Quinta do Ferro Sparkling Seco NV – Lovely Portuguese Sparkling

As far as Portuguese grapes are concerned, Avesso is a bit of an unsung hero. Part of it is simply because it is delicious (routinely one of my favorite whites from the country) but also that the production is quite limited- just a few vineyards even grow this grape at all!

So when we say it was quite rare to find a sparkling Avesso, made in the traditional method, from Quinta do Ferro, we really mean it.

We were fortunate enough to meet up with one of the owners from Quinta do Ferro when in Portugal thanks to an introduction by our local wine school, and we were able to bring a bottle of the Ferro Sparkling home with us courtesy of the winery. Naturally, it lasted about a month in our house before we had to open it because, you know, we love Avesso (and also had reasons to celebrate with family- so double win).

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Ramilo Arinto 2017 Review – Fruity, Salinity, and Minerality

When it comes to Portuguese whites, you really can be all over the place in terms of what you get. But for us, one of our favorite white grapes is Arinto thanks to its high acidity, rich flavor profile, and salinity/minerality that really works with seafood dishes.

Ramilo's Arinto was no different, and this one worked beautifully with sous vide octopus!

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Quinta do Tedo 20 Year Tawny Port Review – All The Flavor

Quinta do Tedo is a stellar winery in the Douro Valley that we were fortunate enough to visit in 2021. While this one is among the younger producers out there (by Douro standards at least), they do have a healthy mix of still and port wines, with their tawny line starting to creep into the 20+ year mark.

Naturally, we sampled a 20 year tawny here and quite enjoyed it such that we brought a bottle back with us to share with friends. It didn't last long.

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Willamette Valley Vineyards Griffin Creek Grenache 2017 Review

We have becoming bigger fans of Grenache the more we drink it, especially Grenaches grown in Washington and Oregon in particular.

When we had a chance to try out Willamette Valley Vineyards Griffin Creek Grenache courtesy of wine service Divvy-Up, we jumped on it and opened the bottle for Thanksgiving dinner just a short while after it was delivered.

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Divvy-Up Connects You Directly With Wineries for Deep Discounts

We are always fans of trying new wine shopping services out there as it is interesting to see how companies are changing the wine buying experience for consumers.

One new company, Divvy-Up, reached out to us to try them out, and we have to admit this one is taking an incredibly unique approach to connect wine consumers with producers.

How are they different? They offer discounts by promoting just one wine at a time!

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Vipava 1894 Pinela Lanthieri 2019 Review – A Flavorful Slovenian

Every time we go into a new liquor store, I'm always on the lookout for wines with new-to-us grapes to help us in our quest here at The Grape Pursuit.

I did this while exploring Total Wine outside of Washington DC and stumbled upon the Slovenian grape, Pinela, in a bottle by Vipava 1894. It only lasted a few weeks in our house before we opened it, and I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised with how flavorful this one is.

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Olivier Morin Bourgogne Aligote 2017 Review – A Nice Complexity

When you think of white wines for Burgundy, your mind probably goes to Chardonnay. But there are other white grapes from this famous region in France, with one particular one, Aligote, we've only recently been able to try.

Olivier Morin's Aligote could have been a simple-but-acidic white wine, but this one had a nice complexity to it thanks to a year of lees aging.

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Why You Should Take a Douro Wine Tour Over Driving

The Douro Valley is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful wine regions we've ever been to (you could also drop the wine qualifier entirely, it would be just as stunning without the grapes). We had a feeling this was going to be the case even before we arrived, and it only took a few minutes of driving around the area to really affirm that viewpoint.

As such, we consider this wine region a must-visit spot for anyone who is even remotely interested in wine- from a novice who simply likes to have a glass now and again to the most professional sommelier. That being said, when it comes to actually exploring the Douro Valley, well, you may run into issues.

To put it bluntly, driving in the Douro Valley is terrifying, and this is one place where taking a tour may make sense for many, many visitors.

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Garrafeira Nacional is a Must Visit Wine Store in Lisbon

When we booked a vacation to Portugal, we knew we were going to be bringing a number of bottles of still wine and port home with us.

What we didn't know prior to departing was where we would be buying our bottles specifically. Purchases at wineries were a given, of course, but we had allocated enough room in our suitcases to do some last-minute shopping at a wine store in Lisbon before flying home as well.

As it turns out, our friends 2 Food Trippers (who live in Lisbon) came through in recommending an incredible store with a great selection and some of the best prices we saw in the entire country. This was Garrafeira Nacional, a store that has been in business for almost 100 years, now with several locations in the heart of Lisbon proper including one in the Time Out Market and another just a few blocks from the Santa Justa lift.

If you're doing any sort of wine shopping in Lisbon, this really is the only place you need to visit.

Note: Photos and commentary in this article are primarily based on the Santa Justa location. However, the Time Out Market location, albeit a bit smaller, is also a stellar little outpost as well.

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When Buying a Colheita Port, Check the Bottling Date

Before visiting Portugal, I felt like I had a rather robust understanding of all things port and the differences between styles like ruby, tawny, vintage, LBV, and the like thanks to taking WSET Level 3 (and of course, somewhat frequent samplings at home).

It wasn't until arriving that I learned more about another style of port that I found I was less familiar with. This was Colheita port, a subcategory of tawny that includes a vintage year on the bottle as opposed to a more general age indication like you'd normally expect (10, 20, 30 years, etc).

As Colheita ports play off of labeling from conventional tawny and vintage ports, it isn't surprising that some wineries do not paint the clearest picture when describing it to consumers. It didn't take long for us to pick up on one very important caveat- the bottling date matters.

So unless you know to look for that crucial piece of information when buying a bottle, well, you may not be getting what you think you are!

If you were just as surprised by this as I was, this article is for you. In this one, I thought it'd be fun to share the breakdown between Colheita and tawny ports. While quite similar in theory, in practice they can be quite different. You're quickly going to find out why that caveat is so important.

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