Sign up for the American Cellars wine club, earn 6500 bonus United MileagePlus miles

Meghan recently received a note in conjunction with her United Airlines MileagePlus account inviting her to earn 6,500 bonus miles by signing up for the American Cellars Wine Club through Vinesse Wines. While I am a big skeptic of online wine clubs, I am also a big fan of airline miles, so at a risk of $41.95 I signed up to try the introductory offer with an open mind. Consider doing so yourself if the notion of six bottles of wine plus 6,500 United miles in exchange for $41.95 of your hard earned money seems appealing.

Read More

Washington National Airport is getting an entirely new concourse, and it looks gorgeous

I am beyond excited to see this moving forward. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) in Arlington, Virginia -- just across the river from Washington, DC -- is beginning $1 billion in renovations that will see an entirely new concourse added in addition to completely revamped ticketing and security facilities allowing passengers to move freely between concourses without having to pass back out of security. The artist renderings are gorgeous. Locals and anyone who has ever flown in from smaller cities featuring small commuter planes know what a big deal this is.

Read More

An evening in Burgos, the gem of a city astride Spain's Ribera del Duero and Rioja wine regions

We drove east from Valladolid, through the small towns of Peñafiel and Roa, the even smaller town of Gumiel del Mercado and its Bodegas Arrocal winery, entering the city of Burgos just after dark. The streets were alive with activity as we drove towards the center of the old city and its cathedral this Wednesday evening. This is how to spend a most worthy evening and a day here.

Read More

Winner (American Airlines) and loser (American Express) from Monday's DC travel calamity

It was starting to look as if 2017 would finally be the year that I skipped my annual calamitous experience traveling from Boston to Washington, DC. Not to be. This past Monday night, a hazardous material incident shut down the FAA control center handling traffic into all three DC-area airports. I was rebooked on seven different flights in a fifteen hour period -- though really appreciated every last friendly American Airlines employee who helped me on my way -- spent the night in Boston, and was utterly failed by my American Express Platinum card.

Read More

Stockholm's 19 Glas wine bar fuses brilliant dishes with inspired wine pairings in Sweden's capital

The buildings are each their own hue of yellow, orange, or red as we walk up the narrow stone streets into Gamla Stan, Stockholm's old town on a small island in the heart of the Swedish capital. It is eight o'clock in the evening, but the rooftops throw shadows upon the ground from the nearly-midnight sun overhead in late May as we turn the corner down from the cathedral and step through the door at Stora Nygatan 19, the aptly named -- and quite delicious -- 19 Glas restaurant and wine bar.

Read More

Summer is for Sangría. Try our recipes, or visit your favorite terrace.

The sun is moving across the sky, reflecting brightly on wispy clouds as sea air drifts through my window. Whether taking summertime in from the waterfront, the city terrace, or a porch in the countryside (I plan to do all three in the next six days), we suggest you do so with a glass of sangría -- you know, the delicious red wine cocktail that makes every beautiful day even better -- in your hand. We originally published Meghan's recipes for red and sparkling sangría last year, and think we'll make an annual tradition of sharing them with you. Enjoy!

Read More

Review: Turkish Airlines Lounge, Washington-Dulles Airport (IAD) via Priority Pass is a true gem

I wrote last month about How to get and use Priority Pass lounges to find peace, quiet, (free) wine, and food at the airport, drawing on recent positive experiences in Göteborg, Lisbon, Boston, and London. Meghan and I recently spent a few hours in our absolute favorite of the Priority Pass lounges we've been to thus far, the Turkish Airlines lounge at Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD). In a sentence, "it was convenient, stylish, tasty, and popular".

Read More

Revisiting Spain's excellent Elias Mora wines with our friends at Joselito in Washington, DC

Laughter and happy conversation fill this room of polished marbled tables and glasses, twinkling as the light of the long day's evening sun refracts through their sparkling contents. This is a party whose blend of elegance and warmly familiar charm could only have been the work of Javier and Christiana, proprietors at Washington, DC's Joselito - Casa de Comidas, our hosts for the evening. We've come to try a lineup of wine from Bodegas Elias Mora, a lovely winery that we visited in Spain's Toro region

Read More

Red, white, blue, sparkling, and rosé: Celebrate the Fourth of July with these five all-American wines

In celebration of Independence Day in the United States, our monthly wine pick lineup for July is all American, featuring red, white and blue, plus sparkling (fireworks!) and rosé (because why not)! This lineup very purposefully aims for diversity across America's many excellent wine regions, highlighting some interesting options in what American winemaking has to offer. We hope you'll seek these out (or others like them) wherever you are in the world this month. Cheers!

