Tasting Report: Wines of Greece, 2012

Greek wine doesn’t have a great reputation (blame the infamous Retsina for that one). Heck, with all its financial issues, Greece doesn’t have a great reputation either. Well, things must not be too bad: The Greek government recently hosted a lavish roadshow to show off dozens of its wineries – including the best lunch event…

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Review: Mezcals of Agave de Cortes

It’s not every day you meet a 6th generation palenquero (mezcal maker), but that’s exactly what Asis Cortes, pictured below in my kitchen, is. Cortes and his family make mezcal in the Oaxaca region of Mexico. Some of it is only available in the country, and in addition to its own the company also exports…

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Drinking and Dining at Press Club San Francisco

Press Club is a place I’ve passed by dozens of times without going in. Though it’s centrally located in San Francisco’s downtown district, the dark glass and mysterious design never really invited me indoors. Press Club used to be a tasting room. Six or so wineries each had their own bar space downstairs, and patrons…

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Review: Highland Park Valhalla Collection – Thor

Starting this year our friends at Highland Park are releasing a series of four whiskys called the Valhalla Collection, inspired by the Norse gods. Coming out at a clip of one each year, the first one out of the gate is the big gun: Thor. This 16-year-old whisky, from Orkney (where all HP hails from),…

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Review: Storm Blended Malt Scotch Whisky

From Glasgow’s Whisky Shack Company (a private bottler, retailer, and jack of all trades in the booze biz) comes this new whisky blend. No age statement, but the motto is “Malt Whisky with a PEATY finish.” The blend comprises mainly coastal distilleries, plus some Islay spirit. Very young — the darkish color is not of…

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Review: Beluga Noble Russian Vodka “Export”

Few words are pre-loaded with luxury the way beluga is. Trump is another, but there was already a vodka with that name on the market (now defunct). Beluga hails from Russia, but beyond this there’s plenty about its production that remains rather mysterious. It is distilled from grain in Western Siberian distillery founded in 1900,…

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Review: Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin

From the same folks who brought you Masterson’s awesome 10 Year Old Rye — in Sonoma, California, of all places — comes this new gin, inspired by a recipe (it’s said) drawn from an equally odd location: Lucca, Italy. Some backstory, courtesy of the company (an affiliate of the Sebastiani wine empire): Company president August…

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Review: Wines of Round Pond, 2012 Releases

Based in Napa Valley’s vaunted Rutherford district, Round Pond goes against the grain by making comparably affordable wines — including a delightfully drinkable $30 all-Napa Cabernet. Founded in 2002, the wines seem to be hitting their stride. Thoughts on three new releases follow. 2011 Round Pond Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley Rutherford – A very mild…

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