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For the Connoisseur
  • If the only rose you've ever tried is White Zinfandel, you're missing out on a world full of excellent wines. There's a lot of variation when it comes to rose wine, so no matter what your tastes, you're sure to find something that's up your alley. Rose can be sweet or dry, one-note or complex, flat or bubbly. In fact, some of the best Champagnes are roses made from Pinot Noir grapes. Rose can be made in a number of different ways, but the vast majority of rose is made from 100% red wine grapes. Rose wine is sometimes made by fermenting the wine on the skins for anywhere from a day to a couple of weeks to get its color. Once the correct color is achieved, it’s taken off the skins so that it doesn't turn into red wine. Alternatively, rose can be "bled" from red wines by siphoning off the lighter wine at the top of the fermentation vat. Finally, rose can be produced by blending white and red wines, though this method isn't commonly used and produces inferior quality wine. Though California White Zinfandel is the most popular style of rose in the New World, rose is also commonly enjoyed in France. French roses are usually dry and floral and are very popular in the summer months. Of course, rose is made wherever winemakers put down roots from Spain to South Africa to New Zealand. With so many different rose wines to try, this is one style that definitely worth trying.
    February 03, 2016
  • Made from a flavorful green grape that packs a punch, Chardonnay is one of the world's favorite white wines. Chardonnay grapes are grown all over the world, though they were first cultivated in the Burgundy region of France. Though they reached the peak of their popularity at the end of the 20th century, there are still more acres devoted to this Chardonnay than any other white wine grape. Though its popularity has made it unchic in some circles, there are so many ways to style Chardonnay that most people who claim to dislike it would probably appreciate at least one of its incarnations.Since it's a relatively hardy varietal, Chardonnay can be grown in many different regions. Depending on the weather and the quality of the soil, wine made from these grapes can show flavors of apple, pineapple, ripe fruit, or vanilla. There are a number of ways to style Chardonnay wines. These wines can be aged in oak and finished with a malolactic fermentation, resulting in the big oak and butter flavors frequently seen in California chardonnays. Alternatively, they can be aged in steel, a fermentation technique that allows the green apple tartness of the grapes to shine through. In Champagne, France, Chardonnay grapes are also the only grape that can be used to make blanc de blanc Champagnes.
    February 03, 2016
  • Whether you're celebrating a special occasion or simply looking for an intriguing wine to go with a seafood dish, a sparkling wine is a great choice. Sparkling wines are made all over the world, including Australia, South Africa, the United States, Italy, Spain, and France. There are a number of different types of sparkling wine. Prosecco is an Italian wine made from Glera grapes. This wine is carbonated in large steel vats and designed to be enjoyed soon after bottling. Cava, a Spanish sparkling wine, is made from any number of classic Spanish grapes. This wine is bottle fermented and can be aged in the cellar for a number of years. Finally, there are Champagne-style sparkling wines. These commonly made around the world and make use of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, the three grape varietals that grow in Champagne, France. These wines are also bottle fermented and most are aged for at least a few years before they're ready to enjoy.The techniques of bottle fermenting were perfected in Champagne, France, which is why many people call any sparkling wine a "champagne." Technically, only wines that come from this region are allowed to use the name Champagne, though the vast majority of sparkling wines are made in the Champagne-style. Since there is live yeast in the bottle, these wines have a toasty aroma.When shopping for a sparkling wine, you may notice that these wines are organized by the level of residual sugar. Dry, extra-dry, and brut are the three most common sugar levels, with dry being the sweetest, and Brut being the driest. Less commonly, you may find wines labeled extra brut and brut nature, which are extremely dry, and demi-sec and doux, which signify sweeter wines.Finally, sparkling wines will be labeled with either the year harvested or the letters NV, which stands for Non-Vintage. Non-Vintage wines are blended from wines from a number of different harvests taken over a number of different years. They tend to be less expensive and more consistent than vintage wines though they are rarely as complex as a good vintage wine. When selecting a vintage wine, you'll want to make sure that the year was a good one for the grapes. Vintage wines are usually more expensive but are excellent when made in good years.
