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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Review: Sheep Dog Peanut Butter Whiskey

Watch out Skrewball, there’s another peanut butter flavored whiskey on the market: Sheep Dog, a new product from spirits giant Sazerac. There’s not a lot of production information here, but the whiskey is naturally flavored and colored with caramel. Put simply, Sheep Dog makes Skrewball look like a masterpiece. Crack the bottle and vaporized sugar…

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Review: Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum and XO Rum (2020)

Mount Gay’s Black Barrel and XO Rum expressions have both been around for some time — Black Barrel is the newbie, released originally in 2013; XO was rebranded from its original “Extra Old” some time around then too — but in 2020 the Barbados-based distillery revamped both of these venerable bottlings. (These were unveiled at…

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