3 Ways on How to Enjoy Port

Port: This fortified sweet wine is made with a blend of red grapes from the Douro River Valley in Portugal. It’s often enjoyed alongside desserts (especially with chocolate) or, more modernly, served as an aperitif over ice with a simple garnish. Since there’s always a reason to have a bottle of Port on hand, here are several tips to help you enjoy it to the fullest.

How to Enjoy Port

Straight: The most sophisticated way to enjoy Port wine is to serve it straight up, or “neat,” in a proper Port glass. Of course, not all Port wines are fine enough to be enjoyed in this manner. Vintage, Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) and Tawny Port that is more than a decade old are the styles to look for (with a few special exceptions).

Cocktails: Port cocktails are a simple, fun, and delicious take on this very classic wine. The styles to seek out for cocktails include White, Pink, Ruby, and Tawny Port.

Cooking: Port wine reduction sauce is amazing drizzled over steaks and roasted meats, but it also works well when served ontop of ice cream or used in rich, layered chocolate cake. Although all styles of Port work well for cooking, the most economical option is a Ruby Port, which just so happens to have a long shelf life too.


Serious Port

Taylor Fladgate 2011 LBV with Scott Zwiesel Official Port Glass

A small sipper of Port is a marvelous way to wind down the day or end an evening meal. Not to mention that a sipper a day may keep the doctor away. In fact, the matriarch of Port, Antónia Adelaide Ferreira, is said to have drunk a glass of Port each night to stay healthy. Antónia also happened to live to the age of 85, which is a particularly remarkable feat in the 1800s.

Styles: Vintage Port, Late-Bottled Vintage Port, and Tawny Port

Classic Pairings: Portuguese/Spanish almonds, Stilton cheese, Portuguese blood sausage

Serving: Port is best served in 3 oz (~75 ml) portions at 55–68ºF (13–20ºC) in dessert wine or official Port wine glasses. If you do not have dessert wine glasses, use white wine glasses or sparkling wine glasses.

Serving Older Vintage Port: Vintage Ports are best enjoyed either within the first 5 years of release or after 20+ years of bottle aging. The longer they age, the more fascinating they become. Of course, old bottles of Port are challenging to open due to the fragility of the cork. A Durand wine opener or monopol are perhaps the best tools for opening these wines, but if you don’t have these tools handy, use a regular waiter’s friend and pour it through a stainless steel strainer into a decanter to remove any cork pieces. There is an even more elaborate way to open Port involving glowing hot Port tongs and a wet feather, which is amazing to see.

Storing an Open Bottle of Port

Most Port wines last open for about a month. That said, we were surprised to try a 20-year-old Tawny Port that had been open for 15 years (stored in a cellar), which was quite fresh and vibrant! The ideal place to store Port is in a cellar (~53ºF) but if you don’t have one, a refrigerator will do nicely, just be sure to let it warm a bit before serving.

Port Cocktails

Port Reimagined
Port Wine Cocktail - Ruby on the Rocks
Because of our move away from very sweet wines, you’ll see the Portuguese using Port wine in new and delicious ways. Here are several awesome cocktails made with Port wine:

White Port & Tonic
  • 3 oz White Port
  • 3 oz Tonic
  • Pour over ice into a tall glass and garnish with an orange twist.
Ruby on the Rocks
  • 3 oz Ruby Port
  • Pour over ice into a rocks glass and garnish with a sprig of mint.
Bar Drake Manhattan by David Wondrich
  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 1 oz Ruby Port
  • 1 spoonful of Maple syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Stir with ice in a mixing glass and then strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with brandied cherries.

Cocktail by David Wondrich

Ruby Royale
  • 3 oz Brut sparkling wine
  • 1 oz Ruby Port
  • Pour Ruby Port into a flute and top with sparkling wine. Garnish with a twist of orange.
Pink Port Cocktail
  • 3 oz Pink Port
  • 3 oz Soda water
  • 2 Strawberries and 4 mint leaves
  • In a mixing glass, muddle strawberries and mint with Pink Port. Top with ice, transfer to tulip glass, and top with soda water.