    February 03, 2016
  • The third-most planted wine grape in the world, Merlot is popular both as a stand-alone varietal and as a blending grape. This grape is endemic to Bordeaux, France, but has been grown throughout warmer European appellations for around 200 years. Now, Merlot has made its way all over the world and is popular in the Americas, Southern Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. A relatively subtle grape with less tannin than the closely related Cabernet Sauvignon, wine made solely from Merlot grapes tends to be fruity and smooth and usually won't hold up to many years of cellaring, reaching its peak after 5 to 15 years. Of course, there are some exceptional Merlots that continue to mature for many decades.There are two main styles of Merlot, the Old World style that makes use of earlier harvests in order to emphasize soft fruit flavors. These wines are lower in alcohol than New World style Merlots. In the New World, Merlot grapes are often left on the vines a little longer, giving them a chance to develop a more concentrated flavor and an increased sugar content. The extra sugar in the grapes does not lead to a sweet wine, but is instead metabolized by the yeast in order to make a wine with a higher alcohol content preferred by many New World drinkers. These wines have jammier flavors with an emphasis on plum and blackberry, and more soft tannins that give them more body than their Old World counterparts.
    February 03, 2016
Bringing home a new puppy can be exhilarating, but it can also be daunting at the same time. If you do not have a human child and the puppy is your first foray into parenthood, being prepared is half the battle. Who better to take advice from than someone who lived through it? My wife and I brought home a three-month-old Whoodle (Wheaten Terrier/Poodle mix) named Poppy. We do not have any kids, so this was the first time another life became dependent on us. Putting that into perspective, we were nervous, to say the least. When we picked her up, we had nothing but a blanket to wrap her in for the 2-hour drive home. I wish we had this article to reference beforehand. I'm going to break down what you need on the first day, and some additional niceties that can wait.
October 10, 2019
Aquariums are no longer a basic little plastic or glass box to be forgotten about in the corner of a child’s room. The kits available nowadays come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Many look like works of art all on their own with sleek edges and modern colors. There are so many aquariums out there to choose from it’s usually best to first decide what fish you would like to house. There are desktop tanks that can range anywhere from 1 gallon to 20 gallons, and provide environments for Betta Fish, Goldfish, Guppies, Tetras, and more. There are also larger scale freshwater tanks that usually range anywhere from 10 gallons up to 60 gallons so that you can accommodate multiple species at once.  For those that are truly experienced and up to the challenge of maintenance, there are also saltwater tanks for more complex species such as coral.  Though you can find them as small as 6 gallons, most people prefer a saltwater setup to be a minimum of 20 gallons. Although the initial phase of choosing and setting up an aquarium can be overwhelming, the payoff is worth it. Having an aquatic environment either at home or at the office can be a stress reducer and provides a serene display for anyone in the room. Many are often surprised by the personalities their fish display and the bond they develop with them.
February 03, 2016
The Great Outdoors is filled with scents, sights and sounds that dogs find irresistible. Why not let your dog get his fill of all this fun while lounging in the safety and comfort of a dog house? We've looked for plastic dog houses that are warm in winter and cool in summer and that offer options like doors, heaters, fans or other ventilation. Plastic dog houses are all easy to clean — at least on the outside — so we've looked for dog houses that are easy to clean on the inside as well. We've also looked for dog houses that are easy to assemble so you can spend more time playing with your dog than building his house.
February 03, 2016
Latest Reviews
  • Hot sauce is a curious food staple - nearly everyone uses it, and there's an overwhelming selection available on the market. Even so, a handful of names dominate the segment, making it difficult for new brands to compete for attention.
    June 24, 2020
  • Despite all the challenges and craziness we've seen in 2020, students in the Class of 2020 will still be graduating. Though the circumstances and procedures surrounding graduation may be modified due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it's still an event that can be made even brighter with a gift or two. We've gathered some ideas based on feedback from grads.
    June 18, 2020
  • Fathers are an important figure in our lives, and we have a special day in June set aside to show our admiration. We came up with a few gift ideas ranging from leisure activities to thoughtful gadgets to celebrate Dads across the country.
    June 11, 2020
  • We can debate at length about the origins of Cinco de Mayo, but the fact that it's become an entrenched holiday in all of our calendars can't be argued with. Tequila and guacamole are on the menu; here are our recommendations for the former (with a bonus at the end)!
