Rated A-

Reviews of spirits, wine, and beer (and various errata like mixers and garnishes) comprise more than 80% of the content at Drinkhacker, and the A- rating is used for very good to exceptional products. On a five-star scale, these products would score 4 stars. On the traditional 100-point scale popular with many wine and spirits graders, these products would merit scores of 90 to 93 points.

Review: 2006 Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir

By Christopher Null | February 6, 2008 |

Of all Pinot Noir wines, Oregon Pinots might be the most prototypical “new world” examples of the grape. The earthiness — even skunkiness — of French Burgundies is absent in most Oregon Pinots, at least at reasonable price levels. The fruit takes center stage here, not the terroir. Willamette Valley Vineyards’ newly released 2006 Pinot…

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Review: Dewar’s Special Reserve 12 Years Old

By Christopher Null | January 23, 2008 |

A cut above standard grade Dewar’s, this 12-year-old blended Scotch is as smooth as they come. Honey is brightest on the palate, and a smoky, tobacco-laden aftertaste lingers on the finish. Light and almost crisp (imagine biting into a fresh apple), this is a whisky that’s best straight up, without water or ice. At just…

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Review: 2004 Viñedos de Aldeanueva Rioja Cortijo II Crianza

By Christopher Null | January 18, 2008 |

If you’ve dismissed Spanish wines until now, you might be in for a surprise. You’ll be hard-pressed to find an easier drinking wine, from Spain or anywhere else, than Viñedos de Aldeanueva’s Cortijo Crianza (aka Cortijo II Crianza; the II refers to, well, I’m not sure exactly what, but I think it has something to…

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Review: Kona Brewing Co. Longboard Island Lager (2008)

By Christopher Null | January 15, 2008 |

Longboard Lager really is made in Hawaii. The Kona Brewing Company churns out 190,000 gallons of beer a year, in fact, with a staff of six people. It’s amazing, then, that Kona beers seem to be so easy to find here in the States, at least on the west coast. Longboard is the company’s flagship…

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Review: Peak Organic Amber Ale, Nut Brown Ale, and Pale Ale

By Christopher Null | January 13, 2008 |

Organic beer: OK, I’m in! Peak Organic brews three beers out of its Portland, Maine headquarters, using organic barley and hops and, of course, 100% organic water. Can you taste the difference? Well, depends on what you compare it to. I tried all three of Peak’s beers. Here are some comments. Peak Organic Amber Ale…

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Review: Modmix Organic Cocktail Mixers, Complete Lineup

By Christopher Null | December 27, 2007 |

Yes, even I am sometimes too lazy to juice a lime… and sometimes pineapple juice and fresh mint is not in the house. While the idea of prepackaged mixers is a little off-putting to most mixologists, the notion of organic ones has a certain appeal. When am I going to get organic pineapple juice or…

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Review: Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon (2007)

By Christopher Null | December 20, 2007 |

You’ll know it by the little horse and rider on the stopper and the grenade-shaped bottle. At $45 a bottle, you’ll often find this in the lockup at your local liquor store. As bourbons go, it’s unique: All bottles are single-barrel bottlings, which means that a glass will vary from state to state and store…

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Review: 2007 Henry Fessy Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau

By Christopher Null | December 16, 2007 |

I should have written this up a month ago, when the 2007 Beaujolais Nouveaus first hit the market, but time got away from me… plus, there are still plenty of Beaujolais Nouveau wines available, including this one from Henry Fessy. For those not familiar with Beaujolais Nouveau, this is a young wine from the Burgundy…

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Review: Tequila Partida, Complete Lineup (2007)

By Christopher Null | December 9, 2007 |

Finally got to sample Partida’s new, full line of tequilas today. Color me impressed. No, seriously. Here’s how they shake out. Tequila Partida Blanco (2007) – This is a peppery but very clean silver tequila, perfect for mixing and even for sipping straight in a pinch. Among the best tequilas I’ve tried. A- / $40  [BUY…

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Review: G’Vine Floraison Gin (2007)

By Christopher Null | December 8, 2007 |

The name may sound like a gangsta rapper, but this premium gin isn’t something you’ll want to be mixing with OJ. Made in France and distilled from grapes, this is not your father’s Tanqueray. The juniper flavor, a requirement of all gins, is there, but it’s substantially mellowed in G’Vine. In fact it’s lemon peel…

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