Review: The Hilhaven Lodge Whiskey

The Hilhaven Lodge is a funny name for a whiskey. That’s because the name also belongs to a home in Beverly Hills. It’s been part of Hollywoodland since 1927 (Ingrid Bergman owned and James Caan rented it at one point) and is now owned by director Brett Ratner, best known as the director of Rush Hour.…

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Review: Trinchero 2014 Sauvignon Blanc Mary’s Vineyard and 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Mario’s

New wines from Trinchero Napa Valley, which just opened a brand new state-of-the-art visitor center. Let’s give the duo a try. 2014 Trinchero Sauvignon Blanc Mary’s Vineyard Calistoga Napa Valley – A rather dry style of sauvignon blanc, offering gentle grapefruit notes mixed with lemon peel and fruit custard. All’s well and good until the…

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Review: Laphroaig Lore

“The most richly flavoured of all Scotch whiskies.” “A stunningly complex expression.” “The story of how we make Laphroaig, encapsulating the skills that have been passed down from generation to generation for over two centuries.” Laphroaig doesn’t beat around the bush when describing Laphroaig Lore, its newest limited edition release from the peat-filled island of Islay. Lore is heavy…

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Recipes: 2016 Kentucky Derby Cocktails

The annual running of the Kentucky Derby (preceded shortly by the annual running of locals out of town) is fast approaching (it’s Saturday). And aside from the traditional fare of bourbon-based Old Fashioneds and Mint Juleps served on every corner, here are a few alternative recipes that may liven up your get together. Oaks Lily 1…

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Review: Ardbeg Dark Cove

There’s been much chatter about Ardbeg’s latest special release, Dark Cove, which uses a lot of flowery language to say that this “darkest Ardbeg ever” is blended from a mix of bourbon cask-matured and sherry cask-matured (presumed to be Pedro Ximenez) stock. No age statement is included, per the norm. Saying this is the darkest Ardbeg ever…

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Review: 2015 Matchbook Rose of Tempranillo Dunnigan Hills

It’s been a few years since we’ve reviewed this wine, produced by JL Giguiere under its Matchbook brand, a Yolo County rose made from Tempranillo grapes. Not much seems to have changed. Heavily fruit-forward, with notes of orange blossoms, strawberry, and vanilla, it’s a summertime sipper with ample sweetness but an appropriate amount of bite underneath.…

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Review: Coopers’ Craft Bourbon

Brown-Forman, maker of Jack Daniel’s, Woodford Reserve, and Old Forester, has released its first new bourbon brand in 20 years: Coopers’ Craft. There’s a lot of confusing information out there about Coopers’ Craft, so let’s try to clear it all up. First, note that the whiskey’s name is Coopers’ Craft, not Cooper’s Craft. The whiskey…

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Review: Amici Cabernet Sauvignon & Chardonnay and Olema Pinot Noir, 2016 Releases

I hadn’t heard of St. Helena-based Amici before (or its second label, Olema), and as such I didn’t have any real expectations for these three wines. Consider me both surprised and a new fan: These wines are uniformly excellent — and pretty good values, to boot. Thoughts follow. 2014 Amici Chardonnay Sonoma Coast – Lots…

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