    May 01, 2020
  • Mothers deserve appreciation every day, but we have just a single dedicated holiday to really show Mom how much we care. Our staff at Bestcovery.com came up with 7 simple gift ideas to show to Mom as a token of our gratitude.
    May 01, 2020
  • Due to the risk of COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus, many schools and businesses have shut down. Other companies have instructed their employees to work from home at an unprecedented rate.
    March 18, 2020
  • With wedding season in full swing, you might come to realize that it can be challenging to find the right gift for the new couple. Perhaps you are looking for great items to add to your own registry as well. Thanks to Amazon, you can shop for virtually anything your heart desires. We have compiled a list of some great wedding gifts that include traditional, trending, and practical items for every bride and groom.
    October 10, 2019
  • Port is a style of fortified wine that hails from the Douro Valley in north Portugal. Though many New World countries now make Port-styled drinks, just as with Champagne, in order to be called Port with a capital P it technically needs to be produced in this tiny corner of the world.Made from red or white wine grapes, port starts out its life like any late-harvest wine. It's mashed and fermented in neutral steel or tangy oak until most of the sugars have been metabolized into alcohol. It's here that port journeys in a different direction however, because at some point in the middle of the fermentation process, it's fortified with hard liquor until it reaches an alcohol content that reaches between 19 and 23 percent. The addition of extra alcohol, which is usually a distilled grape spirit, stops the fermentation, keeping sugar content high and giving port its characteristically sweet taste. Since port has a higher alcohol content than wine, it will keep for around a month after you open a bottle.There are a number of different styles of port to choose from. Portos fortified wines that have not been barrel aged at all. Portos that that come from a single harvest will carry the vintage year and usually need to be aged for decades before they are ready to drink. Portos that are Non-Vintage are blended in such a way that they are ready to drink right away. There are also ruby ports, which have been aged in barrels for 1 to 3 years. Then there are the tawnies, which get their name from the tawny, or amber color that they fade to after 10, 20, 30, or even 40 years of aging. Both ruby and tawny ports are made to be enjoyed right away, since all the aging was done at the winery.
    February 03, 2016
  • Champagne is the undisputed king of the sparkling wines. Vintners in Champagne, France have been perfecting the art of bottle fermentation for hundreds of years and though similarly styled wines are made all over the world, there isn't any sparkling wine that tops a really good Champagne.France has stringent regulations about what kind of grapes can be grown in what regions. In Champagne, there are three types of grapes that can be grown, Chardonnay, a white wine grape, and Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, which are both red wine grapes. Blanc de Blanc Champagnes are always made from Chardonnay, while Blanc de Noirs are usually made from a majority of Pinot Noir that can be blended with the other two types of grapes.Once the grapes have been pressed and the wine fermented, it is bottled with some of the yeast. The yeast finishes turning sugar into alcohol while sealed in the bottle, releasing carbon dioxide as a byproduct. Since there's nowhere for the carbon dioxide to escape to from a sealed bottle, over time, the wine becomes carbonated.You'll notice the terms dry, extra-dry, or brut appear on each bottle of Champagne. These terms describe the amount of residual sugar in wine, with dry having the most sugar and brut the least. Occasionally, Champagnes may also be labeled extra brut and brut nature, which are drier than brut. Champagnes also have a year or the letters NV, printed on the bottle. NV stands for Non-Vintage, which means that the wine is blended from grapes harvested over a number of different years. While many NV Champagnes are very well made, NV Champagnes are not considered to be the highest quality. This means you can buy them for less than you'd spend on a vintage wine. If you're set on getting the best Champagne out there, make sure you buy a wine from a year when the harvest was excellent. 2004 was the best recent vintage in France.
    February 03, 2016
  • These wheeled duffels have the space capacity of a suitcase but are lighter and easier to carry thanks to a retractable handle and carry handles. There is space to organize your stuff and keep clothing separate from other gear. The top picks also fall under 200 dollars, to keep your wallet heavy and your load gliding along in your new duffel.