Port Wine Sauce

The finishing touch
Port Reduction Sauce for savory dishes
This savory-sweet sauce is excellent with roast meats and steak. For example, try it on steak topped with blue cheese crumbles. There are many great variations of this recipe (including balsamic, rosemary, and mint), so think carefully and choose what’s best for your dish.

Port Reduction Sauce Recipe by Taylor’s

Port Reduction Sauce for sweets
This very berry sauce with faint citrus accents is delicious over plain vanilla ice cream or poured over a dried fruit pound cake.

Port Wine Reduction Sauce by Emeril Lagasse

Port Wine Brands

There are many amazing Port producers in the world today. Here are some of the largest and most well-known Port houses to know (organized alphabetically):
Ramos Pinto Vintage Wine Poster

  • Burmester
  • Churchill’s
  • Cockburn’s
  • Croft
  • Dow’s
  • Ferreira
  • Fonseca
  • Graham’s
  • Kopke
  • Quinta do Noval
  • Quinta do Vesuvio
  • Ramos Pinto
  • Sandeman
  • Taylor’s
  • Warre’s



Wine Education Course Overview

I’ve got several requests for tips on passing wine exams and how useful it is to get a WSET certificate,  it definitely helped me a lot with the framework of the world’s wine regions and winemaking knowledge.

There are all together 4 levels in WSET programme, which leads you to the title of Master of Wine if you are the luckiest few who survives till the end. For wine lovers, especially those who devote all their passions to wine, it would be great to have this title- Mater of Wine, isn’t it cool?!

Without further ado, let’s take a close view on what are all these courses about…


 Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET)

Highest Certificate Level 4  Diploma

What wine jobs will WSET help you get?
  • Marketing/Account Manager in a wine-related business
  • Sensory Analyst
  • Wine Educator
  • Wine Distribution Management
  • Wine Region Educational Director
  • Wine Marketing and Wine Sales Leadership Roles


WSET Wine and Spirit Education Trust New Logo

WSET is approachable

For those who are new to the food and beverage industry and would like more direction than given by their place of employment, this is the place to start. This educational series is also great for those outside of the industry that just want to learn more.

The multi-tiered Level Awards make this program very approachable to the most novice of wine enthusiasts. And there is an element of “choose your own adventure.” Want to be more wine or more spirits savvy? Take the level courses for one or the other, or do both. Not all these courses are required to move up to the intermediate and advanced level awards and you do not have to take all the classes.

WSET Level 1 This is a beginner level course designed for anyone trying to get into wine.
WSET Level 2 If you can prove advanced knowledge you can start with WSET Level 2.
WSET Level 3  A Level 2 Award in Wine and Spirits or equivalent is recommended.

Wine & Spirits
This course is 7 days of actual classes but outside study time is necessary. Tasting technique and learning about production and distribution of wine and spirits is the main focus. This could be an ideal class for those in distribution, retail or supervisory roles. Completing a 50 question multiple choice test, with a short answer quiz, and properly written tasting notes on two wines is necessary to obtain this award. 
Resume-building benefits
Passing the Level 3 WSET will award you the ability to apply to use the WSET Certified Advanced Logo on your resume.

WSET Level 4 & Diploma WSET Level 3 is a prerequisite. Receiving a WSET Diploma is a great segue into the IMW.

This is where the courses jump into the globalization and marketing of wine in addition to in-depth wine theory. Short multiple choice exams become passé at this point. A 6 unit exam looms as the gateway to your diploma.

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 4.45.34 pm

 Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW)

Highest Certificate Master of Wine.

What wine jobs will IMW help you get?
  • Marketing/Account Director in a wine related business
  • Sensory Analyst or Wine Analyst
  • Wine Director of Education and Programming for large retail, restaurant or hotel chain.
  • Wine Region Director
  • Wine Program Manager in Media or Marketing
  • International Wine Business Director


Master of Wine Logo

Prerequisite required.

