Category: Wine

wine reviews, wine events, and all things wine related

DipWSET Theory—Portugal

Before I get into any tastings, I’m sharing my Top Portugal 10—the top 10 ‘quick’ facts I’ve decided are the ‘need to know’ to master this wine producing country. In black are my ‘quick facts,’ as written in my notes. In pink are a few ‘fun facts’ I found in my supplemental reading materials.

What are your favorite Portuguese wine facts? Share with me—either in the comments below or contact me directly. Vamos la!


This Week’s Latest Wine Headlines: February 21—26

You made it through another week! Hope you have something amazing to pour in the glass to celebrate. Me? I’ve got so many bottles of wine after doing some conjunctive tastings along with my Portugal and Greece studies this past week. (To be released in the coming weeks). In case you missed my Italian notes: DipWSET Theory and Tasting—PiemonteDipWSET Theory and Tasting—ValpolicellaDipWSET Theory—Southern Italy , and DipWSET Personal Theory and Tasting—Gavi di Gavi.

Below I’ve got this week’s round up of wine industry news. A few highlights—looks like there’s some new data/research surrounding the loss of smell due to Covid; John Fox, who ran the world’s largest wine Ponzi scheme, is officially out of prison (hold on to your magnums!); we’ve got Argentinian wine aged under the sea, the latest on Brexit, and the seemingly endless tariff wars between Australia and China.

And for for all my wine grape growing friends or those interested in learning more about California viticulture: I’ll be leading a panel discussion on regenerative agriculture at the upcoming Vineyard and Grower Conference. Other sessions include a look at the CA Crush Report and a deep dive into the latest research on smoke taint. Find out more and sign up here. I’ve also included some additional details below.

That’s all from me for now. Happy weekending. Cheers.



DipWSET Personal Theory and Tasting—Gavi di Gavi

Do you ever find that something just strikes you when you’re studying? Maybe a grape’s origin story, the history of a wine region, or maybe you just like the way a word sounds. It strikes you, and you are just able to memorize it for no other reason than you just fancy it. That’s me and Gavi di Gavi. Just seeing that phrase, hearing it, saying it out loud, it always brings a smile to my face.

Map by Jeff Quinn.
Map by Jeff Quinn.

Taste with me. Dance with me.


DipWSET Theory—Southern Italy

As some of you know, one of my study methods is to create a quick “Top 10,” an at-a-glance list a few key points from a certain country or region. They’re broad, general facts that will test my memory (or, more like, alert me to the things I still have to memorize). I want to provide my Top Southern Italian 10 for you here, but I’ve included a few anecdotes as well—just a few findings that I found interesting that may help with memorization (or, at the very least, entertain you for a moment).

Mt. Etna, Sicily, Italy
Mt. Etna, Sicily, Italy

For basic information about Southern Italy’s wine region based on WSET Level 3, please see Wine Region Overview: Southern Italy


DipWSET Theory and Tasting—Valpolicella

When we think of Northeast Italy, we cannot forget Trentino, Alto Adige, and the Friuli regions—known predominantly for light, fruit forward, easy drinking white wines, typically for early consumption. There’s a broad range of international varieties produced. Specifically in Trentino and Alto Adige, which share geographic, cultural, and political ties to Germany and Austria, we find many varieties that grow in those countries as well. In Friuli, the aptly named Friulano is a dominant white wine grape, of course I believe most of our brain’s will veer toward Pinot Grigio grown in Grave di Friuli DOC. And don’t forget about the red wine grape Schiave. Pop Quiz: Where are more prestigious white wines produced and what is the dominant grape responsible for these higher quality wines? (You can find the answer below this post.)

For a general overview of Northern Italy, please see Wine Region Overview: Northern Italy.

Valpolicella Wine Tours
Valpolicella Wine Tours;

Today, however, I want to zero in on Veneto: specifically, Valpolicella because there’s something going on in there that, even in my Level 3 I kept getting confused. And, unfortunately that confusion came back to me in my Diploma Studies. I want to take the time to dive into the definitions of basic Valpolicellapassito/appassimento, recioto, Amarone, and ripasso and (hopefully) solidify that understanding with a conjunctive tasting.