Review: Cupcake 2008 Riesling and 2007 Petite Sirah

Readily available at your typical supermarket, the Cupcake Vineyards label is a solid value for everyday drinking. Some thoughts on two recent varietals follow. 2008 Cupcake Riesling is extremely dry for this varietal, harvested from Washington’s Yakima Valley and fragrant with aromatics. Herbal notes give way to a curious collection of fruit flavors — melon,…

Read More about Review: Cupcake 2008 Riesling and 2007 Petite Sirah

Review: Absolut Boston Vodka

Absolut Boston is the third city-themed vodka from the massive spirits company, but the first of that bunch I’ve had the chance to sample. Some thoughts — before the bottle vanishes altogether. Absolut Boston is flavored with black tea and elderflower, an interesting and overall quite successful combination. Everyone loves elderflower — you can’t turn…

Read More about Review: Absolut Boston Vodka

Original Recipe: The Lemonparty Cocktail

Whatever you do, don’t Google “lemonparty.” This drink is not inspired by what you’d find (and likely be horrified by) if you did that. Rather, it’s the name of the group several friends of mine and I have in the video game Rock Band. Of course, the band name is inspired by the aforementioned website,…

Read More about Original Recipe: The Lemonparty Cocktail

Tasting Report: Wines of Howell Mountain 2009

How’s this for a niche event: Only wineries from Howell Mountain, a small part of Napa Valley which comprises about two dozen winemakers. It’s one of the few wine events where I actually got to sample a wine from every producer in attendance. Most Howell Mountain producers focus on Cabernet Sauvignon, but a smattering of…

Read More about Tasting Report: Wines of Howell Mountain 2009

Review: Auchentoshan Classic, 12 Years Old, and Three Wood

Next to Bruichladdich and Bunnahabhain, Auchentoshan is one of my favorite names in the Scotch whisky business. The company (a lowland distillery) also makes some fine whisky to match its name. We recently got a hand on three of its more widely available expressions. Comments on each follow. Auchentoshan Classic is the company’s entry-level whisky,…

Read More about Review: Auchentoshan Classic, 12 Years Old, and Three Wood

Review: Wines of Big House, 2009 Releases

Big House operates out of Monterey County next to the Soledad State Correctional Facility. While rumor has long held that the prison produces the wine, that’s not the case — it’s just a gimmick, but a good one, for a really affordable and generally quite drinkable, venerable brand of wine. We tried the winery’s three…

Read More about Review: Wines of Big House, 2009 Releases

Review: He’Brew Rejewvenator Harvest to Harvest Ale

The good folks at Shmaltz Brewing Company have no shortage of good humor. Brewing under the “He’Brew” label, the company’s kosher beers play up Jewish stereotypes to a hilt, and they never apologize for it along the way. The company’s latest experiment is Rejewvenator, a “half doppelbock, half Belgian style dubbel” which is brewed with…

Read More about Review: He’Brew Rejewvenator Harvest to Harvest Ale

Review: Bowmore 12 Years Old

One of the big names of Islay, Bowmore is a staple of bars around the world. Bowmore’s 12 year old bottling is its youngest single malt with an age statement, and it’s a solid entry point to Bowmore’s typical structure. Moderately gold/amber in color, Bowmore 12 offers a mild nose with a somewhat hot character.…

Read More about Review: Bowmore 12 Years Old