    February 03, 2016
  • There is nothing like being the talk of the office. And what better way to turn heads then to carry a stylish new leather briefcase to your next meeting. Not only are leather briefcases durable, they exude classic, contemporary style. The best briefcase for today's busy professional will be large enough to carry the average sized laptop, durable enough to withstand frequent use, and have the compartments to transport the items needed most. Although these are the most important features to look for, you should also consider the durability of the buckles and clasps that will secure your valuables and the handles and straps you will use to carry the briefcase. If you are looking for the best leather briefcase, then prepare to spend a pretty penny. Leather has never been considered a cheap material. However, the briefcases chosen for this list made the cut due to their quality and durability. So, you will never regret the investment made.
    February 02, 2016
  • From colored pencils to graphite pencils, today’s artist has so many options to choose from the selection process can be intimidating. Whether you like to work with vivid colors, subtle tones, or austere black-and-white shading, the perfect art pencil with smooth, high-quality pigments is waiting for you here. Whether you’re working in color, drawing in a gray-scale with 20 distinct shades, or mixing painting with watercolor pencils, these lists of the best art pencils available will help you find the perfect medium for your next project. Be sure to check out our buyer’s guide as well to learn more about the different types of art pencils available and their specific attributes.
    February 02, 2016
  • Are you trying out watercolor painting, pen-and-ink sketches, or even a new origami fold? Whatever the project, every medium requires a unique paper which meets a specific set of standards and attributes. The art papers listed here will make it easy for you to find what’s best suited for your next creative project, whether it’s a charcoal sketch or a page to add to your beloved scrapbook. Be sure to check out our buyer’s guide as well to find out more about the different types of papers available and some key terms every artist should be familiar with.
    February 02, 2016
  • Whether you need cotton yarn for crocheting dishcloths or faux fur for knitting fashionable scarves, there’s a variety of yarn types available to match your needs. Synthetic yarns, such as acrylic are usually slightly elastic which make them ideal for beginners. Many synthetics are also available as basic worsted-weight yarns, which are suitable for most types of knitting or crochet projects.More expensive wool and cotton blends tend to be a little trickier to use, while specialty yarns like boucle yarn have their own unique challenges. Still, the extra flair makes these specialty yarns highly popular. Whether you’re looking the best yarn for a project, or just looking for something new to try, the different types of yarn here offer you some great options. If terms like “worsted weight” or “boucle” have you shaking your head in confusion, check out our helpful buyer’s guide below.
    February 02, 2016
  • If you are a frequent flyer, then you probably know that having a great carry-on tote is critical to having access to the items you need most when flying.  Odds are, when you hear the word tote, you get an image of a women’s handbag or large purse.  However, there is a growing trend of unisex tote bags that fall within the luggage family.  These bags are designed with travel in mind.  So they are often larger, more durable, and more expensive than the tote bags that you usually see in department stores.  When you are looking for a great carry on tote, size is important, as well as overall design, durability, and multiple compartments.  You should know that a great carry on tote will not be cheap; but, it will make your travel life much easier.
    February 02, 2016
  • Garment bags don't have to weigh you down to be effective. While some people equate heavy leather or polyester with quality, that doesn't have to be the case. In today's market, thin nylon or fabric garment bags do a fine job of protecting suits and other fine clothes from wrinkling, and they don't cost nearly as much. These lightweight pieces of luggage have come a long way from the glorified dry-cleaning bags of the past. Most good, lightweight garment bags are just as durable as regular luggage, but easier to handle. The bags below have been chosen for their balance of price, practicality and quality.
    February 01, 2016
  • Big dogs can have big needs, and that includes a space where they can stretch out or curl up. And a space that's not your bed. Realizing that people have different ideas of how big a "big" dog is, we've decided that "big" dogs start at the size of a Golden Retriever or Labrador Retriever, both of which have an average adult size of at least 55 pounds according to the breed standards set by the American Kennel Club. We've looked for durable dog beds that are also easy to clean. Big dogs generally have more joint issues than smaller dogs, so we've also searched for dog beds with good support. Beware: some of these beds are so comfortable that your big fellow may find you sharing his bed!
