Book Review: Thin Skins: Why the French Hate Australian Wine

I didn’t know the French hated Australian wine. Not specifically, I mean. I thought they hated all wine that wasn’t French. And I thought that everyone hated Australian wine. Aussie wine writer Campbell Mattinson does a good job at reminding us it wasn’t always this way. Australian wine came from a place of no repute…

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Review: Hiram Walker Watermelon Sour Schnapps

Wow. No. “All natural flavors” don’t get more horrifying than this. Or more Kool-Aid pink in color. I could go into detail about the flavor that reminds me of Jolly Ranchers melted into Chinese sweet & sour sauce, but let me leave it at this: I would have trouble imagining even the most desperate bum…

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Review: 2011 Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc + Viognier California

One of precious few wines with a plus sign in the name, Pine Ridge’s unique blend of acidic Chenin Blanc and ultra-fruity Viognier comes together in rather spectacular and highly drinkable fashion, all for $12 a bottle (or even $10 if you shop around). A greatest hits collection of these two lesser-regarded wine grapes, Pine…

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Alcohol Can Turn You Into MacGyver

Usually the news about alcohol is about whether or not it can help or cause heart attacks, strokes, cancer, or other maladies, but today’s headline is different. Medical Daily reports “Drinking Alcohol May Significantly Enhance Problem Solving Skills.” That drinking a few beers can make you better at logic puzzles. Scientists found that men who…

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Book Review: The Wine Region of Rioja

A coffee table book writ small, Ana Fabiano’s first piece of writing is both beautiful and a bit scattered. A full color, photo-filled, large format experience, it’s the kind of book you’d buy at the airport after spending a week in Spain’s Rioja region, to remind yourself and your houseguests what you ate, where you…

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Review: Skyy Infusions Natural Coconut Vodka

The race to out-Malibu Malibu continues with Skyy’s latest Infusions installment: Natural Coconut. A clear spirit, this vodka smells only moderately of its namesake fruit (it’s not really a nut, folks!), with a distinct alcoholic vaporousness behind as a kicker. On the tongue, quite sweet, and considerably more coconut-like, but with a vodka-fueled finish that’s…

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Tasting Report: Rhone Rangers 2012

Every year the wine producers of California that make Rhone style wines – mainly created with Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Viognier, and a smattering of other grapes used mainly in southern France – descend on San Francisco to show off their wares. This year was no exception, with hundreds of wines poured, mainly from the 2009…

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Book Review: Drinkology Beer

As lackluster as I found the first Drinkology book to be, I didn’t have high expectations for this treatise on all things beer. Much to my surprise, it’s a thorough, engaging, and well-written book about the beer world, especially if (like me) beer is not you normal beverage of choice. There’s really no facet of…

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