Review: Lillet Rouge

The charms of Lillet Blanc have been adequately covered in this blog. But there’s another Lillet — Lillet Rouge — which is considerably harder to find even though it’s been on the market since 1962. There’s not a lot of mystery to what Lillet Rouge is: As the name implies, it’s pretty much the same…

Review: Lillet Rouge
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Review: 2005 Brancaia Ilatraia

Brancaia (sometimes indexed as “La Brancaia”) is regularly touted as one of the great Super-Tuscan wineries, yet the wines, while expensive, are generally in reach of the average wine buyer. Though in production for only a few years, the $70 Ilatraia is already one of Brancaia’s signature bottlings, a 60-30-10 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese,…

Review: 2005 Brancaia Ilatraia
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Review: Agua Luca Cachaca

Cachaça continues its run for the It Spirit of the ’00s. Here’s another contestant: Água Luca, an otherwise standard cachaça with the distinction of being filtered twelve times en route to the bottle. Maybe that filtering robs Água Luca of some of its character? Água Luca has a very typical cachaça profile, with a strong…

Review: Agua Luca Cachaca
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Review: 2005 Robert Craig Affinity

Robert Craig has been making wine on Mount Veeder for 30 years. Exactly. This year, Craig celebrates its 30th anniversary as a creator of “mountain Cabernets.” In honor, here comes his 2005 Affinity, a Bordeaux-style blend from Howell Mountain, on the other side of the valley. Affinity is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, and 1%…

Review: 2005 Robert Craig Affinity
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Review: 2004 Rancho Zabaco Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley Reserve

Looking for a solid Zinfandel at a good price? Check out Rancho Zabaco’s Dry Creek Valley Reserve. Rancho Zabaco’s wines are classic, old-school zins, less blatantly jammy and fruity than most modern Zinfandels. The Dry Creek Valley Reserve has an earthy, plum character, with hints of smoke and tar. On the nose this is still…

Review: 2004 Rancho Zabaco Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley Reserve
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Review: Tru Organic Vodka Lineup (2008)

Organic spirits continue to swing as a trend: Tru was the first USDA-certified organic brand of vodka in the U.S. Made by Modern Spirits (now known as Greenbar Distillery) in Monrovia, California, these high-end spirits don’t just pay lip service to social consciousness. The bottle uses 25% less glass, the label’s made from corn fiber…

Review: Tru Organic Vodka Lineup (2008)
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Review: Ciroc Vodka

Diddy knows what’s up. Ciroc (or more properly Cîroc) is a high-end vodka, one of the earlier grape-based vodkas, and now that Puff Daddy is behind it as a promoter, it’s probably sky’s-the-limit for the brand. This French vodka is not just made from grapes but from “snap frost” grapes, which (I guess) means the…

Review: Ciroc Vodka
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The Mystery of “Overproof” Gordon’s Gin

Reader Peter May writes: I’m not so sure about what you say about Gordon’s Gin (in the Vesper cocktail) and — I’m not saying you are wrong, but I’d just like to chew the fat on this if that’s OK . You mention about Gordon’s being reformulated from 94 to 80 proof. But are you…

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