Book Review: Ten Grapes to Know

Catherine Fallis, Master Sommelier, is a respected colleague and a fixture at San Francisco wine events whom I encounter with regularity. That makes it somewhat difficult to write about her new book, Ten Grapes to Know: The Ten & Done Wine Guide, but I’ll endeavor to be as impartial as possible here. As the name suggests, Ten…

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Review: Cladach Blended Malt Limited Edition 2018

A first for the Diageo Special Release series, this is a “master blend” of malts from six coastal distilleries: Caol Ila, Clynelish, Lagavulin, Oban, Inchgower, and Talisker — all but one of which are otherwise represented in this year’s Special Releases as a single malt. A mutt of styles and ages, it includes whisky from…

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Review: Bergamot Wine Co. Italian Wine Club

Tired of wine clubs that just send out mass-produced plonk with a bespoke label? Check out Bergamot Wine Co., a wine club that offers exclusively Italian imports, one of the most complicated wine regions in the world — and a region that’s ripe for exploration and education. $105 per month gets you four bottles, which…

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Review: Carsebridge 48 Years Old Limited Edition 2018

The oldest whisky in the 2018 Diageo Special Release collection is this, a whopping 48 year old whisky distilled in 1970 aged in refill American oak hogsheads. The catch? It’s single grain, not single malt, produced at the Lowlands Carsebridge distillery, which was closed in 1983. Mainly used as a blending spirit, single grain releases…

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Review: Firestone Walker Velvet Merkin Oatmeal Stout (2017)

Firestone Walker is nothing if not creative with the names for their beers, especially when it comes to the much sought after Proprietor’s Vintage Series, which includes such gems as Helldorado and Sucaba (Abacus spelled backwards). Perhaps the most unique and risqué, however, is the Velvet Merkin Oatmeal Stout. What is a Velvet Merkin you…

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Review: Townshend’s Bluebird Alpine Liqueur and Kashmiri Amaro

Portland-based Townshend’s Distillery is one hell of a unique craft producer. How so? They’re the only distillery (in the world, perhaps) to make spirits from alcohol produced by the fermentation of tea for kombucha. You can buy the kombucha, but what’s really interesting are the spirits, which include various liqueurs and gins, but which are heavily…

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Review: NV Moet Imperial Rose Festive Bottle

For sparkling holiday sipping you can’t really go wrong with a bottle of Moet, and this rendition of Moet’s classic Imperial Rose also does double duty, packaged in both a “festive bottle,” per the name, and a holiday-friendly gift box. The nonvintage Champagne itself is also a delight, creamy and round on the palate with…

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Review: Hopsy Home Draft Beer System

It doesn’t matter that Benjamin Franklin’s widely misquoted assertion that the existence of beer is evidence that God loves us isn’t about beer (it’s about wine). What does matter is that beer has a long history in the United States that began prior to the founding of the country. Jefferson famously loved his wines, his…

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