Read More

Is it time to sunset your Citi Prestige credit card?

There was a time when the Citi Prestige was my absolute favorite of the premium credit cards that give you a ton of value on travel. Citi announced changes last year that greatly devalued the card's benefits while leaving the hefty $450 annual fee in place. The last of those changes take effect in July 2017, and - sadly - I wonder if it is time to cancel this once-great card. Here's what you should consider if you're thinking of cancelling yours.

Read More

Virginia's Blue Valley Vineyard and Winery is made for celebration, summertime or any time

Twinkling filament lights hang on strands spanning the high-lofted ceiling, filling the arches and other last spaces not awash with sunlight from the glass wall of windows framing the sweeping vista of blue sky meeting grey mountain as if it were a painting hung to brighten the hall where we are sipping our wine. A din of revelry echoes through the bright and modern space, heralding what we suspect are at least three separate weddings-to-be, whose parties have come to celebrate today.

Read More

How to enjoy a day in Valladolid when visiting Spain's Toro and Ribera del Duero wine regions

Valladolid has long been on my list of venerable old cities to visit. One evening is not nearly enough, but it's what we had to work with as we ventured from the Toro to Ribera del Duero wine regions. Yes, Valladolid is particularly well situated as an operating base for wine drinkers. Here's how to get the most of your day there.

Read More

Review: British Airways, Economy Class aboard Boeing 787 Dreamliner, London to Baltimore

Though the Boeing 787 Dreamliner airplane has been in service for several years, the chance to fly on one had eluded me until my recent flight from London to Baltimore, Maryland. This was the type of route that the Dreamliner was built for -- "long and thin" they call it -- i.e. long distance routes flown by fewer people (so lower demand). The Dreamliner can actually fly far longer than this, though it's easy to see why this airplane is a big part of long-haul air travel's future between all but the biggest cities. If you have a choice between taking a trip on the Dreamliner versus any other plane, choose the Dreamliner.

Read More

In Spain's Méntrida region, idyllic Bodegas Arrayán is making fantastic wine, available worldwide

We drove about twenty minutes from the small Spanish town of La Torre de Esteban Hambrán, to vineyards in the media alta -- middle elevations -- on winding dirt roads surrounded by lush green countryside where we understand hunting deer and other game goes hand-in-hand with tending vineyards. It was winter then, when lonely rows of clipped vines stretch down the gently sloping hills on into the horizon. Here at Bodegas Arrayán winery in Spain's Méntrida wine region, we walk from barrel to barrel, tank to tank, stopping at each to sample the now-aging vintages.

Read More

Exploring Portugal's Manz Wines with our friends at Slate Wine Bar in Washington, DC

This Portuguese Wine Dinner featured wines from Manz Winery near the Atlantic coast outside of Lisbon, and food pairings from Danny Lledó, Slate’s Chef and Sommelier. Manz is a small, boutique winery in Portugal's Lisboa wine region, about six miles from the ocean. To quote their representative, Raul Silva, Manz believes “good wine is marked by wanting to open a second bottle.” They aim for minerality and freshness in all their wines, especially in their Jampal grape varietal.

Read More

Review: Air France, Economy Class aboard Boeing 777, Paris to Washington

This was the final leg home on a trip that took me to Niamey, Niger in West Africa. The trip from Niamey to Washington took almost 24 hours, with a long layover in Paris’s Charles De Gaulle Airport (CDG).  Niger may be far off the beaten path for most travelers, but Air France between Paris and Washington, DC certainly is not. Despite the layover, overall I had a fine experience in economy class to bring my trip to a close. This is my complete review.

Read More

House (Wine) Hunters: Two whites and two reds that taste much better than their low price

Last time we recommended a lineup of House Wines, it was in the form of Four tasty Italian reds from Barone di Bernaj, at $8.99 per bottle. Today we're once again hunting for great wine at great prices. This is a fairly well balanced lineup featuring two whites and two reds, all of which are rather different from one another. Serve some at your next summer party, and enjoy. Cheers!

Read More

Delighted by Sweden's Vingården i Klagshamn wine found at Göteborg's Swedish Taste restaurant

Light shining through the windows from the long-setting sun twinkled upon a line of glasses through which the varied hues of white and rosé wine refracted, one glass after another in a row. Five wines from Vingården i Klagshamn, a winery in Sweden's southern Skåne region, awaited us at the splendid Swedish Taste restaurant in Göteborg, Sweden's second largest city.

Read More