Iron Horse Brut LD 2010 Review – Delicious Aged Sparkling Wine

When we visited several Sonoma wineries on a California trip a few years ago, we made sure to stop at Iron Horse Vineyards to try their acclaimed sparkling wines. We fell in love with them and brought many bottles home with us to enjoy later on.

Most of those bottles did not last very long, but we held onto a few to give a few more years of age to for good measure. One such bottle was Iron Horse Brut LD 2010, and we decided to open it up in mid-2022 to celebrate our 10-year wedding anniversary.

It was better than we expected.

Read more

Ashbrook Estate Margaret River Verdelho 2018 Review

If you've ever looked at our wine map and thought our sampling of Australian wine was limited, well there is a reason for that- finding interesting Australian wine in the USA is, in our local stores at least, not so great.

But we still pursue these wines all the same, and every so often we find a gem that makes us really want to explore Australia more. Ashbrook Estate's Verdelho from the Margaret River was one such wine, and as soon as we finished this bottle we really wished we had another to open right away.

Read more

Gordon Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2018 Review

During my trip to eastern Washington for a conference, I was fortunate enough to sample many wineries near Tri-Cities, Washington. Naturally, as the conference was held in a wine region, many of the evening parties also included samples from various local producers as well.

As it turns out, I started to get a bit of a reputation as a wine lover during this (non-wine-related) conference and had several bottles gifted to me that ended up being leftovers from these various parties. Yes, with as much as the travel blogging community can consume, there were still bottles leftover from an event that got rained out, and Gordon Estate's Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve was one such bottle that fell into my hands purely from chance.

While I'm not terribly sold on Cabernet Sauvignon as a grape, I have to admit, this bottle was quite nice.

Read more

WSET Diploma D5 Review – Fortified Wine

If there was a module of WSET Diploma I was looking forward to, insofar as one can look forward to studying at this intense level, it most certainly was D5: Fortified Wines.

Part of this was because I simply adore fortified wines and was looking forward to studying (read: drinking), part was because I knew there was a ton I didn't know about fortified wine, and then also because out of all of the wine regions we've been to, the Douro Valley wineries (where Port is made) was one of our most recent trips prior to taking this module.

While it would be pretty easy for me to simply say that this module was rather intense, I do have to admit that I also walked away with a strong knowledge of all things fortified wine and no desire to drink them again any time soon as my consumption was, well, insane.

Note: I took the WSET Diploma D5 exam in June 2022. Test material and structure can and does change over time. I am waiting on my results.

Read more

How to Prepare for the WSET Diploma D5 Exam

WSET Diploma's D5 module is all about fortified wine. On the surface, this one sounds like a somewhat straightforward module if only because there aren't that many fortified wine categories and styles out there in the world.

But, as with all things WSET, simply stating this fact makes the program easier said than done. The exam, as always, is pretty insane.

So in this one I wanted to break down what you can expect for the exam and give some tips for studying!

Note: I took the WSET Diploma D5 exam in June 2022. Test material and structure can and does change over time. I am waiting on my results.

Read more

6 Wineries in Tri-Cities, Washington to Check Out

During our first visit to Washington, we wanted to head out to the eastern side of the state to go wine tasting. But we quickly found out that many wineries operate wine tasting rooms near Seattle as opposed to in the wine regions proper. So we stuck with wineries near Seattle and it ended up being a great trip.

When I had a chance to head to the eastern side of the state for a conference, I was ecstatic to be able to try out the wineries in Tri-Cities and its nearby surroundings (particularly Red Mountain AVA).

While I was only able to visit a handful during the visit, they ended up being quite lovely stops all around. So whether you are fans of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and others, this region is for you and we've got a number of great wineries for you to consider!

Read more

Le Fraghe Chelidon Rondinella 2018 Review – A Rose-Esque Wine

For as much as we study wine, every so often we have a bottle that surprises us.

Sometimes this is because what is in the glass is completely different from what we expected. Other times is because we simply picked the wrong bottle for our meal and really didn't know what we were getting ourselves into.

Le Fraghe Rondinella from Italy is one such bottle that hit all those marks. We opened it thinking we were having a somewhat intense Italian red and it turns out this one was characteristically more like a lighter rose.

Naturally, we were in for a surprise- one that was not necessarily what we wanted.

Read more

Vinicola La Trinidad Afrodita 2019 Review – Mexican Chardonnay

When we visited Mexico City, we knew we had to try Mexican wine. We had heard that wine production in Mexico was increasing in recent years, but living in the United States we found that wines from the south of the border are hard to come by (and by hard, we mean virtually impossible- we simply never see it locally).

We have to admit that when we went to a few wine bars in Mexico, we left somewhat disappointed. The high alcohol and lower acidity in the wines were, well, harsh (and was something we expected since Mexico is so hot). But we did not let that deter us and we found some high-end bottles with good reviews at a wine shop in the city and took a risk by buying them sight unseen to bring home.

Vinicola La Trinidad Afrodita was one such bottle, and the Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc blend was one of our favorites from Mexico to date.

Read more

Colinas de Sao Lourenco Principal Grande Reserva 2011 Review

During our travels in Portugal, we were fortunate enough to taste many high-end wines at wineries and via multi-course tasting experiences at restaurants like Belcanto, DOC, and The Yeatman.

One such wine we were able to try at these dinners was the Principal Grande Reserva 2011 which was one of the most memorable pours we had on the entire trip.

Naturally, when we went wine shopping on our last day at Garrafeira Nacional (perhaps the best wine store in Lisbon), we found a bottle of this one and had to buy it to bring home.

It did not last long in our cellar after that.

Read more

Hermann J Wiemer Magdalena 2018 Review – A High End Riesling

What we are about to say should have no ambiguity- if you are a Riesling lover you'll want to make your way to Hermann J Wiemer. This Finger Lakes winery is truly one of the best in the area, especially for this delicious white grape, and blows us away time and time again with every bottle that we open.

Naturally, we stop every time we are in the area, and our shopping haul from here is among our largest purchases every trip as well.

So when we opened the Hermann J Wiemer Magdalena Vineyard Riesling, we were excited to see what it was like after spending a bit of time in our cellar and it certainly did not disappoint.

Read more