2008 Sledgehammer Cabernet Sauvignon, California; $15
Like the name says, this is a powerful cabernet with pounding layers of flavor in each sip. It starts with a nose of blackberry and clove and evolves into a full-bodied tasting experience. Layers of plum, black currant and spice are complemented by notes of dark chocolate and sage. There is a terrific balance of acidity and fruit with just the right amount of tannins for a touch of dryness. It's a perfect match for a grilled ribeye or prime rib.
Coruba Pineapple Rum, Jamaica; $15
As soon as I poured this rum I could smell the pineapple aromas floating by, along with notes of spice. The flavors are terrific -- soft, light hints of pineapple on the front of the mouth and the natural flavors of the rum on the finish. It's not overly sweet or artificial in flavor, just nice and easy sipping. It had enough great flavors and style that it could be enjoyed over ice by itself as a cocktail. It would add terrific flavor if used in a pina colada or with cola.