Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Coravin, My First Review (Thank you, Prime Day)

Last year, I wrote about three ways you can save your wine when you can't finish a bottle. One of them is the cost-prohibitive Coravin wine preservation system. Then Amazon Prime Day happened, and I am now the proud owner of Coravin Model Two.

As mentioned in my last post, Coravin allows you to extract wine from a bottle without removing the cork. A hollow needle is inserted into and through the cork. Argon, an inert gas, is then pumped into the bottle through the needle to pressurize it, allowing wine to be drawn out through the same needle. Argon then displaces the space left by the wine. The wine in the bottle maintains minimum contact with air, preventing oxidation. The cork then reseals from the needle hole naturally.

Coravin Model Two Plus Pack

Coravin is best for savoring that special bottle over time, which allows you to experience the evolution of the wine. It is also terrific if you want to taste multiple prized bottles side by side without worrying that you have to finish all of them before they go bad.

So here is my first try at using my brand new Coravin Model Two. I am super excited to extract some wine from my bottle of 2012 Joseph Drouhin Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Cazetiers. The drinking window for this wine is from 2019 to 2040, and I plan to taste it every year or so. (It probably won't last through 2040.)

A note about the instruction manual...

The multi-lingual "Getting Started" instruction manual that came with my Model Two was generally inadequate. It would have been better if it just pointed to the Coravin website, which it didn't. The Coravin website contains a robust set of instructions, both static and video. So if you are using the Coravin for the first time, just go to the website.

Step 1 - Familiarize yourself with the Coravin system

Compared to a regular wine opener, the Coravin system does have more components to consider. It is of course not a wine opener after all. Still the numerous components can be overwhelming at first glance. Take a look at the Coravin Model Two picture (see below) to get the lay of the land of all the components.

Coravin Model Two Components

Start with the needle (4). There should be a yellow needle cover at the sharp point of the needle to protect it from damage during shipping. Remove the cover.

Unscrew the capsule cup (8) from the system, insert the argon capsule (7), and screw the cup back.

Press and release the trigger (1) quickly to test the argon release. You should hear a hissing sound.

When using the Coravin, it should be positioned the same way you see in the picture above. The handle (2) is at the top, and the capsule cup (8) is at the bottom.


Step 2 - Prepare your bottle

While it may be optional, I would remove the foil from the bottle so that I can see the cork. It is important that the bottle has a natural cork. Synthetic corks do not reseal after a hole is punctured through them.

Clamping and positioning the bottle
You can use the bottle sleeve that comes in the box. It was Coravin's response to bottle pressure issues a few years ago. Apparently, the increased pressure from pumping the argon was causing some bottles to break and/or leak.

The instruction manual didn't indicate any of that so I didn't use the sleeve. Thankfully, I did not have any bottle issue. I suspect that Coravin has since figured out how to better manage the pressure increase.

Step 3 - Clamp the bottle and position the needle

While holding the Coravin upright by the handle (2), squeeze the clamp (6) to open it and release to close it. It works very much like a clothes peg or a hair claw. Use the clamp to secure the neck of a bottle.

Release and tighten the clamp as you adjust the position of the bottle till the needle guide (5) rests somewhat in the middle of the cork. This is to ensure that the needle goes through the cork safely without hitting the bottle.

Step 4 - Insert the needle and extract the wine

Once you are comfortable with the position of the needle guide (5), push the handle (2) all the way down firmly but gently. That pushes the needle straight down through the cork.

Pouring the wine

Lift the bottle with one hand and hold onto the handle (2) of the Coravin with the other. Tilt the bottle like you were pouring wine out of it into a glass.

Quickly press and release the trigger (1) to release the pressurized argon into the bottle. Your wine should be streaming out of the pour spout (3) into the glass. Repeat this action till you get the desired amount of wine. If needed, hold the bottle upright to stop the flow of the wine.

Step 5 - Remove the needle and detach the Coravin

Once you are satisfied with the amount of wine in the glass, place the bottle upright with the Coravin still clamped to it. Holding onto the bottle with one hand, lift the handle (2) firmly straight up with the other hand to extract the needle completely from the cork.

Squeeze the clamp (6) to release the bottle from the Coravin. You may see a drop of wine from the needle hole in the cork. This is completely normal. Give the cork time to reseal and then wipe it dry. It took me a few minutes.

