Book Review: Experimental Homebrewing

Burnt out on brewing pilsners, lagers, and IPAs? Check out Drew Beechum and Denny Conn’s book Experimental Homebrewing, an oversized tome that uses as its apparent thesis that anything in your kitchen can be used to make beer. Cilantro? Mushrooms? Peanut butter? You’ll need to get up earlier in the morning than that to stump this duo.…

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Review: Speyburn Arranta Casks

One of the biggest bargains in single malts is out with a new, limited edition, U.S.-only release: Speyburn Arranta Casks. This is a no-age-statement single malt that is aged entirely in first-fill ex-bourbon casks. I don’t know what kind of barrels standard Speyburn 10 uses for aging, but presumably some refill casks are in the…

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Review: 2012 Tormaresca Neprica Puglia

Tormaresca is part of the Antinori empire and is based in Puglia, “the heel” of Italy. We don’t get a lot of Puglian wines here, and we certainly don’t get many blends that include negroamaro, a dark red grape native to this area. Neprica gets its name from the three grapes in this blend — 40% negroamaro,…

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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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