Acceptance into IMW involves already having a strong core of wine knowledge and experience, made evident by a WSET Level 4 Diploma or equivalent, and having the recommendation from a few Masters of Wine (MW). If you want to pursue a career in the marketing of wine, or as a wine educator; becoming a Master of Wine holds a lot of cachet in both fields. Be prepared to work your ass off. This ain’t no cakewalk. They call you a Master for a reason.


What it’s like to pursue the Master of Wine title

Although a syllabus and a personal Master of Wine mentor is provided, setting your rigorous study schedule is up to you. A school year runs from October to May, and it takes at least two of these cycles to just be accepted to take the exam to be then accepted into the Institute. It is the Holy Tabernacle of Wine Certification. The directive with the Institute is to elevate the skills of critical thinking and articulation within each student in matters of wine; with special focus given to international business, and wine analysis on a viticultural and vinicultural level. This is accomplished by annual residential seminars lasting 5 days that are led by Masters of Wine and lots and lots of writing. The first year narrows in on reinforcing gaps in theory, service and wine analysis. An assessment exam of essays at the end determine whether a student progresses to the second year. The second year ups the ante with regular course assignments added to your self study regime. This serves as a continuation of fine-tuning a student’s ability to present their knowledge of any business of wine in a succinct and effective manner.

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 4.38.01 pm

Taking the MW exam

To become a Master of Wine you will endure a 3-part examination. Theory and Practical first; if passed, then a dissertation. All are comprised of, surprise! lots of writing. Theory is four papers, three hours apiece. Practical is three blind flights of 12 wines where, in addition to identification, the wines must be analyzed for their quality, winemaking, and style. The 10,000 word dissertation must be on an original wine topic chosen by the student and approved by the Institute.


While preparing for my WSET level 4, few words to share with those who decided to take the same path as mine: It is NOT as easy as you have imagined, not at all! nevertheless, it does’t mean it cannot be achieved. If i can do it, you can definitely do it!

While we suffer from all the papers and theories, we learn, we grow and eventually we are more confident to call ourselves – wine lovers & grape adventurers!

Cheers to all!




I am going for Medoc Marathon in September 2016! Seriously training myself at the moment, Running the marathon involves much more than endurance and a good pair of sneakers.  I am so excited to embrace this challenge in my life, and what’s more, to embrace all the beautiful chateaux that comes along the way!


Le Marathon du Medoc- An annual race in France, which calls itself the world’s longest marathon, is attempting to ease runners pain by offering them gourmet food and wine on the way to the finish line.

More than 30 châteaux, 50 music bands, 23 wine tastings plus some delicacies such as oysters, foie gras, entrecôte… Yes it is unique in the world, soooo French and so much worth a try!  


It takes place around Pauillac near Bordeaux on 10 September – sees runners dress up in Carnival-themed outfits to run the 26-mile (42.2km) circuit. Along the way they can tuck into a banquet of French delicacies from oysters to ice cream, washed down with glasses of fine wine.

Participants get a rather generous six-and-a-half hours to complete the race, allowing time for pit stops at various chateaux lining the route. The hardest part for the runners, may be to stay on a straight path. “Above all, I’m going to take advantage of the festivities,” runner 44-year-old Bernard tells regional paper La Depeche du Midi.


Adventure: from Grape to Wine

I always like to see myself as a small grape, still green, short of sweetness, dreaming about one day to become part of a great wine- Tasted all sorrows and joy, and been tasted by generations after.

It was funny why I insisted to have this funny little name- Grape adventure. It doesn’t even sound like a real deal, but maybe this is something i firmly believe in since the very beginning- everyone is like a green grape at first, but we need to put all our efforts in our lives to be nearer to wine, and if possible, a great wine to remember.

My adventure has started long before, and this year I have very excited news to share with you in September, and I decided to let more people with enthusiasm in life to join me, and share their adventurous spirits.

so, look closely to our next event.

see you all very soon!


Wine Etiquette Tips To Master

When you’re not in the privacy of your own home (snorting a bottle of wine down with your favorite coffee mug) you’ll want to employ some wine etiquette. Etiquette is one of those things that, on the surface, seems unnecessary but it is a powerful tool. It is the outward way of showing that you are, indeed, not a monster.

