Review: 2006 Boho Vineyards Chardonnay

Wine in a box doesn’t have the most savory reputation, and for good reason: Most of it is awful plonk. Boho Vineyards is a welcome change to that equation, offering a three-liter box of not-at-all-bad Chardonnay that you can stow in your refrigerator so it’s always at the ready. The sell: three liters equals four…

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Review: Mini Thin Rush Energy Shots

I happened into a Phoenix gas station earlier this week and was stunned to see how many “energy” shots were on sale at the register. Over 20 different varieties and hundreds of little two-ounce vials. It’s become one of the biggest trends in nonalcoholic drinking: High caffeine, very small portions. Just suck down the shot…

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Angels: DENIED

A fascinating piece in the latest Malt Advocate (Q4 2008, page 18) still has me reeling and thunderstruck. It concerns efforts to thwart evaporation of whiskey, a natural part of the aging process. Evaporation is a huge expense for distillers: Conventional wisdom holds that 2 percent of a cask vanishes each year as it evaporates.…

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Review: Charter 101 Bourbon

Here’s a new kid on the block from the good whiskey folks at Buffalo Trace: Charter (aka Old Charter) Bourbon, bottled at 101 proof and retro top to bottom in its gold-trmmed, angular-designed bottle. No age statement on the label, which is the norm for a $24 bottle of whiskey. In the glass, it’s very…

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Bad Red vs. Bad White?

From the inimitable Kingsley Amis, in the tome Everyday Drinking: Faced with a choice between bad or untrustworthy red wine on the one hand, and ditto white on the other, pick the red. That was true back when Amis wrote those words in the early ’70s (when cheap white wine meant one thing: crudely made…

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Review: Samuel Adams Hallertau Imperial Pilsner

The label of Samuel Adams Hallertau Imperial Pilsner reads “An Intense Hop Experience.” Emphasis not added: “Intense” is in italics, bold, and underlined, so you know they’re serious. Sure enough, as the bottle promises, there is an “enormous, almost reckless” amount of Noble Hallertau Mittelfrueh hops in each bottle of the Imperial Pilsner. Whatever complexity…

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Tasting Report: WhiskyFest San Francisco 2008

It’s official: WhiskyFest is awesome. Bouncing around the dozens of booths and hundreds of spirits being poured was tons of fun: More intimate than the enormous wine events and studded with wall-to-wall kilts. My final tally: 24 whiskeys tasted (plus a rum and a gin). That’s more than I was expecting to sample, but as…

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Review: Skyy Infusions Vodka – Citrus, Raspberry, Grape, and Cherry

Skyy is a big player in the flavored vodka market and is unique for its dedication to only using natural flavors in its concoctions. After raving about its passion fruit version, I tasted four of its classic, more versatile flavors to get a better feel for the line. All are 70 proof. Some thoughts follow.…

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