Tasting Report: Champagne Billecart-Salmon, 2019 Releases

In the Champagne world, Billecart-Salmon is a comparatively tiny operation, its 2 million bottles produced each year but a pittance in comparison to monsters like Moet and Veuve. But new CEO Mathieu Roland-Billecart seems to care not at all. At a recent lunch at Auberge du Soleil in Napa, California, Roland-Billecart poured several current releases…

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Review: Lagunitas Lagur and Phase Change

California’s Lagunitas has recently dropped two brews built for summer sippin’. Let’s crack ’em open before the days start to shorten. Lagunitas Lagur – This limited release for summer 2019 is a zippy lager flavored with Loral 291 hops. Aggressively floral, the beer initially hits the palate with the hoppy force of an IPA, but…

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Review: Old Elk Straight Rye Whiskey and Straight Wheat Whiskey (2019)

Former MGP master distiller Greg Metze’s Old Elk Distillery came out of the gate with a unique blended bourbon a couple of years ago, and now the line is expanding with two new expressions, a straight rye and a wheat whiskey. Like Old Elk Bourbon, both are sourced, their actual origins undisclosed. The company explained…

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Tasting Report: Wines of the 1849 Wine Company, 2019 Releases

1849 Wine Company is a newish negociant brand, snapping up wines from smaller producers, labeling them under its own banner, and selling them off, typically as one-off releases. You’ll find them at various retailers, including wine.com and Total Wine, but these bottlings may well vanish once their stock runs out — or evolve into something…

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Review: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch B519 (May 2019)

Elijah Craig’s second release of its Barrel Proof series has arrived, coded as batch B519. As always, it’s 12 year old straight bourbon, bottled at cask strength — though considerably cooler than the 135 proof monster that was batch A119. The nose of B519 is classic Elijah Craig, a burly, lightly smoky monster that’s loaded…

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Review: Infuse Spirits Grapefruit Vodka

We originally encountered Infuse back in 2014 and 2015, when the company was just a producer of flavored vodkas, distinguished by its inclusion of copious amounts of solid botanicals like long lemon peels and dried peach slices placed directly in the bottle. Since then, just about everything about Infuse has changed. The company has a…

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Perfect Pairings: Wine and a Surprising Type of Chocolate

This will hurt some people’s feelings, so I’m just going to come right out and say it: dark chocolate does not pair well with wine. After a meal, nothing is classier than setting out some dark chocolate alongside a glass of 20 year-old tawny port. But the fact is that the dark chocolate and the…

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Review: Backpack (Canned) Wine (2019)

When I first reviewed Backpack Wine — a line of wines packaged in single-serve cans — my comments were, for the most part, not so positive. I recently heard from the company, and its response to that review was quite a surprise. I’ll paste a portion of it here: The review was fairly negative and to…

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