Review: Maddalena 2020 Merlot and 2021 Rose

This wallet-friendly extension of Paso Robles-based San Antonio wines is named after its founder, Maddalena Riboli. Now in her mid-nineties, she remains actively involved as an advisor to day-to-day operations with no signs of slowing down. Here’s a look at two of the more recent bottlings in the company’s extensive portfolio of offerings: 2020 Maddalena…

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Review: Gran Duque d’Alba Brandy de Jerez Solera Gran Reserva

Spanish brandy is far less common in the U.S. than its French or American counterparts. Made mostly from the airen grape, most Spanish brandy is aged in a solera style that sees younger stock constantly replenishing barrels of increasingly aged, blended spirit. While Gran Duque d’Alba makes an older, XO bottling of its brandy, this…

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Review: Kentucky Owl Bourbons – Confiscated and Takumi Edition

Stoli keeps meddling with its Kentucky Owl brand — releasing both The Wiseman releases (for the masses) as well as a growing number of “Innovation Series” bottlings which nod only to that sub-brand with a tagline reading, “The Wise Man’s Bourbon.” Today we look at two releases from its limited editions, Confiscated and Takumi Edition,…

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Review: Peirano 2021 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and 2020 Malbec

While Central Valley’s Lodi region may not carry the brand-name luxury clout of other parts of California, it has more than a generous number of winemakers releasing affordable, approachable wines of quality at a healthy pace.  Peirano is a fourth-generation family enterprise from the area, and we gave two of their most recent red releases…

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Review: Catedral de Mi Padre Mezcal Espadín

Catedral is a California-based brand started by father-daughter duo Jeff and Sydney Block. For each of the six varieties of mezcal they offer, they partner with a different Master Mezcalero. The Espadín we are trying today was made by Jorge Octavio Cardaz Cualtamirano in the mountains outside Oaxaca City, Mexico. Let’s give it a try.…

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Review: Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey Diamond Peak (2022)

Colorado-based Stranahan’s has made its limited-edition Diamond Peak an annual affair. For 2022, the brand takes its standard malt whiskey, aged for 4 years in new American oak barrels, then finishes in single malt whiskey barrels from Ireland’s Bushmills for more than 3 additional years. That’s a unique, 7 year old American single malt. Let’s…

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Review: Alberta Premium Cask Strength Rye (2022)

Long an under the radar producer for much of North America’s sourced rye (at least for U.S. consumers), Beam Suntory-owned Alberta Distillers has been leaning into their house brands under the Alberta Premium banner since 2020. That year marked the first American release of Alberta Premium Cask strength, and in 2022, the brand’s 80 proof…

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Review: Expresiones del Corazon Barrel-Aged Tequila George T. Stagg Anejo 2021

We’ve been writing about Corazon’s special edition tequilas, which are aged in some of Buffalo Trace’s most prized whiskey casks, for a solid nine years. Unlike the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, the tequilas change from year to year. 2013 — when this collaboration was introduced — is the last time we tasted one that spent…

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