Review: 2021 Rombauer Zinfandel California

It’s always a pleasure to try a new vintage from Rombauer, and this year’s Zinfandel release is typical for the winery in that it is, again, atypical for a California Zin. The nose hits with big notes of plum, mocha, cola, and just a trace of tobacco. The palate is a bit different: mocha with…

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Review: Old Pepper Bourbon, Rye, and James E. Pepper Bourbon (2024)

Like many American whiskey brands of late, the Old Pepper/James E. Pepper brand has gone through all kinds of changes since we first encountered it in 2013. At the time, the brand was a relaunch of an ancient label that hadn’t been produced since 1958 (or 1961, depending on who you trust), taking advantage of…

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Review: Wines of Ancient Peaks, 2024 Releases

More wines from Paso Robles-based Ancient Peaks, which we’ve covered at length over the years. Here’s a look at the latest batch of releases, including our first encounter with the Ancient Peaks Pearl label. 2022 Ancient Peaks Chardonnay Santa Margarita Ranch – Creamy vanilla and lemon curd meld nicely against a lightly acidic backbone that…

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Review: Heaven Hill Heritage Collection Bourbon 18 Years Old (2024)

  Heaven Hill’s inaugural Heritage Collection release in 2022 was such a standout that it earned a spot on our Top 10 Whiskeys of the year list. The 2023 follow-up — a 20-year-old corn whiskey — didn’t quite impress the same way, but its unique composition was a bit of an oddity that at least…

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Review: New Belgium Oakspire Bourbon Barrel Ale (2023)

As was the case with the 2022 release, New Belgium’s 2023 Oakspire bottling is barrel aged in Four Roses casks, a decidedly minimal departure compared to previous years’ shifts. However, per the brand: This year’s edition of Oakspire has been brewed through a proprietary infusion method to extract the rich flavors from the bourbon-soaked charred…

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Review: Waterford Distillery Heritage Hunter and Organic Cuvee Gaia

Waterford continues to expand its diverse portfolio of terroir-focused Irish whiskeys. Today we’re taking a look at a recent addition to the Arcadian Farm Origin Series which, like last year’s peated offerings, showcases “maverick farming” with a focus on heritage grains. The second offering is an all cuvee expression of Waterford’s Organic Gaia. Let’s check…

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Review – Nine Irish Whiskeys from the New Hampshire Liquor Commission

New Hampshire is a thirsty state. For nearly a decade now, we’ve periodically covered the NHLC’s acquisition of single barrel American whiskey and tequila. Now, through a partnership with Bord Bia, Ireland’s Agency for Food and Drink, the Granite State is getting access to a wide selection of unique Irish whiskeys. Per NHLC: The New Hampshire Liquor Commission (NHLC) and…

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Review: 2021 The Calling Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles

The Calling was founded by Jim Nantz and Peter Deutsch, and the brand’s wines are made by veteran winemaker James MacPhail, who primarily makes Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon with grapes sourced from Sonoma, Monterey, and Paso Robles, California. The wine we are trying today, a Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon, is made with 100%…

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