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.

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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.

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The Lodge at Columbia Point – A Must Stay Hotel in Richland

When visiting Tri-Cities, Washington, to go wine tasting, you may struggle with deciding where to stay in Richland, Pasco, or Kennewick.

Do you stay near the wineries themselves (with sparse infrastructure and amenities outside of the vineyards) or do you stay in the heart of one of the cities to be closer to the area restaurants and other non-wine based attractions?

If you want something that is a hybrid of both of the above, we have the answer for you- The Lodge at Columbia Point on the outskirts of Richland!

I was fortunate enough to stay at this one during a media trip during a conference in Tri-Cities and absolutely adored the property through and through.

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Kopke 1985 Colheita Review – A Lovely 36 Year Port

When we visited Portugal in 2021, we naturally had to go tasting at the many Douro Valley wineries as well as the port houses of Vila Nova di Gaia just across the river from Porto.

One such port house we fell in love with was Kopke. Not only is this one said to be the oldest port house in the area (founded in 1638), but it is also one of the smallest, most popular, and ended up being home to one of our favorite tastings- a decades flight featuring Colheita ports from the 1960s to present spaced apart by roughly 10-year intervals.

This flight really helped us learn how flavors of tawny ports change in the barrel over time and also let us find our sweet spot of flavors we personally enjoy (generally 20 to 30 years old which works out well as prices generally spike from there).

Naturally, when we bought wine at Garrafiera Nacional in Lisbon before flying home, we had to stock up on many bottles of Kopke for our cellar. We originally wanted to pick up a bottle from our birth year (1986), but as this was not available we went one year prior and picked up a Kopke 1985 to bring home.

We opened it the following spring to celebrate our 36th birthdays because it seemed fitting to celebrate with a port that also spent 36 years in the barrel!

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Pedro Rodriguez e Hijos Mil Pesetas Cream Sherry Review

While studying for my WSET Diploma, I found myself enrolled in the fortified class (D5) and studying all things sherry, port, Madeira, and VDN to name a few.

Historically, I have to admit not being too fond of sherries as the traditionally lower acidity and unique flavors from maturation (in particular the biologically aged fino style) never quite matched up to my palate.

The sweet wines, however, are an exception that I am coming to appreciate.

These wines sweeten the traditionally dry sherries with grape must or Pedro Ximenez, and convert what normally is only alright styles of wine to me to something I quite enjoy.

Mil Pesetas Cream Sherry was one such wine as this had all the hallmarks of a traditional Oloroso- but sweet!

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Red Mountain Trails Review – Bike Washington Wine Country

Whenever we visit wine regions, we often look to see if biking to wineries is an option. Ever since enjoying this activity in Mendoza, Argentina, it has been something we wanted to find more of as it is one of the most enjoyable ways to get out into the vineyards.

In many cases it is not available- many wine regions cover vast distances that often make this mode of transit unfeasible. But when it is we jump on it as hopping on a set of wheels to explore wineries makes for a great outing.

In Red Mountain, Washington, one tour company, the aptly named Red Mountain Trails, offers an organized ride to check out three wineries in the area.

I was fortunate enough to check this one out as part of a conference I was attending and loved the outing from start to finish.

*Note: I was on this tour as part of a hosted media trip for a conference. Our itinerary was reflective of standard tours offered by the Red Mountain Trails but there may have been some minor differences due to our larger group setup.

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Eleven Winery White Mourvedre 2020 Review – Unique Approach

Every so often you stumble upon a bottle that is surprising. Sometimes it is because of the flavor profile. Sometimes it is because of the price. Sometimes because it is, well, produced a little differently than you anticipated.

The white Mourvedre from Eleven Winery in Washington was most certainly the latter.

Why? They managed to produce this traditionally intense red grape as a nearly perfect white (with only slight, slight pink hints)!

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Pedro Rodriguez e Hijos Mil Pesetas Pedro Ximenez Review

Pedro Ximenez is an interesting dessert wine from Spain (although it is sometimes made into a dry wine as well). Typically, the grapes are allowed to dry out to effectively become raisins prior to fermentation, and the result is an intensely sweet wine that is subsequently fortified into a sherry.

A sweet, sweet, almost syrupy-like sherry.

Naturally, it is hard not to like this one if you have a sweet tooth, and Pedro Rodriguez e Hijos Mil Pesetas Pedro Ximenez NV was no different for us!

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Heron Hill Cabernet Franc Reserve 2017 Review – Ideal Wine

I have to admit that Cabernet Franc isn't my favorite varietal out there. But there is one winery I'll buy bottles from again and again, and that is Heron Hill in the Finger Lakes.

This one has everything I look for in this grape, and even though I open every bottle with a bit of apprehension, I always walk away pleased.

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Champagne Taittinger Brut NV Review – Impressive Flavor Profile

We often find that non-vintage Champagne can have flavor profiles all over the place. Some are high acid with simple citrus fruit flavors. Others have strong lees components. Others still may have some indication of age because, well, we simply have no way of knowing how old that bottle was to begin with.

Champagne Taittinger's Brut NV definitely fell towards the end of being one of the more complex non-vintage Champagnes we've had to date, and now we simply want more!

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