Wine and Beer Touring in California’s Paso Robles, 2017

In 2014, the U.S. TTB finally approved a longstanding plan to split Paso Robles up into 11 AVAs. It was just the latest move that is turning this sleepy region into a top wine destination, with some 300 wineries (plus or minus, depending on who you talk to) cranking out some excellent bottlings. Rhone grapes…

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Review: Left Coast Brewing Una Mas, Trestles IPA, and Hop Juice Triple IPA

Left Coast Brewing Company (commonly mis-typed, at least by me, as West Coast Brewing Company) can be found surfside in San Clemente, California, where it’s been putting out craft beers since 2004. Recently expanding into Northern California, it’s definitively a brewery to watch. In honor of its expansion, we checked out three of the brewery’s most…

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Review: Belle de Brillet Pear & Cognac Liqueur (2018)

Belle de Brillet has been around for decades, and thanks to its generally good availability, it’s become one of the most iconic Poire Williams — pear brandy made from Williams pears — on the market. In taking a fresh look at Belle de Brillet — our first since 2013 — it’s curious that Poire Williams…

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Review: 2015 Chateau de Saint-Amour Beaujolais

Saint-Amour is part of the DuBoeuf empire, and this 100% gamay wine is a credible, if unthrilling, example of the Beaujolais style. A considerable earthiness leads the way to a light body composed of cherry, strawberry, and some spice. The finish slowly winds its way toward a cola character, with hints of cloves. Workable on…

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Review: EasyRhino and PinkKitty Liqueurs

When the press release came in I had to read it, I had to know more. I simply had no choice. The idea was simply too wild, too bold, too insane to ignore. The pitch, from an Austin-based company called 2XL Swagger Brands LLC USA, went a little like this: 2XL Swagger Brands Launches “World’s…

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Review: Laurent-Perrier Champagnes, 2018 Releases

Founded in 1812, Laurent-Perrier is an icon of Champagne houses — the third-largest by sales — with a full battalion of bottlings available for every type of celebratory occasion. (Or, for that matter, dinner on Tuesday.) Today we check out a full quartet of expressions, from the simple La Cuvee Brut to the vintage Brut…

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Review: Parce Rum 12 Years Old

Parce is a new brand of rum made in Colombia. Sugar cane is sourced from local plantations as well as Barbados and Trinidad, then processed in country with natural spring water and a proprietary yeast. Fermented and column-distilled, it is aged in used bourbon casks for 12 years before blending and bottling. Bottles are individually…

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Review: 2015 Santa Ema Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva Maipo Valley

This affordable Chilean cabernet offers a credible, fruit-forward construction, with tart, red berries on the nose and hints of cinnamon. The palate follows suit, layering in some orange peel alongside a grippy, tannic character. There’s nothing fancy here, and the wine’s wood profile feels underdeveloped, but for a ten-spot you can do far, far worse.…

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