Taboadella 1255 Alfrocheiro Reserva 2019 Review

Most of the Portuguese red wines we tried in the country were intense to say the least. Think high alcohol, high tannin, and pretty in-your-face flavor intensity too.

Whenever we had “light” wines, by Portugal standards at least, we were told to pair them with steak- signaling they are still on the pretty intense side all things considered.

So while we think that Taboadella 1255 Alfrocheira Reserva does fall under the lens of a “light” Portuguese red, you'll do well to keep in mind it really is anything but light in the grand scheme of things.

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Quinta do Vallado Sousao 2018 Review – A Stellar Douro Red

When we visited wineries in the Douro Valley of Portugal, we knew we would be trying some still wines alongside the fortified wines the region is famous for. There has been a big push in recent years to increase the quality of these wines, so we were excited to see what producers would put out.

While we had some generally good wines, there were only a few bottles we absolutely had to bring home with us.

Quinta do Vallado's Sousao was one such bottle, as this blending grape rarely is seen outside of fortified wines and/or in percentages high enough to be noticeable characteristically. So not only was this single varietal bottle a rare find, it was also simply delicious.

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Allegheny Wine Mixer is the Best Wine Bar in Pittsburgh

When it comes to drinking wine in our home of Pittsburgh, PA, we have no shortage of great wine bars to check out (we've been to many of them on our city blog at the previous link).

But only one wine bar stands out as being our very favorite- Allegheny Wine Mixer in Lawrenceville.

This wine bar has all of the things that we love when going out for a glass of wine in Pittsburgh- an intimate ambiance, a stellar by-the-glass menu that changes regularly, competitive prices, and so much more.

So in this one, we thought we'd share a bit more about the best wine bar in Pittsburgh!

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Monemvasia Winery Laloudi Red 2007 Review – Aged Agiorgitiko

When it comes to young Greek red wines, one of the things we often struggle with is that they can be rather intense due to the country's incredibly hot climate.

As such, whenever we have a Greek red, we often defer to the thought that they simply need time. A lot of time.

Naturally, while we want to age our own wines at home, finding aged wines in the store can be tricky at the best of times (and even more so for wines from countries that aren't distributed as well near us, like Greece). So when we found Monemvasia Winery's Laloudi with a 2007 vintage Agiorgitiko at a reasonable price, we picked it up right away.

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Bartholomew Graciano 2018 Review – A Surprising Washington Red

Out of all of the wineries near Tri-Cities, Washington, I visited during my trip to eastern Washington, none was more surprising than Bartholomew.

This unassuming winemaker is located in a small complex with several other wineries (not in the heart of the vineyards of Red Mountain AVA nearby), makes a large spread of wines well beyond the typical Bordeaux and Rhone styles you normally see in the state, are all rather delicious, and clock in at a respectable price point, too!

Naturally, during my visit I had to sample my way through every bottle that was available and enjoyed all of them.

One bottle I was not able to sample was the Graciano as they were running low on inventory. I went on faith that it would be just as good as the others I tried (also thanks to a recommendation from a friend, Valerie & Valise, who sampled the last of it before I arrived, too), and bought a bottle to take home.

It was simply delicious.

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Kopke Port House is a Must Stop in Vila Nova di Gaia (Porto)

When visiting Portugal, you're going to have no shortage of great wine at your disposal. This country produces amazing wines from north to south, and the Douro Valley wineries are known for producing a unique fortified wine- aptly named Port.

If you can't make it to the Douro Valley on your trip (either via on your own or via a Douro Valley day tour), don't fret. Porto is a hub for all things Port wine due to the region's unique history where winemakers would ship barrels down river to Vila Nova di Gaia (a distinctly separate city just across the river from Porto) for aging and subsequent shipping abroad.

Today, many of the most famous port houses still continue to age their Port wine on the banks of the Douro River and are open to visitors for tours and tastings. The oldest of which is the Kopke Port House (founded in 1638). Not only is it one of the smallest tasting rooms in the area, but it was also home to our favorite tasting outright- a premium flight we call the Decade's Flight.

So in this one, we thought we'd share more about Kopke, why you should splurge on this one particular flight, and how to get a table at Casa Kopke at all as this one is quite popular!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 passed D5 with merit.

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