Review: 2 Rooz Vodka

To call the label of 2 Rooz Vodka cartoonish would be an understatement: It really is a cartoon, and it really does have two kangaroos on it. The label of this Australian vodka proudly notes that it is “neutral vodka,” and that’s somewhat helpful: This is a flavorful spirit, with vanilla, cinnamon, and some light…

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Review: NV Smith Woodhouse Lodge Reserve Port

Smith Woodhouse isn’t the biggest name in Port, but the company’s Lodge Reserve Port is a winner in the nonvintage world. This is a rich and vibrant ruby Port, full of fruit and jam flavors. The finish is impressively long. It stays with you in the back of your mouth for minutes, fading from sugary…

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Review: The Glenlivet XXV

Glenlivet launches its oldest (permanent collection) Scotch this fall, a 25-year malt called XXV. It’s exceptional. Aged in oak and Oloroso Sherry casks, the XXV has a light playfulness and a near-perfect balance for a single malt Scotch. Bottled at 86 proof, it needs the tiniest splash of water to cut through some pretty intense…

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R.I.P. Bill Leinenkugel

At age 87, Bill Leinenkugel has passed on. Leinenkugel was an early pioneer in the craft brew movement, when he took his long-running family brewery semi-national by positioning it as a microbrew in order to compete with the Buds and Millers of the world. Leinie’s ended up merging with Miller in 1988 and has continued…

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Original Recipe: Tuesday Afternoon

This is the cocktail that launched quite a memorable evening. This one’s fun to watch, as the fig seeds float up and down with the Prosecco when you first serve it. The name is apropos of nothing, as I couldn’t come up with anything in the “fig” genre. Tuesday Afternoon 1 fresh fig, stem removed…

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Tasting Report: Delamain Cognac Guided Tasting, 2008 Releases

All hail the House of Delamain. I reviewed much of Delamain’s exceptional cognac line earlier in the summer. This week, the company’s Managing Director Charles Braastad took the time to guide me and a handful of other wine and spirits writers through his company’s offerings. This tiny cognac producer makes some amazing products: The youngest…

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Tasting Report: Bonhams Pre-Auction Event, September 2008

Interesting tasting last night for Bonhams and Butterfield’s pre-auction tasting. But more than the wines was the curious issue of attendance: Considerably lower than even six months ago and perhaps an ominous sign of what may happen to the market for high-end wines in hard economic times. Still, there was wine to be tasted (in…

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Interstate Wine Shipping Laws Still Totally Busted

The Wall Street Journal reminds me how easy I have it here in California: I can order wine or spirits from just about anywhere and have no trouble receiving them here without fear of UPS dumping $100 Cab down the drain. (Believe me, it happens!) I’ve been under the impression that things have been improving…

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