Wherefore go Wine:Thirty Flight? Nineteen photos, a handful of wineries, and one odd flight itinerary.

It's been a strange stretch, with a bizarre itinerary that found me flying to Dallas and San Francisco in order to get from Washington, DC to Boston, a jaunt through Connecticut, Rhode Island, and back to Massachusetts, and -- now -- down to about sixty hours before I head to New York en route to London, Stockholm, and Copenhagen.

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Review: American Airlines business class, New York JFK to Madrid aboard the Boeing 767-300

American Airlines flight 94 from New York to Madrid was one of the very first flight reviews I wrote for WTF, flying economy class back in 2016, so I was excited to return to this flight in business class up front. American is planning to retire these aging airplanes over the next several years, but I feel that enough travelers between the U.S. and Spain read this blog to justify a review of a product that won't necessarily be around forever. Overall impression is that of an enjoyable enough experience aboard an aircraft that is rapidly feeling more and more out of date.

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The wines of Bodegas Arrayán from Spain's Méntrida region continue to impress

In the usual immersive ambiance of candlelight refracting through wine glasses as if a thousand diamonds had been scattered on the table, our friends at Joselito -- a Washington, DC restaurant that I once described as being from "a bygone world both elegant and intimate" -- recently reconnected us with the delightful wines of Bodegas Arrayán from Spain's Méntrida region.

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Our five favorite credit cards to save big and have a great experience while traveling

The question is always packaged a bit differently depending on who asks, but suffice it to say that I'm often asked some variation of the same question question: I am miserable when I travel because [it's so expensive, it's so uncomfortable, it's so inconvenient], so what are the core credit cards I should sign up for to make it all a bit better?

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Virginia's Viognier and Cabernet Franc wines are our Best of April

Last weekend we made an annual pilgrimage to the actual cellar of Delaplane Cellars, an extraordinary Virginia winery that we've recommended before. There we loved -- once again -- a tasting that has become something of a ritual first day of the springtime wine tasting season for us, drawing winemaker Jim Dolphin's latest creations direct from the barrels wherein they have spent the last months aging. And so it is, in our minds at least, that the finest time of year for exploring stunning Virginia wine country is upon us. Indeed, the Commonwealth's wines are our Best of April.

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Reader question: How do you use your AMEX Platinum card? What's the best use of points?


The American Express Platinum is a great card that makes a lot of sense for frequent travelers who spend enough time in the airports featuring Centurion Lounges (more on that in a moment) such that they get outsized value from the excellent complimentary bar and buffet on offer there. The additional travel benefits, including point earning, can be profoundly useful depending on how you organize your travel, and what you value personally.

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Visiting a new city? Seek out the wine.

Something wonderful is happening. As a new generation of oenophiles makes wine and cities -- two of the world's oldest institutions -- their own, the two are blending in both ways and places most unexpected.Wineries, wine bars, and restaurants with excellent glass and bottle lists are often reflective of the local culture surrounding them, and -- when such regions exist -- of the wine made in the countryside beyond the next mountain. I can think of few other ways to connect more deeply and learn more thoroughly about a place than to do so in the company one keeps with a glass of wine in hand.

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Happy birthday to our memories of you, for they are old vines producing wonderful fruit

Six weeks pass between the seventeenth of February and the thirtieth of March each year, immovable as the moon and the stars and every other rhythm of the calendar. Both days come and go, irrelevant to most, but between them an entire season for those of us making good on a promise we once made to choose happiness from sadness, hope from despair, intellectual curiosity from backwardness, the thrill of the run from the sameness of the sedentary.

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Which wines should I drink as winter becomes spring? Our Best of March (April and May, too).

We spent last week's first day of spring, whilst snow fell here at home in Virginia, contemplating which wines we'd recommend to everyone in the northern hemisphere's seasonal regions as we transition into (perhaps slightly) warmer weather. Spring and autumn are the conundrum seasons for those of us whose tastes hew fairly reliably to thirst for reds in winter and whites in summer. So in this our Best Wines of March we recommend you look into a white, a rosé, and a red that we find pretty reliable in confused temperatures.

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Review: Air France's Boeing 777, IAD to CDG, is a solid trans-Atlantic option for economy travelers

Meghan and I recently flew aboard Air France in economy class from Washington to Paris. This is essentially the reverse of the flight Kathleen reviewed last year, though we have some elaboration and additional recommendations to offer a year on. Air France is one of the last traditional airlines that at least still seems to convey a sense of actually caring about the passenger experience, so we found this to be overall a pretty good way to cross the ocean. Read our review, insights, and tips here.

