Tasting Report: Wines of New Zealand 2016

It’s been four years since we’ve checked in on the wines of New Zealand in earnest. At this year’s San Francisco installment of the New Zealand Wine Fair, I made it a point to focus particularly on white wines. Were they still tropical blowouts in the classic “New Zealand style” to which we’ve become accustomed?…

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Review: Copper & Kings CR&FTWERK American Brandies

American brandymaker Copper & Kings is up to something wild with this line of four new brandies, each of which is aged not in old bourbon barrels or new oak but rather barrels that come from craft beer companies. Each of these four bottlings spends 12 months in a different beer barrel; the resulting brandy…

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Review: Jordan 2014 Chardonnay and 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon

Iconic Sonoma winery Jordan has two new releases on tap. Let’s listen in… 2014 Jordan Chardonnay Russian River Valley – A crisp and citrusy chardonnay, aromatic and fresh, with notes of peaches and apricots, with lemon juice on the finish. The butter and oak notes add body but only to a degree — on the…

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Review: Stonecutter Spirits Single Barrel Gin

Stonecutter Spirits is based in Middlebury, Vermont, and this is the company’s signature product, a gin matured in former bourbon barrels. The botanical bill, source of the barrels, and length of aging isn’t revealed — aside from the note that juniper, orange peel, and cardamom are used (which doesn’t tell us a whole lot). Stonecutter’s…

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Review: Beers of New Belgium, 2016 Releases

A monster collection of seasonals, limiteds, sours — and two gluten-reduced bottlings — from Fort Collins, CO and Asheville, NC-based New Belgium. Let’s dig right in. New Belgium Side Trip Belgian Style Pale Ale – A modernized Belgian ale, made (in America) with Belgian malts, hops, and yeast. Bready and malty up front, the initial sweetness fades…

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Review: Samuel Adams Spring 2016 Releases

Seven new releases from our friends at the Boston Beer Company, including a number of Brewmaster’s Collection releases and two additions to the Rebel IPA group. Thoughts follow. Samuel Adams Crystal Pale Ale – An pale ale made with Crystal hops, fairly representative of the style. Rather earthy up front, this hoppy brew offers notes…

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Review: Don Q Rum Signature Release Single Barrel 2005

Destileria Serralles, producer of Don Q Rum in Puerto Rico, has just launched its latest expression: A vintage rum that was distilled in 2005 and spent 10 years in barrel. The first of a new line of single-barrel releases (a first for Don Q; a 2007 release comes out next year), this rum is a…

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Review: Bulleit Bourbon Barrel Strength

It’s probably long overdue, but one of the biggest success stories in bourbon is finally coming out with a barrel strength release. Bulleit Barrel Strength is made from the same high-rye mashbill as its primary expression (roughly 1/3 rye), with no age statement provided. Batches will vary in alcohol content, but will hover around 60%…

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