    November 24, 2015
  • Not unlike their human companions, every dog is different and has unique requirements for their diet. This can cause quite the quandary for a dog owner, especially with a plethora of choices lining every pet and grocery store. Whether you prefer your dog to eat holistic, natural or organic; or if your pooch has special needs like allergies or is overweight; we have created a list that will help you make the most educated and appropriate decision for your dog during every stage of life.
    November 23, 2015
  • At some time or another, your puppy is going to require a bath. There are many options when it comes to canine shampoos, but owners must take their dog's age into consideration. Puppies, defined as dogs less than one year of age, have specific needs when it comes to what’s okay to put on their skin. It’s important to watch your puppy closely after using any new product as different animals may have unexpected responses. Watch for new or excessive itching to make sure your dog isn’t having an adverse reaction to their new shampoo.The puppy shampoos on this list were chosen as the best available because they’re all specifically designed for a puppy's needs including using a gentle cleanser (such as coconut/corn-based cleansers), being pH balanced so not to irritate their sensitive skin, and tearless formulas so they’re not going burn your puppy's eyes.
    May 28, 2015
  • While many art materials have only a limited range of uses, airbrush painting is a very diverse hobby. Car enthusiasts use airbrushes to create hood decals and full-body paint jobs, makeup artists use airbrushes for ultra-smooth, even application and there are even airbrushes intended specifically for painting fingernails. This list focuses on the broad group of airbrushes used for fine art projects but when applicable, we’ve noted which of these best picks can be used for special projects such as fingernails or autos.It may take a little effort to understand the terminology used, but the basics are simple. With a single-action brush, artists can change the airflow but not the flow of paint. With double-action brushes, artists change both the airflow and the volume of paint. Gravity-flow airbrushes have a cup fixed to the top of the brush, while siphon-flow airbrushes draw the paint up from a tube fixed to the bottom of the airbrush. The style affects the type of painting to a degree, though having a high-quality airbrush is more important than having a particular style.These best airbrushes were selected based on their versatility or range of uses, as well as their reliability and ease of use. The airbrushes are all favorites among artists and have a good reputation for quality, but it is important to treat them carefully and to read the manufacturer’s instructions before beginning use.
    May 16, 2015
  • Despite the generic term, clay can be made from highly diverse materials. Polymer clay, for example, is a compound designed to be molded like clay but remains soft and malleable until oven dried. Similarly, plasticine compounds are clay-like material used extensively in models for stop-gap animation since they’ll never dry out. Even traditional clay is often formed from different types of material to create the ideal texture or to improve its strength. Whether you’re creating models, throwing vases, or looking for a basic clay for your children, these lists will show you where to start. Be sure to check out our buyer’s guide provided below if you need help interpreting the terms used in our best pick reviews.
    April 30, 2015
  • From graffiti writers to architects and graphic designers, many artists love to use art markers in their work. Today, individuals have a wide variety of brands, materials, and styles to choose from. Traditional art markers deliver vivid colors in an easy-to-use tool, while water or oil-based paint markers function like a paintbrush in a tube. Whether you prefer an art marker with dozens of different tips to choose from or pick an all-in-one paint marker featuring virtually unlimited colors, you should find what you are looking for here. For more information about the types of markers available, you can also check out our art marker buyer's guide below.
    April 29, 2015
  • We all love our dogs and finding the right toy for our canine pals can be a challenge.  They turn up their noses at something we think is cool and fun and instead roll with gleeful abandon on an invisible spot on the lawn.  There are toys for just about every dog, whether they are a chewer or a tugger, whether they would rather figure out a puzzle or just settle down with a tasty food treat or if they like to chase toys. Not every toy is right for every dog; the indestructible could be destroyed in five minutes, the squeaky toy is ignored, the long lasting treat is swallowed in three bites, so it's important to figure out your dog's play style and plan accordingly.  And if the moment comes when the toy sits between you and your canine companion and your dog ends up just walking away, think about taking that toy to your local animal shelter.  Who knows, you might come back with another new friend.
