Tasting Tempranillo with Ramon Bilbao, 2010 Releases

Tempranillo has always been a tricky grape for me, lacking a distinct archetypal style like you get with, say, pinot noir, cabernet, or even (to a lesser extent) zinfandel. Recently I attended a tasting from Spanish winery Ramon Bilbao, which focuses on tempranillo and a few Spanish whites to whet your palate with. Winemaker Rodolfo…

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Review: Rochioli 2008 Sauvignon Blanc and 2007 Pinot Noir

Rochioli Vineyards is known for limited releases of high-end pinot, sauvignon blanc, and chardonnay. While the next vintage is now coming on the market, we were lucky to get samples of its 2008 sauvignon blanc and 2007 pinot noir bottlings for review. Here’s how they stack up! 2008 Rochioli Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley is…

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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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