Review: NV Gallo Family Vineyards Twin Valley Chardonnay

The good folks at Gallo Family Vineyards (see prior review here) were kind enough to send along a four-pack of mini-bottles of Twin Valley Chardonnay, a non-vintage white that’s as close to a “picnic wine” as you’re likely to find. Like “summer wine,” the “picnic wine” term comes loaded with baggage. It implies an easy-drinking,…

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Tasting Report: Vino in Villa USA Prosecco Event, June 2008

Italian sparkling wine gets little love, and is often hard to find in the U.S., so it was a real treat to get to try a dozen or so Proseccos at a recent event in San Francisco, offering that rare chance to taste numerous producers and varieties side by side. First, a little primer: Prosecco…

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Review: Rubi Rey Rum

The red bottle screams gimmick, but the rum inside is legit: Rubi Rey, I’m happy to report, is one of the best white rums on the market, and a good deal, to boot. Finished in white oak and marketed as a “single barrel” rum, Rubi Rey offers a very clean sugary rum flavor and a…

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Review: Bluecoat American Dry Gin (2008)

A little primer for gin novices: Though there are numerous types of gin, but the vast majority sold is called London Dry Gin. Bluecoat is an American Dry Gin. The difference (putting aside their national origin) between London and American gin (not that there’s a lot of gin made here) is generally one of flavor.…

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I Want My 16 Ounces!

Interesting story in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal: To boost profits, some bars are turning to 14 oz. pours instead of 16 oz. when a customer orders a “pint” of beer. Numerous tricks are being employed. Some are at least somewhat justified, like including some amount of foamy head on a beer. Some are clearly…

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Review: Kahlua Mocha Liqueur

In case you hadn’t noticed (and I’ve yet to see these widely on sale in liquor stores), Kahlua is now broadening its line away from just the standby coffee liqueur and into other flavors. The latest is the 40-proof Kahlua Mocha, a chocolate-coffee blend launching this month that is built from “100% Arabica coffee, natural…

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Review: Cabana Cachaça

If you haven’t seen Cabana’s advertisements in the glossies, you haven’t been looking hard enough. You really can’t miss them, what with the woman’s lower torso and the tagline “Authentically Brazilian.” (As a side note, this has caused some tongues to wag, as the spirit is brought to us by an American liquor magnate.) Politics…

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Review: Gekkeikan Zipang Sparkling Sake

Sake continues its slow but inexorable push into American cocktails and bottles, this time with Gekkeikan’s Zipang Sparkling Sake beverage. Like saké2me, Zipang is a single-serve bottle (though larger, at 250ml). Unlike saké2me though, Zipang isn’t flavored, it’s literally just sake given a light carbonation. If you like sake, you’ll really enjoy Zipang. Served nice…

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