Wine time

Santa Ema Reserve Merlot

Santa Ema Reserve Merlot, 2005, $12.99

WHAT: "Chocolate in a bottle" is how some people describe this wine. There are unmistakable tastes of chocolate in this beautiful wine from Chile, but it also is loaded with fruit -- plum, cherry and blackberry -- and hints of vanilla. It's a well-balanced wine that spent nine months in oak barrels. This highly rated wine is a real bargain. Serve slightly chilled.

GOES WITH: This uncomplicated wine is great for sipping by itself or with cheese, but it also pairs well with red meat, black beans and possibly chili, if the chili isn't too spicy.

Reach Dennis Sodomka at (706) 823-3487 or Read his column on trying alternatives to popular red wines in the June/July issue of Augusta Magazine.