The Best Wine You’ve Never Heard Of

I had my first — and only — bottle of Sean Thackrey’s wine on May 24, 2002, a bottle of the 1995 Orion (which the label professed not to know what grape varietal it was made of but which was likely Syrah), which I found in a mixed case lot at a Bonhams & Butterfield…

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Review: 2005 Charles Krug Cabernet Sauvignon Yountville – Napa Valley

Founded in 1861, Charles Krug is Napa Valley’s oldest winery. I know this because it says so right on the label of Krug’s 2005 Cabernet. Now operated by Peter Mondavi and his family, Krug wines are still alive and kicking. The 2005 Charles Krug Cabernet Sauvignon Yountville – Napa Valley is actually a curious blend:…

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Review: Skyy Infusions Passion Fruit Vodka

Did you know: Skyy is the #4 vodka brand in the U.S.? I always thought Skyy was a west coast thing (they’re based here in S.F.), but I guess they’re really a powerhouse in the biz. With products like this one, it’s easy to see why. Passion fruit, as flavors go, is invariably a big…

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Tasting Report: Sonoma in the City, May 2008

Sonoma County’s vintners threw an enormous event in a far-too-small and wholly-unorganized ballroom at San Francisco’s Four Seasons this week, showcasing some of the areas wines (in fact, all 13 Sonoma County AVAs were represented). I only managed to taste a small fraction of the more-than-100 wineries pouring at the event, but some truly inspired…

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Review: New Amsterdam Gin

Even old New York was once New Amsterdam. However, New Amsterdam gin is made in good old Modesto, California (not Constantinople). It’s also a surprising twist on gin as you might know it now. Why they changed it, I can’t say. Maybe they like it better that way. OK, enough tomfoolery. New Amsterdam has the…

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Review: 2005 Barossa Valley Estate E Minor Chardonnay and Shiraz

Created from grapes grown throughout Australia’s Barossa Valley, Barossa Valley Estate’s E Minor bottlings are real mutts of a wine, the product of labors of some 60 growers. Can a wine created from grapes from dozens of vineyards be any good? Let’s find out. 2005 Barossa Valley Estate E Minor Chardonnay is a new world…

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Review: Corazon Tequila, Complete Lineup (2008)

I find that tequila creates the strongest difference of opinion of any straight spirit. While people tend to agree on what makes a good gin, a good vodka, or even a good bourbon, when it comes to tequila, opinions on a given bottle tend to fall all over the map. One case in point is…

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Papa, Where Does Rosé Come From?

I had to laugh at a press release sent today from Hardys, the “no. 1 wine brand” in the UK, which stated that although wine is the “drink of choice” for 2/3 of British drinkers, almost a quarter of them thought that rosé was made from mixing red and white wine together. I probably shouldn’t…

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