Review: Marquis de Montesquiou Armagnac VSOP and XO Imperial

Montesquiou… man, that is a lot of vowels. It is also the producer of a lot of Armagnacs. Formerly part of the Pernod family, it’s now being imported by ImpEx, repackaged, and expanding into broader U.S. distribution. We tasted both the VSOP and XO bottlings. Both are 80 proof and made from eaux de vie…

Read More about Review: Marquis de Montesquiou Armagnac VSOP and XO Imperial

Review: 2009 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Calistoga

Chateau Montelena is a winery that probably needs no introduction to most wine drinkers, but in case you’re a newb, it’s the winery made the Chardonnay that beat out all of Burgundy in the famed Paris Tasting of 1976. Today, Montelena is probably better known for its Cabernet Sauvignon, and we recently snagged the 2009…

Read More about Review: 2009 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Calistoga

Tasting Report: Wines of the Santa Rita Hills 2012

Santa Rita Hills, located in Santa Barbara County and immortalized by the movie Sideways, is perhaps the preeminent location for Pinot Noir production in all of California. Tasting 30 or so of these Pinots together is tough work: I could drink almost any of them with dinner, and grading them competitively almost feels unfair. That…

Read More about Tasting Report: Wines of the Santa Rita Hills 2012

Book Review: Champagne Cocktails

I’m on record as saying that sparkling wine is perhaps the most underused cocktail ingredient around (the other: Damiana Liqueur), so I was really pleased to get A.J. Rathbun’s book, Champagne Cocktails: 50 Cork-Popping Concoctions and Scintillating Sparklers. It’s a slim, hardbound tome, with just 50 recipes included, spanning both classic and original cocktails, and…

Read More about Book Review: Champagne Cocktails

Review: Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey (2012)

Part of the recently-founded (1987) Cooley Distillery mini-empire (which includes Tyrconnell, Connemara, and Greenore), Kilbeggan is perhaps the best known bottling that this Cooley Mountains-based distillery offers. Why? Because the brand dates all the way back to 1757 (making it one of the oldest existing whiskey brands in the world). It changed hands many times…

Read More about Review: Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey (2012)

Review: 2011 Virage Rose of Cabernet Franc Napa Valley

Cabernet Franc is rarely used on its own, and almost never as a rose wine, but here Virage takes fresh Cab Franc presses and blends in a touch of red Cab Franc, then lets it chill out in stainless steel for a few months. The results are a pale and inviting pink. Don’t be afraid…

Read More about Review: 2011 Virage Rose of Cabernet Franc Napa Valley

Review: 2010 Four Vines Naked Chardonnay Santa Barbara County

How can cult Zinfandel winery Four Vines be putting out a $12 Chardonnay? Because Four Vines sold its name (and some of its wine production) to Purple Wine Corp., which has dived right in to its new brand via its The Naked & The Willing winery in Graton, California. (Four Vines, by the way, is…

Read More about Review: 2010 Four Vines Naked Chardonnay Santa Barbara County

Review: Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao Ancienne Method

Triple sec or curacao are an essential ingredient in so many cocktails, and stylistically they cover a wide range of focuses. But they all tend to have one thing in common (well, besides tasting like oranges): They’re generally quite sweet. And so it was that cocktial god David Wondrich teamed up with Cognac producer Pierre…

Read More about Review: Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao Ancienne Method