Tasting Report: Wines of Alpha Omega, 2016 Releases

I’ve been a fan of Alpha Omega — especially its white wines — for years (the entire operation isn’t quite 10 years old), and have always wondered why I never see these wines at stores or on wine lists. Mystery resolved: During a recent visit to this hot winery, our host informed us that 90…

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Book Review: Cocktail Noir

Novelty cocktail books are a dime a dozen, but Scott Deitche’s focus on the drinks of private eyes, gangsters, and other “in the shadows” types at least offers the promise of something new — of cocktail stories that we haven’t heard many times before. Alas, this slim tome unfortunately is a bit of a random…

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Review: Black Bottle Blended Scotch (2016)

Back in the day (at least in the late 20th century), Black Bottle was the go-to blended whisky for peat freaks. In fact, at the time it was said to be made from stock sourced from almost every Islay-based distillery. But Black Bottle has a lengthy history — the brand actually dates back to 1879,…

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Review: NV Leer Vineyards Heroic Red

Leer Vineyards is an operation based in Contra Costa County, California, and among their hefty production is this bottling — Heroic Red — a nonvintage blend the proceeds of which partly go to supporting combat-wounded veterans by funding home purchases. (Leer also makes other wines with charitable goals.) The blend is 58% Syrah, 29% Merlot,…

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Review: Glenmorangie Milsean

The latest expression in the increasingly convoluted and difficult-to-pronounce Glenmorangie line of Highland single malts is this one: Milsean, Scots Gaelic for “sweet things.” (Pronunciation: meel-shawn.) This is the seventh release in the company’s annually updated Private Release line. Glenmorangie has long been a massive proponent of wine barrel finishing, and Milsean is no exception. After…

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Review: Scotch Malt Whisky Society Casks 39.99 and 95.19

Every year our friends at the SMWS send us a couple of recent releases to sample and enjoy. Some quick thoughts on a couple of nice little indie releases follow. Scotch Malt Whisky Society Cask 39.99 – Linkwood from Speyside, 23 years in refill (bourbon) hogsheads. Distilled in April 1990. Curious and atypical iodine and seaweed…

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Review: Azzurre Gin

Based in Las Vegas and produced in Mountain View, California, Azzurre Gin is a spirit unlike any other — and this is coming from a guy that’s seen an awful lot of spirits. The brainchild of corporate finance veteran Dan Pettit, the gin is made from a distillate that is bizarre to say the least: It’s…

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Review: 2014 Hahn GSM Central Coast

Chocolate-covered blueberries explode in this rich grenache-syrah-mourvedre blend (65%, 31%, 4% — in that order). That burst of flavor — backed by some cinnamon and notes of currants — is an initial rush, but an overwhelming sweetness arrives soon after, quickly giving the body a raisiny/pruny quality that works against it as a table wine. The…

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