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 solid products that we don’t exactly love, but which we still heartily recommend. On a five-star scale, these products would score 3.5 stars. On the traditional 100-point scale popular with many wine and spirits graders, these products would merit scores of 87 to 89 points.

Review: 2007 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Parallèle 45 Côtes du Rhône

By Christopher Null | November 17, 2009 |

Parallèle 45 is one of the most venerable of French wines, a grenache and syrah blend from 25-year-old vines in the Rhone valley, and it’s usually something you can find for under $10 a bottle. This 2007 rendition is no departure from the house style, a burly wine with a big herbal punch — rosemary…

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Review: 2007 Otis Kenyon “Matchless” Red Wine

By Christopher Null | November 10, 2009 |

Walla Walla, Washington’s Otis Kenyon offers this new creation, “Matchless,” a 70% merlot, 30% cabernet sauvignon blend inspired by an ancestor (James Kenyon) who burned a rival’s office to the ground. He was a dentist, of course. This wine — the singed edges on the label are meant to evoke the ancient arson — doesn’t…

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Review: Antiguo de Herradura Tequila, Complete Lineup

By Christopher Null | November 4, 2009 |

As the story goes, Antiguo de Herradura was a version of Herradura served only to guests of the Herradura estate, beginning in 1924. These bottlings are said to be recreations of those original spirits (they’ve been bottled in Mexico since 1995, when they were re-launched), a higher-end version of Herradura tequila for those special moments…

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Tasting Report: Pol Roger Champagne Lineup, 2009 Releases

By Christopher Null | November 4, 2009 |

Had the chance to taste all seven current varieties of Pol Roger Champagne, a brand which dates back to 1849. Old Pol should need no further introduction, of course… here are some thoughts on the house’s current lineup. 2000 Pol Roger Brut Rose Champagne / $115 / A- / yeasty but otherwise quite pleasant 1999…

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Review: 2007 Quivira Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley Wine Creek Ranch

By Christopher Null | November 2, 2009 |

I was ready to tear into Quivira for putting out a wine at 15.1 percent alcohol… but then I checked out the company’s 2006 version of the same wine: 15.5 percent. I didn’t even think that was chemically/oenologically possible. This single vineyard zin comes from Quivira’s Wine Creek Ranch vineyard, a hilly area in Sonoma’s…

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Review: The Wild Geese Irish Soldiers & Heroes Irish Whiskeys

By Christopher Null | October 31, 2009 |

The Wild Geese Irish Soldiers & Heroes — in a million years I wouldn’t have come up with a name for a line of whiskey like this one. This collection of four new Irish whiskeys (named after soldiers forced out of Ireland during hard times) all share a common DNA, but offer some subtle differences…

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Review: 2007 Calluna Vineyards Cuvee Chalk Hill

By Christopher Null | October 27, 2009 |

For such a young wine with big grapes (this Bordeaux blend is 39% cabernet sauvignon, 30% merlot, 22% cabernet franc, and 9% malbec), Calluna Vineyards’ 2007 Cuvee Chalk Hill is remarkably easygoing. This Sonoma wine spent 22 months in oak barrels, and it comes across with flavors of fresh fig, cedar, some chocolate, and light…

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Review: Compass Box Orangerie

By Christopher Null | October 25, 2009 |

The folks at Compass Box make some unusual whiskys to begin with, but Orangerie is something unlike any other Scotch you’re likely to have tried: Take a Highland single malt whisky (from Fife) and add hand-zested Navalino orange peel, Indonesian cassia (cinnamon), and Sri Lankan cloves to it. Bottle the infusion and you have Orangerie,…

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Review: Rain Flavored Vodkas, Complete Lineup

By Christopher Null | October 25, 2009 |

The folks at Rain — which makes vodka from organic white corn and distills it seven times — have recently expanded their lineup to four uniquely flavored vodkas. We got our hands on the complete lineup. All are 70 proof and flavored naturally. Rain Lavender Lemonade Vodka is a comparably mild concoction, but quite sweet…

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Review: Weihenstephaner 2009 Festbier

By Christopher Null | October 21, 2009 |

Weihenstephan claims to be the world’s oldest brewery. This is the company’s newest beer, a 2009 “Festbier” for this year’s holiday season. Festbier is a relatively light, golden brew, but one that’s full of flavor. There’s rich maltiness on the initial attack, then lots of grain character and some robust spice on the palate that’s…

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