Review: 2014 Apothic Inferno

What hath Robert Mondavi wrought? Wines aged in whiskey barrels are following its lead and pouring out of the woodwork, the latest being this California blend, which is aged for 60 days in ex-whiskey barrels. The particulars of the whiskey are a mystery, as is the wine itself. Not that it really matters — no grape…

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Review: Decadent Saint Sangrias and Wine Concentrates

Decadent Saint is a company run by Michael Hasler, an enologist from Australia whose letter to me in impeccable calligraphy introduced a unique product: concentrates made from wine intended to be diluted into sangria and other fanciful beverages. These are all natural products, packaged in swing tops and designed to be mixed on the fly.…

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Review: Rebel Yell Single Barrel Bourbon 10 Years Old 2016

Once a largely ignored bottom-shelf bottling, Rebel Yell continues its march up-market with this latest release, a 10 year old single barrel bottling crafted from its wheated bourbon recipe. 2000 cases will be made available this year. In 2017, production will expand to 4000 cases. The nose offers oak first, then layers of anise and tobacco…

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Review: 2013 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford Napa Valley

This is one of the highest-end wines from Napa’s Freemark Abbey that are in widespread release. Give this one some breathing room before diving in. Initially a bit tight and tannic, the wine takes 20 minutes or so to find its footing, which reveals itself in layers: dense tobacco leaf, then sweet currants, then notes of…

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Review: Ohishi Brandy Cask and Sherry Single Cask Whisky

The southern Japanese island of Kyushu is home to the Kuma River, and it’s here that the Ohishi distillery, founded in 1872, turns rice into whiskey. Much like Kikori, Ohishi eschews the traditional barley for something that Japan knows well: rice, which is partially malted before fermentation. This ain’t Uncle Ben’s, mind you: Says GRC…

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Review: NV Astoria Prosecco DOC

Never mind the overly dramatic decanter, Astoria Prosecco is a straightforward example of the grape, though it seems quite fizzy while being drier than most Proseccos. That’s not a bad thing, as many drinkers gravitate to the heavily carbonated style. The gentle notes of apple and pear, with a squeeze of lemon and a splash…

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Review: 1792 High Rye Bourbon

Sazerac/Buffalo Trace’s 1792 Distillery is on a tear, now hitting the market with its 5th special edition in a little over a year, High Rye Bourbon. Some details: Barton 1792 Distillery releases another expression in its line-up of 1792 whiskeys, 1792 High Rye Bourbon. The flagship product of the collection, 1792 Small Batch, is well…

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Review: Wines of Mark Ryan Winery, 2016 Releases

Today our minds and palates turn northward, to Washington state, where Mark Ryan Winery has recently put out its fall releases. Let’s take a spin through three of them, all members of its lower-cost Board Track Racers series. 2015 Mark Ryan Winery Board Track Racers “The Vincent” Chardonnay Columbia Valley – A pretty, unoaked chardonnay, loaded with…

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