Review: Benromach Hermitage Finish

Wine barrel finishes are hardly unique, but Benromach’s latest, very limited release is the first time I’ve seen barrels used in the Hermitage region of France (via Rhone Valley regulars Guigal) used as a finishing wood. This whisky spends an undisclosed amount of time in ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry oak before being transferred into Hermitage casks,…

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Tasting the Shiraz Wines of Australia’s Old Bridge Cellars, 2011 Releases

Old Bridge Cellars, “The Face of Australian Wine,” is a consortium of sorts spanning more than 20 wineries sprawling across the entire continent of Australia. The focus, of course, is Shiraz, and recently the company sent a range of its offerings — in TastingRoom.com sample bottles — to experience how Shiraz varies from the eastern…

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Book Review: Grands Crus Classes: The Great Wines of Bordeaux

This mammoth tome — nearly 400 pages and over six pounds in heft — is a tome in two parts. The two parts celebrate the companionship of food and wine: Each section offers information about a Grand Cru Bordeaux winery, its production, grape varietals, and a bit of history, plus copious, gorgeous photographs of that…

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Tasting Report: Wines of Los Gatos, California, 2011

A recent weekend took us touring the winemaking area south of San Francisco, namely the Los Gatos region, in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains (where some fine Pinot Noirs are made). While we found some enjoyable wines in a couple of stops (during an uncommonly busy period known as “Passport Weekend”), the biggest…

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Review: Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin (2011)

Nolet’s (not Nolet, mind you) hails from Holland, part of a new wave of ultra-premium gins flavored with unexpected ingredients. Nolet’s (distilled from the same wheat as Ketel One) lets you in on three of them — the rest are kept secret — but one of the big three immediately jumps out. That ingredient: Turkish…

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Book Review: The Perfect Drink for Every Occasion

Bartending books come in two varieties: Mammoth reference tomes and slim, whimsical dispatches that are fit mainly for browsing. The Perfect Drink for Every Occasion (updated from its original 2003 edition) is squarely in the latter camp, though that’s not a slight: It’s actually a pretty fun little book that, if nothing else, can help…

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Review: Fuchen Herbal Liqueur

If the Fuchen Effen Cocktail hasn’t already been invented, consider me shocked. Mixology, after all, is not a business known for its subtlety. All kidding aside, Fuchen is a new entry into the curiously on-the-rise market of international amari — bittersweet, dark liqueurs now being inspired mainly by the success of the granddaddy of them…

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Review: New Holland Hatter Royale Hopquila

Tequila for rabbits? No. New Holland, based not in Holland the country but rather Holland the city in Michigan, takes a double-distilled mash of 100% malted barley, then steeps Centennial hops in it. It’s not aged, but it comes out a Chardonnay-yellow from the hops Hopquila, then, is not a funky tequila but rather a…

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