Okay, my colleague--that would be my NOVICE colleague--posted two "recommendations" of wines we haven't even tasted. He has been reprimanded although you have to love his zeal!
I just tasted one of the non-tasted "recommendations." The Iron Horse 1999 cuvee "R" I found on close out at a local store should be "closed out!" The regular price was $19 and I bought two bottles--untasted--for $8 each. This wine is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc (a specific type of grape) and (Viognier-another type of grape whose name is pronounced Vee-oh-nyay!)
This is a great example of why you should always try one bottle first. On the pour it was an exciting luscious rich golden color with hints of late harvest in the *bouquet but...there was something "strange" lurking in the background. So note, after you have tasted scads of wine, you still may not be able to put your finger on a specific odor but you know it shouldn't be there.
(*I define the bouquet as the aroma the wine imparts from a distance. This is to differentiate it from the "nose" which I define as what I smell when swirl the wine in the glass and stick my nose right down in the glass. You will pick up different nuances in each)
Unfortunately, the bouquet and color was the best part of this wine even though there was a fairly medicinal layer of alcohol behind the nice "circus peanut candy" bouquet. It was down hill from there! There are only hints of sauvignon blanc and the viognier gave up the ghost on the bouquet giving its contribution to that part of the wine. This is not a wine you would want again at any price. I was uncertain at first taste if this was just a poorly made wine or if it had out-lived it's useful age. I concluded that it was indeed an "expired" wine.
Now this is a good lesson also on buying from dealers you can trust. I returned both bottles where I bought them even though I opened one and it was half empty since I poured 4 glasses of it to friends. Now if the wine had been "healthy" but I just didn't care for it, I would not return it for a refund. So even without a receipt, I returned both bottles and my purchase price was refunded cheerfully and without question! That's smart retailing for if they hadn't responded in such a fashion, I would be shopping elsewhere.
The other close out wines I bought were a 1998 and 1999 Punter's Corner Cabernet Sauvignon, "recommended bottle" was a cabernet Sauvignon bottled by Punter's Corner. I tatsted the 1998. This is a big wine with classic Cabernet aromas of green peppers, almost too strong--meaning out of balance. In the mouth, it has a nice feel but the tannins are a bit too harsh though a peppery layer sits behind the initial impression on the palate. It's fun but short lived. This wine cost $13 on close out regularly $25. At $13 it's "okay" but there are plenty of wines out there for less that are considerably better. Although the store had a case of these to close out, I won't be going back for more.
Moral of the story is, shop where you will treated well, and taste a bottle of wine you buy before making multiple purchases!