Jean-Baptiste Adam Brute Rose NV – Traditional Method Rose

When I decided to sign up for WSET Diploma, I knew I'd have to go sparkling heavy when in the D4 module.

As I have the least experience with all things bubbles, this meant finding new styles of wines to try outright (although not necessarily new grapes per our quest).

So early on in this module, I decided to go for Jean-Baptiste Adam Brute Rose- a Cremant d'Alsace made in the traditional method with a little bit of skin contact from my favorite region in France!

It was every bit what I hoped for.

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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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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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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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Cakebread Pinot Noir Annahala Ranch 2015 Review – Classic Pinot

When we visited Napa, one of the first vineyards we made it to was Cakebread Cellars. Not only did we have a wonderful time at our tasting, we walked away with several bottles to enjoy at home. (You can read more about how we checked wine on a plane here.)

One such bottle was Cakebread's Pinot Noir Annahala Ranch 2015 and when we opened it in 2020 at five years old we knew we had found a gem- both for its flavor profile and its price point!

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Pares Balta Cava Blanca Cusine 2011 Review – A Stellar Cava

We've had many glasses of Cava in the past- some average, some good. But we had never had one that was absolutely stellar, that is until we had the Pares Balta Blanca Cusine 2011.

This is some stellar Cava, and for its price point (sub $40 per bottle at our local distributor) we absolutely couldn't ask for anything more. In being 78% Xarel-lo (with the rest being Chardonnay and Pinot Noir), we also were able to get a fonder appreciation for the grape in this one.

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Heart & Hands Pinot Noir 2018 Review – Fruit Forward

One winery we missed out on visiting when we explored the Finger Lakes was Heart & Hands. We had heard about wines from this vineyard for a while and were pretty bummed we couldn't make the stop happen.

Thankfully, while exploring a wine store in Ithaca we found a bottle of the Heart & Hands Pinot Noir 2018 and picked it up without hesitation to give them a try. While we would say this was a fairly representative Pinot Noir as far as the varietal is concerned, it was quite surprising that it came from the Finger Lakes!

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Domaine Vincent Dureuil-Janthal Rully 2017 Review – Fruit and Barrel

While we would typically like a bit more body and complexity in our reds, the Domaine Vincent Dureuil-Janthal Rully came through with a wealth of red fruit flavors as well as subtle undertones of clove and other earthy characteristics.

The steak we paired this one with was perhaps a bit too strong in the meat department, but the morel mushrooms as a side worked out beautifully.

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