Drop of wine surfaces on the punctured cork
After you are comfortable that the cork has resealed, you can test it by turning the bottle upside down. There should be no leakage.

Cork has resealed, and there is no leakage
Step 6 - Be a wine geek

I put a little post-it note on the bottle with the date I extracted the wine. Then I lay the bottle sideways in the cellar. Here's the geeky part - I started a spreadsheet and put down the tasting notes of the wine with the date that it was tasted. I look forward to trying the wine again in a year or two and compare notes.

Coravin Tasting Notes

My Verdict: While the proof is in the next pour a year from now, I expect nothing but stellar results from Coravin. The science is sound, and there are plenty of expert reviews on it. I bought the Model Two Plus Pack. It came with two argon capsules, three types of replacement needles, and a carry case. I paid $229.99 on Prime Day. While the price was nothing to sneeze at, it was a screaming deal compared to the regular price of $349.95. I now can drink that special bottle as and when I like rather than saving it for the right occasion.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Wine Country and Wine Myths

Set in the gorgeous Napa Valley, Wine Country is a Netflix movie about six girlfriends who reunited to celebrate Rebecca's milestone birthday. With a strong cast of SNL powerhouses and Amy Poehler as the director, the movie surprisingly did not deliver consistently on its comedic moments.

Wine Country, the movie
However, getting past the slow start and some of the silly singing scenes, it is a warm and fun chick flick with hilarious stretches. The movie also highlights the strength of female friendships and the new possibilities of life even at 50.

Soppy sentiments aside, I want to share with you my favorite moments in the movie where some wine myths were parodied.

Myth of the Sophisticated Senses

The first winery that the girls went to was set on a hilltop, reminding me of an oasis paradise perched on the base of a Mayan pyramid. Filmed at one of my favorite Napa wineries, Artesa, the opulent outdoor tasting area was surrounded by lush greenery, overlooking an expansive pool. 

Breathtaking Artesa Winery
The tasting room pourer was eager to hear what the girls picked up from the wine. “There is no wrong answer,” he encouraged. He then proceeded to tell Rebecca that every note she picked up was wrong.

The truth is apart from some distinct exceptions (like a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc), wine taste profile is incredibly subtle. While our taste perceptions are extremely personal, we are also very much influenced by our cognitive faculty. Wine connoisseurs in particular are trained to think certain ways about different grape varietals, and that influences how they taste. This is why blind tasting is so hard. Even Jancis Robinson and Robert Parker may pick up different notes in the same wine.

So if you feel like you lack sophisticated senses to pick up the "right" notes from a wine, just be like Rebecca and confidently proclaim, "Grape!"

Myth of the Sulfites

The movie was not shy about making fun of wineries that are overly zealous in their vinicultural and oenological practices. Morgan Jorng, a fictional winery that the girls visited, prides itself for being solar and organic. As such, they don't use pesticides or sulfates.


The pourer was probably referring to the very much maligned sulfites, often accused of causing headaches among wine drinkers. In fact, sulfites are natural occurring compounds found in all wines and are often added as an antioxidant and preservative to stabilize the wine. The true culprit of headaches is dehydration caused by alcohol. This can be easily remedied.

As a hobby winemaker and a chronic migraineur, I am skeptical when I see a wine that is advertised as being sulfite-free. I am even less trusting when I see gadgets in the market that claim to remove sulfites from wine so as to prevent headaches. Seriously, ditch the gadget, save your money, and drink more water.

Myth of the Sediment

I am thrilled that the movie introduced the topic of tartrates or wine diamonds. Tartrates, a natural byproduct of the wine making process, are often removed from white wine in commercial wineries through a process known as cold stabilization. This is because tartrates can look like ground glass and cause undue concerns to wine consumers. However, tartrates are really harmless and add to the flavor of the wine. Organic and minimalist wineries as well as hobby winemakers tend to skip cold stabilization. In fact, some would argue that the higher quality the wine, the more likely it is that you will see wine diamonds.

Wine diamonds often mistaken as ground glass
However, the movie left out the less glamorous contributor of wine sediment, which is often found in red wine. These are the leftovers from the fermentation process - yeast cells, grape seeds, stems, and skins. Known as the lees, these are often removed during secondary fermentation and aging through racking. It is a fine line how much lees contact you want in your wine. With experience, the right grapes or a particular style of wine, lees can contribute to a certain flavor profile that elevates the wine. However, as a hobby winemaker, I certainly err on the side of racking.

