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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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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Serge Dagueneau et Filles Pouilly-Fume Les Pentes 2019 Review

When it comes to French Sauvignon Blanc, if you know a bit about regions your mind may first go to Sancerre in the Loire Valley. While this region does make stellar bottles, we often find the prices in the USA to be just a bit more than what we'd prefer for the respective bottles.

Thankfully, Pouilly-Fume nearby also makes some stellar Sauvignon Blanc at, in our limited sampling at least, slightly better quality when comparing two similarly priced bottles. The only downside? They can be quite hard to find in the USA- so whenever we see a bottle we snatch it up right away. Domaine Serge Dagueneau et Filles Pouilly-Fume was no different, and we really could use another bottle of this one in our cellar!

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Armenia Wine Co Dry White NV – A Simple Kangun

We've been lucky enough to sample some wines from Armenia Wine Co. as finding Armenian wine in the USA is often difficult outside of this brand. Their non-vintage white comes from the Kangun grape and offered a somewhat simple flavor profile with some slight aged notes on the finish.

This one will truly go with many dishes, but we ended up wanting just a bit more.

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Amavi Syrah 2018 Review – A Jammy Syrah from Washington

When we visited many wineries in Seattle, we quickly realized how great the wine regions are for Syrah. As Syrah happens to be one of our favorite grapes, we truly were in heaven and brought back many bottles to enjoy over the subsequent months and years.

One such bottle was from Amavi Cellars, and their 2018 Syrah was a bit unique in that it had some interesting jammy fruit characteristics!

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Eskibaglar Winery Okuzgozu Reserve 2014 Review – Turkish Wine

Whenever we head to a wine shop, we always check out the “Other Countries” section to try and find new grapes and regions to try in addition to their more famous counterparts.

On one recent trip to a Fine Wine & Good Spirits Premium Collection store in Pittsburgh, we found a few bottles from Eskibaglar Winery in Turkey. One in particular, their Okuzgozu Reserve, had some pretty great reviews and a nice price point for an almost eight-year-old wine. A new grape from a new country? We were in.

While this one could've likely aged for another decade or longer, it lasted about a month in our house. It was so good we want to rush out and buy another bottle to leave in our cellar.

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Wines of Illyria Blatina 2015 Review – Simple Red from Herzegovina

In our never-ending quest to try all the grape varietals in the world, we've been enjoying several bottles from the Wines of Illyria brand as they feature an array of new-to-us grapes from the Balkans at a relatively reasonable price point.

Blatina is one such grape we got to try from this brand, and while we thought this particular bottle was somewhat simple it went quite nicely with stuffed cabbage rolls!

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