I've just come home from a wine tasting at The Red Ginger in Rye. Instead of putting a couple wines out once a week, they get a couple distributors together and have many wines once in a while. You can get on their email list, which only sends out info on when things are happening, by stopping by the store. Today they had twelve wines, five came home with me. They do a nice job of having snackies out, and the wines are almost all around $20.
I like wine tastings because I really don't know much about wine. I love wine, but for some reason, I can't remember very much about specific bottles I've loved (ok, maybe there is a very clear and obvious reason for this), except for what the label looks like. But I'm working on it, and wine tastings help me learn a lot about different wines and the places they are grown and the grapes they are made from. Plus, you get to sample before you buy. I have no problem picking up a bottle and taking a chance on it, but it's even more fun to get to take home a bunch of bottles that I know I really like. And, it's just plain fun to stand around and drink wine for free.
Cave de Turckheim 2002 Tokay Pinot Gris (France)
Light and sweet. A perfect summer afternoon wine.
2001 Lamborghini Trescone Umbria (Italy)
Only slightly tannin-y, a really great food wine.
Marietta California Old Vine Red
A blend of mostly Zin, also Sirah, Carignane, and Gamay. Wholesome and toothy, but not overly so. Barbeque.
2001 Innocento Tramonti (Italy)
This wine totally surprised me with its sweetness and rich berry action. No tannin at all.
Choy Umeshu (Japan)
(the one in the funky bottle all the way on the right in the picture)
It's no secret I love the dessert wines, and this syrupy (that's a positive adjective in my book) plum wine/liquor definitely has danger written all over it. Lazy late summer evening, drinking icy sips down to the plums at the bottom.
If you follow the Choy link, you'll find a page with all sorts of information about Choy Umeshu including recipes for cocktails, under the "how to use" section - my favorite being a summer drink of Umeshu and and your favorite sports drink. Under the "History of Umeshu" section, they are selling Choy Umeshu as a health food. I'm sold.