Review: NV Nicolas Feuillatte Brut and Rose Champagne (2020)

We’ve written about the Champagnes of Nicolas Feuillatte several times, but here’s a fresh look at two of the operation’s most available bottlings from the “Reserve Exclusive” series — a nonvintage brut and a rose, both seen here in their 2020 incarnations. Both are available in standard bottles and in 187ml “splits” that can be…

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Review: Copper Fox Inauguration Rye

A handful of craft distillers across the country commemorated the recent presidential inauguration with a special spirits release. Virginia’s Copper Fox Distillery used the moment as an excuse to release its first ever cask strength whisky, dubbed Inauguration Rye. While this is the distillery’s first inauguration release, going forward there are plans to set aside…

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Review: 2016 Renato Ratti Barolo Marcenasco DOCG

One look at the light color of this wine and it immediately shows itself as an atypical Barolo. The nose however shows itself as fairly iconic: dense and earthy, with a layer of roasted mushrooms and balsamic notes that segue from there into intense notes of black fruit, tar, rhubarb, and tobacco. From there everything…

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Review: Dewar’s Portuguese Smooth Port Cask Finish 8 Years Old

The third installment in the Dewar’s “Smooth” lineup is here, following Caribbean Smooth Rum Cask Finish and Ilegal Smooth Mezcal Cask Finish. This time up we’re turning to the world of Port, taking 8 year old Dewar’s and finishing it for up to 6 months in ruby Port wine casks. If this sounds interesting, tune in…

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Review: Gatsby Spirits Vodka, Rum, and Cinnamon Whiskey

Based in Waldport, Oregon, Gatsby Spirits is a new operation that is crafting a variety of products (under two separate brand names), including some curious and unusual ingredients. We tasted all three of Gatsby’s offerings. Let’s dig in. Gatsby Spirits The Tides Vodka – Made from a blend of a 4x distilled corn mash and…

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Review: 2016 Louis M. Martini Lot No. 1 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

It’s been a year since our last spin with Louis M. Martini’s top-shelf Lot No. 1 Cabernet Sauvignon, and for this 2016 release I’m experiencing a much different animal. There’s a bold blackberry note on the nose — a bit short of sweet currants — that masks some of the denser herbal and tarry qualities…

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Review: Bruichladdich Black Art 8.1

Bruichladdich has a famous devotion to transparency when it comes to what’s in its whiskies, with one exception: Black Art, a single malt that’s vatted from any number of types of casks, differing (wildly) with every release but never enumerated. Black Art does carry an age statement, though, and a vintage statement. Black Art 8.1…

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Review: 2018 William Hill Benchmark Chardonnay

William Hill’s top-level white wine, while it’s effusive on the nose, is — wow — surprisingly thin in body, lacking the gravitas one expects from a top-tier Napa chardonnay. Gentle floral and citrus aromas offer a lively introduction, but the palate doesn’t really follow through. Notes of figs and some cookie dough elements emerge on…

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