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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Review: Vikre Vodka, Gin, and Aquavit Lineup

Duluth, Minnesota, on the shores of Lake Superior, is the home of Vikre Distillery, which takes a localvore approach to making a wide range of (mostly white) spirits, using local grains, herbs, and water from the lake next door to make its craft spirits. The six spirits below — 1 vodka, 3 gins, and 2 aquavits…

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Review: Virginia Dare 2014 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

The latest addition to Francis Ford Coppola’s growing wine empire, Virginia Dare Winery is a Sonoma-based operation with an old-timey feel. “American Wines Since 1835” is a bit of an odd thing to say for a winery that was founded in 2015, but it turns out the name has been around for quite a bit longer…

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Review: Sipsmith V.J.O.P. Gin and Sloe Gin

Sipsmith isn’t content to just make a single gin in its garage of an operation in London, England. It actually produces a range of artisan spirits and fortified wines — including the two reviewed below, which are exported to the U.S. Sipsmith co-founder Sam Galsworthy (pictured) was recently in my neck of the woods, and we…

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Recipes: Super Bowl Pre-Game Cocktails, 2016

Hailing from a city that hasn’t won a major professional football championship since Dwight Eisenhower was President, it can be difficult to get excited about this time of year. Drinking with friends certainly helps numb the pain during Super Bowl Sunday (with the exception of the trash talking and reminders of your home team), so…

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Review: Vida Tequila Reposado

We did the Blanco. We did the Anejo. Now it’s time for the final frontier, Vida Tequila’s Reposado bottling. This tequila, aged a relatively lengthy six months in barrel before bottling, offers a quiet nose that is mostly sweeter notes. At first sip, it evokes gentle notes of caramel flan, melding burnt sugar with a dense…

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Review: NV Faire la Fete Brut Cremant de Limoux (2016)

A sparkler from France’s Languedoc region (the Limoux AOC dates back only to 2005), Faire la Fete is a blend of chardonnay, pinot noir, and chenin blanc grapes. It’s an intriguing wine — very fruit-forward, with a moderate level of fizz. The palate includes notes of fresh apple, tangerine, banana, and light floral touches. The finish…

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Review: The Famous Grouse Blended Scotch

The Famous Grouse — a blended whiskey made by the same folks that produce Highland Park and The Macallan, including a significant sherry cask regimen — is a major player in the blended world. (It is the best-selling whisky in Scotland, so that’s saying something.) Somehow it’s escaped our review (though the more recent Black Grouse…

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