Review: Vodka DSP CA 162 Vaccinium Macrocarpon Cranberry

When last we left Vodka DSP CA 162, the brand was still a new idea — the former producers of Hangar One Vodka had sold the company, then had to wait for their noncompete to expire before getting back into vodka. Eventually DSP CA 162 came to pass, and at long last the company’s out…

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Review: NV Tiamo Prosecco DOC

A fresh and fruit-forward Prosecco, Tiamo offers ample apple and lemon-lime notes, with a significant undercurrent of dried herbs. The savory notes are initially a bit off-putting — who dropped rosemary in my Prosecco — but over time begin to add some nuance to the wine. Lingering florals emerge on the finish, particularly as it…

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Review: Deschutes Brewery The Abyss Aged Stout 2015 Edition and Red Chair NWPA (2015)

Two major winter seasonals from Bend, Oregon-based Deschutes are here, including the new Abyss aged Imperial Stout and Red Chair, Deschutes’ northwestern spin on an IPA. Thoughts follow. Deschutes Brewery The Abyss Aged Stout 2015 Edition – For the 10th installment of The Abyss, there are no major recipe changes — although the beer has seen…

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Review: 2014 Gran Passione Rosso Veneto IGT

A blend of 60% merlot and 40% corvina, this is a deep purple, wholly opaque wine with a pungency that you’ll find from wines like this — “apassimento” wines that are made from dried grapes, common in northern Italy. (Think Amarone, but on a much simpler scale.) The initial rush of fruit and florals — think…

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Review: Amador Whiskey Double Barreled Bourbon

Trinchero is a major force in California winemaking — and it’s on the rise as an artisan spirits producer, too, with its Amador Whiskey Co. label. Amador County is a sleepy Northern California region best known for its production of zinfandel wines. For its first whiskey release, Amador produced their own hop-flavored whiskey in conjunction…

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Review: Wines of Cycles Gladiator, 2014 Vintage

If you’ve ever been in a California supermarket, you’ve probably seen Cycles Gladiator on the wine shelves. Oddly, I’d never tried it even after years and years of seeing its Art Nouveau-inspired labels, turned off by its rock bottom pricing. The brand has changed hands in recent years, moving from giant Constellation to a new…

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Tasting Report: Wines of Raymond Vineyards, 2016 Releases

I’d visited Raymond Vineyards many years ago and thought I knew all about this winery. But that was before the French bon vivant Jean-Charles Boisset purchased the place and turned it into a little slice of Vegas in otherwise sleepy Napa Valley. If you’ve never been to Raymond, it’s time to take a visit —…

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Review: Owl’s Brew Tea-Infused Mixers

Tea and booze? They mix, and surprisingly well — in fact, if you look at any number of classic punch recipes, you’ll see that tea is a popular ingredient. Owl’s Brew is a line of various bottled teas designed as cocktail mixers, each with a flavor or sweetener added (sometimes minor, sometimes a lot). The…

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