We've been having the most fun at our house recently. My oldest son's roomate sells wine...nice, French wine. When he does a tasting, he gets to keep and consume, at his discretion, the leftovers. Usually, only 1 - 3 people do the actual tastings he conducts. He has 11 bottles of different wines in his case, so that works out to lots of bottles that are at least half full. AND they must be consumed in a rather timely fashion.
Now, the fun comes in when he brings them to our house, in exchange for a mom cooked, home-made dinner. It's been educational as well as yummy! One thing I've discovered, is that I love a dry rose'. If you have not tried one, you should! I also like chardonnay, which I thought I did not. I just don't like the oak flavor that you get in most California chardonnays. The wine we sampled is aged in stainless steel barrels and when you take out the oak, I like it.
You can get these wines at various venues around the Richmond area (think CanCan and several others like it). The rose' I liked is Manon Cotes de Provence (pictured), and comes in a graceful, clear bottle. Another one that was a real treat, crisp and dry, was a Sauvinon Blanc: Haut-Poitou Sauvignon (pictured).
Keep in mind, I am usually a red wine only kind of girl, but these wines and a little education have changed my mind.
I highly recommend you make it a point to attend a wine tasting soon. They are all around the Richmond area, and it's a fun way to educate your brain and your palette!
**Cooks Note: I had some of the sauvignon blanc leftover from our tasting. Last night, I made salmon and used the wine as a "poaching" liquid. I don't have a big enough pan to "poach" on top of the stove, so I used a cookie sheet, with a 1" edge and laid the salmon on it. I spread 2 T. of Ken's Steakhouse Zesty Italian dressing on the top and carefully poured about 1/2 c. of the wine around the fish. I covered it w/foil and put it into a pre-heated 375 degree oven. After 15 minutes, I turned it down to 325 and continued to cook it for 15 more minutes. It was so good, moist and light. My husband said it was the best salmon I'd ever cooked, so I have to credit the vino!