Review: 2018 Sonoma-Cutrer Pinot Noir Woodford Reserve Barrel Finished

OK, not gonna lie here: Most bourbon-barrel finished wines are barely drinkable — and those are mostly cabernets, which can stand up to the punch of the whiskey barrel. What then to make of more upscale producer Sonoma-Cutrer putting a pinot noir in Woodford Reserve barrels for 4 months, its first whiskey-barreled release? Both operations share…

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Review: Rhum Barbancourt 15 Years Old

Haiti’s oldest distillery – actually, one of its oldest companies – happens to be Société du Rhum Barbancourt, makers of Rhum Barbancourt. Opened in 1862, the distillery is currently helmed by the fifth generation of the founding family. This rum is aged in limousin oak and made from sugar cane juice in the style of…

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Review: 2015 Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage Port

It’s been four years since we saw an LBV bottling from Dow’s, with the 2011 vintage. 2015 was not a declared vintage for most Port houses, though Dow’s had a notable small release from a single vineyard. As for this Late Bottled Vintage offering, it’s decidedly approachable, with unusual elements of fig jam and cola…

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Review: Coit Spirits Gins and Bourbon

Coit Spirits traces a path from Australia vineyards to Sonoma, California, courtesy of winemaker Gerry Rowland, who has of late turned his eyes to the hard stuff. (That’s San Francisco’s Coit Tower on the bottle.) The company’s first product, an Earl Grey-infused gin, arrived a few years ago, and the company’s distilling operation has expanded…

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Recipe: Bramble

Here’s a great recipe for summer sipping. The Bramble was created by legendary bartender Dick Bradsell at Fred’s Club in London in the 1980s. As with many cocktails, it’s exceptionally simple but the better the ingredients, the better the drink (including the crushed ice). Use a dry gin to complement the blackberry, not something overly…

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Review: 2016 Gamble Family Vineyards Paramount

I spent a solid five minutes chipping the wax off the neck of Gamble’s Paramount — a process which should be enough to cue you in to the fact that this is one of Gamble’s most prized bottlings. Paramount is a blend of 32% cabernet sauvignon, 32% cabernet franc, 30% merlot, and 6% petit verdot.…

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Review: Booker’s Bourbon “Granny’s Batch” 2020-01

The first of Booker’s limited edition bourbon bottlings for 2020 is here, “Granny’s Batch,” named for Booker Noe’s mom, Margaret Beam Noe, also known as “Granny Noe” to the extended family. Per the company, Margaret was instrumental in getting Booker his first job at the distillery where he would go on to become Master Distiller. This…

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Review: 2019 Flat Top Hills Rose California

This simple rose is made with undisclosed grapes from all over California, and while it’s a serviceable summer sipper, it’s fairly anonymous and straightforward on the whole. The usual notes are all lined up: strawberries and cream, vanilla, and some butterscotch at times. Not overly sweet, it offers decent acidity, with a clear berry character…

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