I had this red wine at a party last night, a catered affair hosted by a man of some importance. I was impressed with his choice of wines--even at swanky events (this was in the neat-casual range) you tend to get served really cheap, dull wines. This was a moderately priced offering (somewhere in the range of $8-10 per bottle) but pretty good, and clearly out of his own cellar. The fact that he would even choose to serve Pinot Noir and Zinfandel, yet have no Cabernet Sauvignon in sight, makes a bold statement.

Anyway, the wine was a brilliant red, tending somewhat toward a brickish hue. I noticed a strong floral aroma. The taste was somewhat less fruity than I would have expected, offereing a mild grapiness laced with hints of black pepper. Perhaps the relative weakness of the taste was an indication that the wine was showing some sign of age and declining health. In any event, it put the wine somewhat out of balance and revealed an underlying acidity that was a little harsh. This tended to mask the wine's tannins, which were soft and innocuous.

It was a good party wine, as I've mentioned, but perhaps it would have been best if served a year or so ago. This is always the risk when saving wine for a special occasion. I do not hold it against the host, as he clearly made an intelligent choice, but the wine itself just couldn't give 100%.

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