Review: 2017 Tablas Creek Esprit Blanc de Tablas

Tablas Creek is an icon of Paso Robles, and it’s best known for its Rhone-style blends. Surprisingly oaky, this white blend brings together a collection of grapes some of which are almost unheard of in the U.S. (roussanne, grenache blanc, picpoul blanc, picardan, and clairette blanche). The blend coalesces into a wine that is both…

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Tasting Report: Bordeaux and Sauternes, 2017 Vintage

The arrival of 2017 Bordeaux brings with it the inevitable nervousness over quality. It was a year where spring frost caused moderate damage and summer heat created a different type of problems. While some producers have learned how to manage extreme weather conditions, some wines aren’t showing their best. Sure enough, this tasting was fairly…

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Review: NV Bricoleur Vineyards “Flying by the Seat of Our Pants” Brut

Bricoleur Vineyards is a new Sonoma-based winery and “hospitality retreat,” and clearly the proprietors have a sense of humor. The winery’s nonvintage sparkler (63% chardonnay, 34% pinot noir, 2% “Reserve Wines,” 1% pinot meunier) is called “Flying by the Seat of Our Pants,” a reference to the English translation of the winery’s name. Made in…

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Review: Starward Two-Fold Australian Whisky

Australian whisky brand Starward has been making slow inroads into the U.S. market, beginning with the Nova bottling we reviewed late last year. Now a second expression of Starward is here, Two-Fold, and it’s a unique whisky for any country. Two-Fold is named because it’s made with two separate whiskies, each distilled from a single…

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Review: Inniskillin Ice Wines, 2020 Releases

It’s been six years since we checked in with Inniskillin (and six more years before that), so it’s high time we sampled the Canadian winery’s icewines once again. Inniskillin makes icewine (aka ice wine) from three different varietals (plus a sparkling version) all grown in the Niagara peninsula and all made from frozen grapes that…

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Why Don’t Whiskey Corks Dry Out? (And What You Should Do If They Do)

Drinkers of both wine and whiskey (and other spirits) must have considered the cork paradox at some point. Here it is: Wine corks dry out, so collectors must store bottles on their side, in order to keep the cork wet and, thus, intact. But spirits are known to damage cork material, so whiskey and other…

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Review: 2016 Chateau Malescasse Haut-Medoc Cru Bourgeois

This Cru Bourgeois Bordeaux (read: a second-tier bottling) from Haut-Medoc’s Chateau Malescasse is a blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and petit verdot, but on the nose it’s more fragrant elements don’t immediately come across. Instead, heavy notes of licorice and forest floor dominate, with a subtle pine needle element hanging in the air. The palate…

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Review: Barrell Bourbon Batch 23

It’s a new year, which means new batches of Barrell Bourbon from Barrell Craft Spirits. We recently received the latest, Batch 23. This one is a blend of straight bourbons from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana, all of which are aged at least ten years (similar to Batch 21). Let’s see how this one stacks up,…

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