Review: Cali Whiskey

When is a flavored whiskey not a flavored whiskey? When it’s Cali, a unique spirit from Sukkah Hill Spirits, makers of Etrog and Besamin liqueurs, which we reviewed in 2015. I’ll allow proprietor Howard Witkin, who runs the LA-based company with his wife Marni, to explain what Cali actually is: Building on Marni’s knack for…

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Review: 2016 Sidebar Sauvignon Blancs

Sidebar Cellars is the brainchild of David Ramey (of Ramey Wine Cellars fame), launched in 2014 with the goal of “exploring diverse grape varieties grown beyond conventional AVAs. The Sidebar portfolio includes Kerner, Rosé, Zinfandel, and two Sauvignon Blancs. Grapes are sourced from special vineyards located in the Russian River Valley, the High Valley AVA…

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Review: Rebel Yell Single Barrel 10 Years Old 2018

Rebel Yell continues its march upmarket with this third single barrel release, again a 10 year old bourbon that joins its acclaimed 2016 and 2017 single barrel releases. Brand owner Luxco hasn’t reinvented the wheel here, again relying on a wheated recipe and a bold, 100-proof alcohol level. 2018’s Rebel Yell Single Barrel sees a…

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Review: NV Locations “TX” (Texas Red Blend) TX4 4th Release

Dave Phinney’s Locations series continues with an unexpected region as its next target: The state of Texas. This wine, its sixth release from the state, is a blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Carignan, and assorted Bordeaux varietals. It was made as a joint venture with Kim McPherson of McPherson Cellars. Heavily fruited from the start, the wine eventually…

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Review: Baltamaro Fernet, Szechuan, and Coffee Amaro

Bitter amari continue to be developed outside of their historical homeland in Italy, with the latest release of this intense liqueur coming to us from the Baltimore Whiskey Company. The distillery is putting out Baltamaro Volumes 1 through 3, a line of three core herbal liqueurs made in very different styles. Volume 1 is an…

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Review: Ninkasi Brewing Yours Truly, Pacific Rain, and Prismatic

Eugene, Oregon-based brewery Ninkasi has a bit of a cult following, and it’s just dropped three new brews, all available in cans (its first canned beers) and on draft. We tried them all. Thoughts follow. Ninkasi Brewing Co. Yours Truly Easy-Drinking Ale – With loads of malt, this brew is quite lager-like, with a doughy…

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Review: Weller 12 Years Old (2018)

Van Winkle bourbons have become essentially inaccessible to the vast majority of bourbon drinkers, so naturally the hysteria has trickled down to other brands in the Buffalo Trace portfolio. The Weller line, which shares the same wheated mashbill as the highly coveted Van Winkles, has been the recipient of the majority of this secondhand enthusiasm.…

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Review: NV Bollinger Special Cuvee and Rose Champagne

Since 1829, Bollinger has been producing champagne, with a specific focus on using grapes from its own vineyards (estate grapes account for 60% of the total grape supply), and a heavy use throughout the range of pinot noir, which dominates Bolli’s vineyards. Bollinger’s wines are also fermented in actual barrels, a practice that the winery…

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