Understanding the Wines of France

To an average wine imbiber, a trek through the new world wine section of their store of choice is a painless ordeal; a California Cabernet has “Cabernet Sauvignon” written right there on the label. Same with an Oregon Pinot Noir, an Australian Syrah, and just about any other “New World” wine. Blends might be trickier,…

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Review: Drapo Vermouth Complete Lineup

Drapo is a line of vermouths produced in Turin, Italy – which as the company tells us was the birthplace of vermouth in 1786. These releases are all bottled at 16% abv, except the Gran Riserva, which hits 18%. Thoughts on the lineup, which are soon/newly available in the U.S., follow. Drapo Vermouth Dry – Aromatic and…

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Review: St. Augustine Distillery Florida Double Cask Bourbon

Florida-based St. Augustine’s craft bourbon starts with a mash bill of 60% regional corn, 22% malted barley, and 18% regional wheat. Per the company, “the grains are milled and mashed on site, and fermented with proprietary yeast strains in closed-top fermenters.” The barrels in this release range from 16 to 28 months old, and they’re aged…

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Review: Wines of (Illinois-Based) Cooper’s Hawk Lux, 2017 Releases

Cooper’s Hawk is a restaurant chain and winery based in Countryside, Illinois, which is a strange place for a vineyard, no? Rest easy then: Cooper’s Hawk trucks in fresh grapes from California, Oregon, and Washington, then crushes and vinifies them in Illinois before bottling. These wines are non-vintage stated, and some don’t even reveal the grape…

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Review: Songbird Craft Coffee Liqueur

Hey, it’s something from Indiana that’s not whiskey from MGP! Bloomington, IN is the home to Cardinal Spirits, and Songbird Craft Coffee Liqueur is one of the company’s most noteworthy products. What’s in the bottle? Let me allow Cardinal to explain: Most coffee liqueurs taste one dimensional – like sugar. But ours tastes like coffee,…

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Review: Col. E.H. Taylor Four Grain Bourbon

For 2017, Buffalo Trace’s Col. E.H. Taylor line is pulling out a relatively rare style of whiskey: bourbon made with four grains instead of the usual three… corn, barley, rye, and wheat. The whiskey is aged 12 years and bottled in bond. Some notes from the distillery on this ninth release in the E.H. Taylor…

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Review: Mikkeller Black Hole Imperial Stout

The enigmatic minimalism of Mikkeller’s Black Hole label cleverly disguises the complexity of what lies within the bottle. As promised, this Russian imperial stout is as dark as its gets in color, with a beautiful nose of roasted chestnuts, coffee, and dark chocolate. That perfect storm trio carries on throughout the palate with faint wisps…

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Review: Seventeen Twelve Spirits North Carolina Bourbon

The craft whiskey business is a brutal waiting game. While large distilleries continue to churn out quality product, often at a lower cost to the consumer, craft whiskey makers are forced to simply watch barrels full of money age in their warehouses, hoping their gin or vodka (or someone else’s whiskey in their bottles) will keep the…

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