Review: Banks 5 Island Rum

Last year a survey named Banks 5 Island Rum as the best rum for that quintessential rum drink: The Daiquiri. Only problem: Who’s ever heard of Banks 5 Island? Well finally, we have. It’s not called 5 Island for kicks: Banks 5 Island really is a blend of aged rums from five Caribbean islands: Jamaica,…

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Review: Wines of Hannah Nicole, 2011 Releases

Contra Costa County in the San Francisco Bay Area includes Oakland… as well as, apparently, a good number of vineyards. Hannah Nicole, in “the shadows of Mount Diablo,” is a relative newcomer to the business. We tasted four of the winery’s recent releases. 2009 Hannah Nicole Sauvignon Blanc Reserve Contra Costa County – 12.5% Viognier…

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Review: 2009 Galil Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot

Why aren’t you drinking Israeli wine? Perhaps because you didn’t know it existed, no? Galil Mountain is one of the country’s most exported labels. That may not be saying a whole lot, but it does at least give you a chance to try these unique and interesting reds. 2009 Galil Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Galilee is…

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Review: Collingwood Canadian Whisky

Never mind what’s inside Collingwood: You don’t get very far without admiring the bottle. I know I’m a sucker for a nice decanter, but this thing is ridiculous, like an overgrown Chanel bottle or a glass, whisky-filled Zippo. But on to the spirit within: This whisky is, to be blunt, unlike any I’ve ever tasted.…

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Book Review: Whiskey & Philosophy

It is try that whiskey has a tendency to make philosophers out of all of us, but I didn’t know that would lead anyone to actually write a book on the topic. Truth be told, Whiskey & Philosophy is not really a study of drinking dogma but an anthology (written by 20 different authors or…

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Review: Martini & Rossi Rosato Vermouth

Ladies and gentlemen, we now have a new kind of vermouth to contend with. Joining Dry, Sweet, and the rarely-seen Bianco, Martini & Rossi has launched another expression: Rosato. Rosato falls somewhere between the red and white spectrum — indeed it’s a blend of red and white wines, plus a lot of spice. The pink…

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I Took the Cachaca Challenge

There is nothing more fun – or terrifying – than doing a blind head-to-head tasting of wine or spirits. What if everything you thought you knew was wrong? What if it turns out you like Gallo from a jug better than Screaming Eagle? (Answer: Well, then, you’re lucky. You’ll save a lot of money down…

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Review: 2007 DiamAndes Gran Reserva Mendoza Argentina

This Mendoza wine is a blend of 70% Malbec and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. The result: Though now four years old, it still feels young. A light, reserved nose gives way to a lot of grip on the palate, an almost chalky, dusty wine. There is a solid fruit core here, but it’s tight and not…

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