Wine Etiquette tips (e.g. you are not a monster)

Wine etiquette can be useful in many situations:

  • Business dinners
  • Meeting the parents
  • Formal gatherings
  • Classy dinner dates

So, here are some of the most important practices to become familiar with:

9 Wine Etiquette Habits to Know

wine-folly-holding-a-wine-glass Hold your glass by the stem or the base.
wine-folly-smelling-wine Smell your wine. Sniff it, taste it, and think about it.
wine-folly-glass-lip-marks Try to drink from the same position on your wine glass to reduce unsightly mouth marks
wine-folly-how-to-open-wine When opening a wine bottle, try to do it quietly, like a ninja
wine-folly-clinking-glasses-so-they-dont-break When clinking: clink glasses bell to bell (it reduces breakage) and look your clinking-buddy in the eye.
wine-folly-holding-a-wine-bottle Pouring wine? hold the bottle towards the base.
wine-folly-standar-pour-size Fill your glass less than half way to give your wine room to breathe.
wine-folly-servings-of-wine Try to keep your portion of drinking equivalent to the other people around you.
wine-folly-almost-empty-barolo-bottle Offer wine to others before pouring seconds for yourself.

from: http://winefolly.com/tutorial/list-of-wine-etiquette-tips/

99 Reasons To Drink Wine

Feel the need to justify your new wine habit? We’re here to remind you why you love wine with 99 reasons why you’ve been drinking it.

