Review: Wines of Sokol Blosser, 2016 Releases

Oregon’s Sokol Blosser is out with a panoply of new releases, ranging from sparkling stuff to single-block pinot noir. Let’s taste the lot. NV Sokol Blosser Evolution Sparkling Wine – An everyday brut sparkler made from grapes unknown, but which goes down without a fight. Notes of nuts and brioche on the nose lead to…

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Review: Wines of La Crema, 2016 Releases

Today we look at three new releases from Sonoma-based La Crema, including the kooky Virtuoso Pinot Noir. Virtuoso is the result of a crowdsourced winemaking experiment, in which 25,000 “virtual vintners” put their input into what type of wine La Crema would make (Russian River Pinot won), what type of yeast would be used (wild),…

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Review: Angostura White Oak, 5 Years Old, 7 Years Old, 1919, and 1824 Rums (2016)

While best known for its ubiquitous aromatic bitters, Angostura is a major rum distillery, and it’s been producing spirits in┬áTrinidad & Tobago since 1824. We tasted five rums spanning a wide range of production from the company. All are 80 proof, with comments on each below. Enjoy! Angostura White Oak Rum – You’ll find “Angostura…

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Review: NV Sandeman Founders Reserve Porto (2016)

Here’s a fresh look at Sandeman’s widely-available nonvintage Ruby Port, which is sold in the squat bottles labeled Founders Reserve. (We last reviewed it in 2012.) It’s a rather alcohol-forward Port, which dulls the raisiny core more than a bit with some hospital character. Secondary notes of weak tea, rhubarb, and caramel sauce find an…

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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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