Review: Havana Club Tributo 2017

The second rum in Cuba-based Havana Club‘s Tributo Collection has hit shelves, but not many of them: Just 2500 bottles of this expression will be released globally. We missed out on Tributo 2016 but were excited to land a sample of the new release. The company explains a bit about why it’s so special. Havana…

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Review: Stone/Maine DaySlayer India Pale Lager

This Stone collaboration with Maine Beer Company, based in Freeport, is an India Pale Lager — a hybrid brew that takes the form of a heavily malted beer that’s loaded with tons of hops. The India Pale side of the equation definitely rules the roost here, the hops giving it an almost crushing bitterness — to…

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What is Fortified Wine and How Is It Made?

“Silver and ermine and red faces full of port wine” – John Betjeman Fortified wine, that is, wine with a spirit (usually brandy) added to up the alcohol content, is a style that fell out of fashion decades ago. While once enjoyed in the salons of well-off aristocrats throughout Western Europe, these days ports, sherries, and their fellow…

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Review: Rioja from Marques de Murrieta – 2012 Reserva and 2007 Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva

Marques de Murrieta has been producing Rioja wine since 1852. Here’s a look at two of the most recent (and highest-end) wines from this venerable producer. 2012 Marques de Murrieta Rioja Reserva – Surprisingly thin on first blush, with an almost watery character that washes away what should be some engaging red berries, touched with…

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Review: D’usse Cognac XO

I didn’t find much to love in D’usse’s inaugural Cognac, a VSOP, but this upscale update, an XO, has a whole lot more to recommend. All the eaux de vie in the finished product are at least 10 years old — and the black bottle is arguably even cooler than the one used for the…

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Review: A Trio of Albarinos, 2017 Bottlings

Albarino — that crowd-pleasing white wine from the north of Spain — is sure to make an appearance on your summer table at least once. Here’s a look at three new releases, all currently on the market. 2016 Atlantis by Maetierra Albarino Rias Baixas – A slightly creamier expression of albarino, this bottling is a…

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Review: No. 209 Barrel Reserve Gin – Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay Finished

No. 209, based in San Francisco, is going on a tear with its gin. Not only is it still producing standard and Kosher versions of its straight gin, it’s also out with three barrel-finished expressions, each spending time in a different type of California wine barrel. Today we look at two of those — gin…

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Review: Bear Republic Fastback Racer Double IPA

Bear Republic’s Fastback Racer (nee Fastback Racer X3) is a monumental beer — the brewery describes it thusly: “Massive hop additions of Citra and Ekuanot are revved to the limit on a chassis of Rye, Munich, and light caramel malts.” Revved to the limit is about right. The beer comes across as almost syrupy in composition,…

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