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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Review: 2015 Famiglia Pasqua Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG

Famiglia Pasqua sources its Amarone grapes from five vineyards: Poiano, Roccolo di Mozzole, San Felice, San Pietro di Lavagno, and Tregnago. Used in the production of the wine are corvina, corvinone, rondinella, and negrara grapes. Of course, what really makes Amarone Amarone is the appassimento grape-drying technique. Per Pasqua: “With appassimento, grapes are harvested by…

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Review: Sagamore Spirit Rye Calvados Finish

Sagamore Spirit‘s latest limited edition is a rye finished in French apple brandy barrels for more than 11 months. As with prior Sagamore bottlings, it’s sourced from MGP with no additional information offered. It’s not immediately appley on the nose, the whiskey is strongly earthy and heavy with savory aromas, a blend of creosote, barrel…

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Review: NV J Vineyards Cuvee 20 Brut Russian River Valley (2020)

We last considered J Vineyards’ flagship sparkler — Cuvee 20 — in 2017, and it remains a top performer in the nonvintage Cali-verse. Historically a blend of 51% chardonnay, 41% pinot noir, and 8% pinot meunier (though that may not be accurate today), this creamy wine offers a thoughtful exploration of the Russian River Valley,…

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