had I opened a second bottle of anything.
I probably would pair this wine with a meat instead of spaghetti. I found the wine to be a bit strong for pasta, but it would work well with chicken or pork. Definitely not with fish.
Buy again factor: My wife liked the wine. As Forrest Gump says: "If Mom ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." So I guess I am buying the wine again. The next time I buy this wine, I would probably make this the second bottle of the night rather than the first. I always want to have a great wine first.
Don Colman, the Everyday Wine Guy, lives in Danville and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org