Casa Madero Gran Reserva Shiraz 2017 Review – Intense Mexican Red

When we traveled to Mexico City in early 2022, we were not terribly excited at the wine options we had at the bars.

But before we left, we went to a high-end wine shop and found some of the highest rated bottles we could find and bought them to enjoy at home later on. Casa Madero's Gran Reserva Shiraz 2017 was one such bottle, and while we think this one could still use a few more years, it was a lovely bottle to pair with a roast all the same.

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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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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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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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Le Fraghe Chelidon Rondinella 2018 Review – A Rose-Esque Wine

For as much as we study wine, every so often we have a bottle that surprises us.

Sometimes this is because what is in the glass is completely different from what we expected. Other times is because we simply picked the wrong bottle for our meal and really didn't know what we were getting ourselves into.

Le Fraghe Rondinella from Italy is one such bottle that hit all those marks. We opened it thinking we were having a somewhat intense Italian red and it turns out this one was characteristically more like a lighter rose.

Naturally, we were in for a surprise- one that was not necessarily what we wanted.

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Vinicola La Trinidad Afrodita 2019 Review – Mexican Chardonnay

When we visited Mexico City, we knew we had to try Mexican wine. We had heard that wine production in Mexico was increasing in recent years, but living in the United States we found that wines from the south of the border are hard to come by (and by hard, we mean virtually impossible- we simply never see it locally).

We have to admit that when we went to a few wine bars in Mexico, we left somewhat disappointed. The high alcohol and lower acidity in the wines were, well, harsh (and was something we expected since Mexico is so hot). But we did not let that deter us and we found some high-end bottles with good reviews at a wine shop in the city and took a risk by buying them sight unseen to bring home.

Vinicola La Trinidad Afrodita was one such bottle, and the Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc blend was one of our favorites from Mexico to date.

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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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