Review: Jim Beam Kentucky Fire

Jim Beam’s spin on the cinnamon-flavored whiskey fad — the Fireball phenomenon — crept up so quietly earlier this August that no one seems to have taken much notice. I guess being, like, eighth to market doesn’t get you much press. No matter, though. Let’s have a look at Beam’s Kentucky Fire — cinnamon whiskey’s…

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Review: Austerity 2013 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

Two new bottlings from Austerity, a Monterey County-based operation. Thoughts follow. 2013 Austerity Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands – Classic SoCal Point structure, rich with cherry jam and strawberry preserves. But the flabby body and overly sweetened finish mar an initially appealing character. Notes of tea leaf and coffee bean add a touch of mystery,…

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Review: Bee d’Vine Honey Wine

You can make wine from just about anything, but honey wine has a long and rich history, dating back some 2000 years to Africa, where the honey seems to flow freely. If you’ve ever had mead at a Renaissance festival (or your crazy uncle’s house), you basically know what you’re in for. Honey wine is essentially…

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Review: XXIV Karat Grand Cuvee and Rose — Sparkling Wine with Gold Flake

What, sipping Cristal ain’t baller enough for you? Kick back some XXIV Karat (that’s 24 Karat if you ain’t down with Roman numerals), a sparkling wine that is infused with “indugent 24-karat gold leaf.” Yeah, Goldschlager wrote this playbook, and El Cartel Tequila tore it up. Gold flake in spirits is becoming common these days. Gold…

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Rioja Review: 2008 Rioja Bordon and 1998 Vina Albina

When it comes to upscale wines, Rioja is a category that is often overlooked. But these Spanish wines, primarily Tempranillo with a smattering of other Spanish regional grapes, like Mazuelo and Graciano, thrown in, can often be aged for a decade or more, particularly at the Reserva level or higher. Today we look at a…

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Drinkhacker Reads – 11.17.2014 – Wine Spectator Announces Best of 2014

The folks over at the good ship Wine Spectator announced its Top 100 for 2014 this morning, with Dow’s 2011 Vintage Port taking top honors. Lots of great stuff to choose from here. [Wine Spectator] John Hansell over at Whisky Advocate goes all crazy over the forthcoming Diageo release in its Orphan Barrel project, Lost Prophet.…

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Review: The Arran Malt Devil’s Punch Bowl Chapter III – “The Fiendish Finale”

All good horror stories deserve a trilogy, and Arran Malt, with its Devil’s Punch Bowl series, is back for a third and final round of this special release whisky: The Fiendish Finale. See notes on Chapter I and Chapter II here. There’s unfortunately not a lot of production information on this batch, but it is…

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Review: NV Menage a Trois Prosecco

One is wise not to expect a whole lot from a $12 Prosecco, but this DOC-classified bottling is perfectly acceptable for a quick punch of sparkly stuff. The nose offers modest yeast and bready/toasty notes, with modest hints of apple beneath. The body is more pear-like, with notes of lemon jellybeans and just a hint of…

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