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Our definitive guide to the world class wine, food, history, and energy you'll find in Madrid, Spain

I make no secret of my love for cities, and less secret still of my particular love for the capital of Spain. I always seem to return to the first European city with which I fell in love on a visit years ago with my grandparents. Though I've written here and there about the city before, I've recently found myself responding by email to several friends seeking advice for their time there. Thus, this Wine:Thirty Flight Guide to Madrid is born.

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Review: American Airlines Flagship Lounge at New York JFK is a winner on wine, food, ambiance (yes)

The soft sounds of happy conversation, clinking of glasses upon tables, and occasional popping of a Champagne cork waft about open, airy spaces filled with white paper lights hanging from the rafters, plants, and a tidy bar. Yeah, I'm sitting in an airport, though you wouldn't believe it. Turns out that the "Atrium" area of American Airlines Flagship Lounge in Terminal 8 at New York's JFK International Airport is one of the best things going in domestic air travel.

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In a volcano's shadow, Bodegas El Grifo's excellent wines are a profound expression of terroir

Eyes closed, this warm breeze is unlike any of you've ever experienced in lands where wine is made. Tropical, wrapping you up inside of that very distinct sense of what standing in the middle of the ocean feels like. It is, yet, not what truly thrills the senses here. Open your eyes to the horizon, where the bluest of skies meets the black, pockmarked, grey stoned earth as if we had colonized the moon, and this was our vineyard there.

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Exploring wines of Romania, Slovenia, Armenia, Bulgaria, and Croatia for "Global Drink Wine Day"

February 18 is National Drink Wine Day, dubbed "Global Drink Wine Day" by our friend Casey at Travelling Corkscrew in Australia. Hers is branding we can get behind. We'll be drinking wine in Madrid, Spain the day of (this Sunday), and in further celebration of this as a global event, we've decided to take a look at wines from countries that are a bit off the beaten path for the typical wine drinker. Romania, Slovenia, Armenia, Bulgaria, and Croatia each get a look here.

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Philadelphia's great new AMEX Centurion Lounge makes the airport my new favorite layover

I used to dread Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). Now it has become one of my favorite layovers on the east coast. Yes, you read that right... I am actually enjoying my connections at PHL thanks to last autumn's opening of the American Express Centurion Lounge in Terminal A. Its combination of bright modern spaces, excellent cuisine designed by local-Philadelphia award winning Israeli Chef Michael Solomonov, thoughtful wine and cocktail lists, and always warm hospitality makes it one of my favorite airport lounge experiences in the United States.

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Best of February, recommending five Champagnes to toast Valentine's Day and the year beyond

Ask anyone who has ever put proverbial pen to paper writing about wine here, and you'll be vociferously encouraged to drink more Champagne. It's celebratory, to be sure, but it's also quite well suited to adding texture before, during or after a meal, or to drink on its own. We're celebrating Wine:Thirty Flight's third Valentine's Day with our best wines of February - five bottles of Champagne to pop open with the love of your life, or whoever you find yourself sipping with this fourteenth of February. 

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Vinarna Bokovka is the very best of Prague's excellent wine scene

Enter through a quietly cloistered courtyard whose cobblestones reflect the light that shines from above, through arches and columns both stately, yet sooted by time. A soft bronze glow of filament bulbs and candles gently twinkling through the phalanx of glasses and bottles cast merry shadows on the vaulted walls of a place that one might think dilapidated if you didn't know it was a wine cellar. We're inside of Vinarna Bokovka, an absolutely exquisite wine bar we discovered in the heart of Prague, capital of the Czech Republic.

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Why the world needs wine in 2018, more than ever

"Wine is made great by its ability to expose the curious drinker to different things that he or she didn't know existed, to take us to other lands and climates, to teach us history, and to enrich our knowledge of the world." I wrote those words last April, and they are as plain a confession of my love for wine as any I can dream up nine months later. Let me tell you a story. 

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Renaissance is in the air at Washington Dulles International Airport

Don't look now, but Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) -- the DC area's third largest in terms of passenger traffic since being overtaken by nearby Reagan National (DCA) in 2015 -- is taxiing towards the runway of a veritable renaissance. This could be a big year here, and we could not be more excited for the principle international airport serving our home city.

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Best of January: Explore great wines to drink when the weather gets cold

On the heels of our piece last month -- Like a string of Christmas lights, our top December wine recommendations are all sparkling -- we've decided to focus our monthly wine tasting on a theme with some recommendations, rather than the other way around. Our hunch is that focusing on themes will be more useful than focusing on specific bottles that may or may not be available in your local market. For January, we ask, which wines are best to drink when the weather is cold?

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