Review: Oro de Oaxaca Mezcal

Nothing about Oro de Oaxaca Mezcal screams “premium.” It’s got a cheap bottle (with plastic cap), primary-color logo, and mystery bag of “chile” attached to the neck (more on that in a moment)… and of course it’s also got a worm sunken to the bottom of the bottle. Ignore all that and tuck into a…

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Review: 2005 Dievole Chianti Classico Riserva Novecento

Quite a surprise from this Chianti Classico, super-priced at 50 bucks a bottle but rather staid in the glass. Dievole imbues this Tuscan wine with a dusty, chalky texture, and it’s extremely young on the palate. Decanting helps, bringing out flavors of roasted meat, red peppers, fig, and tobacco — but the finish is too…

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Review: Casa Noble Tequila, Complete Lineup (2009)

If nothing else, Casa Noble wins a prize for its gorgeous bottle design. Good thing for us: The company’s tequila — 100% blue agave, triple distilled to 80 proof, and (save the blanco) aged in French oak barrels. All are worth your consideration — all equally good in their own ways. Casa Noble Crystal (Blanco)…

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Review: 2006 Bonny Doon Cardinal Zin

Straight outta Livermore, the quirky wine nuts at Bonny Doon have turned their eyes to zinfandel, with this “Cardinal Zin” (get it? GET IT!?) now hitting the market. Grapes are sourced from “Beastly Old Vines” in the Oakley area (the far outer suburbs of the San Francisco Bay Area; the wine bears only a “California”…

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Review: Señor Sangria Classic Red

Pre-mixed, bottled sangria can be a dicey proposition. I mean, is it that hard to make good sangria yourself? Well, yes, yes it is. That’s why you never make it at home, lardo — you’re too lazy. And you’ve got to have lots of fresh fruit handy. And a knife. Screw that and pop open…

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Review: Thatcher’s Blueberry and Dark Chocolate Liqueurs

Previously we’ve raved about three of Thatcher’s Organic Liqueurs, and now we’re about to rave about two more, so put on your happy hats. Thatcher’s Blueberry Liqueur is as simple as they come: Organic blueberry smashed into 30-proof oblivion. The flavor is clean and authentic, a berry bomb that is clearly sweet, unadulterated blueberry. It’s…

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Review: Brugal Extra Viejo Rum (2009)

The Dominican Republic’s biggest-selling rum arrives in a new incarnation (well, new to the U.S. anyway): “Extra Viejo,” or “Extra Old.” This bottling is a blend of older rums — no age statement is given — but age is certainly in mind when one sips this spirit. Deep brown in color, the nose is immediately…

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Review: The Diamond Standard Vodka

The world is awash in $30 vodkas. It takes serious cojones to price what is supposed to be a flavorless, clear spirit at more than twice that. At $73 and up, The Diamond Standard Vodka is one of the most expensive vodkas on the market (though there are pricier ones). Calling itself “fashion you can…

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