Tasting Report: 2009 California Cabernet Barrel Samples

The first previews of California’s 2009 cabernet sauvignon vintage were held last week, and in the battle of man vs. wine, man won. Below you’ll find notes and early ratings on 71 wines, mostly barrel samples from the upcoming ’09 vintage. Overall, I found these wines to be restrained, with a similar consistency, herbal, rich…

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“Glass Tasting” with Maximilian Riedel

As an 11th generation descendant of the Riedel crystal empire, it’s safe to say that Maximilian has glass in his blood. Today, Riedel is synonymous with quality glassware, its empire unmatched by its competition in either size or stature. Recently I had the opportunity to attend a seminar hosted by Max, who had the goal…

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Tasting Report: Celebrate South Africa 2010

South Africa. What’s better than the accent? The wine. Well, sometimes. At a recent tasting of South African wines I wound my way through plenty of sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc, and pinotage (something of a national grape in these parts), but found the best wines to be something else entirely, namely exotic blends of various…

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Review: St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur (2010)

The elderflower trend may be coming to an end as haute bartenders move on to yumberry, acai, and other oddities, but I remain an undeterred St. Germain fanatic. There are simply few cocktails in the world that this golden French spirit can’t either improve or twist into something new and exciting. In fact, you owe…

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Review: The Glenlivet Cellar Collection 1973

This new, limited release whisky has spent 36 long years in cask (one sherry cask and two American oak barrels have been blended together), waiting for just the right amount of time to get from oak into the bottle and from there into your belly. This is a whisky that feels just about perfect, cooled…

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Review: Ron Barcelo Rum – Anejo, Gran Anejo, and Imperial

From the land of the Dominican Republic comes Ron Barcelo, an 80-year-old blender which takes various rums from the island and mixes up these concoctions. The company uses old bourbon barrels to age its spirit, and bottles them all at 80 proof. Here’s how they stack up. Ron Barcelo Anejo – A blend of rums…

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Review: Karma Tequila Silver

This new Highland tequila is made with no additives, a blend of double- and triple-distilled spirit and mixed with well water from the estate on which the agave is grown. Available only in blanco/silver form for now (reposado and anejo are aging now), Karma has a mild nose and a medium body. The initial rush…

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Review: Newcastle DraughtKeg

Want fresh, foamy beer without having to haul your ass down to your local watering hole or deal with the hassles of a home kegerator? Thanks to Newcastle, anyone can tap a pint-sized keg in the comfort of their own kitchen. This five-liter metal canister contains pure Newcastle, complete with an internal CO2 pressure system…

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