No regular format tasting this month, but a very enjoyable night with friends, sampling some new wines.  Andy & Ali provided their usual assortment of outstanding cheeses, as well as some perfectly grilled steak tips.  Below are the wines:

Shottesbrooke Vineyards Engine Room Sparkling Red Non-Vintage.  Scented with dark plums, blackberries, cola, toasted oak, vanilla, prunes, cloves, and milk chocolate.  Candied in the mouth, we felt that this wasn't a bad wine, but we couldn't recommend it either.  Root beer candy flavors that are a little too sweet, with a metallic finish, hinting at canned beets.  About $15.

Domaine du Chateau d'Eau Syrah-Cinsault 2010 (Vin de Pays d'Oc).  Composed of 70% Syrah and 30% Cinsault, this tasty rosé exhibited a fresh nose of strawberries, salty air, mineral tang (like an oyster), pomegranate, and watermelon.  Cranberry, orange rind, and lemon flavors on a refreshing frame.  About $15.

Domaine L'Ameillaud Cotes du Rhone Villages Cairanne 2009.  Brooding scents of lavender, smoke, espresso, licorice, and bacon.  Great intensity and excellent extraction.  Dark in profile, with blackberry, anise, wood, mushroom, and pine flavors.  David really enjoyed this one, and was excellent with the meat.  About $20.

Montebuena Rioja 2009.  Chocolate, pine sol, bathroom cleanser, dirty water, wet soil, and dark fungus on the nose.  Good attack, with raspberry and coffee notes, but fades away very quickly.  About $12.

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