Gold Medal Wine Club offers a Platinum Series Plus! selection each month. Last month's Respite 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon is, in a word, stellar. If there's any reason at all to join the Plus! program, this bottle might be it, and might be worth it simply for the potential bragging rights. I attended a party over the weekend and was asked to bring a bottle of wine for all to enjoy. Normally I'm not fazed by this type of request, however, I became worried as the realization kicked in that I'd be in attendance with some really knowledgeable wine folks. <Insert panic here.> Now, don't get me wrong, I always find joy in trying a new bottle. The living, breathing qualities of the life of wine intrigue me, and I'm always excited at the prospect of opening a highly rated bottle. But when it comes to bringing an offering to a party of well-versed wine enthusiasts, my excitement quickly melts away to apprehension. I think to myself, "Don't appear pretentious by bringing an overly expensive wine, but don't underachieve either. Above all, don't let on that I'm nervous about it." Anyone been here before? After checking my wine cellar, I decided on Respite 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, a brave choice because I had no idea what food was to be served. With such a hearty Cabernet in hand, I could really hit or miss the food pairing. Also, I'd never tried this particular bottle before. I knew it would be good, Wine Enthusiast recently awarded it 91 Points, but they also pointed out that it might want a few more years in the cellar. As I walked into the party, I was greeted by eye contact, then bottle contact as my selection was scrutinized. "I've never heard of that winery, we must open it up," my host offered. I smiled and glanced around the room to the tables of hour d'ourves - so many tables of food that a formal dinner had to be out of the question. A selection of various antipasto-type finger foods including cheeses, marinated veggies, breads, tapenades and fruit plates were meticulously displayed, and then I saw, jackpot, tapas portion sized steaks, fish, and meaty lasagna. Hurdle number one, pairing, conquered. We opened the bottle and without decanting or aerating, the wine was quickly dispersed into wine glasses that seemed to appear out of every corner of the room. Swirl, sniff, "ooh's" and "ah's" at the aromas of fruit and red currants, followed by the ever fateful first sips. As each person took a mouthful, the reaction was priceless as eyes lit up around the kitchen island and met my gaze with delighted squints and smiles. And let me say, I also thoroughly enjoyed those few seconds, as the wine filtered through my senses. Delectable. The structure and balance were exactly on par with the high standards of this group, and might I say as well that the Wine Enthusiast must have rated this wine a couple of years ago, because it is outstanding right now. The rest of the night was highly enjoyable, but it was extra sweet because I had officially stamped a great impression upon the group, achieving credibility and bragging rights on having such great taste in wine. The best part? I didn't have to find this bottle, it came to my doorstep and all I had to do was add the Plus! bottle to my regular shipment. Plus! wines really are "all that" and more! If you haven't done so already, you might consider adding a Plus Bottle to your wine club membership. The wines featured with that program are rare, exquisite, and downright tasty! There's simply not enough quantity to feature the bottles to everyone, which is why it is offered as an add-on. This extra bottle is available for Gold, Platinum or Diamond Series memberships , and may be included in every shipment or as often as you like. It simply adds that something extra and special to an already great thing. Try it out, even just once in your next shipment. I know you won't be disappointed, and maybe, just maybe, it will bring you bragging rights at your next party.