Review: Wines of Balletto, 2019 Releases

Nestled in the Russian River Valley you’ll find Balletto, which makes a wide range of fairly affordable wines in a prestige region. Here’s a look at three current releases from the operation. 2018 Balletto Rose of Pinot Noir Russian River Valley – A bit gummy and quite floral, this rose doesn’t exactly raise the bar,…

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Review: Greenbar Distillery Tru Vodkas, Crusoe Rums, and Slow Hand Whiskeys (2019)

Founded in 2004, LA-based Greenbar Distillery is a stalwart pioneer of craft distillation. We’ve covered their spirits multiple times over the years, including looks at malt whiskey, an amazing amaro, and even vodkas dating back to before the company was even called Greenbar. Today we look at six products from Greenbar, including two vodkas (which…

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Review: NOD Products Bloody Mary Tree and Sangria Spoon

NOD Products markets a smorgasbord of stuff for the bar, kitchen, and even the gym. Today we look at two novelties designed with specific cocktails in mind… which we’ll explain in the mini-reviews below. NOD Products Bloody Mary Tree – Ever want to recreate one of those $20 Bloody Mary cocktails, the ones with shrimp,…

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Tasting Report: Bordeaux and Sauternes, 2016 Vintage

  Bordeaux’s 2016 releases are arriving on the market, and I recently had the opportunity to take a tour through the wines of the vintage when the winemakers of the region toured the U.S. with their wares. Learning my lesson from the 2015 vintage tasting — wherein I sampled every wine in the room —…

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Review: Smirnoff Moscow Mule Ginger & Lime Infused Vodka

It’s not an urban myth that Smirnoff invented the Moscow Mule cocktail, so it’s fitting that “Moscow Mule” vodka would be released by the company. Now, it’s critical to note that this is not a ready-to-drink bottled cocktail but rather a vodka that is flavored with ginger and lime. “Just add ginger ale (or ginger…

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Review: Yellowstone Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon 2018

Limestone Branch Distillery — nee Luxco — hits year number four with its special release of Yellowstone Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon, “the third and final barrel finishing experiment” in a trilogy of releases that started with the second bottling in 2016. If you haven’t followed this series — see reviews of the 2016 and…

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Review: 2016 Lucas & Lewellen Brut and Cabernet Sauvignon Valley View Vineyard

Solvang-based Lucas & Lewellen is back with two new releases from the 2016 vintage, a sparkling wine and a single-vineyard (but ultra-affordable) cabernet sauvignon. Thoughts on both wines follow. 2016 Lucas & Lewellen Brut Santa Barbara County – 55% pinot noir, 45% chardonnay, all estate fruit. A touch of sweetness gives this sparkling wine a…

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Review: Remus Repeal Reserve Series II Bourbon

It’s no secret that I wasn’t a huge fan of MGP’s first stab at a bourbon bottled under the Remus label, so what then to do with its successor, Remus Repeal Reserve? This is actually the second release of this whiskey (hence the “Series II” moniker), following up on a small release that originally hit…

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