  1. Because fermentation is fascinating.
    Because Fermentation is Fascinating
  2. There’s no such thing as wine-belly
    There's no such thing as wine-belly
  3. You need a serving of fruit everyday.
  4. Because beyond college, Master’s and Ph.D., this might just be the last tier of a higher education.
  5. You were going to give it as a gift, but decided to keep it for yourself.
  6. Some people find violet-stained teeth inexplicably attractive.
  7. You secretly enjoy the scent of sweaty saddle leather/ petroleum/ a mushroom forest.
    You secretly enjoy the scent of sweaty saddle leather
  8. Because people look at you funny when you sniff, swirl, and slurp a glass of milk
  9. How else can you justify using words like supple, brawny, fleshy, and gripping.
    How else can you justify using words like supple, brawny, fleshy and gripping
  10. It pairs well with…well, everything.
  11. It stains your tongue (just like those awesome blue lollipops once did).
  12. How else are you going to finish that wine-cork Pinterest craft?
  13. Waking up with a wine line across your bottom lip is a token of a night well spent.
  14. You just learned how to properly pronounce Gah-vurz-tra-meener…even though you still can’t spell it.
  15. You recently watched a YouTube video on how to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew and you had to give it a try yourself.
  16. Mimosas are an acceptable breakfast food.
    Mimosas are an acceptable Breakfast food
  17. You’re so fancy (Iggy Azalea).
  18. Because the pursuit of happiness is an unalienable right (and the movie was pretty good too).
  19. Taylor Swift songs put you in the mood for a glass of red. #love-em #hate-em
  20. You still believe in the merits of 2-Buck Chuck.
  21. You wanted to class-up the block party.
  22. It makes you socially fearless.
    Because wine makes you socially fearless
  23. Your Spanish conjugations improve after a glass or two.
  24. It’s important to hydrate after waking up.
  25. The Pope does.
  26. They say it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere, even though it turns out that’s really not true.
  27. Stemmed wineglasses make you feel like a real adult.
  28. You need something to wash down an awkward social experience.
    You need something to wash down that awkward social experience.
  29. The recipe calls for 2 TB of white wine and you don’t believe in wastefulness.
  30. You can’t afford a massage and this is the next best thing.
  31. Wine tasting is like bar hopping during the day.
    Wine tasting is like bar hoping during the day
  32. Wine keeps you feeling and looking younger.
  33. The wine aisle feels like an oasis of happiness.
  34. It’s the only investment you can drink.
  35. It’s Monday night and it’s going to be a long week.
  36. Tuesdays need to be appreciated too.
  37. Wednesday starts with the letter “W.”
    Wednesday starts with a W
  38. It’s Thursday and there’s still wine leftover from #WineWednesday.
  39. It’s Friday night and you (don’t) have plans.
  40. It’s Sunday night and Monday morning looms.
  41. Because five glasses in a bottle is a screaming good bargain.
  42. Because it’s time to call your mother.
    Because it's time to call your mom
  43. Because your mother-in-law just called.
  44. Because you removed your cellphone battery so that no one can call and interrupt your “Me Time.”
  45. Because you just deleted your facebook account.
  46. Your dinner plate looks lonely.
  47. The holidays are coming.
    The holidays are coming
  48. The holidays are over.
  49. Networking events make you feel nauseous.
    Networking events make you feel nauseous
  50. Your office called you and told you not to come in tomorrow, or ever again.
  51. You didn’t get the job/girl/boy/loan/joke.
    Reason #51: You didn't get the job/ girl/ boy/ loan/ joke.
  52. Your grandma just asked you to help teach her how to use her smartphone.
  53. You’re getting married.
  54. You’re not getting married.
  55. 9 months carrying a baby made you very thirsty.
    9 months carrying a baby made you very thirsty
  56. It’s the sweetest reward for surviving rush hour traffic and not yelling expletives.
  57. It removes stage fright almost instantly.
  58. Because it takes the stress out of air travel including altitude, recycled air, feeling like a sardine, and the chatty Kathy next to you.
  59. Studies suggest that wine may increase the sexual appetite of women.
  60. It makes your jokes funnier.
  61. It makes everyone else’s jokes funnier.
  62. Because wine ages well implies that you’ll age well too.
  63. Your dance moves need all the help they can get.
    Your dance moves need all the help they can get.
  64. If the glass is half empty, you’re not a pessimist, you open another bottle.
  65. Gorgeous wine labels make you feel warm and fuzzy.
  66. There’s something incongruent with drinking beer in a bubble bath.
  67. Because Benjamin Franklin was on to something: “Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance.”
  68. How else were you planning to finish your term paper?
    How else were you planning to finish your term paper?
  69. Sometimes if you get the fermented juices flowing the creative juices will follow.
  70. Wine tasting parties bring together dozens of bottles in one place and you don’t even have to feel guilty about trying them all.
  71. You know you want to.
  72. There are so many words that sound better with the word “wine” in-front of them: bottle, box, bag, world, vacation, dinner, store, snorkel…
  73. The less you dust, the more expensive your collection looks.
    The less you dust, the more expensive your collection looks.
  74. We should all participate in water conservation.
  75. Because “wine and food pairing” sounds like they’re not meant to be apart.
  76. The movie #Somm was equal parts scary and inspiring.
  77. You’re Italian/ French/ American/ Argentinian/ Human.
  78. Mulled wine is better than Febreze.
    Reason #78: mulled wine is better than Febreze
  79. Grapes are a foundational part of the food pyramid.
  80. It’s after dark.
  81. Because someone offered to buy you a drink–might as well taste the good stuff.
  82. Because you said you’d never try online dating, yet here you are.
  83. It’s an election year.
    Reason #83 It's an election year
  84. It’s not an election year.
  85. Last week you finally identified a smoky flavor in wine and you want to see if you can do
    it again.
  86. Because sangria is practically a fruit salad, which makes it a health food.
    Because sangria is practically a fruit salad, which makes it a health food.
  87. You’re trying to remember something.
  88. You’re trying to forget something.
  89. You need more room in the refrigerator shelf.
  90. Tailgating with Malbec tastes better.
    Tailgating with malbec tastes better.
  91. Wine is more delicious than straight-up vodka.
  92. It’s important to teach your kids good drinking habits.
  93. You need to wash the chocolate down with something.
  94. The calories have been counted and it’s clear that beer is not the winner.
  95. An article in your Facebook news feed says red wine is good for the heart.
  96. Because everyone knows red wine is good for a broken heart.
    Because everyone knows red wine is good for a broken heart.
  97. It’s like a mini-vacation in a glass when you can’t leave the house.
  98. What other beverage offers antioxidants, probiotics, and a steady buzz?
  99. Because reading Wine Folly makes you thirsty.
    Because reading Wine Folly makes you thirsty

original post from http://winefolly.com/update/99-reasons-to-drink-wine/

Champagne vs Prosecco: The Real Differences

Q: What are the real differences between Champagne vs. Prosecco and why does one cost so much more than the other? 