My Verdict: While it may not be the best Amy Poehler movie, Wine Country has some hilarious winery and girlfriend scenes. It is not that serious about wine so don't expect it to be SOMM 4 or A Year in Napa. However, it does bring forth some misconceptions about wine. More importantly, it inspires me to start planning for my big 5-0 wine adventure more than any other movie. Cheers!

Friday, May 31, 2019

My First Spring Release

I had always wanted to do a Spring Release weekend, especially when invitations from wineries started to flood my mailbox. For wine countries in the northern hemisphere, that is usually the kick-off of a new wine season. Wineries are roused from the much deserved rest that follows a busy period of harvest, crush, fermentation, and holiday or barrel tasting. When our vacation home in Walla Walla became available for our personal use this past spring (it is usually rented out), I snagged the opportunity, a couple of oenophilic friends, and a few coveted RSVP's. And off we went!

Here are some of my favorite memories at my first Spring Release in Walla Walla:

Leonetti Cellar

Leonetti Cellar
Spring is simply beautiful in Walla Walla. Vines are slowly awakening from the winter dormancy. Dogwood blooms are in full display. For the special weekend, wineries welcome tasters with a wonderful gourmet spread to showcase the newly released wines. Even wineries that do not typically open to public tasting will throw a party for their loyal wine list members. Leonetti Cellar is one such winery.

Founded in 1977, Leonetti is the first commercial winery in Walla Walla. With a humble beginning in farming back in 1906, Leonetti's shift to winemaking has earned it numerous international accolades. A premium winery, Leonetti is also known for its exclusivity, with a long wait to get on the member list.

The Spring Release weekend is the one time every year that Leonetti opens its doors to its members. This past release, the winery poured its 2017 Merlot followed by 2016 Cab Sauvignon, paired with delicious blue cheese beef sliders and asparagus fries.

Armed with libation, wandering about the winery grounds and then the underground cellar was probably my favorite part of the weekend. I have visited numerous wine caves in Champagne, Beaune, and even the Penedès. But this was probably my first time visiting an underground wine cellar in the United States. Even though the facility is modern in comparison, I felt like I was transported back to a European wine country.

Spring Valley Vineyard

My oenophilic friends with Uriah
On the other end of the exclusivity spectrum is Spring Valley Vineyard. Spring Valley tasting room is centrally located in downtown Walla Walla. It offers a free tasting of an impressive line-up of wines, always ending with my favorite Nina Lee Syrah paired with a piece of wine-infused chocolate truffle.

Similar to Leonetti, Spring Valley Vineyard started as a farm, but it went further back to the mid 1800's. In 1993, they planted their first grapes, and then in 1997, they bottled their first vintage. The winery is incredibly proud of its heritage, and several of their wines are named after co-founder Shari Derby's grandparents and parents. In fact, Nina Lee was Shari's mother.

During the Spring Release weekend, the winery opened up the Ranch for a big party with a spectacular wine line-up and a generous culinary spread of crab cakes, quiches, cured meats, cheeses, and all kinds of fruits and vegetables. Winemaker Serge Laville also busted open a (very) large format of the 2009 Uriah, an amazing red bank Bordeaux blend.

I have always wanted to visit the Ranch, that is open for tours on Saturdays during peak season. The drive there is breathtaking. Do be prepared to go on gravel road for a bit. But you will be rewarded manifolds during the journey and at the destination!

Breathtaking drive to Spring Valley Vineyard Ranch
Reynvaan Family Vineyards and MTR

Swinging the pendulum back to the more exclusive end is Reynvaan Family Vineyards, the biggest surprise for the weekend!

2012 ITR Syrah
It all started with dinner the night before. Our neighbor, a huge fan of Reynvaan, had gifted us with the 2012 vintage of In The Rocks Syrah. The winery has received several nods from the Wine Spectator, Wine Advocate, and Robert Parker since 2008. The wine was out of this world, and we became obsessed with it. But Reynvaan is so exclusive that we could not find any info about its Spring Release festivity. We reluctantly left it out of our itinerary.

