Review: 2017 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT

Hard to believe we haven’t reviewed this wine since its 2006 vintage, but here we are. Modus is eternal, seemingly unchanging: This year the Super Tuscan is a blend of 37% sangiovese, 32% merlot, and 31% cabernet sauvignon, and the wine is a showcase of black fruit and woody bramble, a touch of currant evident…

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Review: Alfred Giraud Voyage French Malt Whisky

In late 2020, the Giraud family made its move from Cognac to whisky, dropping two expressions that proved that France can work with grains (almost) as well as it can with grapes. Now Alfred Giraud is back with a third French malt whisky expression, Voyage. Voyage is the first release in the Exploratory Blends Range,…

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Review: Hanson of Sonoma Pink Grapefruit Vodka

Hanson of Sonoma’s latest vodka flavor is a natural (and seasonal) one — grapefruit, made much like its other spirits, starting with a distillate of organic grapes and infusing it with real, organic, hand-peeled grapefruit. (It’s no joke: You can see the pulp floating in the bottle here.) It’s usually hard to get excited about…

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Review: Batiste Rhum Silver and Gold

To start, what is the difference between rum and rhum? Rum is the larger category and includes all distilled spirits that use sugarcane as the source material. Most rums, however, are made by distilling molasses. Rhum is generally short for “rhum agricole” (French for “agricultural rum”) refers exclusively to rums made by distilling fresh juice…

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Review: 2019 Landmark Vineyards Pinot Noir – Overlook and Grand Detour

Two new pinot noirs from Landmark — one from Paso Robles, one from the Sonoma Coast — both from the 2019 vintage. Ready or not: 2019 Landmark Vineyards Overlook Pinot Noir – Classic Paso Robles pinot, rich with notes of macerated cherries, fresh currants, and an herbal quality that sprinkles in notes of rosemary and thyme…

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Recipe: Final Ward

The craft cocktail boom has seen countless riffs on the classics, some great and some not so great. Quintessential libations, like the Manhattan or the Negroni, have seemed to offer the best vehicles for experimentation, partly due to their simplicity but also their familiarity with the drinking public. It’s one thing for a bartender to…

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Review: Diageo Scotch Whisky Distillers Editions 2021

Not to be confused with the far more expensive Diageo Special Edition Releases, Diageo’s Distillers Edition whiskies are more accessible (read: affordable) but also released on a (mostly) annual basis. While normally we see these a bit randomly, this year we were fortunate to receive the full collection of 2021 Distillers Editions, six whiskies in…

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Review: Dutcher Crossing 2019 Chenoweth Vineyard Chardonnay and 2018 Maple Vineyard Zinfandel

We’ve tried Dutcher Crossing before, but not everything from this smaller, Sonoma based producer, which offers a range of wines from various vineyards. This is our first experience with Dutcher’s Chardonnays (they produce several, often highlighting grapes drawn from single vineyards) as well as one of their Zinfandels. 2019 Dutcher Crossing Chenoweth Vineyard Russian River…

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