A: The quick answer is Champagne is from France and Prosecco is from Italy, but there are some other things to know about both wines –especially if you like bubbly wine.



Champagne is a sparkling wine made in the Champagne region of France around the city of Reims about 80 miles (130 km) Northeast of Paris.

  • Made with ChardonnayPinot Noirand Pinot Meunier grapes
  • Produced using a costly method called the ‘Traditional Method’
  • standard pour of Brut Champagne has ~128 Calories (12% ABV)
  • $40 for a good entry-level Champagne


Prosecco is a sparkling wine made in the Veneto region of Italy around the city of Treviso about 15 miles (24 km) North of Venice.

  • Made with Prosecco (a.k.a. Glera) grapes
  • Produced using an affordable method called the ‘Tank Method’
  • standard pour of Prosecco has ~121 Calories (11% ABV)
  • $12-14 for a good entry-level Prosecco

Champagne taste notes by Wine Folly
Citrus Fruits, White Peach, White Cherry, Almond, Toast

Champagne Taste Profile

 Tasting Notes: Since Champagne is aged longer on the yeast particles (called lees), it will often have a cheese rind like flavor that in finer examples comes across as toasty or biscuity. Since the wines are aged in bottles under high pressure the bubble finesse is fine, persistent and sharp. Vintage-dated Champagnes often have almond-like flavors along with orange-zest and white cherry.

 Food Pairing: Since most Champagne is intensely dry and has high acidity it works wonderfully as an aperitif matched with shellfish, raw bar, pickled vegetables and crispy fried appetizers. Sipping Champagne with potato chips may sound low-brow, but it’s an insanely good pairing

Prosecco Taste notes by Wine Folly
Green Apple, Honeydew Melon, Pear, Honeysuckle, Fresh Cream

Prosecco Taste Profile

 Tasting Notes: Prosecco tends to have more present fruit and flower aromas which are a product of the grape. Because the wines are aged in large tanks with less pressure Prosecco bubbles are lighter, frothy and spritzy with less persistence. Finer Prosecco wines often exhibit notes of tropical fruits, banana cream, hazelnut, vanilla and honeycomb.

 Food Pairing: Prosecco leans more towards the sweeter end of the spectrum and because of this it’s an ideal match with cured meats and fruit-driven appetizers like prosciutto-wrapped melon and middle-weight Asian dishes such as Thai noodles and sushi.


Why Does Champagne Cost So Much More than Prosecco?

Technically speaking, Champagne is more expensive to make than Prosecco but one of the biggest factors in the big cost discrepancy is market demand. Because Champagne is perceived as a region for luxury wines it can command higher prices. On the other hand, we aren’t used to spending more than $20 for a bottle of Prosecco even though you can find exceptional Prosecco in the Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG and Colli Asolani DOCG regions.

champagne-vs-prosecco-europe-mapChampagne is a cooler growing region than Prosecco and thus makes less fruity, minerally wines.

This article is from Wine Folly: http://winefolly.com/review/champagne-vs-prosecco/

How Much Sugar in Brut Champagne?

After the yeasts are removed from each bottle, Champagnes are topped up with sweetened reserve wine, or liquor d’expedition. The level of sweetness of this wine determines the category of Champagne that will be made. As you will see, Categories overlap. A Champagne that is 1.4 percent sugar might be deemed a brut by one house but an extra dry by another.
Despite its beginnings as a fairly sweet beverage, most of the Champagnes now produced are brut. Brut Champagne is best drunk as an aperitif or with a meal. Champagne that is slightly sweet generally works better than brut after a meal. Extra dry is a good example. The wine is not truly sweet in the conventional sense but, rather, simply more round and creamy than brut. Moet-Chandon’s wildly popular White Star Champagne is not brut, as many believe.It’s extra dry.
Dry and demi-sec Champagnes, slightly sweeter than extra dry, are extraordinary wines to end a meal with and also unbeatable with fruit desserts. Only a few houses make dry and demo-sec Champagne: Veuve Clicquot, Moet Chandon, and Mumm are the top three.
Here are the categories of Champagne based on their sweetness:
Extra Brut:
Very very dry: 0-0.6% sugar
very dry: less than 1.5% sugar
Extra dry:
offdry: 1.2-2% sugar
Lightly sweet: 1.7-3.5% sugar
Sweet: 3.3-5% sugar
Quite sweet: more than 5% sugar

