Review: 2007 Grey Stack Pinot Noir “The Fisherman” Connell Family Vineyard Bennett Valley

Formerly known as Dry Stack, Grey Stack Cellars took on a new name after the folks at Dry Sack Sherry felt there was a little too much similarity between the two company names. Fair enough, the wine inside is the same no matter what you call it. In any case, this pinot noir from Sonoma’s…

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Review: 2008 Lander-Jenkins Chardonnay “Spirit Hawk”

At 14 bucks a bottle, Lander-Jenkins’ “Spirit Hawk” Chardonnay (sourced from unspecified California vineyards) doesn’t exactly aim for the stars. Lightly oaked, it’s a simple wine, with fair apple character, some grapefruit, and a good slug of hammy meat in the body. The mouthfeel is fairly rich and creamy, and a touch of pineapple on…

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Review: Deschutes Brewery Black Butte XXI 21st Birthday Reserve

Recipe for awesomeness: Take a thick, brown porter, add (Bellatazza’s) coffee and (Theo’s) chocolate beans during the brewing process, age 20 percent of the finished product in (Stranahan’s) whiskey barrels, and bottle at 11 percent alcohol. Hefty beers like this are normally not my thing, but Deschutes’ Black Butte XXI (celebrating 21 years of the…

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2008 Wine May Offer a Bit More Smoke Than Usual…

Remember all those California forest fires in 2008? Well guess what, you might be drinking them with your next bottle of pinot: And then, biblically, came the blazes throughout the Northern California hills but notably in Mendocino, where the 129 fires of the Lightning Complex blaze would ultimately burn more than 54,000 acres. It was,…

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Review: Charbay Tequila Blanco

The booze masters at Charbay never seem to know when to quit. Already the home of numerous types of vodka, rum, wine, grappa, whiskey, and more, their attention has now been turned to tequila, just one more world to conquer. We got a taste of the not-yet-released blanco tequila, 100 percent agave of course and…

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Cool Down Your Drink With Rocks (Real Rocks)

It’s a dilemma for some, I suppose: You want to cool your drink down, but you don’t want it to get watery, a big problem with melting ice. Short of chilled-glass contraptions, how do you get the job done? Answer: Whisky stones. Whisky stones are real rocks, soapstone cut into cubes to be exact, which…

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Tasting Report: Pinot Days 2009

Hot weather and worse traffic conspired to make my trip to this year’s Pinot Days a relatively abbreviated one, but I still had the chance to try nearly three dozen pinots from California and Oregon. Favorite: Eric Kent’s entire line (though one 2008 barrel sample wasn’t nearly ready), a perennial Drinkhacker favorite, plus the wines…

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Review: NV Armand de Brignac Brut Gold Champagne

They don’t call it “Brut Gold” for nothing. The bottle of Armand de Brignac is, for real, plated with gold. The bottle is then placed in a velvet bag and a black lacquered wooden box, just for good measure. All the labels are stamped out of pewter. There’s no paper on the bottle at all.…

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