Rated B

Reviews of spirits, wine, and beer (and various errata like mixers and garnishes) comprise more than 80% of the content at Drinkhacker, and the B rating is used for products that are good but which we don’t exactly love — and which we can provide with a qualified recommendation. On a five-star scale, these products would score 3 stars. On the traditional 100-point scale popular with many wine and spirits graders, these products would merit scores of 83 to 86 points.

Tasting Helfrich Alsatian Wines with Anne-Laure Helfrich, 2010 Releases

By Christopher Null | July 21, 2010 |

Anne-Laure Helfrich isn’t your typical European winemaker. At 23 years old, she’s probably the youngest person I’ve ever encountered in this business, yet she’s known the wine trade all her life. A third generation beverage-maker (grandpa started with Kirsch and dad moved the family into wine), Helfrich spends much of her time on the road,…

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Review: Feudo Arancio 2008 Dalila and 2007 Cantadoro

By Christopher Null | July 14, 2010 |

Feudo Arancio makes a variety of traditional and international wines in its Sicily-based winery. We tried two of the more noteworthy bottlings, both blends. 2008 Feudo Arancio Dalila is a blend of 80% Grillo — a native Sicilian grape often used in Marsala wine — and 20% Viognier. The body is reminiscent of Pinot Grigio,…

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Review: 2007 Villa Mt. Eden Pinot Noirs

By Christopher Null | July 11, 2010 |

Two new Pinot Noirs from this ancient Napa Valley winery (founded in 1881) — and from two very different parts of California — arrived this week. Here’s what we thought. 2007 Villa Mt. Eden Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley Bien Nacido Vineyard – This southern California Pinot offers a bright cherry nose, with a tart…

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Review: The Bitter Truth Bitters Lineup

By Christopher Null | July 10, 2010 |

Hey Mr. Sheriff, there’s a new gun in town in the bitters category. Called The Bitter Truth (get it?), this brand hails from Germany and now spans eight types of bitters. The house style is, how shall we put it, bitter. Strong on the bitterness, less of a focus on the fruit or other components…

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Review: Unwind Citrus Orange Relaxation Beverage

By Christopher Null | July 9, 2010 |

Unwind is another entry into the budding “relaxation” beverage category, imbued with additives designed not to pump you up (or get you drunk) but to knock you out after a long day. Unwind counts among its ingredients valerian root, rose hips, acai, goji berry, passion flower, and that age-old calming standby, melatonin (with a whopping…

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2009 Boxed Wine Review: Silver Birch Sauvignon Blanc and Folonari Pinot Grigio

By Christopher Null | July 8, 2010 |

Eventually the boxed wines stack up here at Drinkhacker HQ, and as much as we like the way they work as iPhone stands, eventually we have to do our duty and review them. Here are thoughts on two new boxed wines, both in 3-liter containers. 2009 Silver Birch Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand – Actually…

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Review: UV Coconut Vodka

By Christopher Null | July 7, 2010 |

You aren’t imagining things: UV Coconut is white. Not clear in a white bottle. It’s white. Like milk. It’s actually the first white vodka, a naturally-flavored spirit sweetened (considerably) with sugar cane, distilled four times, and left in a murky/milky color for you to figure out how exactly to present it. The utility is obvious:…

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Roundup: 6 European Rose Wines For Summer 2010

By Christopher Null | June 29, 2010 |

We’ve already given you the lowdown on summer whites. Now let’s look at summer pinks — rose wines from all over Europe, ready for savoring while the kids try to drown each other in the pool. Did we mention cheap? No? OK, we’ll mention it now! All six of these wines come courtesy of importer…

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Review: Oskar Blues Pale Ale, Old Chub, Gordon Ale, and Mama’s Little Yella Pils

By Christopher Null | June 18, 2010 |

Previously we discussed Oskar Blues’ Gubna Imperial IPA brew here, and the company was kind enough to send four more of its more readily available concoctions — all sold in cans and all made in Colorado — for us to try out. Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale cuts a traditional pale ale style, intensely hopped…

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Review: Two Muscadet Wines – L’Aubiniere and Michel Delhommeau, 2010 Releases

By Christopher Null | June 11, 2010 |

You may not realize it, but you’ve probably had wine made from Melon de Bourgogne grapes, and probably more than you realize. That’s because all wines from the Muscadet region of France’s Loire Valley are made from Melon de Bourgogne, though you will likely never find the name of the varietal on any wine label.…

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