Review: 2017 Wente Chardonnay Riva Ranch Vineyard

Wente’s 2017 Riva Ranch chardonnay offers a surplus of flavors — almond butter, mango, lemon peel, and chamomile — all melding into a surprisingly apt summery concoction. The palate is big and buttery, while notes of cardamom and vanilla inform the finish. It’s a crowd pleaser, but it drinks with more authority than you’d think…

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Review: Grand Mayan Reposado Tequila

We first encountered Grand Mayan in 2016 and were reasonably impressed with its “Very Special” Lowlands tequila that was — uniquely — triple-distilled instead of seeing the usual double distillation. Now Grand Mayan is expanding its footprint with a reposado version of the above. (An “Ultra Aged” expression, already on the market, has not been…

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Review: 2018 RIFF Pinot Grigio

Alois Lageder’s RIFF label is designed to be an ultra-affordable option for those looking for the mountain-grown wines of northeast Italy (which means namely pinot grigio but RIFF also has a merlot-cab blend). Notes Lageder: Riff stands for reef, a reference to the terroir of the foothills of the Northern Italian Alps, where grapes for…

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Review: Roulaison Rum – Barrel-Aged Reserve, Overproof, and Amer

We first encountered Roulaison Rum — pot-distilled in New Orleans from 100% Louisiana molasses — back in 2017. Since then, the company has significantly expanded its offerings from its single white rum offering to a quartet of them. Today we round out our coverage by looking at the three additional products in the lineup. Roulaison…

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Review: Wines of Kendall-Jackson, 2019 Releases

A trio of new releases from Kendall-Jackson have arrived, and we’re digging into these affordable offerings… which offer a little bit of something for everyone. 2018 Kendall-Jackson Avant Unoaked Chardonnay California – Why more producers aren’t making unoaked chardonnay I’ll never understand. This bottling is loaded with fresh fruit — lemons, figs, red apples, and…

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Review: Yellowstone Select Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

We’ve kept tabs on the annual Yellowstone Limited Edition releases from Kentucky’s Limestone Branch Distillery since 2016, but somehow, we never got around to reviewing its standard bourbon offering, Yellowstone Select. Well, that changes today. While past releases of Yellowstone Select were entirely sourced, this bourbon is now a blend of Limestone Branch’s own distillate…

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Review: Balcones Pot Still Bourbon, Rye, “1,” and Baby Blue Whiskey (2019)

Waco-based Balcones is one of the most innovative distilleries in Texas, with new expressions constantly trickling out of the operation. The latest to arrive is Balcones Texas Pot Still Bourbon , which is distilled in Forsyth pot stills from a four-grain mash of roasted blue corn, Texas wheat, Texas rye and malted barley, then aged…

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Tasting Virginia’s Best Wines, 2019 Releases

After being pleasantly surprised in tasting recent wines from Virginia, we were asked to check out the 2019 Governor’s Cup Case, a selection of a dozen wines that won gold medals in the 2019 Virginia Governor’s Cup Wine Competition. This mixed case from producers all over Virginia showcases a variety of styles, but all are…

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