Review: Hess Select 2016 Pinot Noir and 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon

Two affordable wines from The Hess Collection’s Hess Select brand, located in Napa but a producer of wines from all across California. 2016 Hess Select Pinot Noir Central Coast – A beefy expression of pinot, this wine rolls out notes of bacon fat, campfire smoke, and onion rings, which all sounds perfect for pairing with…

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Review: Michter’s Single Barrel Straight Rye 10 Years Old 2018

It’s been a year and a half since Michter’s last single barrel rye hit the market. At long last, shipments of the 2018 release have started up. Don’t expect a lot of it, though: Michter’s Master Distiller Pamela Heilmann has approved the 2018 release of Michter’s 10 Year Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Rye. These barrels…

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Review: Rutherford Ranch 2016 Malbec Reserve and 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon

The Rutherford Wine Company operates at least eight different sub-brands (many of which we’ve reviewed here previously), but Rutherford Ranch is arguably its flagship. Today we look at two new releases, both dense reds, from this property in the heart of Napa Valley. 2016 Rutherford Ranch Malbec Reserve Napa Valley – 87% malbec, 9% cabernet…

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Review: Fizzics Waytap Beer Dispenser

2016 brought us the ingenious Fizzics beer dispenser, letting you turn bottles or cans of beer into a simulacrum of the draft experience via a dispensing system that works a lot like a tap. The original Fizzics works pretty well, but it’s a bit large and a bit expensive. So, enter the Fizzics Waytap, essentially…

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Perfect Pairings: Indian Food and Gewürztraminer

Sometimes food and drink go together so well that each makes the other shine and brings out the best in both. When that happens, we have a “perfect pairing.” One such perfect pairing is Indian food and the white wine Gewürztraminer. I love Indian food for its amazing blend of aromatic spices that provide tantalizing…

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Review: Ayate Tequila – Reposado and Anejo

Ayate is a new tequila brand from winemaker Dave Phinney’s Savage & Cooke, and it follows the same general thought process as the whiskeys it makes: Source the underlying spirit, then finish said spirit in Phinney’s wine barrels. These two tequilas — note that there is no blanco.expression available — are 100% agave spirits sourced from the Jalisco…

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Review: 2016 Bear Flag Zinfandel Sonoma County

2015’s Bear Flag was an impressive expression of zinfandel that dialed down the fruit, and the 2016 release largely follows in its footsteps. There’s a touch more prune character here than in ’15, but by and large, the wine manages to pull off the same trick of keeping the “jamminess” in check. That said, all…

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Review: Laphroaig Cairdeas Fino Cask Edition 2018

For its always highly-anticipated limited edition Cairdeas release in 2018, Laphroaig turns to a familiar finishing treatment — the sherry barrel — with a big twist. Rather than utilize the usual oloroso barrels, or even Pedro Ximenez or amontillado casks, Laphroaig finishes this spirit in fino sherry casks. Fino is a very dry style of sherry,…

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