Review: 2016 Paringa Sparkling Shiraz

Seldom seen in this part of this world is this oddity, the sparkling red wine. As with sparkling whites, it is intended to be served chilled, which makes for a doubly disarming experience — a cold red wine with bubbles in it. Paringa is slightly sweet, which gives the inherent currant, raisin, cinnamon, and clove…

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Review: Barrell Whiskey Batch 5

The folks at Louisville-based Barrell continue to crank out spirits — having moved on from solely bottling bourbon to now making blended whiskey, rye, and rum. Batch #5 carries a 9 year old age statement and is a blend of four whiskeys, finished separately in bourbon, American brandy, Cognac, and amaro barrels. It’s a capable and…

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Review: NV Toso Brut Argentina

This nonvintage, low-alcohol (12%) from Pascual Toso is a simple sparkler made from Argentine Chardonnay grapes. Fairly yeasty, with dialed-back fruit, it does let some baked apple notes push through, but not really enough to brighten up the somewhat musty, lifeless backbone. Could work in a cocktail lieu of, let’s say, club soda, but better…

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How to ‘Premiumize’ Your Whisky Brand, in 10 Easy Steps!

Marketing is one of the many tools for Premiumization Sales flagging? Running out of quality stock? Desperate to push prices up even higher? Here’s our 10-step plan to get you to the world of ultra-premium spirits. Step 1: Be well respected at the start This is crucial. You have to have a good reputation from…

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Review: Kona Brewing Co. Longboard Lager (2018), Hanalei IPA, and Big Wave Ale

Kona Brewing Company is probably the best-known brewery in Hawaii, with more and more of its brews becoming available in the mainland. Today we look at three of its most widely-available bottlings. Kona Brewing Co. Longboard Island Lager – A classic, malt-heavy lager, a bit nutty on the attack. Sustained drinking reveals some lemon notes,…

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Review: Conncullin Irish Gin

Connacht is best known as a whiskey distillery in County Mayo, Ireland, but it also produces one of the country’s handful of gins, known as Conncullin. This pot distilled gin doesn’t disclose all of its botanicals, but juniper, citrus, and elderberry are known to be in the mix. Given the focus on fruit, I was…

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Review: Stolichnaya Stoli Gold Edition Vodka

Stolichnaya Gold — “Stoli Gold” — is a small step up from standard Stolichnaya (and not nearly as pricey as Stoli Elit), and recently the brand redesigned its packaging — and its production process. This isn’t the first time Stoli has updated Stoli Gold… in fact, it used to be called something entirely different. First…

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Review: Offshoot Beer Co. Relax [It’s Just a Hazy IPA]

  As the name suggests, Offshoot Beer Co. started as a side project for another brewery, the Bruery, based in Orange County, California. What makes this hop-focused side project surprising is that the Bruery began with the express intention of brewing virtually every style and variety of beer — except IPA. They are known for…

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