Masciarelli Villa Gemma Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo 2021 Review

You likely know that Montepulciano is an intense red wine from Italy. But have you ever had it made in rose style?

We were able to give this unique preparation a try with a sample bottle from Masciarelli's Villa Gemma Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo and have to admit it is a rather unique way to enjoy this grape!

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10 of the Best Wine Gifts Sure to Please Any Wine Drinker

Do you have a wine lover in your life and want to get them the best wine gift possible? We are here to help!

In this one, we thought we'd share some of the top gifts for wine lovers out there and include several options, from a budget-friendly corkscrew to premium wine classes and more.

Suffice it to say, no matter the budget we have a great wine gift for you here!

Please note: The wine gifts featured in this guide are roughly arranged from the lowest price to highest. However, please note that some categories are broad and prices may fall over a rather large range. Likewise, when in doubt, always do some sleuthing to see if your favorite wine fan is in need of a gift before buying. While a good corkscrew could make a great present, for example, if your recipient already has 20 it may not be the best idea. Or if they are looking to build wine racks, buying a model without knowing their aesthetic and available space may not be a great idea either.

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5 of the Best Wine Books to Add to Your Collection

When it comes to learning about wine, sometimes it is hard to beat a good book.

Over the years, we have collected many of the best wine books and read through resource after resource to improve our knowledge.

So in this one, we thought we'd share five of our favorite books about wine to help you jump right into this fascinating world!

Note: The wine books discussed below are organized by how approachable they are from most to least. That is to say, the first books referenced below can be enjoyed by all knowledge levels whereas some of the later books should be reserved for the most intense wine students. When applicable, we've attempted to highlight when a book is or is not appropriate for some readers and equate them to relative levels of WSET and other wine programs for reference.

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Wine.com StewardShip Review – The Value of Free Shipping

Wine.com is said to be the largest retailer of wine in the world by selection volume. This online, US-based retailer carries just under 20,000 unique bottles of wine and is said to ship several million bottles around the world each and every year.

Naturally, it is one of our go-to places to find wines that are not carried in our local state store (which, for anyone who knows Pennsylvania's system, you can imagine that we have to buy a lot from third parties).

When we saw Wine.com's StewardShip program offered free shipping to the continental USA, we knew we had to sign up immediately. But beyond free shipping, the program also offers special deals, exclusive products, events, and more that may also be attractive for less frequent shoppers in the company.

So in this one, we thought we'd take a look at the value proposition of the StewardShip program, and discuss whether any of the other amenities are worth it, too!

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Shaw + Smith Shiraz 2019 Review – A Lighter Australian Shiraz

Normally when you think of Australian Shiraz, you think of big, bold reds with intense flavors.

Shaw + Smith took a bit of a different approach with their Adelaide Hills Shiraz as the cooler climate in this region produced a much more delicate wine that was reminiscent more like a Pinot Noir and Grenache over its bolder Shiraz counterpart.

So if you are into something just a bit different for this grape (particularly lighter characteristics), this one is for you.

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Brainscape Review – My Secret Weapon When Studying for WSET

If you have ever studied for a wine course, known someone studying for a wine course, or even watched documentaries about people studying for wine certifications (the Somm movies come to mind), odds are good you have encountered flashcards.

These ubiquitous pieces of paper have been synonymous with fact-based memorization techniques for generations- partly because they work but also because they are cheap and easy to make.

For wine exams, where you often have to memorize many keywords (often in other languages), geographies, weather patterns, laws, and more, flashcards are incredibly useful for a quick and continual reminder of topics you may be struggling with before your exam.

But with that being said, I have a confession to make- I've never made a single flashcard for any of my wine exams. 

Instead, the digital flashcard service Brainscape was recommended to me for my WSET Level 2 exam, and I've been hooked on the service through to the Diploma modules. So today, I thought I'd share a bit more about why that is and why the modest monthly fee can be a game-changer for studying.

Note: It is important to highlight that Brainscape is a flashcard service, not a wine program, and they are not associated with WSET. The website simply has a wealth of wine decks available for those in the WSET program which are created by 3rd parties. We may use terms interchangeably in this post but want to be clear about this upfront. Likewise, all photos are direct screenshots of Brainscape.

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Momento Chenin Blanc Verdelho 2018 Review – A Unique Blend

When it comes to white South Africa wines, our minds often go to the popular and expressive grape, Chenin Blanc.

But Momento took it one step further for this one with producing a unique blend using this popular grape alongside Verdelho (approximately 63% Chenin Blanc, 37% Verdelho). So while the Chenin Blanc character comes through primarily, the Verdelho adds a nice little twist in this one!

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Marc Deschamps “Les Champs de Cri” Pouilly-Fume 2019 Review

When it comes to French Sauvignon Blanc, most drinker's first thoughts go to the popular region of Sancerre.

But in the USA, we've often find that high quality Sancerres are hard to come by, and when we do find them, they're often north of $40 which is a hard pricepoint for us for this particular grape (if only because many regions do it well for far less).

Instead, when we can find it, we often pick up Pouilly-Fume bottles as they can be just as if not more intense than equivalently priced Sancerre bottles. Marc Deschamps Les Champs de Cri was no different. This one was a gem!

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Picked by Wine.com Club Review – A Curated Club Experience

Most of the wine clubs we have tried to date often follow a fairly traditional format. That is to say, you sign up, you get wines delivered every month, and the bottles you receive are often the same as every other member within your order tier.

Wine.com, one of our favorite companies to order wine from in the USA, takes a different approach to their wine club, and is aptly named Picked by Wine.com. The reason this one is named so well is that you aren't receiving the same wines as all other club members, and instead get a specially curated box picked out by a sommelier just for you!

After trying this one out, we are sold on the concept- especially for those who want to spend a bit more for premium bottles.

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WSET Diploma D4 Review – Sparkling Wine

If there was one module (outside of D3) that I was not looking forward to in my WSET Diploma coursework, it would be D4: Sparkling Wines.

Part of this is because I didn't know that much about sparkling wine outright. Prior to sitting for the exam I had never been to a major sparkling wine region (e.g. Champagne), and I'd only ever been to one winery that primarily focused on sparkling wines outright- and that was just for a tasting, not a tour. Throw on the fact that the differences between sparkling wine regions are nuanced at best, and this module felt like an uphill battle to learn all the facts in its short course.

While I am not going to call D4 enjoyable by any stretch of the imagination (well, the drinking bit was nice as I do like sparkling wine), I have to admit I came out of this one learning a great deal.

Note: I took the WSET Diploma D4 exam in October 2022. Test material and structure can and does change over time. I am waiting on the results (expected January 2023).

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