Review: 2019 Sonoma-Cutrer Rose of Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

Sonoma-Cutrer’s Russian River Rose is an early 2019 vintage arrival, and (as always) it’s a solid way to greet the nascent spring. Bold with strawberries and floral notes, the wine’s fruit eventually fades, showcasing a certain vanilla-fueled cookie character that recalls Nilla Wafers and, later on, tapioca pudding. Ample acidity on the back end gives…

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Reviews: Virago Four Port Rum, Port Cask-Finished Rum, and Modern Gin

Virago Spirits is a very young craft distillery, opening just two years ago in the hip Scott’s Addition neighborhood of Richmond, Virginia. The distillery was started by three brothers, Barry, Brad, and Bart Haneberg (seriously), with a focus seemingly on anything but whiskey, which is rare for a craft distillery but not exactly unwise given…

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Review: Little Beast Maiden West IPA and Folkvangr Dark Norwegian-Style Ale

You’ll find Little Beast Brewing in Portland, Oregon, and while the brewery is slavishly focused on farmhouse ales, sours, and other European styles, two new seasonals may be more accessible to the common man. We tried them both, from 16 oz cans. Little Beast Maiden West IPA – A stylistic shift for Little Beast, here they’ve…

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Review: Ardbeg Blaaack

The name will throw a wrench into SEO efforts. Is it Black? Blaack? Blaaack? Blaaaack? The answer is three As, Blaaack, which is just enough As to connote a bleating sheep and no more. Here’s what Ardbeg Blaaack actually is: Ardbeg Blaaack is the feisty Limited Edition bottled in celebration of the Ardbeg Committee’s 20th…

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Review: 2019 Charles Krug Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley

A straightforward California sauvignon blanc, this wine combines grassy and peach-forward notes against a backdrop that’s quite heavy with acidity. Brisk with lemon peel on the finish, there’s a hint of camphor here that gives the wine an almost antiseptic, vaguely medicinal quality. A fairly straightforward but well-crafted wine, it’s best with food, preferably something…

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Review: Torres 20 Hors d’Age Brandy

While most Spanish brandy hails from Jerez, in Andalucia, a small portion is produced in the Catalonian region of Penedes. Torres is one of two producers in this region, and they’ve been making the stuff for generations using wines from two different grapes, parellada and ugni blanc. They double distill in pot stills and then…

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Review: NV La Marca Luminore Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG

You know La Marca for its ubiquitous, low-price, blue-labelled Prosecco — but did you know there’s a higher-end La Marca, one that’s grown in the prestigious region of Conegliano Valdobbiadene? Luminore is a clear step up from standard-grade La Marca — and most other Proseccos — with a complexity that feels almost cocktail-like. There’s so…

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Review: Ironclad Distillery Small Batch Bourbon and Straight Bourbon

Ironclad Distillery Co. opened its doors in Newport News, Virginia back in 2015. The name comes from the first naval battle between armored warships, called Ironclads, which took place in waters just off the Port of Newport News during the Civil War. The distillery is owned and operated by the King family and focuses exclusively…

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