McGregor Saperavi 2018 Review – Georgian in the Finger Lakes

Saperavi is a Georgian grape that has made its way to the USA where it is being grown (quite successfully) in the Finger Lakes.

We were quite fortunate to try this one at many Finger Lakes vineyards during our last visit, and bought several bottles both to enjoy now and to age. McGregor Vineyard's Saperavi was one such bottle, and we couldn't wait long to crack open this one- although we probably should have waited.

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Anthony Road Pinot Gris 2018 Review – Goes Down Smooth

Although Pinot Gris/Grigio tends to make relatively straight-forward and easy-drinking wines, we appreciate that international winemakers tend to label their wines according to the style they're mimicking- specifically Pinot Gris if it is like those from France (Alsace) and Pinot Grigio from Italy.

For Anthony Road's Pinot Gris, we think it hits the mark on the French style for sure.

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Partida Creus Vinel-lo VN 2019 Review – A Delightful Blend

Partida Creus is an interesting winery in Catalunya, Spain, that is run by Italians and uses grapes acquired from old and sometimes abandoned vineyards. These are then farmed organically and produce some seriously delicious natural blends.

Vinel-lo, denoted VN, is a red field blend of six different grapes in various quantities- specifically Grenache, Mourvedre, Tempranillo, Sumoll, Trepat, and Cinsaut. As wines from Partida Creus have initials in a rather recognizable format on the label, it should be noted that they have VN bottles for red (this review), white, and even sparkling- so you may come across any of these if you are simply searching out “Partida Creus VN”.

So, what is the red blend like? Well, this one had a nice complex aroma and was relatively straightforward on the palate.

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Chateau Musar 2006 Review – A Delightful Aged Red Blend

Our first sample of Lebanon's Chateau Musar came at Wine Bar George while we were on vacation at Disney. At that point in time, Angie had never tried a significantly aged wine, and the 1996 Chateau Musar caught her eye as a splurge sample.

It was, in a word, lovely.

It was there that we learned that Chateau Musar is somewhat unique as a producer in that they do not release their bottles until they are ready to drink. Sometimes these can be young, other times quite old depending on the grape, growing season, and blending choices.

Cut to a year later when we found a bottle of 2006 Chateau Musar at a local store with a three-way blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsaut, and Carignan at a rather respectable price point. Without thinking twice, we bought the store's one and only bottle.

A few months later we cracked it open with our Ah So, gently poured it into our decanter, and snuck a taste while letting it breathe. It was different, naturally, but every bit the high-quality wine we expected.

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How to Open a Bottle of Wine with an Ah So

When building our wine cellar, we also thought it would be fun to test out many wine openers to see how they all work and to find a favorite. While we settled on the waiter's corkscrew as our trusty standard, we found that it is not ideal for one specific category of wine- old bottles.

The reason for this is because as time goes by, the wine in the bottle isn't the only thing that ages. Natural cork found in many bottles also ages, and they can become less structurally sound (namely, brittle) as time goes on.

If you use a corkscrew on these, you may be liable to damage the cork more than you would in a younger bottle, and the likelihood of having cork bits falling into your wine goes up (sometimes substantially).

Enter the Ah So– a two-pronged wine opener that can remove cork from older bottles without puncturing the cork at all!

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Dr. H. Thanisch Bernkasteler Lay Riesling Auslese 2017 Review

While many tend to think that an Auslese Riesling is sweeter than other styles, this is not always the case. Auslese directly translates to ‘selected harvest' which is often done late in the season when the grapes have a high concentration of sugars in them (in fact, the sugar content of the grape is how the categorization works outright).

But sugar in the grapes does not necessarily translate to sugar in the glass. Some producers may ferment the sugar out while others (in our experience, the vast majority of others) may stop fermentation early to leave some residual sugar in place for you to enjoy in your glass.

Dr. H. Thanisch's Bernkasteler Lay Riesling Auslese is in the latter category and offers up both a sweet and complex German Riesling that we cannot get enough of.

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Pares Balta Cava Brut NV Review – Goes Down Quickly

One of our local wine distributors always hails the glory of Pares Balta Cava, and after enjoying their Cava Blanca Cusine 2011 we didn't need that big of a push to open a bottle of their lower-tier non-vintage Brut Cava to compare.

The differences were striking.

If you want an easy-drinking cava with some fairly straight forward flavors, the non-vintage cava is for you. But if you want something complex and thought-provoking, the Blanca Cusine should be what you go for (even when accounting for the price increase).

But in this one, we want to discuss the non-vintage Cava from Pares Balta, and if you opt for it we do have to admit you're still going to have a delicious glass all the same.

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Hopler Trockenbeerenauslese 2015 Review – A Luscious Dessert Wine

We first heard about the wine classification trockenbeerenauslese in our WSET Level 2 class. We knew bottles of this dessert wine tend to be somewhat rare, so we were fairly surprised to find a bottle in a liquor store near us just a few weeks later.

So, what is it, exactly?

Trockenbeerenauslese in German translates to “dry berry selection” and is made from individually picked grapes that have been dried on the vine due to noble rot. In most cases having a fungus grow on your grapes isĀ not a good thing, but proper growth of botrytis cinerea causes grapes to dry out which concentrates the sugars and allows for the production of some supremely wonderful, and sweet, dessert wines.

Hopler's Trockenbeerenauselese was just that.

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How to Use a Vacu Vin Wine Saver to Enjoy Wine Longer

As we have learned in wine courses like WSET Level 2, there are generally two kinds of wine preservation system types out there- vacuum pumps and inert gas blanketing systems. Both function a lot like how they are named.

Vacuum pumps are designed to remove air from a bottle (creating a vacuum via a pump) and inert gas systems are designed to displace air with another heavier-than-air inert gas (often argon).

We discussed how one inert gas system works in great detail in our Coravin review. But in this one, we want to look at the Vacu Vin Wine Saver, discuss more on how this vacuum pump system works, and share a few reasons why you may want to have this one on hand.

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