Review: Knappogue Castle 1994 Master Distiller’s Private Selection

We were lucky enough to land one of just 1,100 bottles of Knappogue Castle’s 1994 Master Distiller’s Private Selection Irish whiskey, a single malt Irish — hand numbered and signed by the son of the distillery’s founder, Mark Andrews III. Aged 14 years, it’s hard to imagine this whiskey spent that much time in cask.…

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Review: 2005 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

Best known for its Alexander Valley release, Silver Oak has lately been toying with a broader — and more expensive — Napa Valley Cabernet bottling from the other end of the California wine country. With a distinctively different bottle, it’s got a distinctly different character, too. We tried it out the 2005 on the week…

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Tasting Blackstone Reserve Wines with Winemaker Gary Sitton, 2010 Releases

Blackstone is known for its supermarket brand — the company sells over 16 million bottles of budget wines each year — but you may not know about its Reserve lineup, which comprises less than 10 percent of its sales. Recently I tasted through the Reserve lineup with winemaker Gary Sitton, a veteran of Ravenswood and…

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Samovar’s Valentine’s Day Romance Tea Set

I like tea. I would like to drink more tea. Maybe a loved one should give me something like this for Valentine’s Day to encourage said tea drinking.* Samovar Tea Lounge bundles three of its most “seductive and sensuous” teas into one box, offering four-ounce cans of each along with a mesh infuser that fits…

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Review: 2008 Bivio Pinot Grigio

With fruit sourced from various regions around Venice, Bivio’s budget Pinot Grigio delle Venezie IGT is a very simple wine. Perhaps the palest shade of yellow I’ve ever seen in a wine, it’s clear (no pun intended) from the start that there’s not a whole lot to this white. Crisp and with some floral notes…

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Review: 6 Sparkling Wines for Valentine’s Day 2010

Run out and buy your special someone a bottle of Moet or Veuve… or look off the beaten path at a different sparkling wine. Here’s a look at six recently released sparklers from literally all over the world (six wines from six countries) — tasted blind, just for the fun of it — featuring three…

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Review: Penderyn Single Malt Welsh Whisky

Yes, Virginia, they make whisky in Wales. And as in Scotland, they spell it without the E. Penderyn is the best known Welsh whisky on the market, probably because it’s the only operating distillery left in the region. Penderyn makes several bottlings, but this, in the company’s “house style,” is one of its best-known, a…

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Review: Herbsaint Original

There is one known use for Herbsaint, and it’s a big one: In the classic Sazerac cocktail, in which the glass is washed with Herbsaint before rye, sugar, and Peychaud’s bitters are added. Now Sazerac (the company) is relaunching the venerable spirit with its original 1934 recipe, called Herbsaint Original, aka Legendre Herbsaint. Neither the…

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