Tasting my way around three Paso Robles wineries

The climate and soil in Paso Robles are very suitable for vineyards. The soil is rich, porous, and holds water. The days are hot and the nights cool. All these factors, make it ideal for growing grapes. The grapes are allowed to reach full maturity while still retaining crisp acidity. Paso Robles is home to 11 different viticultural areas or districts over approximately 614,000 acres. I’m going to take you to three of these districts on our tour.

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At Vingården i Klagshamn, splendid wines growing up in the countryside of southern Sweden

Wind rustled through the garden. Soft from afar, then flapping quickly like a rain stick or a far off waterfall as it met the bowed green branches of the tree that hung over a path between bushes over which vines crawled up the arbor, the open door to the vineyard beyond. We're sitting in the garden of Vingården i Klagshamn, Skåne County, in the south of Sweden.

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Middleburg's Greenhill Winery & Vineyards is the next great Virginia winery

We're turning into Greenhill Winery & Vineyards in the town of Middleburg. You'd be forgiven thinking that it is larger than it is when driving up. They've done a splendid job of creating something that is both expansive and personal: farm houses spread across acres, stately and stone walled next to the pond yet intimate in their myriad little tasting rooms, open fields, open skies stretching out to the thick tree line along the opposite side of the vineyard.

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Celebrate National Rosé Day! They are our best of June, but you should drink them all summer.

Anyway, getting back to the point of this post, the reason that we were at Slate was for the #roseallday tasting, and National Rose Day (the second Saturday of every June) happens to be today. So it seems like as good a time as any to tell you about some of the wines we tasted at Slate that night. This year’s tasting line-up was pretty solid, and I would recommend any of them as options for you to drink today or any day! There were two flights - one American and one European, so naturally we had to try both.

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Use the "Seated" app to earn Amazon and Lyft rewards when you dine out, fancy or casual

It's great when my fondness for wine and getting the most out of my spending come together in novel ways. Consider the "Seated" app. Though it has been floating around the app universe for a bit, it was not top of my mind until last week when I used it for the first time. The general premise is that you use Seated to make reservations at any number of great restaurants, and are rewarded with gift card credit to Amazon and Lyft. Consider it a sort of universal point earning opportunity that is available across a range of establishments.

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Celebrating "Wine Day", May 25th, in California, New Zealand, and Spanish wine country

In contemplating how to make a truly global experience out of today's annual National Wine Day, we decided to ask several of our wine writing friends to tell us about their favorite of the world's wine regions. We left the question open ended to be as specific (Santa Barbara's Ballard Canyon AVA) or as wide open (several regions scattered about New Zealand), and loved what we found.

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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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