"NV Gruet blanc de noirs, New Mexico, half bottle. The expatriate Gruet family, tired of the ridiculous French tax laws, moved to the one area of the planet they felt most mirrored the soil and climate of Champagne . . . who would have guessed it was Truth or Consequences, New Mexico? (although rumors of it being tied to an alien experiment at Area 51 are surely false, or at least stretched a bit)."
"NV Mountain Dome brut, Washington. Flavor wise, this is crisp, clean, balanced and refreshing, but the reason we bought it was the little elves on the label."
"'98 Burge Family semillon, Olive Hill, Australia. This starts out smelling of rubber and chloroform (it's not important how I know the smell of chloroform, it's need-to-know basis and you don't need to know), then changes to multiple layers of tropical fruits, finally evolving into the exact aroma of a box of jujubes (and it's not important how I know that, either, I just do)."
And -- on New Zealand Merlots: "New Zealand is about as synonymous with Merlot as I am with kiwi juggling, but this one is a winner (I did once juggle a Lake Geneva Playboy Bunny and a Miss McHenry runner-up, but I was quite youthful and generally anesthetized at the time, consequently more nimble and courageous; nowadays, I'm lucky to find my pants)."