Review: Franciscan Equilibrium and Sauvignon Blanc, 2014 Vintage

It’s still hot enough outside for cold white wine. Here are two new releases from Franciscan worth a look. 2014 Franciscan Equilibrium – A blend of sauvignon blanc (72%), chardonnay (17%), and muscat (11%). If you don’t like that perfume of muscat, don’t bother applying — it shows through clearly even though it’s the lowest…

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Scenes from Jordan Winery’s Harvest Lunch

If you’re a fan of Jordan, you need to make a point to get out to the winery during harvest season, when the winery puts on its annual series of harvest lunches, beautiful buffet spreads that pair well with Jordan’s signature chardonnay and cabernet. I recently attended lunch here — the final harvest lunch of…

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Review: Zinfandels of Murphy-Goode, 2012 Vintage

Murphy-Goode is a venerable Sonoma-based producer of all manner of wines. Today we look at the company’s new 2015 zinfandel releases, all from the 2012 vintage. 2012 Murphy-Goode Liar’s Dice Zinfandel Sonoma County – Rather thin, without much character on the nose aside from some balsamic notes. On the palate it offers a somewhat watery…

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Wines of Saratoga: Big Basin and Cinnabar, 2015 Releases

On the outskirts of Silicon Valley in Northern California you’ll find a town called Saratoga, where about a dozen sleepy wineries make their home. Not a lot of wine is actually made here, but you will find tasting rooms and wine bars a-plenty should you come to town for a visit. Recently, before a visit…

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Review: NV Blandy’s Rich Madeira Alvada 5 Years Old

I know you’ve been dying to get your hands on a new Madeira, amirite? OK, so this fortified wine is not the world’s hottest category, but the market leader, Blandy’s, is still innovating with the release of Alvada, a five year old blend of 50% Bual and 50% Malmsey grapes. What’s Alvada? Per Blandy’s: “Alvada…

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Review: Virus Vodka

If nothing else, give Virus Vodka the award for packaging of the year. An Erlenmeyer flask? Genius, even if its footprint does take up more than its fair share of shelf space. Virus is bottled in North Charleston, South Carolina, but aside from a goofy story about ancient vampire/zombie/werewolf viruses, there’s not really any information…

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Review: 1792 Port Finish Bourbon

1792 Sweet Wheat was the first in a line of limited editions of 1792 Ridgemont Reserve Bourbon, and now #2 is here: A Port cask-finished expression. 1792 Port Finish Bourbon spends 6 years in new oak, then 2 years in former Port casks for a total of 8 years of aging. Regular readers know I’m a…

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Review: The Antiquary 21 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky

Made by Tomatin, Antiquary is “the rare old blend,” a hodgepodge of whiskies from all over Scotland (including a touch of Islay in it) that seems to want to out-walk Johnnie Walker. The 21 year old expression (gold label bottling; there are others) is a malty whisky that’s mellow with notes of fresh barley and…

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