Review: 2017 WillaKenzie Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

Whoa, I’m as fan of “terroir” as the next guy, but this pinot noir feels like the fruit was dragged along a dirt road before hitting the bottle, it’s so full of brambly, almost tarry character on the nose and palate. Initially incredibly dry on the palate, the wine slowly opens up to reveal some…

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Review: Avion Tequila Reserva 44 Extra Anejo

The core offerings from Avion Tequila have consistently impressed us over the years, and the brand remains a significant player amid an ever-growing field of ultra-premium tequilas. In 2013, Avion followed the lead of other premium tequila producers and introduced an extra anejo as the Cadillac offering in their portfolio. Extra anejo is a category…

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Review: 2017 Markham The Altruist

Napa-based Markham has launched a new wine called The Altruist, a charity-focused bottling made in partnership with the Gary Sinise Foundation, whose mission is “to serve our nation by honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need.” This Bordeaux-style blend comprises 66% merlot, 16% cabernet sauvignon, 6% petit verdot, 5% malbec,…

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Review: Frey Ranch Rye

We were pretty up on Nevada-based Frey Ranch Distillery’s inaugural bourbon earlier this year. Now we’re back with the inevitable follow up, a straight rye, made “grain to glass” on Frey Ranch’s estate. It’s a bonded rye, made from 100% winter rye, that carries a 5 year old age statement (at least in this batch,…

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Review: 2018 Quinta de Fonte Souto Branco Alentejo DOC

Symington is well known for its Port holdings, and with Quinta da Fonte Souto it has taken its first steps into southern Portugal. We reviewed its first vintage, from 2017, last year. Now we’re back with a look at the 2018 white wine from this Alentejo-based operation. Again made from a blend of 75% arinto…

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Review: Midnight Moon Moonshines and American Whiskey

Junior Johnson was a major NASCAR driver — but before that, he was a moonshine distiller, and was actually convicted for it in federal court. (Ronald Reagan pardoned Johnson in 1986.) Before his death in 2019, Johnson teamed up with Piedmont Distillers in North Carolina to craft his moonshine recipe the legal way. Today, Midnight…

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Review: 2015 Pacific Rim Winemakers Thick Skinned Red Mountain

Red Mountain AVA can be found in deep southern Washington, west of the better-known Walla Walla region. This wine is produced by Pacific Rim Winemakers, which markets wines from this region under at least four different brands. Thick Skinned is an unusual blend of 60.1% cabernet sauvignon, 33.1% malbec, and 8.8% petit verdot. Let’s give…

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Book Review: Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2021

If there are matters we can count upon, as events have played out over the last several days, it is this: Jim Murray does not lie awake at night wondering what you think. Jim Murray quite clearly does not sit in front of a word processor agonizing over word choice in his reviews. Jim Murray…

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