It was not till our fourth (and what we thought was our last) winery for the day that we ran into a group of fellow oenophiles who had just came from the Reynvaan tasting. As it was getting close to the end of the day, we rushed to the winery just as it was about to lock up.

There might have been some obnoxious begging and groveling, and winemaker Matt Reynvaan graciously let us in. He started us with his other label, MTR, a project with his wife, Lauren. MTR focuses on wine with a longer aging time in barrels and bottles prior to release. Both 2013 and 2014 vintage of Memory Found were plenty tasty and even sexy. He then poured us the latest 2016 vintage of In the Rocks Syrah, which was mind-blowing good.

Fangirls with Matt Reynvaan
We walked out of Reynvaan with half a case of wine plus a free bottle, compliments of Matt. My friend even got on the fast track to be on the mailing list. We walked out as fan girls, pleased with our loot.

My Verdict: I can't believe I waited that long to go for a Spring Release weekend. Whether it is an exclusive access to a winery of which you are a member, or a release party that is open to all, or even chancing upon a tasting that is not published, Spring Release is such a grand time to be in the wine country. There are new releases to discover and winemakers to meet. It is practically the Comi Con for wine geeks. I think I may have to sign up again!

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Wining and Dining with Force Majeure

In my previous post, I fondly recalled visiting Three Walla Walla Wineries in a Day and promised to share the finale of the trip. So here it is - the Force Majeure winemaker dinner!


Force Majeure Vineyards, a premium Washington winery, was founded 15 years ago with 2004 as the year of its first vintage. In 2014, it elevated its game by hiring Todd Alexander from Napa cult winery, Bryant Family, to be its head winemaker.

In recent years, Force Majeure has been expanding its repertoire of wines from a single focus on Red Mountain AVA to now include the coveted Rocks District and soon the North Fork area of Walla Walla Valley. At the time of our Walla Walla trip, Todd and his wife, Carrie, had just moved to Milton-Freewater to work on the new Force Majeure winery. So when our friends who know Todd and Carrie offered to arrange for a winemaker dinner, we said, "Yes, please!!"

Beautiful Walla Walla Valley

Dinner was catered by The Q Woodfired Grill, owned by a husband-and-wife team. Emry and Sandy Kleck had spent many years working on catering events in the California wine country before moving to Walla Walla. Having experience working with winemakers, the Q Grill team carefully curated the menu in collaboration with Todd and Carrie to ensure the perfect pairing.

Beautiful table setting with a perfectly curated menu

Originally planned to be hosted at Force Majeure's new tasting room, construction delay shifted the location to the winemaker's own home. We arrived promptly at the property to be greeted with aromas from the grill that made our stomachs rumble with anticipation. Thankfully, a generous spread of hor d'oeuvres was already set up welcoming us.

We started to mingle, devouring oysters and flatbread while sipping Viognier. We then proceeded to the beautifully set dinner table and were soon delighted with flawlessly prepared courses paired with carefully selected wines.

Todd shared passionately about each wine tasted

Dining and wining with the winemaker in an intimate setting is always a special experience. We were able to ask all sorts of questions about the wines and winemaking techniques, while Todd was gracious in satisfying our every curiosity. Carrie and Sandy kept the flow of delectable courses, wines, sparkling water, and homemade sourdough going throughout the night.

Wine line-up

The wine line-up was impeccable. The Force Majeure wines included Viognier, two Syrahs (SJR Vineyard in the Rocks District and Red Mountain Estate Vineyard) as well as Cabernet Sauvignon. Also included was Todd's own label, Holocene, that is all about Oregon Pinot Noir. It was a such a treat to taste Todd's second vintage with dinner. We ended the night sipping dessert wine from our friends' cellar - a late harvest Zinfandel from Paso Robles boutique winery, Locatelli.

My Verdict: Where there is good wine, there is often good food. It is hardly surprising that many thriving wine countries attract as many chefs as they do winemakers. Wining and dining with the winemaker simply elevates the experience further. The winemaker and the chef, through their art and passion, collaborate to indulge the senses of those who are fortunate to be there. The Force Majeure winemaker dinner definitely rang true for me, and it is probably one of the best winemaker dinners I have had the pleasure to enjoy. So, thank you, Todd, Carrie, Emry, and Sandy. Below is a peek of the magical evening.

