Domaine Rostaing Ampodium Cote Rotie 2017 Review

Over the last year or so, I've been developing a bit of a love affair with Syrah. This grape has a wonderful flavor profile with nice black pepper characteristics and can be quite intense as well.

Of all the regions that produce Syrah, my affinity is pushing towards those from the Northern Rhone in regions like Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage, and others. One region that took me a while to try was Cote Rotie as these bottles are often among the most expensive we've seen (think $70 for the cheapest, $100 for average, and $150+ for more).

But the allure of Syrahs from the roasted hillside got the better of me, so when I needed a bottle to celebrate some good news, I knew what to get. I ended up finding Domaine Rostaing Ampodium 2017 for just about $90 and popped it open the very next day. It was everything I hoped for.

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Jaine Rose 2019 Review – A Refreshing and Complex Rose

When it comes to rose wines, we can enjoy them any time of year for any reason with (almost) any food pairing. But some rose wines rise above the rest and become something truly special worth savoring and pairing with the very best food.

Jaine's Sustainable Vineyards Rose is one such wine, and this 100% Grenache rose may go down as our very favorite yet.

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Latta Upland Vineyard Grenache 2016 Review – A Fruity Red

Every time we travel, there is almost always a winery that we find by chance and fall in love with. During our trip to Washington, that winery was Latta Wines.

We stumbled upon this one when shopping for a bottle to take to a nice dinner as the corkage fee was reasonable relative to the heavily marked-up bottle prices. We stumbled upon the Latta Grenache Upland Vineyard 2015 at a nearby store. We saw it had stellar reviews and was at a reasonable price, so we jumped on it. What a wine it was!

The wine left such an impression on us that we immediately had to look up where the winery was, and we found out they are based in the south end of Seattle outright (as many wineries in the state buy their grapes from various vineyards)! Naturally, we visited, adored all the wines we tried there, and left with even more bottles of the Upland Vineyard Grenache, 2016 vintage, to take home with us.

It was just a few weeks later that we opened our first bottle, and wanted to share more in this review!

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Graham’s Six Grapes Reserve Port NV – Blackberry Pie in a Glass

Normally on this site, we always try and have a food pairing with our wines, and this is true even with sweet dessert wines.

But sometimes we find a bottle of wine that is so good on its own we forgo a pairing outright and drink it straight. Graham's Six Grapes Reserve NV Port was one such bottle, and with its intense blackberry pie flavor, you can imagine why we enjoyed it solo!

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Chateau de la Ragotiere Muscadet Sevre et Maine 2016 Review

We first heard about Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie in our WSET classes. This wine hails from the western part of the Loire Valley near the ocean and is considered to be a cool-to-moderate maritime climate- perfect for a white grape such as this one.

But it is the Sur Lie element that makes this one the most intriguing because the wine is aged on the lees to give it a bit of added character in the glass (something you do not see in many muscat variants, or at least, something we haven't seen much of). Naturally, as soon as I spotted this bottle from Chateau de la Rogotiere in the store, I had to buy it to give it a shot.

While would say that the lees elements in this bottle are not as intense as others we've had since cracking this one open, it adds a nice complexity to the wine all the same.

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Arista Rose Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2019 Review

While our love affair with the Sonoma winery, Arista, is primarily due to their stellar Pinot Noirs, we have been known to sample some of their other offerings like Chardonnay and even a rose made from Pinot Noir from time to time.

The rose from the Russian River Valley may not pack as much of a full-body punch as its intense-red siblings, but this rose wine from Sonoma checks the boxes for us all the same.

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Hamilton Russell Chardonnay 2019 Review – A Gem From South Africa

We're quickly learning that we love South African Chardonnay and it is for two great reasons.

First, the grape seems to grow beautifully in this country and many wine makers do not seem to go over-the-top on winemaking choices like barrel aging or malolactic fermentation (of the ones we've tried, at least). Second, you can find an incredible bottle for a fraction of the price of other, perhaps more well-known regions for this particular grape (California I'm looking at you on both accounts).

So while Hamilton Russell's Chardonnay may be a bit of a splurge by South Africa wine standards, this one holds up and is perhaps our favorite Chardonnay we've had to date.

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Adaga Vinho Verde Branco 2018 Review – A Sippable White Blend

Every so often we come across a bottle of wine where we simply can't find out much about it. Bottles where the grapes are not listed on the label (or even on Vivino), online reviews are few and far between (and rather generic when we find them), and the brand's website appears non-existent, too.

Adaga's Vinho Verde was one such bottle that we received in a mystery box from Plonk Wine Club. As we had misplaced the shipping information and the club no longer carries this one, by the time we opened it we really didn't have much to go on (we had to email the club to find out it is a mix of Arinto, Alvarinho, and Loureiro but that is all we've got).

So while the limited notes from the club were all we've got, we have to admit this one was quite the sipper all the same!

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Armenia Wine Company’s Red Blend Review – Areni and Haghtanak

Our first wine from Armenia comes from the Armenia Wine Company and was simply labeled “Dry Red Blend” (without even a vintage found on the bottle).

Thankfully, this one did label the grapes at least and we found out it was from two new-to-us grapes of Areni and Haghtanak. However, had the bottle been hidden from us we would've claimed this one was a young Pinot Noir or possibly even a Gamay as the flavor profiles were quite comparable.

For a basic red blend, well, we'll take that!

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Damiani Lemberger 2019 Review – Cherry, Cola, and More

If you are not familiar with the red grape Lemberger, you may know it by its German name- Blaufrankisch. This grape is grown primarily in central Europe and especially in and around Austria where we have had many glasses during our visits.

But Lemberger is becoming more and more popular outside of Europe, and the Finger Lakes in the United States is one such wine region growing this grape successfully.

We tried this one while at Damiani on Seneca Lake and knew we had to come home with a bottle.

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