For those who know me, it doesn't take very long to find out that some of the loves of my life are Jesus, Duke's donuts, 11:11 yoga, chickens, and wine.

Yes, wine.

Since I was 19, my mom and fiancé have made it a tradition to make an annual pilgrimage to Ontario, Canada with the mission of doing not much else than enjoying scenery and wine. Some of the wineries I've visited in Canada include Inniskillin (internationally known for their outstanding vidal Icewine), DeSimone (a fairly young winery that makes an amazing oaked Chardonnay), and Between the Lines (exceptional tastings here, although they totally missed out on some fabulous name opportunities. Perhaps, Between the Vines or Between the Wines?)

The exploration of wines in the Niagara on the Lake region of Ontario gave me an incredible opportunity to learn about the art of winemaking and the significance of the beverage as it appears across history. In 2018, I began focusing on wine as a subject in my photography and continued to learn as much as I could about it from Netflix documentaries, wine tastings, talking to winemakers, and this January I began my pursuit of a Certificate in Wine Studies from Boston University.

Yes, wine school.

But there's something relatively new trending in the world of wine that I have noticed flooding the front and center displays of grocery and liquor stores across Boston and the south coast of Massachusetts... red wine blends aged in bourbon barrels.

Introducing, Exitus.

Now, I'm no wine expert (yet) but I know a good wine when I taste one. Not because I drink a lot of wines that I like, but because I try wines that sound weird, new, different, untraditional, and unfamiliar. So when I walked into the liquor store down the street from my apartment in search of a new wine to pair with dinner and some dark chocolate, the woman working the counter was so excited to share with me the newest addition to their stock, Exitus. It's aged in bourbon barrels for 3 months which gives it an incredible flavor that surpasses any other red wine I've tasted to date.

"Bold and unconventional, Exitus is our answer to the monotony of boring, forgettable wines."

-Exitus Website

After tasting it for the first time, I was sold on it. And shortly thereafter, so were my mom and fiancé. But when you want to be a true connoisseur of wine, you don't stop there. So over the course of a month, we gathered together several other brands of bourbon barrel aged wine anytime we stumbled upon one. Brands we tried in addition to Exitus included Cooper & Thief, Apothic,  and Beringer Bros. We tried them side by side, with meals, with chocolate, and discovered a few things.

#1 Exitus is superior.

It was leaps and bounds above the other wines we tried. As some stranger said on the streets of Boston one November evening, "If Johnny Cash was alive, this is what he would drink."

#2 It pairs well with smokey meats.

My favorite meal that I had with Exitus was ribs with roasted brussel sprouts and mashed butternut squash. Amazing. Satisfying. Beautiful.

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# 3 Exitus wine pairs best with really dark chocolate and good times with good friends.

People who don't like wine will love Exitus. Even if you're that person that only ever drinks sweet as heck pink moscato, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised by the smooth, rich experience that a glass of Exitus brings. My advice to you would be to get your BBQ on, get the squad together, and simply enjoy. If you're down for a tasting experiment for yourself, run out to your local market and pick up some chocolate covered espresso beans, chocolate coated pomagranite chews, some dried cherries, nuts, and a bar of your favorite chocolate, and dive into the discovery of your own pairings.

However you plan to enjoy it, pick up a bottle of Exitus and explore a wine that is unlike any other.

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"This bold blend of Zinfandel, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Sauvignon provide a deep ruby color with aromas of blackberry compote, leather and dusty dark chocolate. Bourbon barrel aging offers aromas of fire-toasted oak, baking spices, caramel and loose-leaf tobacco."

-Exitus Website

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