Friend Rick and his new girlfriend joined us for dinner Sunday night, a four-person collaborative affair that produced an exceptional four course dinner and a good evening for all of us, kids included. The food was great, of course, but the real star of the evening was the Freeman Pinot Noir from Californian that Rick brought along. The 2004 vintage we enjoyed has ruby-brick hues and an earthy nose with notes of cherry and raspberry, followed by a hint of peppery spice. Fruity on the palate, the wine is light- to medium-bodied with a silky, balanced flavor. The finish is long and exquisite, and makes you want to go right back for more. This is a wine to pair with duck and a fruit chutney or grilled salmon with dill sauce, served perhaps with a rucola, walnut and apple salad on the side. An exceptional wine, though not cheap at 6,500 yen.