Review: Wines of Rodney Strong, Mid-2021 Releases

It’s an overload of new Rodney Strong releases, many representing the brand’s more entry-level offerings. Let’s dig in. 2020 Rodney Strong Rose of Pinot Noir Russian River Valley – Boldly acidic, with notes of peaches and strawberries up top, fading to elements of sour plum and a pinch of Christmas spice. There’s only a minor…

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Review: Smoke Wagon Uncut Unfiltered Bourbon

Monica already kicked off our exploration of Nevada’s Smoke Wagon bourbons earlier this year with a look at its Small Batch. Today we’re moving up a tier and checking out the Uncut Unfiltered offering, a blend of high rye bourbons rumored to be between 4 and 10 years old, bottled at barrel strength without chill…

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Review: 2020 Essay Chenin Blanc

“Essay” is a play on words, as “S.A.” is the abbreviation for South Africa. Hey, this isn’t $200 humor, this is $9 humor. This Chenin Blanc adds in 14% Viognier and 12% Roussanne, giving the finished product a bold character that offers notes of peaches, apricots, and a silky layer of vanilla cream. Lemon and…

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Review: Mile High Spirits Fireside Single Barrel Bourbon and Summit Gin

Colorado is a crowded state for craft distilling, but Mile High Spirits in the heart of Denver is endeavoring to distinguish themselves by, and I’m quoting their website here, “not being obnoxious about it.” The Our Story section goes on at length with a well-reasoned manifesto bemoaning the elitism and expense of craft spirits today.…

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Review: Absinthia Blanche and Verte

Absinthia — formally known as Absinthia’s Bottled Spirits — is a woman-owned absinthe producer based in Oakland, California (though the product is produced in Fresno). What else could the owner, with a name like J. Absinthia Vermut, produce but an American take on the green fairy? Absinthia uses vintage Swiss recipes, natural ingredients, and no…

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Review: Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2021 Edition

The first big release of fall whiskey season — Old Forester Birthday Bourbon, which celebrates the birthday of founder George Garvin Brown on September 2 — has arrived. This year’s release is a batch of 119 barrels which were distilled on April 16,2009, making it a 12 year old expression. It’s bottled at 104 proof…

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Review: NV Cockburn’s Porto Branco

Summer is made for mixing up cocktails with white Port — just add tonic and an orange slice if you have it. Cockburn’s nonvintage Porto Branco offers an approachable, if innocuous, way to explore some of the charms of this unique wine — at a very reasonable price. It’s a classic example of the style,…

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Review: Amaro Alta Verde

Italian distillery Antica Erboristeria Cappelletti is best known for its eponymous aperitivo — but it makes a variety of bitter liqueurs, including this one. Amaro Alta Verde is a truly unusual amaro, pale green in color and flavored primarily with Assenzio, a variety of wormwood. “A complementary blend of alpine herbs, citrus and spice frame and…

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