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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Review: 2013 Carmel Road Pinot Noir Monterey Drew’s Blend

Who is Drew, you ask? Drew Barrymore, that’s who. America’s favorite ’80s star is the name brand behind this wine, produced with winemaker Kris Kato, which is a delightful little pinot from the little-known label Carmel Road. Drew’s Blend is a precious wine, gentle on the palate but studded with notes of cherry, tea leaf,…

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Review: Redemption Aged Barrel Proof Straight Rye – 7, 8, and 10 Years Old (2015)

In our recent coverage of Redemption, I mentioned some rare, older, cask strength whiskeys that the company was releasing. We unexpectedly received samples of all three — all of which are 95 percent rye and 5 percent malted barley, aged 7, 8, or 10 years in oak — and all “honey barrel” picks of the…

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Review: New Belgium Accumulation White IPA (2016)

Colorado-based New Belgium is out with a winter special called Accumulation, a seasonal, Belgian-style IPA. This combination of pale malt and wheat offers a a malty, bready attack that fades into a chewiness that loads up some crisp apple notes, chocolate, caramel, and a hint of pineapple. The body is moderate in weight and backed…

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Review: 1800 Coconut Tequila

Flavored tequila can be a mixed bag, and straight out of the bottle, 1800’s coconut-flavored expression smells exactly like Malibu — at least until you stick your nose into the glass, when sharp agave notes come to the fore. On the palate, it’s a combination of the two, as the spirit bounces between notes of sweet…

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Tasting: Tempranillo Wines of California, 2016 Releases

When one thinks of California wine grapes, tempranillo doesn’t exactly spring to mind. Turns out though, that tempranillo — which is most notable for its viticulture in Spain — is grown all over the state. To prove it, we tested six tempranillo wines, each from a different region of California, with some interesting results. Thoughts follow.…

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Review: Grand Mayan Silver Tequila

Commonly known as Grand Mayan 3D Silver Tequila, the name doesn’t have to do with special glasses you need to wear in order to drink the stuff. Rather, Grand Mayan’s fancily-bottled blanco is triple distilled, a rare occurrence in the tequila world because it’s thought to strip too much flavor from the spirit (which is normally…

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