Review: 2008 Shafer Merlot and One Point Five

We’ve enjoyed Shafer’s wines for a long while. Its 2008 releases are now hitting the market. A year remarkable for its smaller crop yields, these wines are shaping up to offer uncommon intensity. 2008 Shafer Merlot Napa Valley – Not as smooth as many modern Merlots can be, this expression has a lot of tannin…

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Review: Joto Sake’s Chikurin and Yuki No Bosha Sake

Joto Sake is a relatively new but already massive sake importer here in the U.S. (it was founded by the man behind Ciao Bella Gelato), and recently the company sent a couple of its bottlings for us check out. Chikurin Fukamari Junmai comes from the only 100% estate bottled sake made in Japan. The brewery…

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Review: “Art in the Age” Snap Liqueur

The makers of Root — which has found a bit of a foothold in bars around the country, based on my observation — have seen fit to extend their product lines. Now we have Snap, another sweet, artisinal liqueur inspired by the kitchen delights of our collective youth. Snap is born from a 1600s recipe…

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Review: Casa Dragones Tequila Blanco, with Distiller Bertha Gonzalez Nieves

Casa Dragones is almost certainly a tequila brand you have never tried or likely even seen. That’s a sad thing, because it is one of the best silver tequilas on earth. Casa Dragones is the proud bearer of a number of unique traits. It is the brainchild of Bob Pittman, a founder of the MTV…

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Review: Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey Line (2011) – Original, Reserve 10 Years Old, Special Reserve 12 Years Old, and Single Malt 10 Years Old

“Do the Dew” doesn’t have to mean kicking back a half gallon of fluorescent green goop. It also means enjoying a dram of Tullamore Dew — the nearly ubiquitous Irish whiskey brand. Tullamore Dew actually comes in four expressions, and while most whiskey fans have only had the “original,” we finally got the chance to…

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Review: Murrieta’s Well The Whip 2009 and The Spur 2008

This Livermore Valley vineyard has been growing grapes since the 1800s, and while it has labored in obscurity in recent years, recent investments have revitalized the land and the estate wines made there. These two blends are now hitting the market. We tasted both. 2009 Murrieta’s Well The Whip – A nutty white blend: 43%…

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Review: Bulleit Rye

Tom Bulleit‘s “frontier” Bourbon has near-cult status among his admirers, and at long last the man has decided to branch out into a second product. That product is Bulleit Rye, “the worst kept secret” in the whiskey world and a smashing way for Bulleit to double its shelf space. Now this isn’t as big a…

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Book Review: The Ultimate Wine Companion

For a book purporting to be the “ultimate” wine companion, this tome is awfully slim. No judgments, really, but anything claiming “ultimate” status always makes me wonder about where a writer’s bar of excellence may lie. Like the previously reviewed Whiskypedia, The Ultimate Wine Companion is not the work of one writer but rather a…

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