Wine Reviews and Ratings

Wines of Portugal

Portuguese Wines There is evidence of wine production in what is now Portugal since the time of the Tartessians, who planted vines in the Sado and Tagus valleys around, at least, 2000 BC. Later, Phoenicians, Romans, and Celts contributed to the expansion of the...

Bodegas Montecillo 2011 Reserva Rioja

A 19th Century winery that still manages to put out some serious juice,  year in and year out. If you need an everyday bottle of Rioja, this will fit the bill.  Aromas of cigar box and tomato leaf; flavors of cherry, burnt vanilla, and laurel. There is plenty of fresh...

July 2018 Newsletter

  Hope you are having a good summer. It's been really great here at the school, and we have a lot of interesting classes coming up. The Great Ciders of the World  class is going to be really interesting. The Mixology class is going to be really amazing. We did a...

May 2018 Newsletter

  I hope you are doing well.  I am a bit late with the newsletter this month. Sorry!  We've been a little busy renovating the school.  I hope you can forgive me. I've enclosed my top wine suggestions, and I've posted a few really cool classes. I think you'll like...

A Wrinkle in Wine: The Former Chairman Returns. Sort of.

    File under: down the rabbit hole we go. Jonathan Newman, the former Chairman of the PLCB is selling wine to Tim Holden, the current PLCB Chairman for the Chairman's Selections Program that Mr. Newman created when he was Chairman. Huh? It's been over a decade since...

Reserve Mont Redon 2016 Cotes du Rhone Rosé

Mont Redon is one of those Chateauneuf du Pape wineries that totally messes with my life. They bottle wines like Zeus throws lightning bolts. bolts. A place that throws out muscle-bound luxury wines like Dwayne Johnson with a Harvard degree in Veni, Vidi, Verberavi....

Vine Cliff Winery 2014 Chardonnay Los Carneros

In most classes at the wine school, I behave myself. I don't let my deep love of Cali Chardonnay get in the way of a great wine class. Back when I was making wine in the late 90's, it wasn't outlandish a passion. Chardonnay doesn't show itself in the vineyard. If you...

Bodegas Montecillo 2009 Rioja Gran Reserva

  On occasion, I sit next to a normavin at a conference.  After a few minutes of awkward conversation they invariably ask me one question: "What is your favorite wine?" I don't have an answer to that question. I just mumble something about footwear and wander off.  I...

Cafaggio 2013 Chianti Classico

  When I was the national wine buyer for Bacchus Wines, one of my first additions to the portfolio was Villa Cafaggio. They've been producing excellent Chianti Classico since the 1960's.  For a while there, you couldn't take a wine 101 class without me pouring you...

Wine School Newsletter for March 2018

MARCH NEWSLETTER ANNOUNCING OUR NEW SOMMELIER CERTIFICATIONS You can now earn a specialized sommelier certification in a single month. This Spring, the National Wine School is unveiling a bold new qualification for the wine trade: the Single Semester Sommelier Program...

The 10 Best Wines of 2017

The (PLCB) Fine Wine and Good Spirits Edition This past year was a fantastic one for those of us living in Pennsylvania, at least for wine.  The first independent wine shops started cropping up all over the state, and a handful of state-run stores finally found their...