    October 29, 2014
  • When traveling, many fliers like to avoid the trouble of checking in their baggage with the airlines. With the risk of it being lost or stolen, many travelers simply don’t want to deal with the concern or the hassle of waiting for it at baggage claim. If you are one of those that opts to travel with carry on luggage only, it’s important to know there are restrictions for the carry on luggage that you bring onto the plane with you. Here we’ve listed the best carry on luggage, which meet airline requirements and will help make your trip more enjoyable.
    October 29, 2014
  • If you have ever used pastels before or wanted to try pastels, pastel pencils are an appealing alternative. They offer the same feel as regular pastels, but they’re encased in a standard pencil shell to create fine tips for detail work and to reduce the pastel’s messiness. Artists usually develop a preference for a specific feel in the pencil, whether soft and creamy or fine and hard.While all of the brands listed here meet the basic standards for high quality pastel pencils, they reflect the full spectrum of pencil leads available. We’ve noted which brands tend to be harder and which are a bit softer, so if you are new to pastel pencils, you might want both types to find out which feels better to you. All of these brands, though, were selected based on the wide range of colors they offer, the overall strength of the pencil leads, and their artist-quality ratings for lightfast, fade-resistant colors.
    September 16, 2014
  • While watercolor and oil paints have been around for hundreds of years, acrylic paint is a fairly recent invention. The first blend was created in the 1940s, combining the thicker feel of oil paints with a water-based formula. Since then, a wide number of brands have been created, but the best acrylic paints are the professional or artist level paints. Each of the brands here was selected based on their quality as a professional level acrylic paint, lightfast ratings, and a wide selection of colors.Some of these brands also offer student-level paints. Student-level paints can be a good choice for anyone on a strict budget, but they generally have less pigment and lower quality materials; the professional or artists’ paint is the best choice whenever possible.
    June 25, 2014
  • Rubber cement is a strong, reliable adhesive ideal for a range of uses whether you need to make a quick repair, create a poster-board display, or even patch a flat tire. Unlike regular glue, rubber cement combines an elastic material such as latex with an adhesive solvent; it’s important to follow any warning instructions and avoid letting children the cement without adult supervision.Depending on your projects, you may want an all-purpose, artist’s archival quality, or specialized rubber cement. This list covers the best basic types of rubber cement available with each pick based on its overall adhesive strength, mess-free application for ease of use on a range of projects, as well as a high amount of positive feedback from satisfied users.
    June 19, 2014
  • Regardless of where you reside, owning a sound and sturdy leash is a must if you have a canine companion. There are a variety of leashes available which can cater to the behavior and needs of the individual dog in your life. Whether you're looking for a standard everyday leash, a sturdy chain leash or a versatile retractable leash, the following lists offer a variety of the best dog leashes made with quality materials by trusted pet supply brands and have received a wealth of positive user ratings.
    June 09, 2014
  • In the past, light boxes had thick walls made to contain a standard fluorescent light bulb. With their translucent covers, these primitive units allowed artists to trace drawings or study slides. Most of them required working at an awkward angle with the individual propped up over the box’s tall sides. Modern light boxes are now the standard with thinner, portable designs featuring cool, long-lasting LED light sources which burn for thousands of hours without needing replacement bulbs. Some of the top manufacturers produce both older models with fluorescent lighting as well as LED units for only a slightly higher cost.All of these best light boxes we’ve selected provide strong and even lighting, sturdy, wobble-free work surfaces, special features like add-on battery packs and voltage adaptors as well as being available in a range of sizes suited to your needs.If you want to use your light box outside the US, you’ll need to make sure the model works with non-US outlets or else get an adaptor since many countries’ electrical systems provide a higher voltage.
    June 06, 2014
  • Crayons are a fun, easy medium to work whether they’re being used by preschoolers or professional artists. With their broad appeal, there’s a wide range of quality crayons to choose from. Most people will pick up any brand of crayon or look for the cheapest box on the shelf. Lower end crayons are too waxy and won't leave a lasting mark on the page, and can also be too brittle or soft, frustrating younger artists because of frequent breakage.Each of these best crayon brands offers something a little different in style, material, or price, but they were all selected based on their status as top-quality crayons. These picks all have at least 24 colors to choose from, come in vibrant pigments suitable for professional artists, they’re of higher artistic quality than most brands and are also non-toxic, making them safe for children to use.
    June 03, 2014