Review: Wines of Matanzas Creek, 2016 Releases

Sonoma’s Matanzas Creek is out with new merlots and a chardonnay. Let’s dive in to these new releases. 2013 Matanzas Creek Winery Chardonnay Sonoma County – Initially quite oaky, with a bold, brown-butter body. Classic California chardonnay from top to bottom, but Matanzas Creek infuses it with just enough fruit to make the dense, dessert-like…

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Review: Wines of Avant, 2016 Releases

  Avant is a new budget label from the folks at Kendall-Jackson, with a trio of basic California-sourced wines comprising the initial production run. While a lot of this comes across exactly as you expect it will, there’s at least one modest surprise in the bunch. Thoughts follow. 2014 Avant Sauvignon Blanc California – Undistinguished and…

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Review: Score Vodka

The grain in Ukraine falls mainly on the vodka producers, one of which is the maker of this new spirit, Score Vodka. Score is distilled from organic winter wheat, distilled seven times, and run through a “unique milk-based filtration,” which sounds pretty crazy but, hey, it’s Ukraine, amirite? The vodka itself is clean and very…

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Review: Troegs Perpetual IPA and Blizzard of Hops Winter IPA

I had the good fortune of visiting the Troegs brewery, in Hershey, Pennsylvania, last summer. (You should go, too — the cafe is amazing.) Recently the company sent a couple of new releases to Drinkhacker HQ for us to formally review. Let’s give these a go! Troegs Perpetual IPA – Initially rather dusty and mushroomy,…

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Review: Redemption White Rye, Rye, High-Rye Bourbon, and Straight Bourbon (2016)

It’s been four years since we last checked in with Redemption Whiskey, one of the best-known bottlers of spirits sourced from Indiana-based MGP. Redemption’s cylindrical bottles are as iconic as its rather singular focus: Rye whiskey, a category which Redemption was fanatical about before rye was cool. All of its products are rye-heavy, and even…

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Book Review: The Manhattan Cocktail

Whiskey, sweet vermouth, bitters. Sub in dry vermouth for some of the sweet if you want to be fancy. As most of us know it, this is the Manhattan Cocktail, one of the absolute classics of the industry and the base upon which legions of other drinks have been built. To Albert W. A. Schmid,…

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Review: Big Bottom Pear Brandy and Oregon Gin Collection

If you know Big Bottom, you probably know the company for its bourbons, most of which feature exotic finishes and impressive levels of quality. Big Bottom also makes white spirits, though, including fruit brandies (pear now, apple is coming) and a collection of gins. Today we take a look at four of BB’s latest white…

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Review: 2013 Smith & Hook Cabernet Sauvignon Central Coast

Smith & Hook is a Central Coast producer that focuses exclusively on Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes are sourced from four Central Coast appellations: Arroyo Seco, San Antonio Valley, Hames Valley, and Paso Robles. As Cab goes, the 2013 offers easy approachability, though it’s short on complexity. Early notes of cocoa powder, vanilla, and blackberry give way to some light…

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