Wines To Try Before You Die

Five Wines To Try Before You Die
These 5 wines have been lusted after by all wine-loving-kind; from prestigious Bordeaux to inky Australian Shiraz.

1. First & Second Growth Bordeaux

The flatlands along the Garonne in Bordeaux are the birthplace of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Lust for wines from this region peak during spring presales (aka en primeur) from the great estates in the Medoc. In 1855, Bordeaux classified all the wine producers from the best-to-the-worst creating the cru classification system which (awkwardly) still stands today. So what do the most exalted wines in the world taste like? 1st growths are exorbitantly priced compared to a 2nd or 3rd growth, while the experience between the three cru classes is very similar. Make sure to look for a bottle that’s been aged for at least 10 years.

1st Growths Château Haut Brion, Château Mouton-Rothschild, Château Margaux, Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Latour
2nd Growths Château Cos d’Estournel*, Château Léoville-Las Cases*, Chateau Montrose*, Château Léoville-Poyferré*, Château Léoville-Barton*, Château Pichon Longueville Baron*, Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande*, Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, Château Rauzan-Ségla, Château Gruaud-Larose, Chateau Lascombes, Château Brane-Cantenac, Château Durfort-Vivens, Château Rauzan-Gassies


2. Classic Napa Cabernet

Prohibition nearly killed the budding wine business in the United States. After the repeal of prohibition, wineries were slow to recover and most producers made low-quality bulk wines. Fortunately, in 1976 an impassioned English wine merchant was determined to prove Napa’s potential. The man, Steven Spurrier, organized a blind tasting in France and included Napa Cabernet with Bordeaux 1st and 2nd growths. The tasting, now referred to as the “Judgement of Paris” gave Napa County well-deserved street cred.


Cabernet Sauvignon is Napa’s flagship grape. Unlike Bordeaux, California wines list the grape varietal if the wine contains 75% or more. Listed below are a few Napa Cabernets that have stood the test of time
Short List of Classic Producers: Beaulieu Vineyard, Chateau Montelena, Chappellet, Diamond Creek, Dunn Vineyards, Duckhorn, Heitz, Pina, Pride Mountain Vineyards, Shafer, Spottswoode, Stag’s Leap Cellars, Silver Oak
Cristal 2002 100 point wine

3. Vintage Champagne

From sitting on the front stoop to getting ready to go out on the town, Champagne has a way of making every experience feel fancy. If normal Champagne has this effect, vintage Champagne is the extreme. The quality difference of average tasty bubbly to the sensuous creaminess of barrel-aged vintage Champagne is startling.

4. Vintage Port or 40 year Tawny Port

Classic cars are dripping with culture and history. It’s easy to imagine what life might have been like when the car was new, a nostalgia for things that were. In the same respect, an old record can set the mood of an era, while old magazines provide a snapshot to a moment in time. So what about drinking a really old bottle of wine?

Vintage port goes through a dull period in the first 10-12 years after its release, then it starts to improve. After 40-50 years it becomes something that not only tastes amazing but also offers a glimpse into the past. You’ll find yourself looking at a bottle and feeling deeply connected to its history. From when it was produced, to its life in the cellar, everything that has happened in its lifetime.



5. Barossa Shiraz

The wine world is susceptible to current fads and fashion. Every ten years or so the market flips between bold, rich wines and elegant wines based on people’s tastes. While South Australia produces both styles, they are one of the few regions capable of producing the boldest, richest wines in the world.

Drinking Australian Shiraz is like taking a cannon ball to the face. You have to try it at least once.