Review: Cirrus Vodka

With its sun-and-cloud logo and baby blue color scheme, what would you expect from the 80-proof Cirrus Vodka? Something light, summery, perhaps partly cloudy even. Well you can’t judge a book by its cover nor a vodka by its bottle: Cirrus is serious stuff, heavy duty vodka that, if I didn’t know it was from…

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Book Review: Peñín Guide to Spanish Wines 2008

José Peñín’s pets probably know more about Spanish wine than I do: It’s a complicated region to get a grasp on, hindered by a difficult-to-understand collection of wine regions (68 of them are formally recognized, and there are dozens of lesser regions, too), a variety of grapes not widely grown elsewhere, and the fact that…

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Review: Rain Vodka

Another entry into the organic spirits universe, Rain (a product of Kentucky’s Buffalo Trace Distillery) is a widely available vodka that few will have trouble finding on store shelves. Pull that eye-catching blue stopper from the raindrop-shaped bottle and a sweet, perfumy aroma fills the air. Rain’s odor gave me much promise, but the taste…

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Has California Wine Gone Off?

Alice Feiring writes today in the Los Angeles Times that she’s quit drinking wine from California because, in her mind, the wines have become “overblown, over-alcoholed, over-oaked, overpriced and over-manipulated.” It’s an old story, really: Some folks in the biz feel that certain critics (specifically Robert Parker) are being pandered to by winemakers who know…

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Bordeaux Wine Futures: Wine Pricing Gone Mad

My earlier article on how wine is priced barely scratched the surface. If you really want to see wine pricing gone wild, check out Fortune‘s story on how Bordeaux’s top chateaus price their wine, 90 percent of which is sold as futures before it ever gets into a bottle. Every April some 5,000 buyers and…

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Review: Tequila Don Julio Anejo (2008)

Cinco de Mayo is holiday time… oh, wait, we’ve covered that already. Let’s get right to the review, then. Don Julio’s Añejo tequila is top shelf stuff. This aged spirit has an immediate kick of vanilla, butterscotch, and Christmas spices, with a good, mellowed agave flavor that seeps into all of it. The wood is…

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Review: El Mayor Tequila Blanco (2008)

Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo. And Cinco de Mayo is holiday time. Holiday time in Mexico. While we celebrate Mexico’s victory against Napoleon’s invading force in 1862, we are encouraged to do so with quality tequila. Here’s the first of two reviews of premium tequilas, both of which are excellent choices for your May 5…

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Review: Oak Leaf’s $1.97 Chardonnay and Merlot

How good can something cheap really be? When last I broached this topic I found there was some correlation between wine prices and quality, but that it was fairly weak. But that analysis doesn’t really apply to the rock-bottom pricing that rules the world of jug wines, box wines, and stuff like Oak Leaf, a…

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