Dinner Menu





First Course
Oysters Rockefeller 
Prosciutto, Caramelized Onions and Manchego Flatbread 
2017 Force Majeure Viognier

Second Course 
Roasted Seasonal Vegetable Salad 
2016 Holocene Memorialis Pinot Noir

Third Course
Duck Breast with a Huckleberry Demi Glace and Seasonal Wild Mushrooms 
2016 Force Majeure SJR Vineyard Syrah

Fourth Course
Lamb Lollipop with Lentils 
2016 Force Majeure Red Mountain Estate Syrah

Fifth Course 
Wagyu Beef and Cacio e Pepe Pasta 
2016 Force Majeure Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Three Walla Walla Wineries in a Day

The last of the snowfall was hopefully done as the Blue Mountains looked stunningly beautiful in wintry white. We started heading south with a conscious effort to "pace ourselves" on this big day that had been planned for weeks - three Southside wineries before the winemaker dinner

First stop, Vital Wines, a winery that combines my two passions - wine and healthcare. Started by winemaker Ashley Trout, Vital Wines donates all of its profit to fund a free clinic to those in need, especially the uninsured immigrant vineyard workers in the valley. It was a pleasure to sip wines and enjoy the gorgeous view of the Blues from the tasting room. I left happily with a bottle of the 2016 GSM.

Snow-capped Blues viewed from Vital Winery
Next stop, Rulo, a no-frills winery that is fully operated by Dr. Kurt Schlicker and his wife, Vickie. An MD with a BS in Microbiology from Stanford University, Kurt definitely as both the science and art of winemaking down pat. I always have fun geeking out with Kurt about winemaking during my visits. This visit, he proudly showed me his steel barrels which he used to age his Chardonnay from Sundance vineyard, his version of Chablis, which was pretty tasty.

The gang in Rulo Winery's barrel room with Kurt (in the middle)
The last winery of the day was a blast for wine-loving music buffs, Sleight of Hand Cellars. Inspired  by the song title of winemaker Trey Busch's favorite band, Pearl Jam, the winery features a delicious wine line-up with fun labels. The tasting room in Walla Walla is decorated with vibrant colors, framed posters of the wine labels, shelves of music records, and a turntable for guests to pair their favorite music with their wine. There is even a backroom set up with colorful mid-century sofas, inviting you to kick back and lounge around. My favorite from the last tasting was hands down (no pun intended!) the 2016 Psychedelic, which is their Rocks AVA Syrah.

Chilling out in Sleight of Hand Cellar's backroom
It was the perfect to end the winery tour portion of the weekend. Look for the next post when I will share the most amazing Force Majeure winemaker dinner. Mmmmm....

Monday, February 25, 2019

A Different Sort of Wine Pairing

We are inundated with advices, articles, and even classes on how to pair wine with food. You know the drill.

White wine goes with white meat, and red wine goes with red meat. 


And if you want to get more specific.

Sauvignon Blanc goes with fresh oysters with tart mignonette sauce. Chardonnay pairs with poached salmon and beurre blanc. Cabernet Sauvignon can't get better than with the juiciest cut of steak, seared to perfection. And Champagne goes with everything!
Champagne goes with everything

Consider this. What if we pair wine with people rather than food? Would you be able to pick the right wine? Unlike the different rules in food and wine pairing, there is only one rule in picking the right wine for someone, but that doesn't make it easy. That rule is to know the person.

Riesling Rendezvous

Several years ago, I had a late dinner with a colleague after a long day at work. We ordered some hot wings to share. My friend, Ray, was about to order a glass of Merlot, when I asked him if he had tried Riesling. He sheepishly told me that he always ordered Merlot because he really didn't know much about wine and thought that was a safe bet. But he really would like to try something different.

That night Ray had wings with Riesling for the first time and absolutely loved it! The crisp citrus acidity cut through the fatty goodness of the wings while the tinge of sweetness balanced out the spiciness. A few days later, Ron texted me to tell me that he had Riesling again, this time with some Indian food. The man had inadvertently become quite the Riesling fiend.

What Zin?

When our nephew brought his then wife-to-be out to dinner with us, she ordered a glass of white Zin. I frowned and complained to my husband, "No self-respecting Leistner would drink white Zin!"

Sweet or dry rosé?

