Review: 2012 Volunteer Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

Another Tony Leonardini wine, Volunteer is a considerably higher-end offering than the Butternut Chardonnay we recently reviewed. Volunteer is a relatively light-bodied cabernet (blended with small amounts of merlot and cabernet franc), with simple notes of currants and cherries, backed with a bit of rosemary and mixed, dried herbs. The finish is easygoing, slightly sweet,…

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Review: Punt e Mes Vermouth

Cola brown in color and dense with flavor, the venerable Punt e Mes is pretty much at the end of the line in the world of sweet vermouth. As brand owner Branca puts it, “The story goes that back in 1870 a stock broker, caught up in a debate with a few colleagues at Bottega Carpano,…

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How Much Is That Wine in the Window?

Ever look at a wine list and wonder if you’re getting ripped off? Well, now there’s an app for that. Corkscrew (free) just launched and it’s a fun new app that lets you search thousands of restaurant wine lists based on location and/or for a specific wine. Want a 1982 Mouton? Corkscrew can find it —…

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Review: Old Forester Mint Julep

No, there’s no substitute for the real thing, but one often finds the afternoon hot and the mint absent, so what’s a julep lover to do? Old Forester has been bottling pre-made, ready-to-drink mint juleps for years, and should this summer find you wanting, it’s a fine way to get your minted bourbon on in…

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Review: 2012 Butternut Chardonnay California

It’s called Butternut for a reason. This Chardonnay from Napa-based winemaker Tony Leonardini is a classic expression of the wine, a bold and brash and butter-laden experience that starts with vanilla and nougat and ends with oak and applesauce. It’s sugar and spice and, well, maybe not everything nice, but if you like your chardonnays to blow…

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Review: 2012 Las Rocas de San Alejandro Garnacha Calatayud

Spain’s Calatayud region is where this delightful, high-altitude Garnacha from Las Rocas is born, yet it comes to the U.S. at a remarkable price. This is a surprisingly gentle wine, mild in body but loaded with flavor. Gentle red plum and currant notes plus a bit of slightly sour cherry character attack the body, which is backed…

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Review: Meletti 1870 Bitter Aperitivo

That bright red color and an Italian name can only mean one thing: Campari, right? Wrong! Introducing Meletti 1870, a bit of a Campari lookalike that’s designed to be used in Negronis and Americanos and other strong/bittersweet cocktails. Of course, you can sip it straight as an aperitivo, too, and in this fashion you will find this…

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Review: St. Augustine Distillery New World Gin

A gin distilled from 100% Florida cane sugar? Flavored with just five botanicals — juniper, coriander, angelica, orange peel, and cassia bark — St. Augustine’s “New World Gin” is specifically designed to be citrus focused, in keeping with its Floridian heritage. On the nose, the citrus isn’t as strong as you’d think — angelica and coriander…

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