Review: Samuel Adams Late 2015 Seasonals – Octoberfest, Hoppy Red, Rebel Grapefruit IPA, Winter Lager, and Pumpkin Batch

Nearly a half-dozen new offerings from Sam Adams, mostly winter/fall seasonals designed to make the most of the cold weather. Let’s bundle up and dig in! Samuel Adams Octoberfest (2015) – Very old world, with plenty of spice and some citrus to be a companion to loads of caramel-soaked malt. The finish is on the sweet…

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Test-Driving Thanksgiving Wines from Lodi, 2015

There’s no more American holiday than Thanksgiving (well, except one, but that’s a beer-and-whiskey day) and if you’re ever looking for an excuse to try an American wine, this is it. Not just for nostalgia; many American heritage varietals pair beautifully with traditional Thanksgiving dishes. Fun fact: More wine is consumed in the U.S. on Thanksgiving…

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Review: La Caravedo Pisco Puro Quebranta

La Caravedo is a new pisco from Pisco Porton, a puro bottling made only from quebranta grapes. The nose is classic pisco, offering a restrained take on the spirit that brings forth notes of quince, evergreen, and modest underpinnings of rubber and petrol (again, classic pisco stuff). The palate offers a nice balance of flavors — strong…

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Review: Grander Panama Rum 8 Years Old

Grander (awkward name, admittedly) is a new brand column-distilled in Panama and bottled at 8 years old. Quite light in color, it may initially trick you into thinking this is an undercooked rum. Not so. The nose is quite peppery, offering ample vanilla but backed up by lots of spice — both baking spices and…

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Review: Available 2013 Red Blend and 2014 Pinot Grigio

Napa-based Taken Wine Co. imports these wines from Italy — and I have to say, “Available” is one of the worst brand names I’ve come across for any wine, much less an import. These two wines both hail from Puglia, “the heel” of Italy. Thoughts follow. 2014 Available Pinot Grigio Puglia IGT – Somewhat bland for…

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Review: Benromach 10 Years Old

We’ve written a lot about the limited edition expressions of Speyside’s Benromach, but the expression you’re most likely to encounter is this entry level bottling, which is fairly easy to find. Benromach is part of the Gordon & MacPhail empire, a very small operation in the north of Speyside that is unique for using a…

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Review of Soave: 2013 Fattori and 2014 Rocca Sveva

Putting the unavoidable Santa Margarita aside, arguably the most popular white wine in Italy is Soave, which is produced near the city of Verona in the Veneto region. 70 percent of any Soave wine must be vinified from the Garganega grape. The remainder may be Verdicchio (aka Trebbiano di Soave), and a rare few other local varieties.…

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Review: Blood Oath Bourbon Whiskey Pact No. 1 2015

There is a lot of flowery script on the label of the new Blood Oath Bourbon, but there is precious little information therein. What do we know about this new bottling? It is sourced bourbon — and not only is the distillery unstated, the state in which it is produced is unstated. (The whiskey is…

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