Of course I just set myself up for years of friendly trolling on social media with photos of white Zin. I had numerous failed attempts to seduce her with dryer Provençal rosés, culminating to a wedding gift bottle of Bandol Rosé from Domaine Tempier. It became clear to me that this Mrs. Leistner would be devoted to her white Zin. And I love her for who she is.

The Ultimate Pairing

In his book, Secrets of the Sommeliers, Rajat Parr wrote that a "sommelier needs to keep his or her enthusiasm and ego in check." If the table orders Château Latour to pair with the fresh oysters, you happily serve that. The goal is the happiness of the person who drinks the wine.

I can't say I am perfect at this, but whenever I pull something a bottle from my cellar as a gift to someone or to bring to dinner, I often pause and think what my friend or company would love. Nancy loves an oaked Chardonnay. Jeff adores a big red Cab. And Barolo makes Andy's heart sing.

After all, the ultimate pairing is that of the wine and he or she who enjoys it.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Au Revoir, Amber!

"What Bordeaux tasting? Can I go?"

My friend, Siti, had flown into Seattle last minute to attend a private tasting, and I practically begged her to take me with her.

First Cellar Party

That was how I met Amber LeBeau and her lovely wife, Beth, the gracious unassuming hostesses of the tasting. It was the summer of 2016. Despite the gorgeous weather, dozens of people were crowding inside a wine storage facility in Bellevue, chatting and sipping wine. Numbering more than humans were bottles of Bordeaux, arranged by regions with maps and printouts describing the respective terroirs. Amber and Beth were cleaning out their cellar to make room for a new shipment of Bordeaux. Like everyone else, I was happy to help.

Tasting Bordeaux Classified Growths

Amber and the SpitBucket

Amber was working at Total Wine at that time. Her impressive list of credentials in the wine business includes a CSW (Certified Specialist of Wine), a degree in Wine Marketing and Sales/Wine Production at the Northwest Wine Academy, and Level 3 of the WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) with distinction. What truly impresses me about Amber though is her curious mind and her open palate. She reads about and tastes through a myriad of wines. Her spirit on inquiry is almost infectious although I did pass on her blind tasting of coffee-infused wine.

A few months after the cellar clean-out party, Amber started SpitBucket.net where she blogged occasionally about her thoughts on wine and the industry. When a health condition took her out of the retail wine business last year, she began to spend more time blogging while preparing for her last level of WSET.

As a fellow albeit more casual blogger, I thoroughly enjoyed reading and learning from Amber's posts. One of my favorite posts of hers is about Jancis Robinson, the Beyoncé of Wine. It is a tribute to the celebrated British wine critic, published on International Women's Day last year. And guess what? Jancis noticed and tweeted about it!

And More Cellar Parties

A few weeks ago, we got the news. Beth has accepted an exciting job offer in Paris, and they will be moving very soon. And just like that, Amber and Beth need help cleaning out their cellar again. Wines that need to be drunk in the next three to five years must go.

"Nothing off limits!" She posted to a private Facebook group page.

A private tasting and dinner with Amber and friends
Also, just like that, Siti flew into town last minute again. This time, we hosted a small intimate private tasting and dinner, before Amber kicked off her cellar clean-out parties. The line-up that night was incredible. A few of us carefully selected a couple of bottles from our cellar, while Amber brought the equivalent of half a case. Nonetheless, it was a good human-to-bottle ratio in my opinion. And below are some notable mentions:

~ WHITES ~
1998 Paul Jaboulet Aine Chevalier de Sterimberg Hermitage Blanc
2013 Ashan Celilo Vineyard Chardonnay

~ PINOT NOIR ~
2008 Domaine Taupenot-Merme Corton Rognet Grand Cru
2016 Domain de La Côte Bloom's Field

~ RED RHONE ~
2004 Betz La Côte Rousse Red Mountain Syrah
2012 Cayuse Vineyards Walla Walla Syrah
2004 Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape

~ OTHER SPECIAL TREATS ~
2005 Sandrone La Vigne Barolo
1992 Delille Cellars Chaleur Estate Bordeaux Blend

Wine line-up from the private tasting
It is a month and two cellar parties away before Amber starts her new adventure with Beth in Paris. Even though we will continue to geek out over wine on social media, I will miss tasting with and learning from her in person. That said, I expect that we will meet on the other side of the Atlantic, tasting through different French vineyards.

So au revoir, Amber! Till we meet again!